The Best Cajon of 2017: Reviews

Posted in Cajons on December 19, 2015

Best Cajone Guide

If you are interested in a this type of instruments then you have probably figured out that there are a lot of options to choose from. In searching of the best Cajon You will find that just about every major drum manufacture have a least one type of it available for purchase. The most common type of you will find on the market is the Cajon Drum Box. In this guide I will talk about the instrument in general, the different models and brands.

It is a long read, but you gonna love it! I Guarantee it! (George Zimmer's voice). So...

Which is the best Cajon Drum Box?

Lets look at it a little closer and determine what make it unique. The instrument is quickly becoming instrument of choice and is gaining popularity on a world wide scale. This type of drum set is generally made of hardwood, complete with a wide variety of finishes and looks. Often made from exotic hardwood like burl, white ash, or siam oak, each one resonates with its own unique sound. I am sure you will need some solid info before buying one, let get the ball rolling!

Construction

The body consists of six sides and is generally crafted out of  ¾ inch hardwood giving the instrument a solid and secure feel. Typically the side panel opposite the front panel will have at least one hole that allows the air to escape. The front plate is often thinner than the rest of the it and is secured to the base with adjustable screws. These screws allow you adjust the amount of crash sound you hear while playing. The tighter the face plate is the quieter the crash. By loosening the screws you can achieve a louder sounding crash.

Elements

  • Adjustable Feet – enabling the instrument to be tilted, thus creating many different playing positions.
  • Adjustable Dual Snare – allowing you more control.
  • Non Slip Rubber Feet -  gives the box a secure feel
  • Padded Seat – this maximizes the comfort while you are drumming.
  • Adjustable Front Plate – allowing you to create distinct sound preferences.
  • Custom Wood Finishes – provides beauty and function.
  • Custom Carrying Bags - make transporting your baby easy.
  • Bass Pedal – this allows you to adjust amount of pressure snare wires press against the front plate
  • Brushes - They can really change the play of it! By creating a great, defined sound.

Cheap Cajon Drum vs Pro Level

In general, those babies are relatively cheap compared to other drums. Whether you are searching for simply cheap cajon drum or you want quality above all, in the end you have to make this decision by yourself, but I will try to help as much possible. So let's go:

If you are a beginner you can grab one in the range of under $100 to $150. Great example is:

white meinl

Meinl Percussion HCAJ1NT Headliner Series 

Check the price on Ebay

The next stage is over $150 to under $300.

CP404-BLK

Schlagwerk CP404-BLK 2inOne Black Edition

Check the price on Ebay

If you wanna play on pro level: be ready to invest within the $300 – $500 range.

LP

Pearl Percussion Jesus Diaz Signature

Check the price on Ebay

Take into consideration that you may need, hand bags, more snares, pads and so forth. You should definitely include them into your financial allowance.

You may ask yourself:

Percussion vs Drum Set?

When to use percussion vs drum set only, or both!
It was only recently that I started to play around with various hand percussion tools, and incorporate them into my playing. By the way when I say hand percussion, I’m referring to anything you use as a percussive tool (ie cowbells, shakers, djembe, tambourines etc…) other than the instruments typical to the average drum-set.

The more I played around with these instruments, the more I realized how significant they can be in so many musical situations. In the video below Van Romaine demonstrates how to add rhythm to tracks with acoustic drum-set or percussion kit. Spend few minutes to watch it, you won't regret!

The most important tool in my percussive arsenal is my cajon. It is basically just a wooden box with snares behind one side that can create an array of different tones, and be an asset in an acoustic situation. I use a Meinl and its fantastic, however, many companies make these instruments in many different sizes and styles.

Meinl 

As I have said before I work with many “singer/songwriters,” and their music is mostly soft rock with a pop/folk pop sound. As a result I end up playing quite a few acoustic shows and small venues, and this cajon is a great way to bring the appropriate textures and sounds to the music, without overpowering it with the extreme dynamic and harshness of a drum set.

Along with the cajon I usually add a tambourine, and various shakers to my setup which gives me a few different sound sources for different songs and styles. The drawback to playing only percussion (for me at least) was always that I couldn’t reproduce snare and bass tones and rhythms well enough to be comfortable using it in musical situations.

This all changed when I bought my box. With the Meinl Cajon, it became possible for me to bring convincing snare drum and bass drum tones to a musical situation, and avoid using an entire kit, but still maintain the rhythmic integrity of the music.

One technique I use almost exclusively with my cajon is playing with either a brush, or a shaker in my lead hand. This allows me to simulate a hi-hat tone with ease. In my other hand I either use some kind of stick (whether it be a blast stick, brush, or whatever) or nothing at all. Alright enough about my playing style.

Just in case if you are wondering I got the exact same kit:

full set

CAJ - Hybrid Kit

Let's continue our journey. When you are looking for the beast cajon you need to find which the best brands are. All right, lets take a deeper look at:

Cajons Review

The TOP brands:

-Gon Bops:

The Gon Bops legend began in 1954 California when Cuban-American Mariano Bobadilla - who would go on to become one of the most highly-regarded conga builders in the percussion industry - started designing and building Cuban-style Conga and Bongos. Today, Gon Bops remains one of te oldest and most respected manufacturers of Latin instuments in the world.

-Kotz Tone:

A modern tonal adaptation of traditional Cuban and Peruvian cajons, the Kotz Tone provides hand drummers and percussionists with a unique new voice. A combination of luthier quality tone-woods, a unique "sympathetic resonating head" design, and meticulous craftsmanship all contribute to the instrument's deep, full sound.

-Latin Percussion:

The company that started in the Cohen garage now has a staff of research, design and product developers that keep an ongoing stream of new products coming. In addition, over 250 people are employed at the manufacturing facility in Tahiland. What started as a small family operation has grown to become Latin Percussion, the world's largest producer of hand percussion instruments.

-Meinl:

One of the newest features emerging in the realm of cajon’s is the existence of a pedal either in front of, or behind the face plate. This is usually not used in conjunction with snares, and is controlled with a remote bass pedal. This allows the player to free up one of their hands that would normally be used to play bass accents on the front plate. This also allows the player to use the box in more scenarios that would normally require an entire set. I often use it, and a series of tambourines, shakers, and other percussion tools, to reproduce drum-set tones when playing small venues, or just to play quieter.

-Mountain Rythym:

Mountain Rythym offers the two most popular styles of cajón. The Spanish-style incorporates a tunable "snare" system to facilitate the "buzz" which is characteristic of this style of box. For convenience, three guitar-styled tuners are located on the OUTSIDE of the box, - allowing for quick, efficient tuning changes even between numbers if needed!

-Meinl Percussion:

Over the last 25 years they have created a specific portfolio to match the variety of their customers. Today they are proud to offer a wide assortment of high quality percussion instruments for players all around the world regardless of age, playing skills, or economic background. A large variety of colors, a well thought out assortment and trend setting ideas is what Meinl stands for.

-Nino Percussion:

NINO Percussion offers an outstanding collection of musical instruments designed specifically for children. These more than meet the requirements of early childhood music education and are ideal for kindergarten school programs, or for music therapy and other music-making activities.

It is important to know that NINO Percussion instruments are not toys. These are the real thing, deigned for safety, durability, attractiveness and pliability.

-Pearl:

Pearl Musical Instruments Company, simply known as Pearl, is a multinational corporation based in Japan with a wide range of products, predominantly percussion instruments. Pearl has made shells for more than 30 companies. In the 1960s they ceased making shells from other companies, and began manufacturing drums under their own name and used the Pearl logo for the first time

Their construction technique is known as STT or "Superior Shell Technology". All Pearl products feature this construction. Each ply is placed into a cylinder, and pressure is applied from both sides. While in the press, the shell is heated to bring the glue to a boil, thus forcing it through the wood grain and fusing the shells very tightly. The individual plies are scarf jointed, and all the seams are offset, resulting in a ''seamless'' drum (Pearl demonstrates the strenght by parking a Humvee with its tire on a tom shell). This creates a shell of incredible strength.

-POPercussion:

Professional instruments, handcrafted from selected materials, matured through a steady exposure to Jazz, Flamenco and Rock’n’Roll, and fine-tuned by a veteran percussionist.
Inspired by traditional Peruvian and modern Flamenco cajons, but designed to go far beyond the origins for applications in virtually all musical styles.

-Schlagwerk:

This baby is one of the best drums in the many types of cajon variety that have come into the market today. The Schalgwersk's 20 years of expertise in making percussion instruments is definitely evident in this piece of work. You will be amazed at how a simple looking drum can carry out musical tasks in many genres of music like pop, jazz, hip hip and rock. And although they are usually played by hands, you can also use the traditional sticks and brushes that you use in the regular set of drums too. you can read more about Schlagwerk Cajon.

-Sol Percussion

They desing and craft authentic handmade Latin percussion instruments. They claim that their goal is to put high quality handmade instruments in the hands of more players around the globe.

-Toca

During the early 90's, the music scene began to bustle with new trends. A new craze called drum circles began making headlines in the news, around the same time a new Latin scound called "Afro-Cuban" was hitting the pop charts with the Miami Sound Machine's hit ''Conga''. Hand drumming was receiving a great amount of press as more people began to take up hand drumming as a recreational hobby. People wanted to drum for a variety of health and wellness reasons, along with pure enjoyment. All the while, the Latin sound became more popular and mainstream.

KMC Music decided to introduce Toca Percussion as a choice in hand percussion instruments and accessories. Toca was designed and developed to have a different look and provide the "Afro-Cuban" sound. These instruments made Toca unique from brands thus giving players and percussionists an alternative choice when looking for hand percussion instruments.

All Toca wood drums have two-ply stave shells for added durability and are finished in many vibrant color options. Toca Percussion also offers players and enthusiasts a wide variety of percussion instruments and accessories that are designed and tested by players.

-Tycoon Percussion

This year, Tycoon celebrates 32 years of manufacturing excellence in the musical instruments industry. Their company traces its roots back to the spring of 1983, when an avid musician from Hong Kong named Stephen Yu turned his back on lucrative career in commodities trading to pursue his lifelong dream of establishing his own company to manufacture musical instruments.

Tycoon Music Comapny was founded later that year in Bangkok, Thailand. Not long after, Stephen realized that Thailand had a distinct advantage in the manufacturing of hand percussion instruments, which, coupled with the growing worldwide demand for the product, significantly altered the course of the company's future.

Conclusion

Whether you have a brand or play music at small acoustical venues you are sure to find the best cajon type that suits your needs. Well after all you need to feel it with your gut. Buy it today, make art tomorrow! 🙂


 

  • Diia

    This is a very solid article, to be honest it can be confusing with all the brands that produce cajons. Thanks

  • Raul Enrique

    very nice article, but sadly It refers mainly to name brands, I have played most of this including the pro series, but they are really short in response, resonance and fabrication.. I ended up buying one from a local artisan in PR Smaderas Custom woods, and has been my companion for 5 years, I own 5 of his cajon's including his pro-studio version... keep rocking