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Bright Moments

Cajon recommendations please

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Not sure where to post this - so here it is.

I am thinking of purchasing a cajon box drum and wonder if any fellow percussionists have any recommendations. It is for personal use, not professional. Much thanks. :tophat:

Edited by Bright Moments

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It depends on what you want...

Peruvian-style cajons (the original) are literally boxes, with no snares.

Snared cajons developed in the 70s in Spain via the flamenco nuevo movement. Essentially they put snares on Peruvian cajons.

There are also Cuban-style rumba cajons, but that's a whole different ballgame.

do you want the snared sound (which can often be adjusted or dampened altogether), or aa deep bass sound, or...??

I would recommend staying away from mass-produced cajons (like Meinl and Pearl and, to a lesser extent, LP's boxes - that's Latin percussion) and going with smaller makers, like Fat Cajon (for the Cuban sound; made by Fat Congas), Gon Bops... whatever works for you, really. The market is flooded with cheap cajons (Meinl, anyone?) made from woods that aren't the greatest (look out for so-called "Siam oak," aka rubberwood - timber from rubber plantations in SE Asia). You probably would like a birch head, which is the standard on most of the better cajons.

And there are different types of tuning/adjustment systems. Some of the flamenco-style drums have loose upper corners for making sharp slap sounds. others don't.

It's really a matter of personal taste, and I would encourage you to get out there and try out some drums.

Edited to add: I haven't had a chance to try out Swan percussion's cajons, but they look like they're very nice drums. The guy whose "bare snare" design they've adopted has a small shop and makes some very nice drums - quite varied lineup, too. And less expensive! His site: http://www.cajongo.com/index.html (Navigation is kinda clunky, but he's got good sound samples for everything and is more than happy to answer questions.)

Edited by seeline

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It depends on what you want...

Peruvian-style cajons (the original) are literally boxes, with no snares.

Snared cajons developed in the 70s in Spain via the flamenco nuevo movement. Essentially they put snares on Peruvian cajons.

There are also Cuban-style rumba cajons, but that's a whole different ballgame.

do you want the snared sound (which can often be adjusted or dampened altogether), or aa deep bass sound, or...??

I would recommend staying away from mass-produced cajons (like Meinl and Pearl and, to a lesser extent, LP's boxes - that's Latin percussion) and going with smaller makers, like Fat Cajon (for the Cuban sound; made by Fat Congas), Gon Bops... whatever works for you, really. The market is flooded with cheap cajons (Meinl, anyone?) made from woods that aren't the greatest (look out for so-called "Siam oak," aka rubberwood - timber from rubber plantations in SE Asia). You probably would like a birch head, which is the standard on most of the better cajons.

And there are different types of tuning/adjustment systems. Some of the flamenco-style drums have loose upper corners for making sharp slap sounds. others don't.

It's really a matter of personal taste, and I would encourage you to get out there and try out some drums.

Edited to add: I haven't had a chance to try out Swan percussion's cajons, but they look like they're very nice drums. The guy whose "bare snare" design they've adopted has a small shop and makes some very nice drums - quite varied lineup, too. And less expensive! His site: http://www.cajongo.com/index.html (Navigation is kinda clunky, but he's got good sound samples for everything and is more than happy to answer questions.)

thanks so much for the response seeline - i was beginning to think we had no drummers on the board! This is the one I am thinking about - it's a Meinl:

71lh6TEliuL._AA1000_.jpg

because it is so inexpensive - i was suspicious and now i am going to check out some of your recommendations. I do wish there was a local (brick & mortar) place i could go and try them out!!

:tophat:

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I'm also a frame drum player and like this guy's videos very much.

The thing is... he's in Germany, and the cajons he's playing are all made in Europe. All very nice drums, but they cost a small fortune here in the US.

Edited by seeline

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Also... I've never played Meinl's top of the line instruments, but I'm sure they're good.

However, they make their money with the cheaper instruments, which are primarily bought by schools. If you look at a good selection of them, you'll see that many are quite flashy-looking.

Better to go with higher-quality materials and build, imo.

fwiw, this guy makes some beautiful cajons out of tone woods - http://tonecajon.com/ Have never had the chance to play one of them, but maybe someday...

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seeline's recommendations are pretty exhaustive - mine would be a Spanish brand, but as you are in the USA ...

Pepote

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Mike - I'm guessing that you've had a chance to try out some of their cajons?

A *lot* of the better European-made cajons look and sound wonderful to me, but the prices - for the brands that have US distribution - are prohibitive. (So is shipping from Europe, come to that!)

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