Cajon-The Story In a Nutshell
Cajon-The Story In a Nutshell
Invention of the Cajon drums dates back to the era of African slavery when the instrument became more popular in the Republic of Peru. The far-reaching acceptance of the instrument made it a popular tool for many bands who adopted Cajon as the basic instrument for creating music. The instrument also became largely associated with the Flamenco music but in its true sense the Cajon is a highly versatile instrument not limited to just one genre. A Cajon may look like an over simplified musical instrument as compared to many electrical ones but the sounds, recording and selection of a Cajon may itself present a challenge if you are yet unfamiliar with it.
The Cajon drum is an interesting hand played instrument. Talking about its shape and the way it is played, it seems rather fascinating. Although Cajons come in many shapes and sizes but usually box Cajons are manufactured using ply wood and largely have six faces. The sixth side of the box serves as a striking surface or head, and is made of a thinner sheet of plywood. Opposite to the striking surface a sound hole is present just like the one you see in a guitar. The player sits astride the box and the Cajon is played, placed between the knees using fingers and palm strokes.
Choosing a Cajon- A Daunting Decision!
So if you have decided on buying yourself this Afro-Peruvian amusement, next comes the challenging part. Deciding to learn or buy a Cajon is one thing and choosing the one that suits you is another. The decision is not as straight forward as it really sounds.
When choosing a Cajon for yourself, always stress on the tiny details like its Quality, Model, Purpose, Sounds, High tones, Base tones, Tone separation as well as properties associated with Snares & Tuning. It should be noted that the original Cajons did not have snares or the snare wires referred to as Strings and the snare Cajons are the improvised decedents.
The initial Cajon training has many stages and starts from getting used to the posture that has to be maintained while playing the Cajon drum box. Next, novice players learn to get acquainted to the different tones starting from the Bass Tone which is the first in the row.
Next comes the Slap Tone that requires some professional training on placing the palms and fingers in the right position to produce the correct sound on striking. The fingers should ideally be withdrawn with the strike while the palm still rests on the striking face of the instrument.
Followed by the Slap tone is the base slap/slap exercise, then comes the mid tone, high slap tone, basic 4/4 groove, three tone exercise, and so on.
Visit Singapore’s Cajon School at HERE.
Arthur’s Cajon Collections – My Personal Preference
My first cajon back then was a Meinl Cajon, Headliner Range. (Bought at $300 SGD from ebay). Being a Cajon enthusiast, I bought almost every brands found on the Internet and retail shops. Brands such as Schlagwerk, Latin Percussion, Kopf, Prk Percussion, Tycoon, IQ, Pearl, Manila de manila even handmade customs over the world.
I would say that each of these Cajons has its strengths and preferences.
As the brand owner and ambassador of BEAT’ABOX Cajons, we have moved from simple plywood-made Cajons to now it is, premium-made Cajons. Wood combination such as Birch, Maple, and Rose woods are some of the good examples of BEAT’ABOX-made Cajons.
Till date, I still enjoy collecting varieties of cajons. I guess I can’t stop….