The Cajon box drum is one of the most versatile and popular percussion instruments. CajonCajon is all about buying, building and playing cajons from a UK perspective.
The aim of CajonCajon is to bring together everything you need to know about the cajon (pronounced ka-hon), including:
- The different types of cajons you can buy and the features to look out for.
- Great brands, big and small.
- Building cajons from scratch and using pre-prepared kits.
- Cajons for children.
- Profiles of some of the internet’s favourite cajon players.
- Resources for learning to play cajon.
CajonCajon is an independent site, developed as a result of reading and digesting as much about cajons as possible and wanting to distill and share that information with the hope that it might be of use to others.
Enjoy the site and please give any feedback about CajonCajon via the contact page.
Latest cajon news
Every January in California many of the world’s top music related manufacturers showcase their latest wares at the NAMM show. This year among the Cajon related stuff was an unusual cajon from Roland, who have combined a standard acoustic cajon with some of their electronic trigger technology and a range of sound samples to create what is probably the world’s first electronic layered cajon.
The Roland EL Cajon EC-10 electronic layered cajon is an acoustic cajon with electronic sounds and a built in speaker. Due to the option of battery power (6 AA batteries) it is portable, so it’s range of 30 electronic kits are available wherever you would take a normal cajon.
The Roland EL Cajon EC-10 will be available in early February 2016 at a UK RRP of £309.
Roland have called on the UK’s Heidi Joubert to help them show off the EL Cajon EC-10. Here she is demonstrating some of the possible sounds. There is also a longer video of Heidi Joubert playing the Roland EL Cajon EC-10 at NAMM 2016.
There are some early reviews appearing from some of the music shops who have got their hands on the Roland EL Cajon EC-10, which demonstrate many of the available sounds and configurations.
Roland is proud to announce the EC-10 EL Cajon, a unique and versatile hybrid percussion instrument. Combining an authentic acoustic cajon with Roland’s famous electronic percussion technology, the EC-10 allows cajon players to easily enhance their music with layered electronic sounds. Completely self-contained with battery power and onboard amplification, the EC-10 puts the dynamic world of hybrid percussion in the hands of every cajon enthusiast.
The cajon has become an extremely popular instrument for on-the-go percussion, from local jams and street busking to nightclub performances and beyond. With its built-in Roland sound module, the EC-10 seamlessly extends the cajon’s organic capabilities, letting performers create a wide variety of dynamic percussion sounds from one portable instrument.
At its core, the EC-10 is a real acoustic cajon that sounds great even with its onboard electronics turned off. The integrated Roland sound module features 30 kits loaded with sounds specially developed to complement the EC-10’s natural cajon voice. Included is everything from traditional percussion like tambourine, djembe and shaker to acoustic snare, electronic drums and sound effects. Studio-optimized cajon sounds are also on hand to enhance the acoustic sound for more depth and punch. Thanks to the EC-10’s dual sensors, each kit allows users to trigger independent sounds from the head and edge of the playing surface.
The top-mounted sound controls on the EC-10 are designed for quick access while performing, with dedicated buttons for scrolling through sound categories and variations. Rear-panel controls include a Volume knob for mixing in the layered sound and a Trigger Balance knob to adjust the blend of the head and edge sounds. The user can also adjust the overall trigger sensitivity for their personal playing touch.
While the EC-10 contains high-tech electronics, it fully retains the self-contained simplicity that’s made the cajon so popular. The integrated amp and coaxial speaker provide high-quality sound for keeping up with acoustic guitar amps and other instruments, and six AA batteries deliver up to 12 hours of power for long jams in any location. There’s also a handy Mix In jack for playing music from a smartphone or song player at home or on the gig. The EC-10 even functions as an extra seat in a music room or family space when not being played.
I recently received the following question via the contact form from Cajon Cajon reader Chris:
I really like this site. I was wondering how you think the Macker cajon compared to the Schlagwerk one. I was looking at the already made Schlagwerk drums and they get quite pricy.
Here in case it is use to anyone else is my answer:
As far as the Macker and the Schlagwerk are concerned, they are both good cajons, but quite different to each other. It is important to think about what type of sound you want as well as the situations you will play.
The Schlagwerk kit is very good value and I think it sounds better than the majority of the mass produced cajons you will find in music shops in the £60 – £150 range (I have tried out quite a lot of these). Most of those cajons, by companies like Meinl, LP, Natal etc, are made in the far east and use simple guitar string snares. There are some exceptions, such as the J Leiva range which are made in Spain and are much better.
The Schlagwerk kit (along with most Schlagwerk cajons) use snare drum style snares, which give a nice crisp prominent snare sound. Because the tapa (playing surface) is glued rather than screwed on it is not as sensitive as some others, but it sounds good when you take some time to get to know it. The glued tapa reduces the types of sounds you can get at the high end (clap sounds particularly), but is beneficial for the bass, which is warm and generally free of snare bleed. I haven’t played any pre-built Schlagwerk cajons yet, but they are very well regarded. You are correct that they get quite pricey, especially for a first cajon. One other thing to be aware of is that Schlagwerk cajons generally have a controlled and slightly dry sound (they are very well engineered and built, including the cajon kits). The controlled sound is great for recording, but not always so good in live (acoustic) situations as a slightly less controlled, or more raw, snare sound that will often cut through better when playing with other instruments.
The Macker cajon is exceptional value. If it was produced by a large company it would probably cost well over £200 and most independent cajon would charge significantly more than Mack (Colin McCormick) charges. Macker cajons are hand made by Mack to order out of quality hard wood (usually oak). The quality of the workmanship is very high and the cajon is well designed and finished. There are two playing surfaces, one with an adjustable snare and one without snare, this makes it a very flexible cajon. The snare side tapa is screwed on and allows for adjustment at the top. I have removed the top corner screws on mine to create clap corners to add to the variety of sounds. The Macker Cajon has a less precise sound than the Schlagwerk, but the quality shines through and it sounds great live, both acoustically and through a PA.
If you are willing to spend the £85 that the Macker costs, I don’t think you will find a better cajon in that price range. It is a significantly better and more flexible cajon overall than the Schlagwerk kit cajon. Mack (professional_percussionist) regularly puts cajons on ebay, some as regular auctions (starting around £70 + £15 postage) and some as Buy it Now at slightly higher prices. If you do buy from Mack, please mention Cajon Cajon.uk if you don’t mind.
Chris has now decided to buy a Macker Cajon, which I think is a great choice!
If you have any questions please get in touch via the contact form.
Lion Cajons have gone out of business. This page is kept for historical interest
This is the latest offering from the Cornwall based cajon maker and is aimed at professional percussionists and keen amateurs.
The Top Range Lion Cajon Active Drum features:
- On/Off adjustable snare for the full range of sound from traditional non-snare cajon, through trashy loose snare cajon to tight snappy snare cajon.
- Colourful vinyl wrapped sides.
- Non-slip seating area foe more comfort whilst playing.
- High quality birch construction.
- Gig bad included!
Head over to the Lion Cajon Drums website for more information and if the Top Range Lion Cajon Active Drum is the cajon for you, please mention Cajon Cajon when you buy.
This is the area of Cajon Cajon where I’ll post any interesting cajon related stuff, reviews and anything else relevant.
To start, here is a great cajon solo from Okhan Kayar with some interesting finger rolls. Enjoy!