The instrument has gained popularity around the globe and developed accordingly to tune up with local folk music or in the music industry. So here’s a list of basic types of cajon drums, based on demography, folk music culture, build style or music industry genre. We got inspired by our firends at CG.com and their article “The Best Cajon of 2018”.
Flat traditional drum from Peru in its purest form since its birth, has six sides with a hole in the back to make it sound louder. Tapa, the front face made up of thin wood provides much drier sound compare to its modern counterparts. The other five side give supporting structure to the instrument. With bass as the root tone, it is mostly being used in folk and traditional styles of dance and music.
A similar instrument from Peruvian Cajon drum family is Cajita (Tiny Box). Played one hand striking the side of the box and other opening and closing the top lid. Best suits for traditional events.
As the name suggested slap it on the top. This drum type provides a broader playing surface, the footrest makes it easier to hold the instrument, closer to the player making it easier to increase the playing time and produce clearer sound as it has the sound hole towards the audience.
Has both traditional acoustic and snare system category.
Can be used both in pop and traditional styles.
Snare drum box
The music industry’s and studio’s first choice, snare drum. Used for studio recordings, live performances, and cultural events.
Some of the modern cajons, having snare wire upgraded from the basic traditional one, produces crisp, rattle and snare sound most desired for pop and rock styles of music for the US and neighbor demographics.
We can adjust the internal snare system, based on the sensitivity of snare effect needed, by adjusting the amount of pressure the snare system have on the front plate, just by rotating the knob located at the side. It has rubber stand that allows the instrument to resonate with its full potential.
The perfectly modified one but produces the sound similar to the traditional Cajon, having separate playing surface areas based on the sound pitch from low to high. Allows playing traditional bongo patterns as well. Its a best mix of the two instruments making it perfect for traditional folk music.
A close variant of Snare Drum is String Cajon or Flamenco Drum, having guitar strings installed instead of snare system.
In order to adapt the Spanish culture and match with the flamenco style, the drums were upgraded with add-ons like bells, jingles, rattles and guitar strings. The loose corners provide the flexibility to the system to fit in a box, making it convenient for travels and tours. The multipurpose asset can be used as a seat, a snare, and a bass drum. Provided screws at the top and bottom corner of the box, enables the player to loosen or tighten the system and produce a variety of sound spectrum from snare and dry to extreme bass. The genres of music uses Flamenco drums at present are funk, pop, hip-hop r&d, gospel, jazz, rock, country, etc.
Originally a hybrid of Djembe Drum from West Africa. Termed as a solo instrument because of its loudness making it clearly audible over a large jamming event. The player can produce a wide range of sound variations in it. Malinke people’s statement about the instrument is that if you are a skilled drummer you can make Djembe tell your emotional story to the audiences. Pure acoustic, does not have snare system. The similar category includes Bata and Ashiko Cajon drums.
Cuba is famous for congo style traditional music and hence developed Cajon as similar to congo, a long box-shaped drum with 5 sides to it. Almost a Congo but made up of the box. They held in slightly tilted position and beaten at the top head surface, just like congo. A similar variant is large Bass Cajon, which has much larger playing surface area. This provides a deep and strong bass to add flavor to the ensemble and compliment their standard prototype. Bass Cajon is simple in build and has no internal snare system.
Other variants are Quinto, Saildor, and Tumba having high, medium and low pitch respectively. They have more inclination towards melody and pitch than bass.
So each drum plays a distinct role in the cumulative sound. This intermix makes Rumba a unique style of music.
Tube shaped drums, straight and simple in appearance, produce sounds similar to Congas. Comes in snare, custom and acoustic categories. Loud and dry, good for bass. Mostly used to decorate Latin folk style music.
A hybrid of traditional Udu and Darbuka Drums, perfectly preserving the sound of tradition. Both the drums have Arab origins. Pure acoustic, comes in different shape and sizes. Does not have snare system integration. Suits best for the traditional Arabic music genre.
These are some basic sets we listed, but the list is long or may be endless.
We have explored basic types of Cajon drums and gathered sufficient knowledge about their ins and outs. Now let’s find out the best Cajon drum for you.