One of the frequently asked questions in drum related forums is where can a drummer find a versatile instrument that can make provision for various percussive sounds without having to make the audience out of the venue with their hands placed on their ear? The answer to this question is several years old. The instrument for the aforementioned need is the Cajon drums. Cajon has a Spanish origin, that means “Box”. And in actual sense that is what it actually is.
The modern-day Cajon is more like a six-sided wood box that is played with the hands, which is also more like the way a conga is played. Four I’d the sides (left, right, top and bottom) are made from nothing other than hardwood and they are without a doubt solid. The back of the Cajon is not exempted, it is also fabricated from hardwood but it has a hole that is otherwise referred to as a port. This part of the hole assists in protecting the sound produced. This is also the area that you get to mic the Cajon, similar to the way you would kick a kick drum using the port. The front or perhaps the face of the Cajon is fabricated from a thin piece of plywood, this is more like the head of the drum through all other sides of the Cajon can be used to produce different types of sounds. The top of the Cajon can either be covered using a Rubber Matt or any other material depending on what is comfortable for the percussionist, the one that sits on top of the box when playing.
At this point, you’d be more interested to learn how the Cajon drums have made its way in the music scene. Here’s a small piece of history of it:
The Cajon was first thought of be of Peruvian origin. During the 16th century, the slaves from Africa would create these music instruments out of old crates and even use them as a replacement or alternative to the native drums the slaves once used in Africa. The Cuban cajon drums, on the other hand, were made out of different old household items of the box type like drawers and then they were used in accompanying the Latino and Cuban music styles.
Cajon is literally translated to drawer or box in the Spanish language. This instrument is even a major playing instrument in the Spanish Flamenco music.
Since the cajon drum is a simple musical instrument and one that is originally made from any old item that could be found around, it has turned out into a very popular instrument to be used in various forms of music. You can even find box drums of similar make in Blues music and different folk music, like in Irish traditional music as of recently.
Through the years after the creation of cajon drums from where it originally was, people have started making innovations out of the basic make of the original. They have added wires and strings inside the cajon drum, thus giving it that snare-like sound. It has added a new dimension to this musical instrument. Because of this idea, various snare systems were then developed.
Its simple yet versatile construction, not to mention the ease of playing with it has even brought the cajon into a different level of music. Various music styles have then been created out of these new additions.
Many people even think that the cajon drum is a drum kit all in one box. This is the choice among bands that are hired to play at a certain venue, but with limited space they have an alternative – the cajon drum.
The cajon drums of today have adjustable features wherein the musician can make great or simple adjustments. With it, it produces different tones and a new range of music styles that the musician can create with. It has adjustable sounds for the snare, bass dampening and even some of those that have pickups installed in order to have the easy amplification.
Many buyers of cajon drums today want to get their hands on handmade ones, because most of them produce sounds that you can’t ever get from commercially produced cajon drums. However, even if they are handmade, experts advise that you should always listen to its sound in person because only then you will be able to appreciate whether or not the cajon drum is suited to your preferences. Some buyers bring with them friends that know more about this musical instrument, no matter how simple it is just because it is simply translated to ‘box’.