144 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH 03862 | 603-319-8109

5 Best Cajon Drums for 2019

Choosing the appropriate cajon for you can be difficult with the wide range of options available out there. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we live, breathe, and love drums and our staff have over 200 years of combined experience in the field. Our ultimate goal is to pair you with an instrument that plays well and that you can treasure forever.

That's why the experts here have compiled a list of the 5 best cajon drums of 2019, along with a guide to help potential cajon buyers learn what they should look out for when browsing. Read on to find out which ones we chose!

 

Reviews

1 Pearl Sonic Boom

Pros

  • Angled front plate for comfortable playing
  • Solid birch construction feels sturdy
  • Earthy tone due to lack of snares

Cons

  • Birch is heavy (but produces good tone)
  • Expensive

The Pearl Sonic Boom features light-colored, responsive wood and simple but elegant construction that will compliment and enhance any environment or venue you play it in.

Product specs:

  • Constructed with solid birch
  • Front facing bass scoop
  • Angled faceplate
  • Subsonic bass tone
  • No internal snares

Why We Love It: This drum is aesthetically beautiful with its solid birch construction and pleasing shape. It's front plate is angled upward, so the drummer can play easily and comfortably. The drum features no internal snares, which gives it a clear, natural, and earthy tone. It's perfect for small acoustic settings, or large venues where louder is better. It's a pricey drum, but that only speaks to its high quality and manufacturing. It's a beautiful drum and it comes highly recommended.

Call to inquire about getting yours today!

2 LP Aspire Accent Cajon Sunburst

Pros

  • Beautiful paint finish
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Convenient and comfortable seating surface
  • Rubber feet
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Poplar is a relatively cheap wood
  • Birch is heavy (but produces good tone)

The LP Aspire Accent Sunburst has deep brown edges that gradually fade to a light wood-grain on each maple panel. With a wide dynamic range and rubber feet, this drum gets you some bang for your buck.

Product specs:

  • 3 sets of DW snare wires
  • Birch/Poplar body
  • Para wood soundboard
  • Textured seating surface
  • Rounded corners
  • 3-step streak finishing

Why We Love It: The LP Aspire Accent Sunburst is a real beauty. From its edges that fade from a deep brown to a light wood-grain, its 3-step streak finish perfectly complements the name. The 3 sets of DW snare wires give you a vast dynamic range, and the body provides a deep bass tone. The feet are rubber, which allows the unit to be sturdy while insulating bass from disappearing into the floor. The comfortable textured seating allows the player to be comfortable with access to all necessary areas of the drum. This cajon is beautifully made with a perfectly doable price.

Call to inquire about getting yours today!

3 Gon Bops Cajons: Tumbao Pro Cajon Walnut with Gig Bag

Pros

  • Great sound, due to internal snare wire design
  • Beautiful and easy on the eyes
  • Comes with gig bag

Cons

  • No leg seat slots for comfort

The Tumbao Walnut Pro Cajon looks sleek and classy, and provides high-end pop without compromising on low-end response. It's a great price for good quality and extra features!

Product specs:

  • Front Panel Material: Maple
  • Adjustable? Yes
  • Extras: Premium Gig Bag
  • Size: 12"(w) x 18"(h) x 12"
  • Weight: 10lbs (4.5kg)

Why We Love It: This drum features a beautiful and lustrous adjustable maple front panel, which is both functional and easy on the eyes. It also features an internal snare wire design which contributes to its great high-end to low-end sound for versatility. The unit is held up by rubber feet, which provide a sturdy base for sitting. The rubber feet also serve as a means of insulation, preventing the bass from escaping through the bottom of the unit and getting lost in the floor. The price is a good middle ground for cajon drums, but comparatively low for drums of this caliber. Overall a great choice for those looking for a high-end drum at a middle-of-the-road price.

Call to inquire about getting yours today!

4 Keo Percussion Luxury Cajon

Pros

  • Ball Bearing snare system allows for separation of playing zones
  • Sitting area is made of comfortable material and has notches for legs

Cons

  • Not many technical details (weight, materials, etc) available online
  • Looks slightly cheap

Constructed using select tone woods and high sensitivity, the Keo Percussion Luxury Cajon is percussion perfection. With its comfortable seating and rich sound, it's bound to catch your eye (and ear).

Product specs:

  • Constructed using select tone woods
  • Ball Bearing snare system
  • Multiple types of wood paneling

Why We Love It: This drum features panels made of select tone woods that emphasize and amplify sound. It has a seat that has convenient slots for legs, so the drummer can sit comfortably, It's unique ball bearing snare system allows for great separation of playing zones and increased sensitivity. Unfortunately it's slightly more expensive than other items on this list while not looking as sleek or lustrous, but it's still a great buy for the value.

Call to inquire about getting yours today!

5 Rhythm Tech Cajon - Enhanced Bass Port

Pros

  • Nice color
  • Finely crafted edges
  • Bass port for thunderous bass
  • Rubber feet for strength and bass insulation
  • Good, budget-friendly price

Cons

  • Not much information on product specs online
  • Looks slightly cheap

The Rhythm Tech Cajon with enhanced bass port is a less expensive but still beautiful cajon drum. It has finely crafted edges for comfort and a thunderous bass response, perfect for any venue.

Product specs:

  • Enhanced bass port
  • Big low end

This cajon by Rhythm Tech can fit in with any venue. Its got a new enhanced bass port for a booming bass, and its deep brown wood provides a beautiful deep sound. The feet are insulated with rubber so bass doesn't escape through the floor. Overall it's a great drum for those looking for a budget-friendly option. There aren't too many technical details (weight, materials, etc) available online, so make sure to call with any questions!

Call to inquire about getting yours today!

 

Buyers Guide - What to Consider When Buying a Cajon

The cajon has quickly become one of the most popular hand drums out on the market. They're affordable, and they're easy and fun to play. If you're in the market for a new (or used) cajon, here are some things to look out for while browsing.

Type of Cajon

There are several kinds of cajon, so it's easy to get overwhelmed with the options. It's worth it to learn a little about a few different types so you may make an informed decision when purchasing one:

  • Peruvian cajon - The Peruvian cajon is the oldest (and original) type of cajon. It does not contain any snares or string effects, and produces a very clean and woody tone.

 

  • Flamenco cajon - This cajon produces a very "buzzy" sound produced by a guitar string mounted against the tapa (front face), heard in the lower and upper parts of the tapa.

 

  • Snare cajon - This type of cajon is typically fitted with a snare mechanism that creates a snare effect in the upper portion of the tapa. These tend to be quite rattly, and don't have as pure of a bass sound. There's a complete separation between snare and bass tone, and this cajon tends to be quite loud.

 

  • Cuban cajon - This cajon is designed to be held by the player, not sat on. It traditionally has no snares. This cajon produces a very woody sound.

It's up to you which sound you desire and which type of cajon you'd like to play, but if you're a beginner, it's recommended to get a traditional cajon that has no snares, wires, or strings.

 

Adjustability

The cajon may just look like a hollow box, and that's essentially what they started out as, but there's much to customize when it comes right down to it. Drum and wire attributes can be changed using levers on the outside of the box, and wires can even be disengaged if you'd like to use a pedal for a bass drum sound. You can often also adjust Allen screws at the bottom of the drum to adjust the pressure of the wires against the tapa, altering its sound. Models with this kind of adjustability will be pricier, but more versatile.

Cajons without drums and snares can even be adjusted to sound a particular way. The tapa (front panel) is either affixed to the frame with screws or glue; if it's attached with screws, the screws can be loosened to allow the tapa's "slap corners" more room to move when hit. This can cause a tapping sound when the tapa slaps the frame, but if the screws are tight this cannot happen. Port placement also changes the sound of the drum, affecting volume and bass tone. Finally, some cajons purposely have multiple playing surfaces, some with different wood types on each side. Finding a cajon with a high level of adjustability and customizability is definitely something to look for.

 

Size

It's a given that the cajon should be big enough for you to sit on. Playing the cajon requires the player to sit on top and lean forward to strike it, so trying out a drum before buying is ideal. However, if buying online, check out the product specifications or call the shop to verify sizing.

The size of the cajon affects the sound. Smaller models will have a higher-pitched bass sound, while larger models are louder and have lower-pitched bass. Beginner models will be smaller, while more advanced and high-end models will be more expensive. Try to find a good middle ground between size and price.

 

Materials

The kind of materials the cajon is made of greatly affects the sound. Higher quality materials (hard woods) will produce richer, fuller, higher quality sounds. Lower quality materials (softwoods) will often sound muted or low quality. Cajons should be made from hardwoods, such as birch or beech. Birch is high density, has a broad dynamic range, and is relatively expensive. Beech produces a wide variety of tones and is similar to birch, but is less expensive. The highest quality cajons will be made of mahogany or mahogany-type hardwoods, which are strong in bass and high tones. For a budget-friendly option, stick with beech or birch. For those looking to invest, high-quality hardwoods are your best option.

(Plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fibre can also be used, as they are strong and durable, but the sound isn't quite the same as a classic wood cajon.)

 

Tapa

The tapa (the face of the drum) gets the most attention from buyers than other parts. If a tapa looks cheap, it's unlikely that a prospective cajon buyer will even give it a second look, even if it produces the most rich and beautiful sounds. However, the most important aspect of a tapa is how it's made and how it plays. It should be between 3-4mm of several thin layers, for a more dense material. This type of tapa will produce crisp high tones.

 

FAQs

Got some questions about cajons? Look through this section for an answer.

What exactly is a Cajon?

The word "cajon" literally translates to "box" or "drawer" in Spanish. A cajon is an originally Peruvian box-shaped percussion instrument. It's played by slapping the front or rear faces with fingers, hands, brushes, mallets, or sticks. It's been said that 18th Century African slaves in Peru created the first Cajons, using repurposed packing boxes.

 

What does the cajon sound like?

The cajon has a loud and crisp sound. The two primary tones created by a cajon are bass and high tones. The bass tones are created by slapping the tapa (face) of the cajon near the middle/bottom. The high tones can be created by tapping the upper corners of the cajon, producing less vibration and a higher pitch. This type of sound is much like a snare drum.

 

Do looks matter when it comes to cajons?

Looks can be deceiving. The most beautiful cajons can produce the dampest, most muted sounds just as the most visually unpleasing cajon can produce rich, deep sounds. Further, the type of wood used can make two identical looking cajons sound different. Overall, looks don't matter as much as the functionality and specifications of the cajon. It's always important to test out a cajon before purchasing, or ask an expert before committing.

 

Why is the cajon so popular?

The cajon is portable, practical, and easy to learn. There are multiple ways to play it (seated or standing), dozens of sounds you can make from it, and integration into a band or group is simple. The basic cajon is about as uncomplicated as an instrument can be, and it can be modified and upgraded to suit any player by implementing snares or strings. It's a beautifully simple concept but it produces rich sounds that fit in with any set.

 

How much should I expect to spend?

The price depends on the quality of the cajon. Higher quality cajons will be pricier, as with almost any item on any market. Typically, low-end, beginner cajons can be as inexpensive as $50-100, and the highest-end cajons can be as expensive as $400 or more. If you're looking for a good quality entry-level cajon, look to be spending between $100-250.

 

I've found a cajon I love. How do I know if it's right for me?

Cajon drums, just as any other instrument, are an investment, and you should only buy one when it feels completely right to. Using this guide, you'll be able to find the perfect cajon. If the cajon feels right, has a sound that you love, looks great, ticks all the right boxes for you, and is the right price for your budget, then by all means buy it!

 

Conclusion

The cajon is one of the most simple, but also one of the most elegant and versatile instruments out there. It can produce a variety of sounds all from one simple looking unit, and different designs can complement every aesthetic. Finding a cajon drum that's perfect for you can be difficult, but we hope that our reviews, buyers guide, and FAQ have helped you learn what to look for in a cajon, and potentially find one that suits your budget and needs.

Remember that any questions you may have can be answered by our experts here at Drum Center of Portsmouth. Contact us today to find out more about cajon drums, or any of the other products we can provide for you!