A “Wooden Box Drum You Sit On“, otherwise known as a Cajon, comprises of a front-plate (tapa), which is usually made of plywood, rubber feet for the protection of floor surfaces and the rest of the box which is built of thicker wood (mostly hardwood). The design features of a Cajon affects the overall sound produced. When choosing the right Cajon, there are a few design features you should look out for, and we have outlined them for you!
Best Wooden Box Drums You Sit On!
A Cajon drum, pronounced as ka-hone, is a box-shaped percussion instrument that is typically played by slapping the front-plate. These wooden box drums originated from the African slaves of Peru in the 18th century. Cajons were primarily played in the Flamenco or Rumba music until the famous flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia introduced them into other contemporary music styles. Since then, the construction of the wooden box drum you sit on has evolved to include nylon strings, snare wires, and bass pedals in an attempt to increase the variety of sounds produced.
What to Look For When Getting a Good “Wooden Box Drum You Sit On”
The size of the box will not only affect your comfort while playing it, but it also affects the portability and the kind of sound it provides. When it comes to sounds, the bass of a Cajon drum increases with it’s size. If you wish to go for a relatively balanced box drum, you should consider the standard size which is usually 500mm by 300mm by 300mm.
Larger sizes for the bass and super-bass cajons are also available. A bass cajon will measure 500m by 400mm by 300mm whereas a super bass cajon will measure 500mm by 500mm by 300mm. What’s more, you can also order a custom sized wooden box drum you sit on to suit your taste.
The Snare System And Tuning
Most modern cajons will have a snare system to boost it’s versatility when being incorporated into other styles of music. There are three varieties of snares to pick from; string snare, fixed snare, and adjustable snare.
Fixed snares are positioned against the back of the tapa to facilitate deep bass and bright snare sounds which resembles the sounds of a snare drum. If you are going for a more traditional wooden box sound, you should consider those with string snares. They usually have guitar strings stretching across the back of the tapa, which provide a snappy snare. This type of snare system is popular with the Flamenco Cajons.
Adjustable snares, on the other hand, gives the percussionist more control of the sound. You can set the snare completely to produce a trashy snare sound or tune it off to provide a natural woody tone.
When considering the make, we are not necessarily focusing on the brand. They will vary from one model to the other depending on the type of material used in its construction. For instance, a Cajon built from mahogany will differ in sound when compared to one constructed using beech.
It pays, therefore, to take your time to compare various wooden box drums within a given brand and also across several brands to help you choose a more convenient Cajon for your style of music.
The Front-Plate (tapa)
The Cajon tapa also plays a significant role in determining the range and quality of sounds. For a standard Cajon, the tapa measures a thickness of 3mm which enables it to produce well balanced crispy snares and a good bass. However, based on your preference, you can vary the width of the tapa to achieve snappier snares or a more woody sound with good bass.
Additionally, you can go for Cajons that offer multiple tapas. You can order them to be made of different woods or consider having one with snares and the other one without, to create a wide array of sounds.
Tips on How to Properly Play a “Wooden Box Drum You Sit On”
There is much more to playing a wooden box drum you sit on than just hitting it. You need to learn how to experiment with different angles and stroking intensities to produce much better sounds. If you are new to playing Cojans, below are some tips covering basic tones, playing positions, playing areas and several practices to get you started.
Cajons come in different sizes and shapes. Most of them will require the drummer to sit on top of it while hitting the tapa but there are others which include the tall Cuban style conga Cajon drums which can be played while the percussionist is standing. For this reason, there is no magic rule as to the exact sitting position you should adhere to. You are however advised to pick a position that is comfortable for you and one which will allow you to access the tapa from multiple angles.
Basic Strokes You Can Play With A Cajon
There are two basic strokes involved when it comes to playing Cajons: The bass tone and the high tone.
1. Bass Tone
The bass tone forms the foundation of most musical styles. It’s achieved by striking the tapa, about the middle, with a flat palm and quickly pulling the hand away. Based on your style of music, you can practice varying the intensity at which you strike the tapa and also practice hitting with your fingers slightly apart or together to create a warmer fuller tone. You can similarly practice playing more subtle bass tones by focusing the “impact” of hitting the tapa with the underside of your fingers
2. High and Slap Tones
To produce a Cajon high tone, you need to strike the tapa at the top corner with the base of your palm in line with the top end of the Cajon. Focus on keeping your fingers relaxed to achieve a beautiful “pop” sound. You can also vary the amount of snare by striking different parts of top of the tapa and by varying the intensity. For a more subtle high tone, hit the tapa with two or three fingers which gives you a much more distinct and dominant high sound.
Remember, mastering these tones, particularly the slap tone takes time. Once you learn them, use them wisely, sparingly and tastefully to add more flavor to your music.
Using Brushes And Sticks
Cajons are not only limited to being played with your bare hands. Instead, you can play them using brushes and sticks to give you a perfect kick and snare sound.
The secret to learning how to play a wooden box drum you sit on properly is through practice and experimenting with different ways of approach that will add more flavor to your rhythm. Experiment with different sounds produced when you strike other Cajon playing areas such as the sides or the back of the Cajon and see if it blends in with your genre of music.