Cajon drums or Drum boxes received a lot of attention from full-ban musicians in the past 2 decades.
This popularity is a result of their adaptability. As they offer a smooth sound, are anything but difficult to transport and work as a place to sit for the player, these instruments took a place in thousands of bands all around the world.
A cajon or box drum is basically a wooden box with open spaces or mouths that enable the sound to get out.
For the most part, they have 60x35x35cm measurements, except for a few models with the wood of major quality.
The first drums were from Peru. Nonetheless, its beginnings get us back two centuries before, when African slaves were not permitted to play the drums, and they discovered just a good replacement for their instruments, like fruit boxes.
At the late 70’s the renowned flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia made this instrument famous. And later on, with the hit of “MTV Unplugged,” the drum made its way to pop culture. If you are wondering about what are the popular modern instruments CGuide explaining all in their in depth research.
This is an instrument that can be handcrafted easily, therefore, it has many variations, but here we will talk about the most popular forms of cajons out there.
Cuban cajons were designed for Cuban Son and Salsa, which are their most common playing fields but can also be seen in many other Caribbean music styles.
These, are different from other drum boxes, they are composed by a five-sided box that the performer sets between his legs while playing.
As for their sound, they offer a clear and deep output, perfect as a base to combine with a tall drum for danceable music.
After the 70’s, and thanks to the influence of Paco De Lucia and Ruben Dantas in the genre, the box drum became a common part of any flamenco band.
Nevertheless, there was an important basic difference between Peruvian traditional music and Flamenco. The second one counts with a relevant harmonic guitar picking, which had a high contrast against the Peruvian drums dry sound.
So, in order to find a more fine sound for the percussion, a set of guitar strings were added to the case in order to make the reverberation of that sound, bringing forth what we know as flamenco cajon.
Flamenco cajon is especially known for its unmistakable responsive reaction and a somewhat dry sound, which makes it a common base percussion inside Latin music including salsa, merengue, and flamenco.
The Peruvian one was the beginning of the cajon drum, and as all first models, it is simpler. These instruments consist of a wooden box with an open space for the sound to go out, and its edges are usually covered in leather or other thin materials.
As for the sound, they offer a more natural output, changing the deeps depending on the area of the surface that is being kicked. The cleansing of the sound makes them harder to play when it comes to preserving deeps of the sound under changing rhythms, but they are essentially cheaper and easy to carry around.
The snare cajon is the newest type. These are designed with a direct snare wire system that replaces the guitar strings from the Flamenco cajon and are more versatile when it comes to a sound output; Often allowing turning the snare system on and off.
As for their sound, they offer both the deep and natural tune of the Peruvian and the thin sound that Flamenco string system guarantee. But, as these can even count with a plug system, they can also be enhanced allowing new sound outputs digitally.
These are more common in Latin music, yet their sound is versatile and fits in other genres like hip-hop, rock, and pop.
Cajon drum and Hip-Hop
Innovation is important when it comes to hip-hop music. Offering a new sound will often open many doors in this industry and create a more unique set of fans.
This way, using a cajon drum is a possible but challenging decision, as Cuban Drum boxes were common in the acoustic hip-hop of the 90’s, nowadays you will find that they are the hardest type to play and offer a rather known sound.
On the other hand, the snare cajon is probably a better choice due to its versatility; unless your plan is to go full-acoustic where the hard-on Cuban will output a more flexible and variable sound, with smooth profound beats.
A cajon drum is a good fit for any percussionist set, but they do require some extra attention than other pieces. As for their use in hip-hop, giving a try to a Cuban box drum can be a good idea, especially if you plan to do some acoustic performance. But if you want to play around with the largest variety of sound, a snare cajon is the best set.
We hope this information is useful and expect your comments in the section below. Happy playing!