Cajons are fantastic and compact percussion instruments that can sound like an entire drum kit in a box!
They are continuously gaining popularity and are being used for many genres of music all over the world. They add a certain oomph factor with their cool design, compactness and affordability. They are commonly used by street musicians and drummers during stripped-down performances.
The instrument is of Spanish origin of which the invention can be traced back to the early 1700s. A Cajon is a square box that is played in different areas to produce different types of sounds. Many innovations and refinements have been made to this box drum while still staying true to its simple and original design. Here are some of the best Cajons available in the market.
Our Pick of the 5 Best Cajons
1. Meinl Cajon Box Drum (HCAJ1NT)
This Meinl Cajon Box Drum is very popular for good reason. It has great sound, comes from a very reputable German brand in the percussion space, and it’s quite affordable.
It has a solid hardwood body, which produces both a great bass tone as well as snare sounds that are really nice on the mid and high end.
The cajon has nice anti-vibration rubber feet, and its comforable to play on.
Check out the video below to see it in more detail:
2. Pyle Jam Wooden Cajon Stringed Percussion Box (PCJD18)
Pyle’s Stringed Jam Cajon is birch constructed in a classic cajon style. It is a decent instrument to begin your musical journey with, and can be enjoyed by beginner and intermediate musicians.
Pyle are generally associated with more affordable and budget-friendly options across a wide variety of musical instruments. You’re not going to get top pro quality, but you will usually get something pretty affordable.
It is constructed with a nice wooden panel frame. This particular Cajon could be used by all levels of percussionists. The adjustable strings are located internally and they deliver a good sound These strings can be tuned from the bottom of the box.
It also has capped feet to reduce vibration and also to allow the box to resonate more freely, similar to the first cajon on our list. A hex key is included with the product.
3. LP Americana Groove Wire Cajon LP1427
The Latin Percussion Americana Groove Cajon is hand constructed entirely in USA with a carefully engineered woody tone and a classic snare drum like snap. The beautiful wooden panel frame with amazing resonance and sound delivery makes it one of the best product in the market.
Birch is used for the construction of the drum box, giving it a superior durability with very nice resonance. The darkish front plate is adjustable for varying percussive timbre sounds.
The snare sound is crisp while the bass is rich. This cajon also has slightly rounded edges, which can make it more comfortable to play on.
LP are one of the most popular names in percussion. This cajon may cost a little more than the other options, but you know you’re getting quality with this one.
4. Sela SE 001 Snare Cajon Kit
Now for something a little different!
The Snare Cajon Kit by Sela lets you have all the fun of actually building a cajon. The prefabricated components are quite easy to assemble together, you don’t need to cut or saw any parts down.
You can put together a really nice sounding cajon with this. All the materials and tools except for the cordless drill and driver are included within the package.
It has adjustable clap corners and a removable Sela snare system. The snare sounds and bass are separated to give clear sound delivery. The playing area is thin but stable enough to play.
The video below is in German, but it will give you an idea of how assembly works!
The snares are adjustable on this. Therefore you can fit them to play a modern sounding cajon, or play in a more traditional style without the snare wires.
The components are made in Germany. The Kit also includes an audio CD (though many people don’t have CD players these days), there are plenty of tutorials on learning to play the cajon online so you should be covered with these.
Unpack and build your very own Cajon and start playing!
5. Pearl PBC507JC Primero Jingle Box Cajon
The Primero Jingle Box is a cajon with tambourine jingles in a wooden construction. The exquisite Asiatic Pine shell with a fine Gypsy brown finish gives it a classy edge with diverse sound production.
This Cajon was made in conjunction with the percussionist Pete Korpela. The most appealing thing about this Cajon is the four different sounds combined in one compact package. The smooth wooden body of the hand drum delivers warmth and strength while the highly sensitive and responsive snare system responds flawlessly to percussion.
Twisting open the Brazilian Platinella style jingles gives you a wide range of sonic options, and sounds like two percussionists merging concurrently. The stainless steel tambourine jingles further offers jingle option, and combining these two features produces a different quality of sound altogether.
Great Accessories for Cajons
As a cajon player, there are some other very useful accessories that you should consider:
Foot tambourines can attach to the front or back of your shoe, which can allow you to add a whole different rhythm element to your playing.
Cajons are great for representing snare and bass sounds. A foot tambourine can add some mid to high-end frequency sounds that would often be taken up by a hi-hat on a drum set.
The one pictured below is a Meinl Foot Tambourine. A very popular option that’s great for cajon players.
They are a great option for adding a bit of extra swing and rhythm to your playing.
Cajon Bass Drum Pedal
Using a cajon bass drum pedal is a great option to get your foot involved in the rhythm.
The wire style device is very similar to wired hi-hat stands. This allows you to have a compact yet adjustable pedal and beater.
The pedal pictured below is the Latin Percussion LP1500 Cajon Pedal. It’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a kick pedal for your cajon.
Egg shakers are a cheap and great little item to have for cajon players. If you are playing very basic beats with one hand, then you can keep a steady rhythm going using an egg shaker or any other type of shaker.
Summary – Cajon / Percussion Box Drums
Cajon’s are fantastic items that can be used as both stand-alone or complementary instruments. Drummers are often expected to know how to play a Cajon, in order to play in smaller venues where a full drum set is not an option.
If you’re looking to pick one up then any of the Cajon’s mentioned in this article will make a fine choice!