The Cajon is an instrument that might seem outwardly simple and loosely manufactured with its standard box design. Still, in reality, there’s a revolutionary history which reverberates through the musical quality that it produces. Known as a percussion instrument, the Cajon originated from an oppressed slave-nation in Peru. From 19th century onwards, this 16th-century musical contraption was widely popular and different players began experimenting and developing the original design to something more optimal for bringing the full effects of the Cajon’s musical quality.
For the last 200 years, the Cajon has been continuously played and adopted by famous musicians worldwide. The equipment itself has transformed into something incredibly versatile and one which pronounces a robust musical feel. There’s a handful of reasons as to why one might choose to take the Cajon up as their preferred instrument. With its compact size, customisation features and relatively easy mechanism, you can work to create fantastic music quickly and conveniently.
For those looking to find a Cajon that’s suitable for their own needs and budget, here is the list of the best Cajon drum in the market for different price levels and musical standards.
Best Cajon For Affordability
Likely, you won’t find a Cajon that’s as cheap as the Meinl Cajon Drum Box without comprising on the overall quality of design and music. While this is a drum set that is recommended for beginners and not professional percussionist, it still works incredibly in terms of sound.
The entire surface is built out of wood and has divided sections for bass and snare. For example, if you play in the centre point, you’ll emit a deep bass sound while drumming your hands in the top corner will release sharp snare sounds. With its ease of use and convenient bass and snare locations, the Meinl Cajon Drum Box is excellent for any type of acoustic play.
Another thing to note is that you can always adjust the snare sounds by changing the string tension in between tight or loose for different snare effects. The Meinl Cajon Drum Box is optimised to give you the best sound quality at the lowest price, and through this, the manufacturers have included a rear port that allows air to leave out from the box while it’s played. This elevates the felt quality and tone of the music. It’s excellent for amplifying your rhythm, especially if a microphone is connected with the port.
For those who are environmentally conscious, the Meinl Cajon Box will suit your preferences perfectly. Unlike other manufacturers, Meinl uses a particular type of wood called Rubber Feet wood that is naturally extracted from wood-plantations which follow strict environmental regulatory codes. This type of wood is common in producing latex and allows for a better reverb to your beats.
Within its packaging, you’ll find a few adjustment tools readily provided so that you can customise your sounds according to your need. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of percussive music will find this Cajon to be extremely useful in their learning process.
Therefore, the Meinl Cajon Box is an inexpensive start at learning and practicing percussion music before shooting upwards to higher-tier Cajon drums.
Remember that you can also craft your own Cajon following our tutorial: Build Your Own Cajon Drum Tutorial
Best Cajon Drum For Worship Music
Coming at a mid-range price, the Meinl Cajon Box Drum BC1NTWR is one of the best box drums to be used in churches for worship songs. This Cajon has been heavily recommended by church musicians, mainly for how lightweight the overall body is and how deep the bass volume turns out.
While you can’t expect a sound quality that is comparable to high-end Cajon drum boxes, the Meinl Cajon Box Drum BC1NTWR comes relatively close to achieving a similar sound level and feel with its incredibly deep bass. The box drum has a sturdy and tall exterior, being manufactured with Baltic birch wood. This is a specific type of wood material used exclusively to construct high-end drum sets, and therefore the moderate level of pricing for this Meinl Cajon set does not compromise the build quality at all.
Furthermore, the Meinl Cajon Box Drums BC1NTWR includes a free nylon carrier bag which will protect your Cajon drums from any scratches it might incur. This is another reason why the drum box is excellent for travelling and musicians who are always on the go.
As for the musical quality, the Meinl set performs incredibly well to finger rolls along with corner slaps and bass hits. The front plate of the Cajon is crafted thinly enough to let you experiment with a range of notes and tunes. There are also internal snare wires which are placed in the backside of the playing-surface, allowing crisper snare effects. However, there are no adjustments for the snare wires, and you can only loosen up the top screws for different snare sounds.
The overall construction of the Meinl Cajon Drums Box BC1NTWR is very commendable. The Baltic birch wood offers a durable exterior that extends the life of the Cajon drums along with the rubber feet wooden base. In contrast, the finishing, especially with the red wine exterior, makes it more compatible in formal environments, such as churches and chapels. However, you do not need to be an expert in percussive music to play this Meinl crafted instrument.
Best Cajon For Beginners
Many of us are just entering the world of percussive music and the entire performance related to playing Cajons is new territory. Therefore, we would prefer a Cajon that suits to our level of expertise. This is where the Meinl Cajon Drum Box HCAJ1NT again comes as the solution.
The reason why this Meinl Cajon has been considered the top choice among new learners of the musical instrument is not only because of its low market price but also because of how simple and easy to use the overall instrument is. The surface is responsive enough for it to perform all types of percussive music, from soft finger rolls to ghost notes and even heavy beats and rhythms. Allowing such a range of notes to be played lets new learners try their hand into all the drumming position and styles to find their percussive musical choreography.
Furthermore, the playing surface is sanded out, which makes it more comfortable for use while also providing an overall elegant and minimalistic look. There are also internal snare strings that can be easily tuned for different snare effects. You can try to tighten the strings for a sharper and crispier snare sound while loosening the strings would bring about a laxer snare effect. These also help you identify new techniques and learn from them to deliver your music.
Meinl devised this Cajon by keeping in mind the people who are just starting. They have allowed as much flexibility as possible for the low price point in which they offer this Cajon drumming box. They also believe that anyone can play this version of the instrument. At the same time, many users have noted how all members of their family can use it to create their musical performances without any need for specialist learning.
Best Cajon Under 200
For intermediates in percussive music learning, you would want something that’s more professional than a beginner-level Cajon but which is also less expensive than the high-end versions. The LP Americana Groove Wire Cajon is one which caters to precisely that need for better equipment with a price range that is under $200.
This Cajon is considered to have the best bass and snare separation in the market. At the same time, the hand-select Baltic birch wood enables a profound resonating sound effect which amplifies different musical compositions that you can create. It’s incredibly sturdy and has a robust wooden build which will last you years without facing any faults at all. It’s not easily breakable, and therefore, you can expect to carry it on long-haul trips without worrying about it breaking down.
There are rounded corners around the Cajon that make it easier to play on. You won’t find yourself getting hurt by sharp edges and will be able to sit down and play your musical composition comfortably. The box is also rather compactly packaged and fits nearly all physical weight and body size.
Other than this, the LP Americana Groove Wire Cajon has a subtle appearance and design which prioritises on giving the best user comfort. One user also noted how this Cajon does not cause back pains even with hours of use, unlike most market Cajons.
As for size dimensions, the body is made by the size standards of the United States. It has a height of 18 and a half inches while the overall width is 11 inches.
Best Cajon Drum Overall
With an American white ash front plate and a padded seating surface for comfort, the Meinl Percussion CAJ9SNT-M Pick Up Cajon is one of the best Cajons for professional use. It has all the features one might need in a high-end category for Cajons and includes customisable volume options and more for the best user suitability.
The dimensions of the Meinl Percussion CAJ9SNT-M Pick Up Cajon are 11 ¾ inches in width and 19 ¾ inches in height. This makes it a relatively taller model and therefore, does not need one to bend down too much to drum on the surface. This also dissolves issues about back pain and other ailments from continuous playing.
The best feature about this Cajon is the convenience that it brings. The entire set has a pickup pic, and if you want to use it, you can simply plug it in and start playing. Furthermore, the overall system has an exclusive active preamp system with volume controls. This makes it easier for you to adjust the volume in which you’d like to play in, going from lower bass tone to a crisper snare sound, while also giving you the convenience of a wide range of sound options.
You can also adjust the snare wires from inside of the playing surface to tune it according to your preference. Adjusting these would change the pressure limit on the snares in the front plate, and therefore, deliver different tonal effects and musical responses. This feature of alternating the tune can go a long way in producing different musical compositions with varying styles and beats.
Additionally, the Meinl Percussion Pick Up Cajon is developed in a manner in which the front plate and the complete body align with each other to produce a deep bass tone with small punches, quite similar to a kick drum.
Due to its lightweight body and portable build, musicians who are in a band or on tour with the need of always moving from different venues will find the Meinl Percussion Pick Up Cajon to be one of the best Cajon drums. It has all the functions and systems available in professional sets, and it can stand as a substitute for a full drum kit when needed.
Who Brand Makes the Best Cajon Drum?
To understand which brand manufactures the best Cajon requires you to look into your preferences and needs before singling out what’s best. As a Cajon player, you need to identify your musical taste as well as figure out what exactly you want to achieve out from the instrument. Different musicians have their quirks while playing, with some opting for drumming with their fists while others save the hard work for drumsticks instead. In such cases, you need to look into which brand produces a Cajon that suits your musical quirk.
Latin Percussion, for example, produces one of the best Cajons for authentic Latin music and therefore, musicians who are exclusively interested in playing Latin style beats will find LP’s Cajons to be the best fit for them.
One other brand that has risen with its Cajons in the musical industry is the Spain-based company, Meinl Percussion. They have a large selection of Cajons that they sell to customers worldwide, bringing them a widespread reputation among seasoned players and even amateur ones. The reason why Meinl is so popular is that it offers a wide range of Cajons, wherein up and coming musicians can choose whichever one that best suits their preferences without really looking into any other brand.
You can also select your Cajon based on its appearance from Meinl, where they sell both traditional and modern styles of Cajon design. You can also differentiate their products based on varying price points, as Meinl has both inexpensive and beginner-level Cajons alongside their expensive and more high-end Cajons in stock.
Other than this, Meinl also develops functions and systems in their Cajons while focusing on the type of player it will attract. For professionals and seasoned players, they include the birchwood for better resonance while also containing adjustable strings and ergonomic design. In contrary, beginner level players will find fewer options to choose from, but this is better since it allows them to try out the waters without being too overwhelmed with different uses and functions.
Therefore, to settle on a specific brand in terms of the best Cajon manufacturer is difficult since it depends on each and everyone is varying tastes. Yet, Meinl and Latin Percussion have both risen as stars in the market with their highly-functional and compact Cajons, and each has its loyal base of music fans.
How Do I Choose a Cajon Drum?
Drummers and aspiring instrumentalists will find that Cajons spark an intrigue within them, mainly because of how different and unique the actual instrument is. But it’s challenging to settle on one Cajon if you don’t know what’s the best suited for your preferences.
Even if you’re an experienced drummer or someone who’s just starting and treading the water of percussive music, you do need to know what types of Cajon are available and which one you should pick.
Peruvian Cajon Drum
Cajons which do not contain any snares are quite similar to the original cajons that used to be played back in 16th century Peru. These are often made out of solid and hardwood and have a hollow drum box in which one can create their music. The sound produced in this version of the Cajon is rather deep and resonating, not at all like the sharp and crispy sound produced by snare wires. The Peruvian Cajon goes best with bands that include guitars in their musical composition as the sound range fits with the overall band music.
The Flamenco Cajon is a unique contraption that was birthed by Paco de Lucia, a famous flamenco guitarist. He integrated the same qualities and features of a flamenco guitar with a Cajon that he was once gifted, adding in guitar strings to the Cajon body to give an added texture and enhanced sound quality. The sound here is incredibly tight, and one needs to have technical expertise in playing both a guitar and a Cajon to master the musical art of the flamenco Cajon.
Any drummer understands how significant the snare effect is for a deep and wide range of sound. The Snare Cajon is explicitly designed to offer a resonating reverb that is similar to a drum kit while it is technically easier to master than a flamenco Cajon. Therefore, people with pre-earned knowledge about drumming can easily play the snare Cajon in no time while others may need a bit of practice before turning into a snare Cajon aficionado.
Jam Cajon Drum
This is an excellent Cajon for beginners, and Meinl does produce one of the best jam Cajon. These are simple, compact and lightweight which are perfect for sudden jam sessions in official gigs or coffee houses and whatnot, which gives it the apt title of a jam Cajon. Typically, there are internal snare wire sets which produce the crisp snare effect while the bass tone is also moderately heavy and pronounced. However, the jam Cajon does not go well as an alternative for professional and high-end Cajon as the proper Cajon sound goes missing.
How Can I Make My Cajon Drum Sound Better?
There are different add-ons available which can help alternate the sound quality of your Cajon to a preferred tone and level. Most musicians find their bass tone to be higher than what they’d like or have an unfavourable boomy quality, and to improve this, and one can simply get a Cajon Port to lower the pitch of their bass tone.
Furthermore, you can also adjust the slap tone to get a better sound from your Cajon. Your Cajon might have screws attached with its tapa.
The first thing you need to do is loosening these up to provide a small gap between your tapa and your Cajon shell. Now, if you play on your tapa, it will slap down against the shell to create a more enhanced sound level.
Is the Cajon Drum Easy to Learn?
Most beginner musicians and instrumentalists will find the Cajon to be moderately challenging to play. Unlike how easy it seems under a seasoned player, the Cajon requires you to understand a series of techniques and styles to master its musical craft. You cannot expect to get the sound produced by a professional by merely drumming your hands against the body of the Cajon for that will only emit a weird noise that’s unbearable for both you and everyone around you.
The easy way to learn the Cajon is to put hours of work into practising it and cementing your determination to become a professional Cajon player. The first step is the easy one, and it’s simply to purchase a personal cajon to play at home or in your garage. From here on after, it takes a long way to learn the Cajon but when you do, believe that it will bewilder everyone around you, including yourself.
The Cajon is a unique instrument, and the sound that it possesses carries a significant and profound meaning with it. It’s one that’s been the sound of struggle and hope, but it’s also one that creates a calm and groovy quality. The music of the Cajon has remained historical and represented so much that it genuinely should be marked as one of the perfect instruments to capture human emotion and struggle.