le cajon

18 09 2006

a cajón (Spanish for ‘crate’, ‘drawer’, or ‘box’, pronounced ‘ka.hone’) is a kind of box drum played by slapping the front face (generally thin plywood) with the hands.


half to three quarter inch thick wood was generally used for five sides of the box. a thin sheet of plywood was nailed on as the sixth side and acted as the striking surface or head. a sound hole was cut on the back side opposite the head.

the top edges were often left unattached and could be slapped against the box. a sound hole was cut in the side opposing the head or tapa. the player sat astride the box, tilting it at an angle while striking the head between his knees. the modern cajón has several screws at the top for adjusting percussive timbre and may sport rubber feet. some versions may also have several vertically stretched cords pressed against the tapa for a buzz like effect or tone. guitar strings, rattles or drum snares may serve this purpose. the percussionist can play the sides with the top of his palms and fingers for additional sounds. there are also tube cajón, which are played like a conga.



and you thought that the cajon can only do so much. haha, you’re wrong. here’s what my drummer showed me. prepared to be amazed by what a box can sound like =]

sigh* i couldn’t embed the video file into this post, so click here.

makes me wanna stop bass-ing and start cajon-ing. hoho.




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