Cajon is a modern-day, minimalist bass drum.
The first time I saw it, my instant impression was of pure amazement at the spectacular sounds that this box could produce. The next thing on my mind was to know where I could find the Best Cajon in India for myself.
This percussion instrument does not resemble any other kind of drum out in the market.
Rather, it looks like your everyday stool, and yes it does work as a stool. You play a Cajon while sitting over it. And you can play with your palms, fingers, or even use drumsticks or brushes on it.
Some percussionists even use Cajon clapbox in place of their bass drum by attaching a pedal to it.
This is how a Cajon looks like.
If you are here to find a suitable Cajon for you, you can skip to the 5 Best Cajon in India.
But if you want to dig deeper into the world of Cajons, its origin, playability, prices, and a lot more, read on!
So, let’s get started…
What is the right way to say “Cajon”?
The basic pronunciation that pops up in your head is ‘Ka-jhon’, right?
Well, the right way to say Cajon is ‘ka-hon’ or ‘ka-xon’. It’s a Spanish word and is hence pronounced that way.
So next time you hear someone saying it all wrong, please take a moment to correct them.
What is a Cajon Drum?
A Cajon drum is a boxy, 5-sided, rectangular, wooden instrument that works as a bass drum. You can identify a Cajon drum in a musical set up as a wooden box generally with a dimension of 18 inches by 12 inches.
A little trivia:
Cajon is a significant part of Afro-Peruvian history. This 16th-century instrument is a part of the National Heritage of Peru. It was primarily devised by the people of African-origin, who were forced into slavery.
They would bang in tandem on their fishing or fruit crates like percussive instruments as a symbol of defiance towards their masters. And thus was born the concept of Cajon Drums.
There are three kinds of Cajon drums:
Peruvian Cajon – This is the original form of the instrument. It is a simple wooden box without strings or snares.
Flamenco or String Cajon – These Cajons are used extensively in Flamenco music. They have strings at the back of the front surface. These strings might require to be tuned.
Snare Cajon – This is the most common type of Cajon available. It has a snare attached to the inside of the front surface.
Tapping at specific places produces a snare-drum sound. The Snare Cajon also has a better bass response and does not need any sort of tuning. Hence, it is ideal for beginners.
The modern-day Snare Cajon looks like this:
It is made of:
- ½ or ¾ inch thick wooden ply on 5 sides
- several stretched cords for a snare-drum effect
- screws and knobs on sides or top to adjust the percussive tone (low/high)
- a sound-hole at the rear or sides
- rubber stubs at the bottom for stability
Its front plate or the surface that you strike with your hands is called the Tapa.
There can be more than one tapping surface on a Cajon, where each surface can be made of different tone-wood and can include a fixed or adjustable wired mesh for producing crisp, snare-like tones.
What is the Proper Way to Play a Cajon Clapbox?
There are at least half a dozen ways to play a Cajon. Yet, one common way is when the drummer sits on it like a chair with the legs angled outwards.
Cajon drummers play with their palms and fingers. Apart from this, it can also be played with metal brushes, plastic brushes, or drumsticks.
Different Playing Styles:
Some players like to tilt the Cajon backward by lifting the front rubber feet off the ground which makes it easier for their hands to reach the tapa.
Tilting the Cajon is easier on the back and wrists and can help you get different tonalities with your fingers. You can even take a chair and put the Cajon in the front, between your feet.
There are no hard and fast rules on how to play a Cajon — you can experiment with different angles as long as they are comfortable in the long run.
To play a Cajon without tiring or injuring yourself, you need to ensure correct posture when seated on it. Let your arms relax. Keep your back straight. This way, it will be easier for your hands to reach the Tapa.
Tip: Relax and stretch your arms and back habitually to achieve the needed agility and to avoid injury.
Must Read: 10 Best Acoustic Guitars in India for 2021!!
Discovering The Sounds:
Now there are two basic sounds that you can emulate with the Cajon – The bass and the snare. The middle part of the tapa, when tapped with the fingers will give out a low resonant sound similar to a bass drum.
Whereas the top part, when tapped with knuckles or fingers, will produce a high-pitched tone similar to the snare sound.
Try not to deaden the sound by tapping too hard.
Remember to let your hand bounce off the front plate/tapa lightly. A little bit of practice should help you get the hang of this.
How Difficult is it to Play Cajon?
The Cajon can be one of the most delightful instruments to play.
As you develop your skills on the Cajon, you will discover the various tones that different hand postures can produce.
If you already hold some experience with any sort of percussion instrument (like tabla), playing and understanding a Cajon might come as second nature to you.
In case you are simply interested as a beginner and wish to learn the instrument, then you should check out the list of Best Cajon Drums in India and see for yourself.
Below is a list of beginner-friendly Cajons from the best Cajon brands that are available in India.
There are tons of free lessons and tutorial guides online that are aimed at beginners.
List of the 5 Best Cajon in India 2021
|Best Cajons||Type||Wood type||Snares Type||Tones||Weight|
|Clapbox Cajon CB02 Flow||Snare||Premium Oak Wood||3 Fixed Internal||Deep Bass, crisp snare||6 kg|
|Clapbox Cajon CB11||Snare||Premium Oak Wood||3 Fixed Internal||Balanced and crisp||4 kg|
|Kadence Heartbeat Cajon||Snare||Birchwood||Adjustable||Balanced||3 kg|
|Belear Zebra Wood Cajon||Snare||Zebrawood||Adjustable||High-end boosted snare||700g|
|Pyle Stringed Jam Cajon PCJD15||Flamenco/|
|Birchwood||Ajustable String-based||Deep/Bass, Mid-range boosted snare||3.7 kg|
5 Best Cajon to Buy in India Online
|Snare Type||Fixed 3 Internal|
|Wood Type||Premium Oak Wood|
|Tones||Deep bass and crisp snare|
|Dimensions||30 × 30 × 50 cm|
|Value for Money||High|
Clapbox is a successful indigenous Cajon brand that is widely popular in the Indian markets. The CB02 Flow offers 3 fixed internal snares.
It is a simple-looking Cajon with a nice wooden finish and a pair of large legs with rubber stubs. The legs are slightly larger than the usual Cajon, which ensures better stability while sitting.
The CB02, however, does not have any adjustable tuning features. Due to it’s simplistic design, it is a good buy for beginners looking for their first Cajon.
The Tapa or front-tapping surface of this Cajon is made of premium Oak Wood that gives out a crisp snare sound and good bass. If you are an amateur, you can go for this, without burning a hole in your pocket.
Summary: The Clapbox CB02 is the best Cajon for beginners in India that offers a great finish and great 3-tone sound with its oak wood tapping surface and large rubber legs for stability. And all this at a budget price!
|Snare Type||Fixed 3 Internal|
|Wood Type||Premium Oak Wood|
|Tones||Balanced and crisp bass and snare|
|Dimensions||30 × 30 × 50 cm|
|Value for Money||Very High|
Another Clapbox mention is the CB11 that has been garnering a good reputation amongst the players from around the country.
The CB11 offers a perfect balance between the snare and bass with its oak wood tapa and 3 fixed snares.
has an MDF shell and a smooth natural black finish. It is also available in Sunburst finish, which might cost slightly more than the classic black finish.
The CB 11 comes with large legs that allow stability and ensure comfort for users of any height. Its sound hole is placed centrally on the backplate.
Summary: Clapbox Cajon is a great choice for beginners or enthusiasts who are looking for a high value, low-on-cost bass drum. The CB11 can easily deliver the rhythmic foundation needed for unplugged gigs.
|Tones||Balanced Bass and snare|
|Dimensions||46 x 30 × 30 cm / 24 x 24 x 37 cm|
|Value for Money||High|
|Weight||Lightweight / 3 kg|
Lightweight and aesthetically pleasing, the Kadence Heartbeat Cajon is a popular choice for musicians from all genres. Kadence is also one of the best Cajon brands in India.
The tapa of this Cajon is made from Birchwood that allows for a great snare sound. It has been given a black wood finish with rounded top corners.
A smaller variant of Kadence Heartbeat in the size 24x24x37 cm is also available at a slightly lower price here.
For comfortable seating, it has been given a rubber surface at the top. If you wish to sit for a longer duration, consider using a light cushion. The rubber surface will ensure that the cushion does not slide around.
Its legs have rubber stubs for perfect stability so you can tilt it without having the cajon slide.
Summary: A lightweight, high on value Cajon that is perfect for percussionists who experiment with different genres of music. There are two sizes available in the Heartbeat range by Kadence.
|Tones||Decent bass and high-end boosted snare|
|Dimensions||29 x 22 x 10 cm|
|Value for Money||Medium|
|Weight||Lightweight / 700g|
This small-sized portable Cajon comes with a high-quality shoulder strap and is a traveling musician’s best friend.
Zebra Wood is hard, stable, and stiff due to its coarse texture. It has a lustrous texture (think plywood). This wood gives the Cajon a more high pitch tapping tone.
It includes an adjustable knob or Allen key to adjust the tones.
Summary: Being super compact, it is easy to carry and is extremely lightweight as it’s made from Zebrawood that gives it an outstanding finish.
|Snare Type||Adjustable string tension|
|Dimensions||38.02 x 30.02 x 31.01 cm|
|Tone||Deep bass with mid-range boosted snare sound|
|Value for Money||High|
|Weight||Lightweight / 3.7 kg|
This is a handcrafted, high value, Flamenco style Cajon that comes with guitar strings inside that help produce a crisp high snare.
The Pyle Stringed Jam Cajon (PCJD15), though compact in size, can offer a loud sound due to its aptly sized sound-hole placed in the middle of the back panel.
It has rubber feet that ensure anti-vibration. You can tune the strings on this Cajon as per your requirement.
The tension of the strings can be adjusted to change the sound of the snare. However, if you tighten the strings too much then they might snap. But in case you do then you can always the strings very easily.
Summary: A small-sized, handcrafted, highly-priced Cajon, good for beginners or musicians who need a Cajon on the go for practice sessions.
Which is the Best Cajon to Buy in India?
Based on Budget:
For Cajon enthusiasts with a low budget, but high on spirits, it would be ideal to invest in the Clapbox Cajon CB02 Flow without a flinch. It offers amazing bass and crisp snare for the price.
Based on Features:
If a mixture of good tone, volume projection, and portability is what you are looking for, then go for the Clapbox Cajon CB11 is the best option.
Available in sunburst, as well as a black oak wood finish, this uber stylish Cajon stands out from the rest. The three fixed internal snares make it simplistic yet versatile enough for any beginner.
What to Look for…
A couple of things to look out for when buying a Cajon:
The Build Quality:
Pay attention to the details of a Cajon’s built as there are a few things that go into the making of a Cajon, and those materials can influence the sound quality of this instrument.
- The wood: A hardwood Cajon will produce more stable, fuller sounds. The preferred material in a Cajon is a thin sheet of ply over quality hardwood. You can achieve a better sound range with hardwood Cajons which are made of Beech, Birch, Oak, Walnut, Sitka Spruce, Redwood, Padouk, et al.
- The screws and joints: The screws on the sides secure the ply on a Cajon. They hold the plys together and look decorative, and some even help adjust the bass tones. Check for the quality of the screws and if they are easily replaceable, in case you loosen up one or two.
- The finish and reinforcing: Since it is a five-sided box, made of ply, check closely for the finishing of the joints and how well secured are the wooden planks/ply together. Check for the finishing of the wood and read about its maintenance.
- The wires: An important part of the modern-day Cajon is wire placement. Some Cajons allow you to adjust the pressure on the wires and alter the sound. You can play with wires off and on as well. Off encourages more coastal sounds, while on is great for the modern-day sounds that go well with Jazz, guitar, and other music forms.
Size of the instrument directly affects the sound. Cajons are available in different sizes, ranging from ones that fit on the lap, and there are much taller ones that can look or sound like a Congo.
If you want a more bass-y, loud, and high volume Cajon, go for a large, taller size. If you seek a quieter, most high-pitched Cajon, then by all means go for a smaller size.
If you wish to play at gigs, requiring you to carry the Cajon around, then investing in a sturdy, high-quality drum is ideal, which should come with a casing for protection.
The placement and size of a port or sound hole on a Cajon can affect its volume projection and sound texture.
A centered port provides more volume projection, but lack the high frequencies in the overall sound.
A port that is placed below the center of the plank will provide less volume but prominent highs.
Number of Slap Surfaces
Some Cajons have multiple tapas. Also, each tapa can be made of different wood for a different sound effect.
Additionally, the wire placement and their tuning features can also vary for different Cajons.
Some Words of Advice…
A gentle hand is all you need to play the Cajon. So while practicing, it is best that you sit straight, relax your arms, and practice your taps with your palms, fingers, and even use your ankle.
Doing a full-body stretch is highly recommended.
Remember that Cajon is made of wood – so be mindful about its storage/maintenance. Avoid leaving it out for long periods in extreme temperatures.
To keep its wooden surface good as new, you can polish its surface with any natural oil like linseed or coconut, or whichever is suited for the wood type used in your Cajon.
You can also invest in a travel bag for your Cajon in case you need to carry it to gigs.