Cajon flamenco – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
A flamenco cajon will not only serve you to play Spanish music, but you can do almost any style with it, jazz, rock, pop, bolero, ballads, among others. This is a percussion instrument with a low tone that can very well simulate the sound of the kick drum. A recommended drawer could be the Meinl TCAJ1BK , which has an extremely compact design, so you can take it on a trip with your friends. Another outstanding model is the D-Customized Percussion Crown , which has wood material and a standard size for greater volume indoors or outdoors.
In this guide to buying the best flamenco cajon we will explain the most important technical details that you should know before buying this type of percussion instrument. Pay attention to each characteristic and its importance, perhaps this way you will make the choice more effectively.
When you want to buy a flamenco cajon you can find different models, but most of them are made of the same material, wood. However, it is important to know that if it is plywood it is not always the same thickness.
In addition to this, remember that you will have to sit on it whenever you go to touch it, so the plywood must be resistant. Also, it is important to know that the front cover of a flamenco cajon is not always made of plywood, because sometimes it is made of polished wood and prepared by hand to give a unique sound.
However, plywood or not, the most used wood is birch, which is abundant and inexpensive. Likewise, birch is easy to mold and for a very important reason it is usually preferred by manufacturers for their drawers. This is because it provides a high quality sound to this type of instrument, in addition, another reason is its hardness. It is not particularly hard like ebony, but it does very well to support the weight of percussionists.
Among the materials, this product can include strings of well-known instruments, especially guitars. These are made of metal and sometimes nylon. Other craftsmen want to be more authentic and use metal strings of different thicknesses.
There are drawers for children or adults; the former are smaller and lighter. These allow the child to sit on them easily. They also make it possible for the little one to pick them up and take them to another place to continue playing. One piece of advice we give you is that, if you are going to give a flamenco cajon to your son or little nephew, don’t buy a toy one. Ideally, it should have its tuning strings inside, so that the child enjoys a good sound and his ear is educated in the best way.
In this order of ideas, children’s drawers with the front cover stained in a bright color, these could be very useful for your child to be more motivated by percussion or music in general. Of course, you can also opt for more classic models, depending on the age of the child.
On the other hand, flamenco cajons for adults are larger and heavier. This allows them to sound louder and can accompany flamenco groups without the need for amplification.
For adults you will get models of different quality, it depends on your musical level which box to buy. However, if you are a beginner, you can also buy a professional cajon, that way you will not have to make an extra expense in the future when you go to perform concerts with your band.
In a comparison of flamenco drawers you should not only think about the materials or the type of model, but you should also review other aspects, for example, the size. Yes, we already said that the little ones are for children and that, normally, the largest are for adults, but this is not everything.
That is, you should know that adult drawers also come in different sizes, for example, some have less height, so that people of short stature can use them more comfortably. Some percussionists even use a large one for flamenco and a smaller one for jazz. It is a matter of taste and the need you have at the moment.
At this point we are talking about the 4 bases that support the drawer and prevent its body from touching the floor. These bases must be made of some non-slip material so that you can play on any stage or surface with greater stability. Keep in mind that, if you use flamenco drawers without non-slip bases, you should use a mat, especially when playing on smooth surfaces.
The answer to how much a certain flamenco cajon model costs may vary depending on the amount of accessories it brings, bags, mats, tuning keys, etc. However, when doing an Internet search you can find an inexpensive drawer that comes with a cover for transport or storage. It is an accessory that will protect your drawer from dust, scratches or, in some cases, rain, depending on the material in which it is made.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a flamenco cajon?
You should sit on the box with your legs spread to give the soundboard more freedom to emit its sounds. Also, it is necessary that you always have a straight posture, to avoid back injuries. And, if you want to get bass sounds like the kick line on acoustic drums, you need to hit the center of the front cajon with the palm of your hand. Of course there are other ways to use the cajon to get bass, for example some use their feet to create deep bass effects.
Q2: How to make a flamenco cajon?
If you want to make a flamenco cajon, we will explain it to you step by step below. For its elaboration you will need these materials, 5 mm thick birch plywood, 12 mm thick birch plywood, mounting glue, screws, guitar string, 2 x 2 cm pine wood strip, M8 screw, 3 x 30 mm lag screws, varnish, etc.
The first thing you should do is draw a picture on the plywood slats. For the measurements you decide, according to the needs or preferences you have. If you are going to make a children’s drawer, remember that the size is a little smaller.
Then, cut the ready-made ones with the measurements you have chosen and begin to join the pieces with glue, forming the leather of the drawer. The internal structure will be made with 2 x 2 cm pine wood. That will be the base that will support the entire drawer, so that it is quite resistant and you or someone else can sit in the drawer.
Attach the front cover with the finest birch slat, then screw on. Do not glue this part, the screws will be enough. The back cover is the same, but with a glue, and before mounting it you must make a circle or hole through which the sound will come out.
Lastly, sand the outside of the drawer for a better finish. Next, paint with several coats of varnish to protect the wood from moisture, fungus, and other agents.
Q3: What strings does a flamenco cajon have?
We suggest using the metal strings, as these have a higher speed in the propagation of the vibration, and you can use them in gauge 042 and 048. However, you can also create your own strings, for a more authentic sound.
Q4: How to attach strings to a flamenco cajon?
You can place the strings in parallel, that is, one next to the other. In this case, 2 or 4 strings are enough. Also, it is possible to mount them in a V shape, in which case 1 or 2 strings would suffice. However, you can always be original and come up with your own way of laying the strings.
Q5: Where does the flamenco cajon come from?
The origin of the flamenco cajón dates back to 1977, where Paco de Lucía discovered it in Peru when he was on one of his tours in America. He was invited by the Spanish ambassador to a party, where Chabuca Granda performed together with a musician who played this instrument, thus attracting Paco’s absolute attention. This famous musician took the Peruvian cajon to Spain where it has become very popular to this day. As it was used in flamenco music, he stayed with that title.
Q6: How to paint a flamenco cajon?
The most recommended and easy way is to apply varnish with a paint gun, but you can also paint it in other ways, as long as you cover all the pores of the wood very well. This will prevent it from damaging quickly and you can enjoy the drawer for up to several years.
Q7: How to tune a flamenco cajon?
Keep in mind that not all flamenco cajons have a tuning system that allows you to tune them as you wish. For example, the low-end drawers are adjusted from the top, the treble adjustment is done by tightening the top screws and the bass by adjusting the middle screws. Also, some high-end cajons have internal drums or strings giving a gritty or dry sound. These drawers are generally tuned with an Allen key.
Q8: How to assemble a flamenco cajon?
If you are a DIY lover, it will be easy to assemble a flamenco cajon, in addition, you can buy a flamenco cajon kit on Amazon. These kits come with all the parts and an illustrated instruction manual that will allow you to quickly assemble it. To do this, you will need simple tools that you probably have in your home, for example, a screwdriver and wood glue. In case you don’t have wood glue, you can also buy it on Amazon.