Who makes the best cajon?

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Postby Diceman » Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:06 pm

Hi fellow Cajones (or is cajonistas?)

I went and got myself a Meinl....nice.
It is fun adapting conga patterns etc, but can anyone recommend a teaching/pattern book/DVD where I can learn some good grooves?

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Postby ABAKUA » Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:06 pm

If you are feeling creative or crafty, be sure to check this thread out where I posted pics of our cajon and measurements/instructions on how to make one.


CLICK HERE!!!!

:)




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Postby +pablo+ » Thu Nov 24, 2005 8:41 pm

Diceman, what model of Meinl did you get? I have an Alex Acuna model from Toca, and while it looks good, is not good sounding (timbre wise). The bass is ‘shallow’ and the slap edge creates a sharp/annoying sound: would not recommend it.

The Ocana looks sweet and is on the list of got to get (right along side the Volcano tumbas from Hawaii!!!!) The price list is confusing: looks like around +300 Euros. The rate right now is 100 EU = $118 US, so they are more expensive than the Fat Cajon (which is a sweet cajon, with dual playing sides, but too much $$$ for a box).

I have built several cajons myself, mostly out of necessity of the lack of funds, and also to serve as ‘loaners’ for kids who in no way could ever afford even the simplest of drums. In my humble opinion they hold there own to the Fat Cajon and LP models.

With donated or scrap lumber (you’d be surprised how many wood workers or construction contractors have access to free lumber), we were building them for less than $5. The ‘skins’ come from cheap hollow core doors. Just knock out the cardboard center core. Some doors have very nice maple or ash veneers. I got several from my neighbor who was remodeling. I apply a clear gloss finish to the head, and paint the body my trade mark blue (that way you don’t have to finish the sides to a quality for stain/varnish, and you don’t have a cow when kids bang ‘em while transporting).

Dimensions of 18”H x 13.5”Wide x 12” Deep, 4” hole on side gives a great timbre. Getting any wider to get more bass compromises the skin which becomes to flexible and bouncy. It’s got a strap for carrying around town, rubber feet on the bottom (Home Depot), and see that funny looking piece of black foam…it fits into the sound hole for changing the sound. It chokes down the boominess of the bass. I like to change up my sound during gigs: kinda like when a drum kit player adds a second snare so your timbre doesn’t become over used or predictable.


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Postby +pablo+ » Thu Nov 24, 2005 8:43 pm

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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby VJBaros » Fri May 20, 2011 6:53 pm

Mbalax
I went to that link you gave and all they had were harps

yoni
does your freind have a website? does he sell his pans?
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby niallgregory » Fri May 20, 2011 10:36 pm

Best cajon on the market out there bar none imho are dg ! check them out here http://www.cajondg.com/home.htm
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby Anonimo » Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:51 pm

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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby Skulmoski » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:28 pm

I have a Slagwerk and a Fat Conga cajon. Love them both.

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Cajon patterns

Postby windhorse » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:32 pm

congamyk wrote:Does anyone know of some good websites with patterns for cajon?


Mike, I use Fats as well. But, of course they are Afro-Cuban style, not Flamenco.
Last year at the Humboldt camp was the year for quinto w/ Peñalosa and bajo cajon with Miguel Bernal. Miguel is certainly one of the best to play the instrument, so it was an honor to pick up some playing tips from the man. I've included two patterns taught by him, that would take a lifetime to master. I play them in a stripped down version without many of the ghost notes.
He plays the box sort of like a bata. Right hand on the playing surface (replacing the enu of the bata), and left hand holding a spoon plays the adjacent left side of the box (replacing the bata's cha).
His right leg supports right in front so that right hand is slightly to the right of the leg, and left leg is to the left of the box's corner, and left hand to the left of the left leg. This allows for the body to sit straight up as you play without bending over! Once you get the feel of this sitting posture, you can't beat it's ergonomic ease.. PM me if you want a skype session demo.

Leedy! Great link! Those guys at Pagano are doing some ground breaking work!
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These are from Miguel Bernal 2010
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby premel » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:04 am

the best cajon .. will probably be the one you make ... !!! but the wood has to be fited and massive .. no ply wood !!!
i have great mesures from cancino in lima peru.... and other's ... cancino made the cajones in the 70's for peru negro ... and the vasquez family... but everyone theyre say's that the only way to realy play is to make one ... the cubzan cajon is another story..... 8)
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby p.a.dogs1 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:23 pm

premel wrote:the best cajon .. will probably be the one you make ... !!!

Making an own cajon is a nice experience, but there is a little danger, that every successful try will provoke ideas of another one, which could possibly be better.

As a cajon-maker I found out a lot about materials, proportions, surfaces, players, playing-techniques and styles. At least (when talking about peruvian or flamenco models) I have to say that there is not one best cajon.

50% of a cajon sound is generated by the playing-technique. A conga-technique produces sounds, which are different from those of a framedrum- or darbuka-technique. And even if we assume that a percussion-player would find out about a specific cajon-technique, there is always the aspect of individually preferred sensoric feedbacks.

The other 50% of the cajon sound depend on how the player and the special cajon harmonize.

A frontplate of massive wood has normally to be thicker and (therefore) more brittle than a plywood frontplate, which can be rather smooth. And maybe this is the reason why a a special playing-technique has been developed in Peru, where cajones are often made of massive wood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhRa89UFEgM&feature=related

The original peruvian cajones do not have an extra snare mechanism. The effect comes from a brittle frontplate which is screwed slackly (but with the right tuning) to the cajon´s corpus. When playing such a frontplate with a conga-player´s technical insistence, it looses it´s sound potential. Look to a clip of my endorser Nené Vásquez:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJJNVjYc-IU

Nené needs a thick but smooth frontplate, because he wants to produce bassdrum-like sounds. And this is the advantage of plywood: you can make a composition of different plies which gives a special hardness (or smoothness). This gives a special sound - but also an inspiring haptics.

When using rather thin plywood-plates also the treatment of the surface – different kinds of laquer, oil, wax etc. - has an enormous effect on the sound.

The technique of Jorge Palomo, one of my favorite players, is what I would call a optimal and very powerful cajon-technique:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9obwSL_Nf8

This technique could only be developed on plywood-plates. The one, he uses in the clip, is rather light and smooth.

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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby serdarbagtir » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:28 pm

i had been met a company in Germany Frankfurt
RMK from Barcelona
was wonderfull
http://serdarbagtir.blogspot.com/2011/12/darbuka-calmak-isteyenler-nereden.html
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby KidCuba » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:06 pm

windhorse wrote:
congamyk wrote:Does anyone know of some good websites with patterns for cajon?


He plays the box sort of like a bata. Right hand on the playing surface (replacing the enu of the bata), and left hand holding a spoon plays the adjacent left side of the box (replacing the bata's cha).
His right leg supports right in front so that right hand is slightly to the right of the leg, and left leg is to the left of the box's corner, and left hand to the left of the left leg. This allows for the body to sit straight up as you play without bending over! Once you get the feel of this sitting posture, you can't beat it's ergonomic ease..


Quick question, and it is probably a function of me not being able to visualize the playing position you described, but when playing the bass notes - does Barel just use his right hand? Or does he adjust the spoon with his left?

I might take you up on that SKYPE demonstration, or maybe you can grace us all with a YouTube video so the information could be shared with all?

Thanks for sharing the pattern!
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby windhorse » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:31 pm

KidCuba wrote:
windhorse wrote:
congamyk wrote:Does anyone know of some good websites with patterns for cajon?


He plays the box sort of like a bata. Right hand on the playing surface (replacing the enu of the bata), and left hand holding a spoon plays the adjacent left side of the box (replacing the bata's cha).
His right leg supports right in front so that right hand is slightly to the right of the leg, and left leg is to the left of the box's corner, and left hand to the left of the left leg. This allows for the body to sit straight up as you play without bending over! Once you get the feel of this sitting posture, you can't beat it's ergonomic ease..


Quick question, and it is probably a function of me not being able to visualize the playing position you described, but when playing the bass notes - does Barel just use his right hand? Or does he adjust the spoon with his left?

I might take you up on that SKYPE demonstration, or maybe you can grace us all with a YouTube video so the information could be shared with all?

Thanks for sharing the pattern!


http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48136418/crowder%20lesson1.mov

OK, this quick clip of first Columbia, and the next two are Guarapachangueo were just taken yesterday at a practice session. I wanted to get the whole ensemble on there so you see how the box ultimately fits in with everything,, but alas,, only two others showed. Also, I had envisioned recording a bit of a demonstration, and splicing pieces of these in.. But, not enough time or wherewithal. So, in the first, Scott is playing the shaker and quinto, and Ritz is playing both the Tumba and Segundo. Then, Scott takes the middle in Guara. If you really want to hear the box, you'll need headphones since this was done with a cell phone mic. Even then, you can barely hear the low note. After seeing this, I can tell that I need work on timing. A few screw-ups in there (racing ahead on Columbia and a flub on Guara not hitting the three after a roll), but you should get the idea. One more thing. You know how you play Kata on Guaguanco? Just play that as ghost notes on right hand - hit a bass on the bombo, and the spoon plays the tresillo hocket in the left hand with the spoon. The box then becomes just that big low note on the bombo and stays out of the way of the other parts, yet accents those offbeats in the hocket. This is the general pattern much embellished when Roman Diaz plays box in this classic demonstration of Compa Galletano:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4znB2Q-15o
He's also demonstrating the Pancho Quinto style of spoon in left hand and with the stack of bata next to his right hand.
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Re: Who makes the best cajon?

Postby KidCuba » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:02 pm

Thank you for filming that clip, very helpful and puts everything into perspective for me.

Just to be clear, on your bass cajon, is striking (thinner) surface the one your hitting with the left hand?

Also seeing there are so many ways to play kata in guaguanco, do you recommend any one particular pattern, when adapting it to the cajon?

Thanks again!
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