When you think of drums, you may think of those full-size drum kits that are commonly seen in concerts. Before these drumsets turned into the setup we know today, we have to think about where these drumsets originated. Drumsets were designed through the history in which drums were formed. One of the first innovators of these modern instruments we know today is the Cajon.
Cajons were very basic in their beginning, but they have developed into a modern instrument today. Before we go through your options for the best electric Cajon, it is important to know how this innovative instrument came into existence.
What is a Cajon?
A Cajon is a percussion instrument shaped like a box that is typically made out of thin wood, such as plywood. This box is hollow which allows the musician to create an acoustic sound when the box is beaten. Throughout the years, the Cajon has transformed from this acoustic instrument to the electric version known today. The electric Cajon allows the musician to give a louder, more audible presentation.
The History of the Cajon
The word Cajon means box, drawer, or crate in Spanish. The Cajon was invented in Peru by African slaves who turned shipping crates into musical instruments. In Cuba, a version of the Cajon was created by using old drawers or boxes as these percussion instruments. This original idea is the inspiration behind the electric Cajons today.
Where can I Hear an Acoustic Cajon?
Cajons are typically played in smaller venues. They are an intimate instrument that keeps its native roots at the forefront. As the Cajon originated from slaves who wanted to incorporate music into their daily lives, the electric Cajon has honored this histrionic intent.
It is also not uncommon to hear a Cajon on a city street as part of a street band. As the Cajon was invented as a way for those to incorporate their native land’s drums into their current world, it is common to see the Cajon played in the personal setting of a street performance.
Why Should I have an Electric Cajon?
The electric Cajon provides a plethora of sound options in such a basic instrument. As the Cajon is literally a hollow box, adding this electric element takes the Cajon to an entirely new level.
First of all, electric Cajons can be played acoustically without the use of the electric element. So if you want a Cajon for its acoustic capabilities, you can still purchase an electric Cajon and simply play it acoustically.
Secondly, the electric Cajon you purchase may come with additional sound features built-in. For example, some electric Cajons may have a tambourine, shaker, or snare sound built into the sound mixer of the Cajon. This allows you to play the Cajon while incorporating other percussion sounds into your performance.
The electric Cajon offers a wide variety of percussive sounds through its primitive simple design.
What Additional Equipment or Accessories does My Electric Cajon Need?
While the Cajon can be played with your hands, it is not uncommon to see brushes or sticks used while playing the Cajon. These brushes or sticks can save your hands while also providing a quality sound. If the Cajon you purchase does not come with brushes or sticks, you should consider purchasing one, if not both, to play your Cajon.
Some electric Cajons can have bass drum pedals attached to the bottom to allow them to be played as a bass drum. You can purchase a bass drum pedal to attach to your Cajon and play it as a bass drum.
Your electric Cajon will need some form of power supply to feed electricity to the Cajon. Electric Cajons typically come with their own power cable, so it is important to know the type of cable that is included and how it will need to be connected to a power outlet.
Some electric Cajons can run off of a battery supply. These may be removable batteries or a rechargeable battery.
Tuning a Cajon
You will need to tune your electric Cajon before you perform. Tuning an electric Cajon can be a simple process. Since a Cajon is a box, you can change the pitch of the Cajon by simply loosening or tightening the screws on top of the Cajon.
The snares within the Cajon will need to be adjusted accordingly. You can use a standard hex key to tighten or loosen the hex nuts on the Cajon.
Whether you are changing the pitch or adjusting the snares of the Cajon, you will need to do each tuning carefully. Tightening the screws or snares of the Cajon can damage the instrument, so you will need to tighten carefully.
Best Electric Cajons
The best electronic Cajons do not translate to which Cajon is the most expensive. There are many affordable Cajons that do not sacrifice sound or quality. We will go through some of the best electric Cajons below.
When it comes to the best overall electric Cajon, the Roland El Cajon Electronic Cajon is the best of the best. This electric Cajon encompasses all of the features of an acoustic Cajon while incorporating electronic features, such as 30 built-in acoustic Cajon sounds, electronic panel controls for customization, and integrated amplifier with a speaker.
If you are looking to purchase an electric Cajon that includes additional equipment, accessories, and features, you have to consider the Meinl Percussion Cajon Box Drum Set Percussion Kit. This electric Cajon includes more than just the Cajon. This electric Cajon also includes a foot pedal, mountable Cajon snare, a 13” hi-hat cymbal, a Meinl Cajon blanket, multi-use bamboo sticks, a percussion shaker, and the Cajon gig bag! With so many additional accessories, equipment, and features, this electric Cajon is hard to beat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use an electric Cajon acoustically?
Yes, the beauty of the Cajon’s design is its ability to be played acoustically in intimate settings. Having an electric Cajon will give you the option to play this acoustic instrument louder than its original design.
Do I have to use my hands when playing the Cajon?
No, the electric Cajon can be played using brushes, sticks, and even a bass drum foot petal to provide the bass drum tones.
Is it safe to sit on my electric Cajon?
Yes, the Cajon is designed to be sat on. The electric Cajon is inspired by its ancestral acoustic Cajon which were sat upon as they were played. This design has continued throughout the evolution of the Cajon to ensure that musicians can still sit upon the Cajon while playing.
What are some of the benefits of owning and playing an electric Cajon?
The Cajon offers a sound that is unlike its percussion relatives. An electric Cajon will allow you to showcase your ability through a seemingly basic box. You also have the option of playing in intimate venues that you may not otherwise be invited to play in. A nice tapas bar may enjoy the sound of an acoustic or electric Cajon rather than the harsh coarseness of a full acoustic drum kit.
The Cajon is a percussion instrument that was developed in Peru by African slaves who wanted to incorporate their native music into their current life, so they took shipping crates and orchestrated them into drums. These drums are now known as the Cajon. In Spanish, Cajon means drawer, crate, or box; exactly what the African-Peruvian culture used to invent the instrument.
The Cajon has evolved over time and is now available in acoustic or electronic instruments. Electric Cajons may include built-in acoustic Cajon sounds that can be incorporated into the music being played on the electric Cajon. Additionally, you can purchase extra equipment to add to your electric Cajon.
You can purchase a foot pedal for the Cajon to be played as a bass drum. There are also a variety of sticks or brushes you can use on the Cajon if you want to achieve a particular sound or you do not want to use your hands during each performance.
The electric Cajon provides a distinct sound that often fills the city streets or the inside of a small, intimate venue. Electric Cajons are relatively affordable and can be a great way to expand your percussion abilities. Electric Cajons are often forgotten or placed on the backburner, whereas they should be remembered for the versatile instrument they are.