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Thread: sit down cajon vs. slap top cajon

  1. #1

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    Default sit down cajon vs. slap top cajon

    Can someone shed some light on the difference between the two styles of cajons listed in the Subject?
    Our drummer started out (naturally with a full drum kit but later changed over to a sit down cajon). That was fine since we downsized from electric to acoustic guitars. It seemed to have all the right sounds for our new configuration but over the last couple of years he has put away his sit down and bought a slap top.
    I find the slap top to be quite different and not as effective as the sit down. Maybe it is the way he plays is or the manufacturer itself but BOTH were MEINL! There doesn't seem to be distinct and positive percussive qualities (snare, slap and bass) in the slap top as there was on the sit down. Basically it sounds like a "bongo" and missing key elements that the regular cajon projects.
    He likes to "whack" it and demands that it be quite loud (on par with the band) but my thoughts are that our playing is at this level of importance:

    1. Vocals
    2. One acoustic guitar
    3. bass
    4. cajon

    I am of the mindset that the cajon (as well as the bass guitar) should provide the foundation for the band and support the vocals and guitar. He insists that everything should be on equal gain on the mixer.
    I say drums and bass should be "sensed" and not necessarily heard.
    He insists that it is the way he is mixed and demands a deep bass and crisp snare sound but find it almost impossible to achieve without massive feedaback issues. He also wants a vocal mike in case he feels like talking with the audience.
    I say "Garbage In and Garbage out! There doesn't seem to be a way to make this slap top sound like anything other than a bongo.
    It could be the way he plays it too!
    BTW, I use an SM-57 mike on the drum.


  2. #2

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    Default Re: sit down cajon vs. slap top cajon

    The key element of a cajon, in my opinion, is free-floating playing surface. That's what give a true cajon it's distinctive sound.

    I think the term 'cajon' is being over-used by manufacturers for marketing purposes, to describe any type of wooden 'box drum'. If played well, a wood-top 'conga' or 'bongo' can emulate the sounds of their skin-headed counterparts, but will not sound like a cajon.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: sit down cajon vs. slap top cajon

    I use both a Slap-DrumŽ and a LousonŽ drum in our act. Both of which I play while standing, with a strap over my shoulder.

    The Louson company markets their drum under the name "Cajon Tab", but make no mistake, it is not a cajon.



  4. #4

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    Default Re: sit down cajon vs. slap top cajon

    The Meinl Slap Top Cajons will have less bass, and a more snappy sound. However, there are several varieties of this drum. The Hybrid Slap Top sounds like bongos with snares; the others do have a defined bass tone and a very tight crispy snare. If he wishes to play cajon without sitting on it while also having a full sound, the Schlagwerk Skinwood Cajinto, Bass Cajinto or deluxe Yambu would be the way to go. These do sound like full cajons. Alternatively the Meinl Jam Cajon for $70 can be cradled on the lap and has a nice full sound when mic'd up.

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