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So you know you want a Cajon drum. But understandably, with all the nuances in picking the perfect one for you, you need a little guidance with picking the right one.
Well you’re in luck. In this guide not only will we show what we feel the perfect Cajon drums for beginners are, but we’ll also share what the most important things are when picking your drums, so you can make a more informed decision on whether or not each one is for you.
So read on and discover the Cajon best drum boxes for beginners right now.
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1. Meinl Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon – Best Acoustic Overall
- Walnut playing area
- MDF body
- Jumbo size
- Two-year warranty
Made by Meinl Percussion, the Jumbo Bass Cajon has a noble playing surface made of walnut.
The Jumbo Bass Cajon is primarily designed for low frequencies. As a subwoofer Cajon, it is not equipped with the usual sound hole on the back but a sound port on the front.
Such a bass-heavy sound is emitted directly towards the audience, especially in unplugged sessions. To increase the volume of these basses, the body has also been enlarged a little.
The Subwoofer Cajon is characterized by a wider body and has two front-facing bass reflex slots located to the right and left of the playing surface. This construction also directs the bass sounds towards the audience.
The body of the Subwoofer Series Cajon is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and painted all around. Its walls are almost one centimeter thick, and the dimensions are 13.5 x 13.75 x 19.75 inches.
The completely screwed playing surface has the same surface area as a normal Cajon. It is made up of three layers and about three millimeters thick. The vertical bass slots are located to the side of the playing surface.
The opening is in the lower half on the left and the upper half on the right. On the back, there is a recessed grip with which the Cajon can be carried.
Especially those who like it a little louder will appreciate the Subwoofer. It works excellently, even in quiet dynamic levels, thanks to its slightly responsive snares. Snare spirals, as they are built into this Cajon, always sound a bit more rustic than guitar strings.
A single microphone is sufficient for use in live or studio situations, as everything is played in front of the sound. An additional microphone in front of one of the bass slots, however, brings out the low tones even better.
What we didn't like
There is nothing to complain about, but here and there, a little attention to detail is missed, which is bearable because of the low price. So for less than $200, there is nothing to complain about. It is, therefore, our overall best model for beginners in terms of price, construction, sound quality, and learning curve.
It's ideal for acoustic music. Those who like it a little louder will appreciate the Subwoofer. It works excellently, even in quiet dynamic levels, thanks to its slightly responsive snares. Snare spirals, as they are built into this Cajon, always sound a bit more rustic than guitar strings,
- Powerful bass
- Assertive, sensitive snare sound
- Easy to play
- Good value for money
- Perfect for adults
2. Schlagwerk Cajon – Premium Acoustic Option
- Available in 5 colors
- Medium, large, and soft-touch sizes
- Birch front plate
- Removable snares
- 2-in-1 techniques with 40 snares
With the CP404BLK, Schlagwerk has created a worldwide standard. Schlagwerk is one of the world's largest manufacturers of Cajons. However, despite the vast numbers of items, every instrument in the Swabian factory is individually tested and individually adjusted by a percussionist.
This Cajon is 19 inches high and has a base dimension of 11.8 by 11.8 inches. Thus you can call it a standard Cajon like most of the ones built today.
The striking plate is made of beech wood; the instrument is available in different colors and designs. You have a choice between dark oak, natural, red, black, and barista colors. You also have a choice between soft, medium, and soft-touch models.
The rest of the Cajon is made of natural birch wood. The inside of the instrument is simple according to today's Cajon standards. In addition to the snare device, only a few wooden strips have been built in to reinforce the edge of the striking plate.
The snare mechanism is kept simple and works effectively. A wooden strip with wires is inserted into small rails on both sides and fastened with a rubber hooked into the top from the inside.
The whole thing can be removed and reinserted quickly and easily. There are also two small bells attached to the rubber, which sound along with the snare while playing. The Cajon stands on four felt plates that are attached to the underside.
They provide a good grip when playing, regardless of whether the instrument is standing straight or is tilted backward in the typical playing position.
The tension of the playing surface can be adjusted by turning the top five screws. If you pull them tighter, you get a drier sound; if you let them loose, there is a little more play between the face and body. The high accents are then emphasized more, and the bass frequency is lowered.
A small instruction manual is supplied with the instrument, which contains a brief introduction to playing the Cajon – very lovely!
What we didn't like
The option of fine-tuning would be the icing on the cake, but you can hardly expect that at the beginner-friendly price. Nonetheless, there's little to complain about and a lot to like.
The Schlagwerk CP404blk is a premium Cajon made available at an entry-level price for beginners.
- “Classic” sound
- Sonically flexible
- Low price
No fine adjustment of the snare
3. Meinl Cajon Box Drum – Budget Acoustic Choice
- Made from baltic birchwood
- It doesn't require assembly
- Includes a Cajon Gig Bag
- Wine red finish
- Placement port for amplification with a microphone
As soon as you unpack this Cajon, it becomes clear that it has to be something special. The thick body walls made of Baltic birch wood give the Cajon a very high quality and solid appearance.
The wooden parts of the body are not made from plywood but a piece of wood. All edges are nicely rounded.
The Meinl Cajon is a handcrafted and noble instrument. It reacts precisely and reproduces the most delicate nuances. The workmanship is impeccable throughout. Everything feels good and flatters the hands when playing.
This Cajon has a playing surface made of Baltic birch. It produces high levels as well as punchy lows. The playing surface is sufficiently thin and durable enough for fast, heavy beats and choppy rhythms.
The product comes with a heavy-duty gig bag made of nylon. This can also be used for storage. It will protect your instrument from scratches and scuffs. The bag has carrying handles for a stable and strong grip with a very durable zipper for ease of use.
The inner part remains closed to view, but according to the manufacturer, fixed snare spirals are responsible for the rustling effect. The snare wires are for extra responsive notes and crisp and clear snare effect. Four large rubber feet under the Cajon ensure that it doesn't slip while playing.
The processing of the Cajon can be described as very neat. What is immediately noticeable when playing is the decent thump in the low registers. The concept of the front-facing resonance openings doesn't just seem to give the audience a nice bass.
The deep and rich bass are contrasted with powerful snare sounds, which results in a very coherent sound package.
The Cajon is ideal for your acoustic shows or jam sessions. The birch it's made of makes it perfect as a percussion instrument.
For placement of the microphone, it has a rear port when you need more sound amplification. Its circular back cutout also gives the instrument an excellent end bass, letting air escape from the device while you play.
What we didn't like
The velcro strap looks cheaply made. Also, the rounded end is not ideal for extensive use.
The Cajon is perfect for percussionists of acoustic shows or jam sessions who need a budget box drum.
- Lightweight Cajon box
- Comes fully preassembled
- Inexpensive acoustic box
- Great for percussionists
- Cheap velcro strap
4. Meinl Pickup Slaptop Cajon Box Drum – Best Electric Overall
- Baltic birch resonant body
- Walnut impact surface
- Piezo passive pickup, high-quality output jack
- Separate snare, bass, and tone control
- Built-in fixed cord
- Front panel soundhole
Equipped with control buttons, the Pickup Turbo Slaptop Cajon can provide a total play experience if the extra sound is required. On the side of the Cajon is a passive pickup system.
In addition to the high-quality jack output, the bass, snare sound, and tone can be adjusted separately. The walnut striking surface and internal cord strings provide a great snare drum and “boom” bass.
This is not your normal Cajon. You sit down usually on cones, and play them in between your legs. The slap-top Cajons are clamped between the thighs when playing to allow an upright sitting position. As with the subwoofer Cajon, the pickup slap top variant emits sound to the front.
It comes with a very cool rubber lining to make it comfortable to sit on your thighs. This is very lightweight. It's made of fiberboard with a walnut hitting surface on top.
And it has a bunch of different sounds in one drum; as you can tell, there are ports in the front for forward projection of the sound. You get a perfect bass tone.
The bass port is present. You might not think it would sound as beefy as it does, but it has a tremendous husky sound.
You can also hit the back of the drum with the tips of your fingers to give that a little bit of a different tone. To round out the other sounds, you have snare wires on both edges. When you hit the outside of the drum as you get towards the middle, that buzz of the snare wires goes away. So it's an excellent design.
If you are looking for a unique Cajon that's very comfortable to play, has a lot of sounds built right into one drum, and is perfect for all kinds of musical situations, then we encourage you to check out this slap Cajon.
What we didn't like
It doesn't come in a carry bag. But any Cajon case will work for it.
This drum would be perfect for the house of worship settings or any acoustic gig singer-songwriter application.
- Walnut playing surface
- Has internal snares
- Ergonomic design
- Great acoustic applications
It doesn't come with a bag
5. Roland EC-10 ELCajon – Premium Electric Option
- Electronic Layered Cajon
- 30 built-in electronic kits
- Built-in battery with 12-hour playtime
- Standard size
- Coaxial speaker and amplifier integrated
With the EC-10 Cajon, Roland is entering completely new territory. Transforming the instrument, traditionally made from repurposed old drawers or wooden boxes into an electric hybrid version, takes a giant leap in thought.
The unique idea of finding the simplest, uncomplicated method possible to give an acoustic band the appropriate rhythm excludes instruments with electrical energy requirements for the time being. But Roland was inventive here.
The Roland EC-10 EL Cajon is a kind of hybrid Cajon, i.e., it can be played both purely acoustically and electrically. The Cajon has a built-in sound module with 30 pre-configured sound kits and an internal loudspeaker.
The Roland EC-10, which stands on thick rubber feet, is made of black, smooth plastic. The screwed playing surface made of light Sapele wood (a kind of mahogany from Africa) is pleasant to play, and the general processing of the EC-10 can be described as very high quality.
Since the EC-10 has to draw power from somewhere due to the sound module, but the Cajon is traditionally used for acoustic setups, Roland came up with something.
If it is not possible to supply the Cajon with juice from a socket, there is also the option of charging the box with electricity. Not revolutionary, but effective.
You should be able to play on battery power for up to 12 hours before you run out of juice. Thanks to this possibility, the Roland EC-10 comes into question again for on-the-go use or acoustic setups.
The best result can be achieved by removing the Cajon with a microphone and only slightly mixing in the electronic signal.
Since only the more strongly played beats are triggered anyway, the result is an exciting sound. But it's a shame that the EC-10 was not equipped with a microphone right away. The purely acoustic sound of the Cajon isn't bad, but a few more bass parts would be excellent. The response of the snares behind the clubface is good. Even what is played gently is still clearly reproduced.
What we didn't like
Unfortunately, the instrument was not given an integrated microphone, which could be mixed very nicely with the electro sound. So you also have to get a microphone to achieve this effect.
It's recommended for budding musicians looking for a kind of hybrid Cajon that can be played both purely acoustically and electrically.
- Can make fat electro, but also purely acoustic sound
- Outstanding craft
- Good sounds
- The acoustic sound alone isn't quite convincing
- Trigger is a bit insensitive
6. Meinl Pickup Cajon Box Drum with Internal Snares – Budget Electric Choice
- Made of birch
- Built-in pickup
- 12x 20 x 12 inches
- Baltic birch resonator body
- 3 dB Piezo pickup
- Built-in double fixed strings
- Rubber feet, rear soundhole
So lastly, the Meinl Pickup Cajon Box Drum.
It's cool to see the Cajon, an instrument that's been around for a long time, have companies like Meinl. The brand gives Cajons innovations and uses technology to take the instrument to another level.
This is just a basic box drum, but they're taking it to another level with the electronics inside the sounds, using different woods and playing surfaces. You can get very musical with these drums and have a lot of fun.
These Cajons are equipped with three Piezo pickups, two for snare drums and one for bass. Each of these models has a volume control knob that allows you to adjust the desired output volume as required. It can be connected to an amplifier or PA system via the cable port.
It has piezo pickups inside the cones with quarter-inch outputs tone and volume knobs. So you can plug the Cajon directly into an amplifier.
This lets you mix the acoustic sound with the electronic sound and get a nice full sound that is loud and cut through a band when you're on a nice-sized stage or in a small club.
This drum has a lot of cool features. The Cajon has a baltic birch body and a baltic birch front plate. It's a killer tonewood for front plates of Cajons. It produces a nice snap and a big round sound.
The tone controls are straightforward. You have a tone and a volume knob that is easy to use. You can dial in a little bit of high end, pull it back if you need to and then raise or lower the volume.
You can tell how strong and powerful the tone knob is when you crank it to the right. The high end is cutting, and when you turn it down, the mellowness of the bass tone in the middle of the drum is nice and round sounding.
The Snarecraft has snare wires mounted at the top of the cone. The top third of the Cajon gets you a great snap. The low end is nice and beefy. We don't know if you knew this or not, but you can loosen the screws at the top just a little bit, so the plate barely comes off the body, and you can get more snap.
What we didn't like
It could be nicer if the snares are adjustable or removable. But this is not a deal-breaker. If it is, for this possibility, you can go for the Schlagwerk Cajon.
They're perfect for so many plugged-in musical situations, from live performances to the studio and everywhere in between.
- Constructed with 100% birch wood
- Equipped with piezo pickups
- For plugged-in situations
- Easy to use
- Snares not adjustable or removable
A Cajon drum box is a tool available in acoustic and electronic, and electroacoustic designs. In this section, we'll tell you everything you need to know as a beginner before making a purchase.
What is a Cajon?
If you've asked yourself what this box, on which musicians sit and set the rhythm of songs by hand using beat combinations, you have the answer here.
Cajons, also called box drums, belong to the percussion range of instruments. They have a drum-like, wooden sound and are usually played with both hands.
Occasionally the cajón is also played with a pedal or broom; it can also be part of a drum kit and replace the bass drum. The larger the Cajon, the deeper the bass tone can be. Your sound hole determines the intensity and the catchiness of the sound.
An astonishing variety of different sounds can be elicited from a Cajon. The frequently used snare elements significantly increase the variety of sounds. Helical wires, as well as metal guitar strings and filigree metal springs, are commonly used as snare elements.
There are four basic strokes. With these four basic beats (bass, tip, slap, and tone), everything needed to create a multi-layered groove is included. The bass is the lowest note and is produced in the upper area of the clubface.
The best sound is much shorter and brighter and is generated at the top. The slap is a strong, accented sound created by hitting the top edge of the palm so that the fingers hit the face.
Tips are barely noticeable and are more likely to be accompanying blows. They are created with the fingertips.
Tip: A Cajon is an advantageous entry-level instrument that can be expanded as required depending on your progress. Significant progress can be achieved with a Cajon after a short time.
How to Choose a Cajon Box Drum for Beginners
Before buying a Cajon, you have to look at several things to ensure you are making the best purchase possible and choosing a model that guarantees a good value for money.
Those less familiar with this percussion instrument probably don't notice the differences in many things. However, each of these details can change, affecting the loudness or even the comfort when playing your Cajon.
The first thing you should see is the type of construction of the box. By this, we mean the brand and the fact that it is handcrafted. The best brands and good quality models comply with control processes, have standard measurements, and the treatment of the woods is excellent.
You get a great product both in the Cajon's sound and in its evolution and maturity over time.
Your Cajon should be made of plywood which is then refined in different ways. This offers an outstanding resonance behavior as a material.
As a rule, birch is used for plywood because it is remarkably stable in shape and strength. Beech and alder are also suitable for being refined as a Cajon. The number of layers of plywood says something about how much value was ascribed to stability during processing: the more, the better.
What is it designed for?
Especially in the eyes of a beginner, the Cajons can all look identical. However, they are not all the same or used for the same musical styles or genres.
Remember that, depending on the pattern and internal arrangement of the strings, the sound and way of playing the Cajon will be different. Boxes that include some kind of bell internally will never sound the same as those with diagonal strings, for example. In the same way, a Peruvian Cajon will not be suitable for playing flamenco since it will need that sound and additional touch that the strings add.
Sound quality and variations in tone
As we mentioned, each flamenco Cajon has its characteristics. Depending on its construction, the woods used, the size, depth, thickness, or pattern of the strings, their sound can vary enormously. This becomes more apparent when you go up in the price range and compare high-end and cheaper drawers.
The choice of sound quality depends a lot on the style or accompaniment you have. Playing a Cajon with a lot of bass presence will not be ideal for playing with a bass player. In those cases, the ideal is to pull for a flamenco Cajon with more presence of strings, which sounds a bit brighter too..
How much you should spend on your Cajon depends on how long you want something from it and how professional it should be.
As a beginner, you can get your first Cajon for as little as $100 to $150. If you want to build it yourself, you have to reckon with costs of $70 to $100, regardless of whether you buy a kit or do everything yourself.
For the more premium models, you have to part with several hundred of dollars, depending on the specific processing.
- Which is the best Cajon for beginners?
The best Cajons for beginners are in the entry-level class of up to $200. Box drums such as the Schlagwerk Cajon, Meinl Jumbo Bass Subwoofer Cajon, Meinl Cajon Box Drum, Meinl Pickup Slaptop Cajon Box Drum, and the Roland EC-10 ELCajon were able to prove that you can also get beginner Cajons for little money that meet the basic sound requirements. You can't expect tonal highlights for models that fall under this range, but a beginner's Cajon should sound at least so good that bass and snare hits can also be recognized as such.
- Is a Cajon an inexpensive alternative to a complete drum kit?
With a bit of stamina, while practicing, a Cajon allows almost the same variety of sounds as a complete drum kit. A Cajon is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the world of percussion instruments. Cajons are available for little money and enable you to train your sense of rhythm.
One of the desirable aspects when buying a Cajon is the purchase price. Inexpensive Cajons are available for well under $100.
One aspect that can be reflected in the price is the quality of the wood used. The more exquisite the wood is and the longer it has been stored, the higher the instrument's price will be in the end.
Top Beginner Cajon Drum Boxes, Conclusion
A Cajon consists of boards of different thicknesses that are put together to form a box. The most recommended type of wood for building a Cajon are soft hardwoods such as birch or linden.
The original shape of the Cajon has a pickguard that is only loosely screwed on and creates the characteristic sound. The more advanced types are equipped with strings or spirals made of metal to achieve a snare effect. Finally, beginner-level Cajons are available in the $50 to $300 range, and they are available in different designs, from simple slaptops to vertical boxes.