With cajons becoming more popular, there is an increased number of percussionists getting cajons. However, many feel disappointed as their cajons do not sound as good as they expected them to be. This is usually because they got an inexpensive Cajon and fooled themself into thinking they were getting a deal.
Always read the Cajon reviews like we have written on Deboband or get well-reviewed cajons from reputed companies to avoid such disappointments. That said, if you have already gotten a bad-sounding one and are wondering how to make your Cajon sound better, we have listed a few things you can do.
Two common complaints people face about cheaply made cajons
1. Bass is either not pitched low enough, or that it is too boomy or resonant.
Cheap cajons usually use inexpensive and thin plywood. This can lead to the bass not being that low-pitched or too boomy. Unlike a tom or bass drum, where you can adjust the head’s tension to alter the pitch, you do not have that choice with cajons.
So what can I do to improve the bass of my Cajon?
Well, you can get accessories like a Cajon port or a sound control pillow to improve the bass!
2. There just isn’t enough slap tone.
Many users find that cheaply made cajons simply do not have that good a slap tone. This is not just because of the cheap materials, but also due to bad design and engineering.
What is a slap tone?
The “Slap tone” refers to the popping sound you get when you slap the top corners of the tapa/playing surface. Ideally, the “woody” sound should be loud and articulate.
Can I improve the slap tone myself?
Yes, you can do a few things to improve the slap tone without using any accessories. If you have a Cajon whose tapa is attached using screws, you could try loosening the topmost screws on each corner. This will create a tiny space between the tapa and the core shell of the Cajon. Therefore, when you slap the tapa, it will hit the shell and produce a much better slap tone.
However, if your tapa is attached to the shell using glue, it is almost impossible to improve the slap tone without damaging the Cajon.
You can also improve the slap tone using accessories like castanets. Instead of tapping the corner of your Cajon, you can tap these castanets to create the sound!
How To Make even cheap Cajon Sound Better
With these techniques, you can not only make an excellent sounding Cajon great; you can even make a cheap Cajon sound pretty good! However, do not expect this to make your inexpensive Cajon sound like musical heaven. You only get what you pay for!
Solution 1: Fix the bass tone
Using Cajon Port
- Enhances sound of the Cajon
- Constructed of high quality material
- Candy Color
- Item Package Weight: 1.0 lb
The CajonPort is an excellent accessory for any Cajon as it will significantly improve the tonal range and pronunciation.
The working of the CajonPort is quite similar to a KickPort; it compresses airflow through the tube and then allows for a rapid expansion of the air as it passes through its flared opening.
This compression and expansion lead to a deeper sound and a more powerful punch. It also makes both your highs and lows more pronounced. It also helps control the resonance of the Cajon, thereby reducing unwanted boominess.
This also makes it better for recording sessions. The only issue with it is that you might lose some of the higher harmonics.
The CajonPort comes with adjustable velcro straps that let you resize it to fit any Cajon.
Using Sound Control Pillow
- Focus the overtones
- Enhances the warmth of the Cajon
- Great surface to lay a mic inside the Cajon
PIllow stuffing is a technique that has been perfected in the bass drum. So many drummers insert a pillow into their kick drum to help control the bass. You can use the same pillows in cajons for the very same effect.
This Cajon Control pillow from Latin percussion is the best pillow you can get for your Cajon. It is designed explicitly for cajons and will significantly control any unwanted bass.
Solution 2: Fixing the Slap tone with Castanets
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This is a pair of castanets that have been custom-tailored to work with cajons!
They have a clear, crisp sound that can significantly enhance the tone of your Cajon. This set has one smaller and a larger castanet, so you get a more comprehensive tonal range. They have an excellent loud click so the audience can hear you clearly; even softer snaps will have good projection. You can even use brushes on these!
They feature a self-adhesive back and a fastener tape, therefore allowing them to cling to the surface of the drum tightly. They are in Burlywood color, so they gracefully blend in with most cajons.
If you have bought a bad-sounding Cajon, you don’t necessarily have to curse yourself for buying an overpriced box. With just a few inexpensive accessories, you can make your bad Cajon sound so much better. Be it excessive boominess or not enough slap tone, you can quickly resolve them with items like the Cajon Port or the Castanet. So, have fun taping your tapa and impressing your audience!