Back in the Summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to visit to Lima, Peru. It was an awesome experience and also allowed me to take a quick cajon lesson from a Master cajon Player from the birthplace of the cajon.
That experience motivated me to keep performing with the cajon but also to put my own spin on how I use it when performing. I love playing a full drum kit and using all four of my limbs while performing. So Sean and I came up with this setup. It might not be revolutionary but it’s definitely fun. We hope you enjoy :)
I recently started using the A Tempo El Artesano Cajon (or Box Drum) and so far it’s been great. In all honesty, I think the look of it sold me more than the sound. It’s clean, smooth, and solid. A Tempo did a great job with the finish and it’s fantastic eye-candy. The sound is pretty well balanced. I really like how the snare-sound cuts. On the flip-side, the "thump" isn’t super "thumpy" or bassy (I prefer some thump). It also doesn’t come with any type of padding on the top of the drum (which is normal) but if you decide to play a long set - grab something to pad your backside. Lastly, there isn’t a snare switch, so the snare is always on. Some cajón players prefer to have the option of the un-snared box drum. Overall, I love the design and would purchase another A Tempo Cajon in the future.
This was a game-changer for me and well worth the investment. It’s super durable, well-crafted, well-designed, and very fun to use. It gives you a closer feeling to playing a full drum kit for those of us that need to use all 4 limbs.
Here is the one add-on to your percussion setup that really gives it a fuller feel. I typically only use the DW Tambourine Pedal to get a fuller sound during more upbeat or intense parts of a tune. Over time (and in hotter/humid weather), it has begun to stick to the rubber on the tambourine, but that’s an easy fix with some felt or other material. Be clear that you’re not going to get a huge variety in tambourine sounds - besides the actual “hit” of the tambourine.
I usually stick with the Rock Shaker for most gigs (sometimes with an alternate shaker on the side) because it can get pretty loud. I don’t always mic the shaker, so I want it to be heard in the mix if possible - and maybe get picked up a bit in my vocal mic. This is a great buy for any percussionist and there are so many other shaker options out there.