AMS Music Centre is pleased to provide expert tuition on the Cajon. A Cajón is normally a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front or rear faces (generally thin plywood) with the hands, fingers, or sometimes various implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks.
Cajones are primarily played in Afro-Peruvian music, as well as contemporary styles of flamenco and jazz among other genres. The term cajón is also applied to other unrelated box drums used in Latin American music such as the cajón de rumba used in Cuban rumba and the cajón de tapeo used in Mexican folk music.
Sheets of 0.5 to 0.75 inches (1.3 to 1.9 cm) thick wood are generally used for five sides of the box. A thinner sheet of plywood is nailed on as the sixth side, and acts as the striking surface or head. The striking surface of the cajón drum is commonly referred to as the “tapa”. A sound hole is cut on the back side. The top edges are often left unattached and can be slapped against the box.
The modern cajón may have rubber feet, and has several screws at the top for adjusting percussive timbre. Originally they would be only wooden boxes but now some versions may also have several stretched cords pressed against the top for a buzz-like effect or tone. Guitar strings, rattles or drum snares may serve this purpose. They may also have bells on the inside near the cords.
The player sits astride the box, tilting it at an angle while striking the head between their knees. The percussionist can play the sides with the top of their palms and fingers for additional sounds.