Cajons are a wonderful thing. Due to increased popularity in traditional and popular applications, there are lots of situations that will suit this type of instrument. As a result, there’s a lot of choice in the market at the moment, catering for players of all levels and budgets. This Flamenco Cajon from A Tempo Percussion happens to fall right in the sweet spot of ‘budget meets quality’ in many ways and is a good, all-round basic drum. In fact, the company even calls it Basico - simple and basic. Usually this is a great recipe, so let’s see what the simple Flamenco designed Cajon is all about.
So what have we got then? A classic designed Cajon, constructed in Peru from solid panels of Monterey pine. The body itself has a natural satin finish overall and the face plate or playing surface is made from thinner lupuna and Spanish cedar, which has a nice amount of give when struck. Overall, the drum looks cool - simple and classic. So far, so good.
The Flamenco Basico Cajon also features ever-handy rubber feet and some snare wires inside the body. A Tempo Percussion claims that the unique design and placement of the wires in the corners of the drum provides the ability to produce a clearer bass note with less snare sound. More on this later.
Overall, the Cajon is easy to play with strong and low bass frequencies that are easily achieved from the word go. It’s always a first go-to on a Cajon for me, and this one passes the test. I wouldn’t say the sound of the bass notes is snare-free - you can definitely hear them - but there is a clear progression to less snare sound as you move further down the drum and it’s controllable.
By contrast, clarity from the snares/wires gives wonderful response at the top end and near the corners as predicted. Although not adjustable, you can easily moderate how much of the wires you hear depending on where you play. If you’re the picky musician that wants adjustability, you’ll have to do it with your hands. At times, the wires might be too much for some people, but I was able to find a happy middle ground of balance. We’re talking about a simple Cajon here based on the Flamenco style, so there’s no apology for the addition of the wires and therefore, some of the other features of more expensive Cajons will have to remain optional for those other models. I will admit, however, there’s a surprising amount of volume achievable when slapping the Cajon at the top of the playing board. You can really lay into this drum - always a good thing in an acoustic setting.
The drum responds to lighter touches too. In fact, there’s a degree of sensitivity from this drum that really invites you to try more involved rhythms and phrases as the clarity is there for the taking. In combination with the bass response, this Cajon delivers a really nice playing experience for every situation. A versatile instrument then? It sure is.
So, overall, the drum is a winner and at this price point, it’s not going to send you broke either, providing an affordable solution for anyone getting into the game or for someone who doesn’t want all the other options on the market. This A Tempo Cajon is pretty straight up and you know what you’re getting with it. I think it’s a versatile instrument due to clean construction and sensitive response.
Hits and Misses
Clean, good looks
Made in Peru
Loud/responsive slap sounds
Good value overall
Snares not adjustable