Someone said to me last week that cajons were the ukuleles of the percussion world and I think if you take that as being a positive statement, it’s very true. These days, the cajon is one of the most popular hand percussion tools, as it offers a variety of uses. Because of this, Tycoon Percussion are producing a range of cajons that go beyond the basic design and deliver options within individual instruments. The 29 Series hardwood cajon is one such instrument that delivers so much more than first appearances might suggest.
One thing that becomes obvious very quickly with this particular cajon is the two ports on one side, with one slightly larger than the other. Looking inside you will see that there is a dividing wall in the main chamber, splitting it in two. One chamber is larger than the other to allow greater control of your low frequencies as you play. This chamber has more ‘boom’ to it that the other one, yet the timber allows for some brighter tones when played up around the edges and the top. The smaller chamber is, not surprisingly, the one fitted with the snare. As it already has a bright snap to its sound, the snare gives it extra brilliance. Being contained in the smaller chamber, the snare doesn’t sound muddy or ring out for an unwanted time either. It is sharp, crisp and quite the opposite of the sound you get from the larger chamber.
Working your way around the outside of the instrument there are three distinct surfaces available. Made with a sustainably harvested Siam Oak body, your get two other surfaces tuned to a different tone to work with. The darker side fronts the snare and is quite slender with plenty of give. The lighter side is a much thicker timber and so offers a more rugged feel and sound when played. This offers a really firm surface for deep bass work when you want to really get the palms of your hands into it for a solid tone, while the snare side just naturally gives way under the slightest touch. The way all three different surfaces work in conjunction with each other means you get a lot of versatility from this one cajon. Although the finish is a little rough, it is a clean looking build, but has a lot more going on within its walls than it initially lets on.
Hits and Misses
Twin chambers for varying bass control
Three distinct surfaces with different tones
Snappy snare side that doesn’t ring out too long
Finish could have been a little smoother
• Front: Beech Wood
• Left Side: Dark Ebony
• Right Side: Red Oak