There are only a few things to remember when learning how to play Cajon. Playing it is a bit similar to hitting a box or imitating a drum kit, but the instrument is a bit similar but too many people tend to limit it with an expectation of creating something new and unique that enhances their music. Truth is learning how to play Cajon is fun, and it is quite flexible to accommodate different approaches but it is so much more as well.
The Makeup of the Cajon
The Cajon is a wooden box made out of hardwood that you sit on the ground while playing. The wood will resonate to produce a sound when you hit it on the face. There are different types of hardwood with woods like birch and beech producing stronger and more defined bass tones. The thing with the Cajon is that different wood produce a different tone and this is also why it is advisable that you listen to the sound before buying.
Cajons are often made with good attention to detail featuring strong joins, good timber with reinforcements where necessary. The top surface of the Cajon is a seat, but if you intend to sit on it for long periods, you might want to consider using padding. When you sit on the Cajon, it does produce a bit of deadening but not as loud as it would be if the top surface were larger. Also, if you decide to buy padding for your Cajon, the dampening effect when you play it will be minimal. This is simply how to play Cajon.
When learning how to play Cajon the Cajon, the best thing to do is to spend time experimenting with the different surfaces at different intensities of stroke.
Position and Posture When Playing
When learning how to play Cajon, the posture you take is of utmost importance. While posture doesn’t affect playing performance, it does affect your health. You should avoid stooping forward when playing right down the middle of the face. Doing this won’t give you any volume or bass, but it will slow down your flow, produce weaker sounds and affect your back.
How to Sit on the Cajon
Knowing how to sit on the Cajon to play is quite simple: sit in a relaxed and comfortable way. Endeavor to sit on it with a straight back. While you might need to lean forward occasionally, you should not make it a habit. Your feet should also rest flat on the floor when you learn how to play Cajon with the legs bent at right angles. The length of your legs will determine the amount of bend you will have. Your knees should be well spread so as not to impede access to the front face of the Cajon.
For how you should place your buttocks, keep them pretty much in line with the rear face of the Cajon. Also, avoid sitting too far forward to the Cajon as this would reduce the playing area that will be left in front of you.
When you have the sitting position spot on, relax your arms and wrists to reduce the inherent tension between them. This is true especially for drum kit players who are used to playing hardwood with all the tension in their body. Tension is bad for learning how to play Cajon the Cajon. Tension affects speed and reduces accuracy and precision of your play.
Major Cajon Playing Areas
The Cajon has a large playing surface where you can create sounds from. But the reality is that the majority of the sounds you need are created in the top 6-inches of the face.
Where you focus on will determine the type of tone you get from the Cajon.
Types of Tones
To get the bass tone when playing the Cajon, you need to strike the face about 4 to 6 inches down the face in the middle. Doing this will allow the face to create a solid and punchy bass tone down the middle of the face. If you can reach the middle of the tapa face during play, you can get a much bigger bass tone but you will have to exert more effort, and the sound won’t be that superb. The downside to this move is that moving some extra distance down the face of the Cajon can severely affect the flow of your rhythm.
To get a high tone when playing the Cajon, you need to play the top corners of the tapa face. This way the wood will be restricted on the two sides by screws. You will get fewer vibrations which will produce a woody tone that is high pitched. If you add the snare sound, you will imitate the snare of the drum kit when learning how to play Cajon. As with the bass tone, these high tones are produced in the top 4 to 6 inches of the face of the Cajon.