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Thread: Cajon - the threat to drummer's ricebowl

  1. #1

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    Cajon - the threat to drummer's ricebowl

    First we had the electronic rhythm box. Then the more sophisticated programmable drum machines. These mechanical devices help wipe out half the jobs for drummers in the lounge and pub scene as pop bands replaced their drummers with such machines. Anything with a regular backbeat and simple 4/4 rhythm patterns can be hassle with drummer's egos and bad time keeping.

    But they cannot program the more complex stuff so easily - so for a while the jazz and fusion drummers could still get gigs. And just as we thought audiences want to hear real drums again instead of machines....along comes the Cajon. Notice I do not call it a's just a wooden box played with hands. Even a bongo got more soul. But is has allowed a lot of non-drummers with no 4-limb coordination to sit in and beat out a rhythm. Never mind it still sounds like a wooden box - no cymbal rides or pitched toms or thumping bass - but cheap and good lah.

    A Cajon in the hands of a good percussionist sounds OK...but it is still not the drumset it seeks to replace. In genres such as jazz, the subtle nuances are just not available. It cannot even replicate a decent ensemble of Latin percussion. It's just a bloody box.

    Can the Cajon replicate a brush sweep... a press roll.... a cymbal or HH ride.... or the various combinations one can play between the snare toms and bass on a regular set ? Obviously not. There is not even a rim click or cowbell sound.

    While convenient for house parties or backyard jamming it has no place in professional musical performances .

    Bring back the real drummer....and will real drummers please refrain from farting around with this stupid box that could rob you of the next decent gig because the pub owner wants to save money and space.

    Last edited by DRUM YODA; 24-06-10 at 12:45 PM.

  2. #2

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    I don't see the problem of using a cajon for acoustic performances. I've performed in that setup and the cajon fitted in perfectly.

    Yes, I agree that the cajon cannot replicate a full drumset.

    But I disagree that it shouldn't be used for professional musical performances. It has its applications too. It works perfectly for acoustic rock.
    Last edited by EugeneSmasher; 24-06-10 at 05:30 PM.

  3. #3

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    You say the cajon has so many shortcomings... yet you are afraid it will make you obsolete?

    Real drummers won't be afraid of this "stupid box" as you call it... Instead they'll embrace it for it's unique uses, like simple acoustic sets.

    But I think the rising popularity of ukuleles is threatening to guitarists. After all ukes are so much more convenient and cheap and easy to play. Anyone making money from playing guitar better watch out lest you get replaced by a uke-wielding teenage YouTube star.

  4. #4

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    Man, if you've seen how professional musicians work the cajon, it sounds amazing.

    It has its own applications, strengths and weaknesses. Just like acoustic drums do. Shouldn't be compared this way

  5. #5

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    Last edited by USADRUMMER; 19-11-10 at 06:38 AM.

  6. #6

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    I never knew and I don't believe the Cajon was ever created to "replace" a drum kit. It will take a more thorough historical research to prove that than just a mere statement. Although I have never played a Cajon gig nor have I devoted time to practicing the instrument, I have seen local Gurus like Md Noor perform the instrument that amazed me until today. Go check him out!
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  7. #7

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    The cajon is an awesome replacement for acoustic performances. However, I believe that the drumsets that we love and cherish will never be replaced by the "wooden box". The "feel" that we drummers inject into the music we play can never be replaced by a two or three tone cajon. The toms, the bass, the different snares, the cymbals, the stick tricks, the complex rhythms. All of these cannot be replaced by the cajon. So, I don't think there's a need to feel threatened by the cajon. Anyways, you guys should check out the SPF band's drummer. He's in his 30's i think. I watched him perform a latin kinda song with a quartet i think....and he rocked that cajon. I've seen him drum on a kit and all and he plays it just at well. I think that's it's awesome for a drummer to be just as good a hand percussionist.

  8. #8

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    Last edited by USADRUMMER; 19-11-10 at 06:41 AM.

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