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 The Holy Grail of portability?
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Very Active Contributer

United Kingdom
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Posted - 24/03/2017 :  14:10:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For several years now I've been playing around with various drum bits in the quest for a good-sounding kit that I can easily to take to open mics, acoustic gigs, quick on-off festival slots or gigs where I don't want to drive so I can have a beer etc.

I've made various mini kits such as a nesting cocktail kit complete with 10" snare and mini hats...and its great but still has a fair amount of hardware and therefore still requires a fair amount of effort to get it about.

Then I looked again at wood.

I've had a cajon for several years and while it had its uses I also found the posture and playing method quite limiting. But since then the world of cajons seems to have exploded and there are all sorts of nifty add-ons that can be bought or made. The possibilities are almost endless.

Taking inspiration from various cajon kits on Youtube and also Meinl's expensive but clever version (https://tinyurl.com/ms9plpd) I think I've finally cracked it.

My basic kit fits into a single cajon bag and is made up of:

- Leiva folding travel cajon (full size cajon that folds flat leaving room in cajon bag for everything else)
- Tycoon travel cajon (a laptop snare cajon the size of a shoebox that sounds great). I've fitted a guitar strap to keep it still on my lap or I can put it into a snare basket if I want more movement.
- lightweight snare basket (for snare cajon) + clamp + cymbal stand. Of course I could fit a percussion clamp to the cajon and mount it on a stand that way but I don't want to drill too much into the wood.
- Gibraltar cajon pedal
- lightweight Stagg cymbal stand + Sabian 16" crash if I want to add a cymbal element
- Meinl heel and finger shaker, LP foot tambourine
- nylon brushes

And that's it. The cajon snare sounds great - with the brushes and finger share you get a snare and hi hat sound all in one. It's very light as well - much lighter than a snare drum. I've tried making single-headed snare drums but so far haven't got them to sound this good.

The big cajon + cajon pedal combo gives a decent bass sound and throne all in one with the benefit of having the extra cajon sounds available if required.

The left foot tambourine replaces left foot hi hat pedal hits but if necessary I can add a lightweight hi hat stand and 12" Dream hats for little extra weight.

And it sounds great. I was really surprised by how good these snare cajons sound and I'm sure anyone with a modicum of carpentry skills would be able to make one. I've also seen bigger laptop cajon kits where there are various snare and tom cajons mounted on a board with velcro straps. Maybe that's another project.

So if you want a great-sounding lightweight kit then give the wood a go!

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