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Thread: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

  1. #1
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Do we have any bluegrass cajon players in the crowd? Anyone have one in their band? It's the new hipster, up and coming thing appearing soon at your next bluegrass festival if it hasn't already.



    NOTE: Cajon or Cajón, a drum. Not to be confused with the Spanish term cojones. Please, just Google the latter and save the puns. Can't wait to see if we'll own the term "bluegrass cajon" on Google in a few days.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    I bought one for my son a few years ago. They are a hot item among the young hip bands that are starting to unplug.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    I like them played with brushes around bg jams. The right player can be pretty catchy. I quess the wrong person could abuse one. Doesn't go with everything but beats the heck out of drums or spoons. My grandkids always ask to play mine.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Spoons are better by far. Real far is best.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jan-22-2018 at 4:27pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    WWBD....What would Bill do? That ain't no Cajun music...
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Picked one up about a year ago along with a kick pedal. I personally haven’t used it much. But a buddy borrows it for his jam sessions to keep time, especially if there’s a fairly green mandolin player but no bass player. I, too, have seen it used with several of the new crop of acoustic groups; but haven’t seen it with bluegrass as yet.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    That ain’t no part of nothin’.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    OhhhYeah. Our band has used one for the last 3 years. We have a guitar, mandolin, and banjo to complete the 4 piece. We play a few BG type songs but we are not a BG band. Of course everyone thinks we are because we have a banjo and for the general public a banjo anywhere in the band is bluegrass. We are a roots/progressive folk rock type thing.

    Anyway, the cajon adds a lot when played well. Detracts when not. Just as with anything else I guess.
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    Iberian mandolin roberto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post

    NOTE: Cajon or Cajón, a drum. Not to be confused with the Spanish term cojones. Please, just Google the latter and save the puns.

    Micro-course of Spanish:
    Cajón: Big box
    Cojín: Little pillow
    Cojón: ehem... right... just google..
    Sorry, I just can't help...

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    If the player can make it fit the music, then why not? The Steep Canyon Rangers have been using one for awhile now. To me the lack of the melody in the breaks is much more egregious than a little percussion!

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    Iberian mandolin roberto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    As for the OP, I've played several times with cajón players. It's fine on traditional Spanish music because the complexity of Spanish musical rithms, though the cajón is originally a Peruvian instrument.
    I once jammed bluegrass with a cajón player, but I didn't like it. As you know, you have to be a very good player to ad percussion on bluegrass.

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    I've seen them attempted at an ITM session. The reaction is about what you'd expect. As for bluegrass -- isn't the mandolin supposed to be the percussion?
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    We debut at #5 in Google for the search term Bluegrass Cajon. Our work here is done.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    My band used brushes on a cardboard apple box. No overpriced wooden crates for us.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    We use one for English Country dance and contra dance. It is not a constant, which would indeed be tiresome. Our flute player will let someone else carry the tune (or improv) and help drive the dance with some cajon (using brushes). I will sometimes provide drumming on my Buchanan, which has plenty of sound being amplified via undersaddle pickup.

    But those are situations where we are repeating a tune many times, as a dance band. One wants variety.
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  24. #16

    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    No mention of the roland e-cajon yet? I thought of getting one for my kids at xmas. (Got them horns instead). Cajon/generic wooden crate - an excellent instrument.

    I'm thinking of doing a "How to play BG cajon" instructional video series.. but it's probably already being done

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    The percussionist in our youth band prefers to use my cajon to the drum set we have access to...but we ain’t playing bluegrass

    And, love the shout out to Willie in the OP
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Why not banjo in Bolivian, Colombian, Cuban, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, traditional music. ?

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Back in the '90s while on a long mandolin hiatus I got deep into studying and playing Cuban percussion. We built pallets of cajones. I even built a nice set of cajon bata drums which I still do have.

    Warning: Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo's hands didn't come to look like that playing the mandolin. The music and musical education was awesome, but twelve years of intense hand drumming and I am paying the price now.

    We used to nail set the heads / tops on and then pry them up and hammer them back down to get a very "wet" sound out of the boxes. I liked it a lot, sounded like you were hitting the cajon with a rolled up newspaper.

    We also made a whole range of scales of marimbula, which I think could fit quite well in bluegrass (this from a non-bluegrass mandolinist.)

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    We debut at #5 in Google for the search term Bluegrass Cajon. Our work here is done.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Well that is all well and fine but this is nothing new.

    Here are the Mound City Blue Blowers from 1929 playing jazz "cajon" or suitcase in this matter.........



    Great Vega tenor guitars in this as well.
    Charley

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  33. #22
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    I've seen them attempted at an ITM session. The reaction is about what you'd expect.
    Oh yes.

    Basically, it's nice they bring their own seat, but do they have to actually sit down and apparently beat their cojones?
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  35. #23
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    At my church we have 2 venues with slightly different musical feels. The main Auditorium has a more contemporary electric feel and the smaller theater upstairs has a more folky acoustic feel. The band uses the Cajon upstairs in the acoustic band and it suites it quite nicely.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    I sat at the Homstead (Hot Springs, Virginia) with my mandolin, a 12-yo fiddle player and his 10-yo brother on cajon. We played Appalachian fiddle tunes for well over an hour. The 12-yo has just completed one year learning a new fiddle tune each day (where did he get such dedication?). Brother on cajon was spot on! I mean that boy could really feel the beat to these old-time tunes. It was a blast!

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  38. #25
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Cajon or Cajón

    NO NO NO

    Now, I like drums and percussion....but I really dislike the cajon outside of certain types of Cuban rumba that were meant to be played on 2 sizes of packing boxes.

    If they have to add Latin percussion to traditional musics that had none before, please use real congas (tumbador), bongo and timbales - not that damn box.

    It's even worse with the cajons that have snares...it's bad enough it got into flamenco music! I've also heard the cajon used in Middle Eastern music instead of the much better sounding darbuka.

    But hey, the drummer gets his own seat with a cajon.

    As you can tell, I am not a fan of the spreading use of the cajon.

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