Cajon: Characteristics, price, and history of the ethnic musical instrument


Cajon is a percussion instrument that originated in Peru. It is a percussion instrument with a characteristic box-shaped form and is a relatively minor instrument. Until the 1900s, cajon was used almost exclusively in Latin America, but around 1970, Spanish guitarists liked the tone of cajon, and it began to be played in Western music. The player sits on the cajon and hits the striking surface to perform. Therefore, it does not take up space like a drum set.


The cajon is a musical instrument that originated in Peru. Recommended for beginners as it often creates a buzz with basic drums. My current practice method is to hit the drums more than others, creating a beat as a percussion sound. Usually it’s like a drummer or a snappy. It is portable and can be used while sitting.

About the price

Cajons are very cheap and can be purchased for a few thousand yen. The sound also changes depending on the model and type. Generally, it is made of wood and resonates quite well in the hall. Although it is said to be difficult to play these days, even if you are not good at playing it, you can create a nice atmosphere by playing it with hi-hats, congas, etc. In recent years, an increasing number of people are starting to play the bass drum for a little while.

History of cajon

Cajon is originally a Spanish word that means a box or a small chest of drawers. It is generally said that cajon originated in Peru, but it is not clear which one is older because cajon with a slightly different shape has been used in Cuba for a long time. Cajon in Cuba appeared in the music of rumba, which was popular in Cuba in the late 1800s. Until the 1900s, cajon was positioned as a Latin American folk instrument and was often used in Latin music, but never in so-called Western music. However, when Spain’s world-famous flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía went to a concert in Peru in the 1970s, he received a cajon from Peruvian percussionist Kaitro Soto. Paco liked it so much that he took it back to Spain and started using it frequently in his concerts. And the cajon spread in a blink of an eye and became established as a flamenco rhythm instrument all over the world.

Features of Cajon

A cajon is a percussion instrument that makes a sound by hitting a rectangular wooden box with a hole. There are various sizes of cajon, from small “mini cajons” that are played by sandwiching them between the thighs to large ones called “bass cajons”. The basic size of the cajon is width 30-35 cm, depth 30-35 cm, height 45-50 cm. The larger the size, the louder the sound, and the sound can be delivered far even in a street live. A Peruvian cajon sits on an instrument with its legs open and plays. The larger the size of an instrument, the lower the range, and conversely, the smaller the size, the higher the range. Cajon can bring out various sounds depending on where you hit it.

Types of cajon

Snappy type

Cajon with the same spring-like thing as the snare drum

Wire type

Cajon with a straight wire like a guitar string


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