I’m often asked for recommendations on equipment – what cajon to get started with? What’s the difference between cajons?

Below, I’ve listed some of my favourite pieces of kit and why I like them. Of course, it’s all subjective, but these instruments have proven to be reliable, high quality, and most importantly, great-sounding!

Please note that the items below are affiliate links, which means if you purchase any of the items via these links, I receive a small cut from the retailer. Thank you!

Meinl Headliner Cajon

This is the first cajon I ever used, and it went on to travel the world! It’s a simple, no-frills, birch wood cajon from Meinl’s Headliner range. It’s budget friendly and sounds great, especially mic’ed up. A great starting point for any budding cajonist.

Meinl Artisan Tango-line Cajon

This is my current go-to cajon, I love it. From Meinl’s ‘artisan’ range (which makes it sound like a bakery item!), it’s a little more pricey but has been built with such love and care, giving it a rich, full sound and snappy snare. The ridges at the top of the front panel look great. It’s called ‘tango line’ but I find it great for straight-forward pop/rock too.

Foot tambourine  

A fun addition to your set-up – this tambourine straps comfortably around your foot and can be used to accent your beat. I often use the tambourine on the snare-hits of a chorus to differentiate it from verses.

Cajon mic

There’s a couple of ways to mic up a cajon. Lots of folks use a standard microphone on a low mic stand, positioned a few inches away from the hole at the back. However, my preference is to use a condenser mic often used for kick drums. Pop a blanket inside the cajon and rest this mic on top – you then minimise your risk of feedback or knocking the mic.

Cajon bag 

Look after your cajon! While they’re pretty hardy, they can be prone to dents if you don’t transport them carefully. This case will take care of that, plus it has handy pockets for accessories. A must if you’re a gigging cajon player.

Cajon seat 

There’s no doubt about it, a cajon isn’t the kindest instrument to your backside. It took me way too long to realise that cajon cushions are a God-send, particularly for lengthy gigs. Invest in a cajon seat – your bum will thank you.

Tama Club Jam Pancake

The Club Jam Pancake kit from Tama is such a fun little kit! Its compact design means it literally packs up into itself, making transport and gigging a breeze (unbelievably, I get this whole kit around in one bag). It doesn’t compromise in sound – it still packs a punch, and mic’ed up, you’d barely tell the difference between this and a full-size kit.

Pearl Compact Traveller

Taking minimalism to an extreme, this is an even smaller kit, this time from Pearl. Comprising just a kick and snare drum, you’ll need your own hi-hat (and any other cymbals you want to add – I’d suggest a crash ride to keep the set-up small but retain versatility in your playing). Like a cajon, this kit is perfect for gigs in pubs, cafes or more intimate settings.


General Cajon Stuff