In today’s percussive world, where drummers of all ages and sizes have a range of options when it comes to choosing a kit, it’s refreshing to now see companies starting to offer more choice when it comes to percussion instruments. Consider these two instruments: a new full- size cajón and a new junior model – both from PP.
This full-size model comes in at 49x31x30cm and is quite fetching looks-wise – the top and both side panels are finished in matt black, while the front and back feature a dark-coloured stain that allows the grain of the wood to be seen. The front panel is attached with 14 crosshead screws, with a small, understated PP logo rounding things out aesthetically. The rear features a further PP logo running around the soundhole.
Underneath are four small rubber feet, which while holding everything in place, do look like they could wear down given time. Inside is sanded, but otherwise unfinished. A single wire, stretched into a W-shape to provide snare- type sounds, is permanently fixed onto the front panel. The cajón also comes with a padded carry case, which is both strong and lightweight, with a comfortable carry handle and shoulder strap. The cajón provides some very nice results when played: bass tones sound full-bodied, with plenty of depth and enough difference between them and the higher pitched snare tones to ensure clarity. The snare-type tones sound a little thin, due mainly to the single snare wire on the inside, but as this isn’t the loudest of cajóns, it’s not too noticeable.
It’s a well-made instrument that, while not as refined as some of the cajóns available today, won’t break the bank and would make a perfect first instrument for those looking to expand their percussive horizons.
The junior model comes in at a diminutive 36x24x24cm, and is finished in a very nice red stain. In most details it’s very similar to its larger sibling: a small PP logo on the frontplate as well as around the soundhole on the rear panel, small, hard rubber feet on the underneath and a single internal wire fixed in a W-shape permanently attached to the frontplate. The junior model also comes with a padded carry case, with exactly the same features as the larger model. I was pleasantly surprised with the results I could gain from this instrument – despite being over six-foot tall and looking a bit odd when playing this junior- sized instrument.
The cajón is fairly comfortable to play on and provides some very nice tones that defy its small size. Bass tones are clear and fairly full-bodied, although adults playing this will get better results playing with fingertips rather than the whole hand. snare notes are fairly crisp, although due to the instrument’s small dimensions, aren’t quite as well defined as with larger models, but that said there is enough definition for them to be useful nonetheless.
As it was a junior cajón I let my nine-year-old daughter have a go and she loves it. Her smaller hands make sure that all the different tones are well presented, with much more definition than when my big chunky mitts were trying to coax out delicate sounds.
The most obvious thing about this superb little instrument is the amount of fun that younger players can get out of playing – it took me longer to get my girl to stop playing than it did to write this review – and for that it scores very highly.
It’s also a worthwhile instrument for any players looking to increase their percussive arsenal, as the junior model looks and sounds like a ‘normal’ cajón, only smaller and higher pitched.
PP Regular and Junior Cajóns
PP144 cajón: £84.99
PP145 junior cajón: £74.99
John Hornby Skewes Ltd.
Words: Nick Carter Images: Thru-A-Lupe Photographic