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Old 04-23-2014, 08:12 AM   #1
von Layzonfon
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DIY Cajon

I get a bee in my bonnet every time I see cajons in a music shop: "Sixty quid for a wooden box? Honestly, how hard can it be?"

So, having a huge sheet of MDF knocking around, getting gradually more battered and useless, last week I set about making one.

I mean, it's just a box, right?



Actually, when you're only using hand tools, it's remarkably difficult to make a nice square box. Nevertheless, I wrestled it into shape, got a cheap snare wire and hit it with a couple of coats of vinyl silk emulsion.



Some cheap door-stops for feet and then a little added extra...



...the piezo buzzer from a dead smoke detector to act as a pickup. I even put a tone knob on (it doesn't have much effect).



A bit of 4mm ply for the striking surface and, aside from being slightly "jaunty" in places, it's pretty good.



The buzzer/transducer/pickup works remarkably well.
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:53 AM   #2
Invader Jim
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That's pretty cool. Always wondered what those things were.

I've had a bit of experience making pickups out of smoke detector piezo buzzers and they really do work well. I used to make them for people when I was in high school.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
WeZ-84
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Looks good, I was thinking of building one myself - was considering getting a DIY kit but may take the plunge and do it from scratch instead.

Do you have any sound clips?
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #4
von Layzonfon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeZ-84
Looks good, I was thinking of building one myself - was considering getting a DIY kit but may take the plunge and do it from scratch instead.

Do you have any sound clips?
To be honest, if you need to buy the materials then a kit like this one actually seems quite good value. But if you've got stuff lying around you can plunder then go for it. I spent 10.50 on this (4 for the door-stops and 6.50 for the snare), but if I'd had to buy the MDF, ply, square section timber, etc., I'm sure I'd be getting pretty close to that figure.

I'll see if I can get my drummer step-son to put in a performance this evening. To me, it's just a box you slap.
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:29 PM   #5
von Layzonfon
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Here's a couple of quick clips. Recorded simultaneously with the sound recorder on my phone and Audacity via the good old Rocksmith USB cable. No post processing has been carried out.

Room
Pickup
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