by JJ Jones
I’ve had a losing track record with cajon pedals. My first had so much latency between the pedal and the beater that I sent it back. The next had good response, but the cable that connected the pedal with the beater frayed down to two strands after only one show. The company sent me a replacement cable, but I’ve never had it in me to restring it.
Enter LP’s new 2-Sided Cajon with DW Cajon Pedal, or “Inside Pedal Cajon”. Not only is the entire beater mechanism on the inside, which means the front of the cajon is completely open for your hands, the beater strikes a side of the cajon instead of the front — a “special bass soundboard” as it’s called by LP. Best of all, the pedal itself is a Drum Workshop 5000! The exact model I’ve had on my drumset for years.
LP sent us this cajon and pedal to to check out. I was initially pleased with the cajon’s nice tone, rounded corners for comfort, solid build, and deep bass sound from the beater against the soundboard side. And the round soft-foam beater head had a nice mellow sound, but still plenty of attack.
But what sets this cajon apart is the DW 5000 pedal which has a response almost equal to a regular kick drum pedal. I was able to do fast 16th note doubles, and even skip and heel-toe technique, which would be almost impossible on a typical cajon pedal. And not surprisingly given it’s a DW, it’s excellently machined and the quality and durability is in its own league.
Here’s a video of me playing the Inside Pedal Cajon, which shows one of the many possible setup configurations, as well as demonstrating the bass tones from the pedal and soundboard:
The only downside of having the pedal on the inside is that adjusting and swapping out the beater is difficult since it requires reaching your hand(s) through the sound hole of the cajon and primarily working blind. But, given the durability and quality of the machined DW parts, I had no trouble loosening and tightening the beater even without being able to see it, and had little worry that multiple adjustments would eventually strip or wear anything down.
I used the Inside Pedal Cajon to play some showcases at a folk music conference held in a hotel where I was going room to room through hallway crowds to get to the next performance. With two turns of the attached drum key, I was able to detach the pedal from the cable, wind it up inside, slide the pedal into the included zippered bag and be off and running in minutes. Setup was equally as easy. The sound and feel of the cajon for these acoustic gigs was awesome– like I was playing an actual kick drum. And I received lots of admiring remarks on it from both audience members and other musicians.
In short, LP claims this is the best cajon pedal out there, and from my experience, I have to agree (and in fact, I tried a few others at this year’s NAMM show, and while they had a good response, the precision-made quality just wasn’t there). The combination of the the tone and feel of the LP cajon, quality and durability of the DW 5000 pedal, and the fact that the beater is on the inside leaving the front completely open for the hands, make playing the Inside Pedal Cajon a top-notch cajon experience.
JJ Jones is an internationally touring, Berklee-trained drummer and educator. She has played with folk-pop darlings Girlyman, singer/songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche, comedian Margaret Cho, and LA’s riot-pop band WASI, among many others. She is the founder of EmpowerDrumming.com.