by JJ Jones
Vic Firth says they’re, “Not just a brush… Not just a mallet!” The new Bru-llet marries the elements of both a brush and mallet, and with a length, bristle width, and size/density of a foam mallet head designed specifically for the cajon. It took me a minute to figure out the best way to hold them, and to get used to how stiff the bristles are. But, as I kept playing I started to appreciate that the foam mallet head gets a loud bass tone, thus saving the heel of your right hand from the constant hitting of bass notes. And the stiffness of the brush bristles actually became one of my favorite elements since it meant not only could I get a “stirring-the-soup” kind of sound like with a typical wire brush, but because there’s a lot of rebound, I could do things I couldn’t normally do with wire brushes like rolls.
Another thing I enjoyed with the Bru-llets was hitting the top edge of the cajon with the wooden shaft of the stick. I could get such a satisfying crack (I put gaffers tape on the cajon edge to preserve it from denting!) that I could never get with just my hands.
I liked Vic Firth’s new Bass Beater as well. I’d already been using LP/DW’s Inside Pedal Cajon, which has a bigger and softer foam beater head for bass tone. Vic Firth’s Bass Beater is smaller, with slightly less give, so the sound is a little louder and brighter, with more attack. Both have a nice warm musical quality, and offer the player multiple sound and dynamic options depending on the musical situation.
All in all, Vic Firth’s Bru-llets and the Bass Beater are a fun and cool pairing to add to the arsenal of a cajon player, and are great additions to the growing body of cajon accessories!
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, LA’s riot-pop band WASI, and Egyptian revolutionary Ramy Essam, among many others. She is the founder of EmpowerDrumming.com.