Gon Bops Alex Acuna Signature Cajon

Weather Report legend's excellent box drum

Alex Acuña is probably best known for his award-winning membership of jazz-rock legends Weather Report but he has played with a who's who of diverse stylists. He is now also the proud owner of an impressive new signature line from Gon Bops.

Alex has two cajons currently available from Gon Bops - his signature model and now this impressive special edition model, which is quite possibly (and probably) the most beautifully made cajon on the market today.

This instrument is a work of art, and hats off to the craftsmen that produced it. We're sure Alex is proud to put his family name on this cajon which is part of the signature line that also includes congas, bongos and bells. As Alex is from Peru, it's only right and proper that he should have put his name to the range, as that was where the cajon was born.

Build

When we unpacked this beauty from the included padded bag we felt truly knocked out by the skill and craftsmanship of people who know and dedicate themselves to the further development of the humble cajon. The seamless finish (and we mean truly seamless) is highly impressive, with Peruvian hardwood corners and joints rounded smooth to create a beautifully whole instrument.

The dovetailing of the different coloured blocks reminds us of the art of marquetry and will age beautifully. The snares lie diagonally across the top corners of the cajon which, unlike most that run right down the tapa (front plate), affords you the choice of sounds that we would say has not been available so far in previous designs.

The Special Edition has many more adjustable screws than are found on most cajons and this means more control over the snap and resonance.

Hands on

This has to be one of the most versatile cajons available and for many reasons. The bass tones are awe-inspiring and you can play really gently but still elicit the bass – even with fingers only!

When playing on the central part of the tapa you have a non-snappy (almost Cuban) tone, and by moving the hands just slightly towards the edge you can achieve many different levels of snap when those minimal snares come in to sublime effect. The cross patterns on the top and sides tip the hat to Alex's religious beliefs – and sitting down with this you might also get a little spiritual!

This is a comfortable cajon to play and the tapa is truly awesome. It feels great and gives everything you put in right back at you in the most musical way.

MusicRadar Rating

5 / 5 stars
Pros

Staggering build quality. One of the most responsive playing surfaces on any cajon on the market. Massive amount of sound options.

Cons

Nothing!

Verdict

If you only ever want to purchase one cajon then we would strongly recommend that you check out the Special Edition - Alex Acuña must be proud to be associated with the re-vamped company.

Drum Shell Material

Indigenous Peruvian hardwoods

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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