Gary Clarke's Plymouth-based cajon drum company has already attracted a lot of endorsees and provide a unique, tailored service that sets it apart from more established names.
Lion hand-makes several select models in its Devon workshop rather than farming out production to the Far East. Its Pro-Active Bass cajon is a mighty beast formed from 18mm-thick plywood and at 48cm tall, 30cm deep and 34cm wide is slightly wider than most cajons on the market.
It comes resplendent in a rather attractive hand-applied 'Natural' wax satin finish and cool Lion logo. It's also equipped with large wooden feet, which is an interesting twist. Rubber is usually the norm but these certainly work out well and give a stable feel in performance.
The drum features a highly adjustable snare system via a matching sturdy side-mounted circular control knob, and sports a pair of half-length snare wire sets (totalling 40 wires) that are secured together and form a V-shape against the upper rear of the sound plate.
The cajon is also topped off nicely with a substantial square foam seat-top which makes extended playing considerably more comfortable. Lion also offer the chance to suggest your own size, colour, finish or wood type on your chosen model and can even apply personal customised graphics for a slight additional cost.
This cajon is immediately satisfying to play right out of the box and has a really tactile appeal to it. It garners a wide range of highly musical tones that would sit comfortably in a myriad of settings and styles.
The Pro-Active Bass cajon sounds very much like it's been regularly getting its 'five a day' with all tones turned up a notch. The drums' high-end finger tones and slaps are lovely and crisp and blend well with the mid-tone and emphasised bass response.
There's a 'sharp' edge to the top of the tapa (frontplate) with no sanding off as with most models on the market. If anything, we felt that this actually added some extra snap to the high register and gives a great contrast to the lush bass response.