As we've seen in past reviews, Thailand's environmentally-friendly, family-owned business Tycoon offers some killer percussion. This time we're looking at it's new Chiselled Orange Cajon.
With over 70 models to choose from, Tycoon's cajon range is as extensive as it is varied. Though many are constructed from wood, there is also a choice of fibreglass, acrylic or hybrids of wood/acrylic. Cajons from Tycoon's Vertex Series, for example, have a unique pyramid shape, while the Supremo and Legacy series are more conventionally formed.
Tycoon also offers percussion hybrids with a mix of cajon and a djembe, bongo or conga. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, closely mimicking the sound and, often, the actual shape of the original instrument.
For review we have a Supremo Series 'Chiselled Orange' in Siam Oak with a tapa of beechwood ply. The wood has been responsibly sourced and, despite its flash looks, this cajon is one of the least expensive in Tycoon's range.
Apart from two small sections of the upper/side edges, the tapa is fixed around the body perimeter by Phillips screws. Inside too, a section of the internal bracing has a gap between the uprights, allowing the tapa to flex at this points. When struck, it makes momentary contact at the edges of the cajon body, which should provide a percussive 'click'.
For the 'snare' effect, Tycoon utilises four lengths of wire. This is held against the inside of the tapa by strips of velcro-type material. The effect is adjustable by altering the position of the velcro and the tension of the snare wires via two Allen bolts, accessible from the underside.
The first few strikes - with hands, fingers and thumb in a variety of positions - demonstrate a medium bass tone with a reasonable 'snare' sound. Towards the top it's easy to envisage a selection of small percussive instruments. When struck at the front/side edges, the click sound creates a maraca-type sound, blending with a table tight bongo - useful for some rapid 12/8 Spanish rhythms perhaps.