Schlagwerk DC 4002 Cajon Comparsa. The front and rear Side of the Cajon can be used as Playing Heads Front=Quinto Sound Rear=Bass Sound The compact Design makes this model the ideal companion for Out Door Sessions.
Schlagwerk's Cajon Comparsa is rich and resonant. It is beautifully made, as with all their products. There are two sides to play on; I think both are made of Schlagwerk's special blend of wood and skin; both have a gorgeous sound. Watch the schlagwerk video and imagine the sound being three times as resonant. The higher pitched side is coloured in a lighter burl. The difference between the two tones is distinct and useful. It's quite large to hold between your legs, but this is made a lot easier by the non-slip surface. It makes a huge difference to have both sides free to resonate - in other words, if you lay it on your lap to play, the sound is considerably deadened - which is perfectly fine, but may not be what you want. The comparsa is not designed to have both sides played together, however this is possible by resting it on your legs with the sound hole uppermost and hitting the two sides in opposition to each other. It's still slightly awkward as you have to lean back to achieve a slap on the nearest edge. The drum is very solid which feels nice. However, it also means that the non-playing sides aren't very useable percussively which is slightly disappointing. There is however some potential in the side with the sound hole, which can almost be used like an udu. The overall sound is sweet and natural. Without a snare, there is not much of a slap to it, but it's certainly loud and would be excellent for outdoors. I'm sorely tempted to screw a hook into each end (the thick wood will take it) to mount a strap in the style of a marching drum. If you want a change from using your hands, traditional brushes don't really do much, but a high quality soft, clothes brush with a handle works very well, offering a range of new textures. All in all, it's beautiful, though slightly overpriced. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be anything else much to compare it to.
The Cajon Comparsa is a hybrid between a drum and a cajon - it sounds a little like a bongo/conga with lots of woody overtones. The dark side is tuned lower and is more resonant than the lighter side which is tuned higher and is quite dry. You really need to use bongo/conga techniques to get the best sound out it - letting your hands/fingers bounce off rather than resting on the surface. The sweet spots seem to be about a third of the way in on the long sides of the drum and to get a high pitched crack your really need to use a bongo/conga slap - hitting it hard just on the edge as you would with a drum just doesn't do it. It isn't very loud either - so unless you are playing in a very quiet setting e.g. with unamplified guitars - then you would need to mic it up. I expect that each model would be slightly different because of the variation in the grain of the woods. At the moment I much prefer the darker side - but the wood may well soften and change tone with use. I can see myself playing this regularly as it isn't loud enough to disturb the neighbours and is small and portable enough to take anywhere :)
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