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J. Leiva Percussion Cajons

I’m not a percussionist by any stretch of the imagination but there have been times over the years where I’ve had need of a cajon. And, whilst my vocabulary is admittedly somewhat limited on the instrument, I still find playing a cajon to be fun and enjoyable.

The three cajons I was sent to check out were from Spanish maker J. Leiva Percussion.

The company is based near Cordoba in Spain and Pepe Leiva produces instruments for the traditional Spanish Cajón market as well as for the Celtic and Rock/Blues/Country music-influenced Western players.

J.Leiva Cajons are made from wood sourced from an FSC accredited factory. FSC''s ''tick tree'' logo is used on product labels to indicate whether products are certified under the FSC system. When you see the FSC logo on a label you can buy timber and other wood products, such as paper, with the confidence that you are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests.

The three cajons I had were:

Alma Classe (mid range cajon)

Technical Features:

Sizes: 48cm height x 30cm width x 32cm depth.

Body: 100% Russian birch plywood board of seven cross-laminated layers (12mm thick), joined together with water-based glue.   

Front panel: Russian birch wood, laminated (3.5mm) 

Tuning system: D.T.S. (Direct Tuning System) with four parallel vertical guitar strings and tuneable from the outside without the need of keys or other tools.

Sweetspot Professional Cajón (budget cajon)

The Sweetspot is an exclusive model to SVM Percussion.

It is essentially based on the Zoco, with the addition of an ‘Earth Pi Circle design’ logo, located on the playing face (or ‘tapa’). This circular design is based on a Crop Circle discovered in the U.K. in 2008, the position on the drum identifying the playing area for bass tones which can produce more appealing sonics, and the design itself employed in context to represent two disparate yet connected forces of Nature - rhythms of the Earth and the sculpted landscape.

The Sweetspot is tunable and is aimed at players wanting a high-quality product at an affordable cost. The price includes the carry bag shown in the video.

Technical Features: 

Sizes: 48cm height x 30cm width x 32cm depth.

Chassis: 12mm solid board in MDF. 

Front panel: 100% Russian birch, 3mm.

Tuning system: STD or D.T.S. with two parallel guitar strings localised vertically and tunable from outside the cajon without the need of keys or other tools.

Medina (high end cajon)

Technical Features:

Sizes: 48cm height x 30cm width x 32cm depth.

Chassis: Russian birch of seven cross-laminated layers (10mm. thickness), joined together with water-based glue. 

Front panel: Russian birch, laminated, 3mm, joined together with water based glue. 

Tuning system: D.T.S. with four vertical parallel guitar strings and tuneable from outside the cajon without the need of keys or other tools.

As I said, I’m not by any means a percussionist, but I still had fun with all three cajons.

I had no preconceptions about any of them when I got them out of the boxes.

Visually, I did manage to guess which were likely to be the higher end models, but even then that was my educated guess rather than because it was clear or obvious. They’re all nicely made and although I could hear some difference in the sound and feel, again, it wasn’t really obvious there was a price hierarchy involved.

Overall, very nice.

J. Leiva cajons are available in the UK through SVM Percussion.

For more general info, check out -

David Bateman

March 2017

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