I am working on turning my cajon into a mini drum kit. I have a Meinl low hi-hat stand on order (it is backordered until August) but I have received a very innovative Meinl Direct Drive cajon pedal. It doesn’t look like it would work, but it actually works very well. It came without instructions, so I had to figure some things out.
Meinl Direct Drive Cajon Pedal
First, the included drum key is handily attached to the pedal (see the red circle in the image above). You need that to make other adjustments. Install the beater by loosening the screw and sliding it in, then retightening. You will notice that the way the pedal is shipped, when you push on the bar, the beater moves away from the drum instead of toward the surface of the cajon. To fix that, you need to take the drum key and loosen the screw in the light blue circle above. Then rotate the cam until the beater is in the right position. Now it makes sense.
The other adjustment involves the long bar that sticks out from the pedal.
Cajon Pedal Showing Bar
The pedal is shipped with the curved part of the bar pointing toward the pedal instead of away. You have to use the drum key to remove one of the screws (see the red circle above), move the bar forward, then reinsert the screw and tighten it. In this position you can depress the bar with your toes.
Update: I have my cajon on a small carpet because if the feet are directly on the floor, the sound resonates throughout my condo and bothers family members. However, I found that when I push down on the the lever of the pedal with my foot, the point where the lever is attached to the L-shaped base tends to push into the carpet, absorbing some of the energy and making the beater hits less accurate. I solved this problem by going to a hardware store and buying a thin metal plate called a “strap tie” from the lumber section for $1.98. Here’s a picture:
This works very well. The wide surface keeps the pedal from depressing into the carpet.
I think that this pedal should come with instructions. It is probably supposed to. I hope this post will help anyone who is confused.
The design looks weird, doesn’t it? There is actually no pedal! It is actually quite comfortable and responsive. The bar is in just the right place for sitting on a cajon. Whoever designed this was thinking outside of the box. Meinl also makes a more expensive cable driven version of this pedal with an actual footplate. I haven’t tried the cable version, but considering the extra friction of the cable and the ever present danger of damage from being stepped on, I think that this direct drive version is better.
You can buy this as part of a complete Meinl cajon drum kit with a bass cajon, or as a cajon conversion kit without a cajon, or as separate pieces. I chose to buy the pedal and the hi-hat stand separately because I didn’t need more hi-hats (I have three sets: 14″ Wuhans, 13″ Zildjian New Beats, and 14″ Zildjian Armands).
This will end up being a tiny drum kit, suitable for coffeehouse gigs and house concerts. I think it will be fun!