Gear Review: LP’s Wood Tapa Snare Conversion

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Drum set parts don’t fit into every song. And, typical hand drums require special skills and often add too much of their unique character. Enter the Cajon: a typically box-like wood percussion instrument that can be played (often simply) with the hands, but offers a deep, rich, yet modest replacement for a bass drum and a “woody” snare backbeat, along with a wide variety of sounds with which to solo or just set up a groove.

The acoustic demeanor of the Cajon perfectly compliments acoustic instruments, but it has proven to fit in just about anywhere, from busking on street corners and recording to the concert stage. Now, Latin Percussion (LP), known for its many innovative percussion inventions and adaptations, has an answer for drummers and percussionists who want the sound of Cajon, but without the box.

By simply retrofitting any standard snare drum with LP’s new Wood Tapa (a Cajon-like top), players can achieve a bundle of alternative sounds that dramatically widen a common snare drum’s range of playing possibilities. LP designed the Tapa with a textured top surface that can create great effects when played with the hands, brushes, or other mallets. It’s not a typical box-like Cajon but converts a snare drum to a Cajon-like instrument. You can use it on its own or set it up within reach and it can add a whole new set of sounds to an existing drum or percussion set-up.

The round LP Wood Tapa is made from attractive and great-sounding Baltic Birch and affixes to most 14” snare drums morphing them into what you might call a “snare Cajon”. The Tapa’s acoustic wood design promises an authentic, woodsy Cajon tonality. It makes good use of the existing snare’s shell and hardware for a better and more controllable snare sound than you get from a typical Cajon. Plus, its rounded edges and textured top make the Tapa both sensitive and versatile much like a traditional hand drum, but with the familiar sound set and character of a Cajon. The Tapa looks like a great addition for playing with hands as part of a hybrid percussion or acoustic drum setup and the textured top can be brushed with the hand or with soft brushes. Check out the authentic sound and playing styles in the demo below. 

A feature many hybrid set players will like is that a snare drum outfitted with a Wood Tapa can be easily adjusted for position and height, so ideal to integrate into your drum set, putting all those great Cajon sounds within easy reach.

Installation seems pretty basic. If you have ever replaced a drum head or even have a vague idea of how to do it, then you can easily retrofit one of your snare drums to a Cajon snare. Simply replace the batter side drum head (the top head) and counter hoop with the LP Tapa using the drum’s existing tension rods, and that’s pretty much it. The Wood Tapa is ruggedly constructed and designed to fit most 14” snare drums. To make it more universally installable, it’s available in 8-lug (LP2414-08) or 10-lug (LP2414-10) versions to match most popular snare drum designs.

If you are on the lookout for new and different percussion sounds, like the Cajon, but don’t want the box, LP has the answer: the Wood Tapa.

See Brendan Buckley and Diego Alvarez demonstrating the Wood Tapa below:

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