Cajon Sound Hole Placement

So, you’re building your cajon and everything looks great. The problem is, almost every cajon tutorial and manufacturer has a different way of placing their sound hole! How do you decide where to cut your sound portal and how big should it be? I’ll answer your question right here with an in-depth look at sound portal placement.

Sound Hole Positions


Some cajon builders place the sound hole exactly in the center of the back piece


Some builders place the hole towards the top


Some place the hole towards the bottom…


And some builders place the hole on the side of the drum!

As you can see, each of these major brands have their own placement for the sound portal. Each position has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. I’ve done a bit of experimenting and a lot of research and come up with a few guidelines:

Center The Sound Hole For Minimal Resonance

Sound port placement in cajons works a lot like sound port placement in bass drums. That means that a centered sound hole will produce more punch and volume at the expense of resonance. Cajons with a centered sound hole will have a very quick, precise note that is great for recording, but lack the depth of tone that many people love about cajons. I would recommend a cajon with a more centered sound hole if you plan on recording or playing with a band that has lots of layers, because too much sustain will muddy up the sound. Also, a cajon that has a perfect amount of resonance with the snares off might have too little resonance with the snares on.

Off Center Sound Ports Will Provide More Sustain

You’ll have to find the optimal position for yourself because it all depends on taste. Just know that an off center port will provide more depth to the sound at the expense of volume.


Now that you know some of the properties of sound port positioning, go build a drum! I welcome suggestions and improvements to my designs and I would love to hear some feedback from you! Thanks for reading!

Mike Quain