Useful tips and information
Caixa, Snare - shopping guide
What are you looking for: a caixa with snare wires, a drumset snare or a caixa with strings?
Caixa with snare wires
This type of caixa is an allrounder instrument and can be played in (almost) all Brazilian grooves. Formerly it was mainly used in Rios Samba schools, nowadays it´s played in all kinds of drumming formations. Samba Reggae, Maracatu and many of the Bahian style grooves get their swing last but not least because of the dense white sound of their caixas with snare wires. This caixa - or maybe also a snare - should be the first choice for groups who feel at home in different styles of Brazilian music.
The most common size for a snare wire caixa is 14'', but also 12'' instruments are very popular. Some manufacturers offer 10'' sizes for kids.
The drumset snare is louder than the Brazilian caixa. This may be an advantage if you have only one caixa playing in a larger line-up. The snare sound varies considerably depending on the its size, the material of the shell and especially the tuning of the instrument. Drumset snares are ( similar to caixa with snare wires ) real allrounders and go well with quite a lot of Brazilian drumming styles. Due to the bulkier shell and stronger tuning system this snare naturally is a bit heavier than a caixa. Make it more comfortable to wear by using a legrest e.g. as used in marching bands.
Snares are the more sophisticated relatives of the traditional caixas. With a lifting mechanism, the so called snare strainer, the contact between the snare wires and the resonance head can be interrupted. The batter head and the resonance head can be tuned seperately. With this you can tune your instrument much cleaner and more defined, though it needs quite some experience. There are so many different types of snare drums on the market, KALANGO decided just to offer a small selection of fair-priced and Samba-suitable snares.
Caixa with strings
For Batucada (Rio Samba), caixas with strings are commonly used. The function of strings is to produce short and fat sounding beats. The caixa is played on the head on which the strings are tightened onto. Batter head and resonance head are equally thick and tuned with end-to-end tuning rods. Several caixas played together sound really great!
12'' x 17cm (Malacacheta / Caixa de guerra)
This size is the most common. It fits for playing on the crook of your arm (em cima) as well as on your hip or in front of your stomach. Full sound!
12''x 10cm (Tarol)
Typically this size is played in the "em cima" position. You could also play this caixa half-up underneith your armpit with a shoulder strap! A hip strap can be used if you like playing the traditional grip.Percussive sharp sound!
For Batucada the 14'' caixa with snare strings is not so common. It is only characteristic for the Samba school of Imperio Serrano. In order to show off its extra full sound, this caixa is not pitched as high as a 12" caixa.
Aluminium or galvanized steelplate?
Aluminium weighs less and hardly oxidizes. The sound is more metallic.
The galvanized body of steelplate instruments loses its glossy surface quite soon and turns matt. The caixa´s shell is a bit heavier and you do feel it a little when playing "em cima", still many sambistas favour this caixa because of its typical, dirty and very dry sound. You will see galvanized steelplate caixas a lot in the samba schools, simply because it´s a great sounding instrument and it´s cheaper than aluminium.
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