We only use high-quality materials from suppliers we have trusted for years. Birch, alder and beech are European woods of the highest quality, which combine an attractive appearance with low weight and the necessary strength. And if exotic hardwoods cannot be replaced, we only use free-trade wood from sustainable forestry.
Making instruments is
like making music.
Our employees are real artists.
In music, even subtle nuances in the way the music is played are audible, in the touch, the emotion or the skill of the player. Only a true enthusiast becomes an artist. We are just as virtuoso in production: we feel every detail and every irregularity. Every millimeter of wood is felt, tested, sanded and refined until a real work of art is created.
Where craft meets high-tech.
So every piece becomes a masterpiece.
We create unique pieces in volumes: In years of development work, we have optimized various special machines for us and adapted them to our needs. This enables us to create instruments with consistently high perfection and quality - even in large quantities. This is how an industrial manufactory works by enhancing high-quality craftsmanship with advanced technology.
Uniqueness is in the details.
You can hear the difference.
It is not enough just to use the best materials - their processing is essential. This is why we not simply use regular wood from our suppliers, but also manufacture our own panels: using our proprietary Cross-Laminating and Moulding process, we press interlaced, high-density fibreboards directly into their pre-finished form. But there are many other examples of how we optimize our instruments - and you can surely hear every single one of them.
The drummer can't help it.
He must audition every instrument.
Always all ears. Martin plays every single instrument before it leaves the workshop. He knows every subtlety in our sound conception, only the slightest deviation or discrepancy is recognized and the instrument is fine-tuned. Because one thing is guaranteed at this point: the real Schlagwerk sound
The world plays Schlagwerk.
We are growing in more and more countries.
Our Percussion and effect instruments are shipped all over the world: To all of Europe, North and South America and Asia. But we don't just ship our carefully manufactured instruments to end customers, but to our selected and qualified network of specialist dealers. After all, the SCHLAGWERK SOUND EXPERIENCE also includes personal assistance and services such as testing the instruments before you buy them.
Sound doctor and acoustic magician in one.
No one has shaped the company like founder Gerhard Priel. He is not only the inventor of the modern Cajon based on the classic Peruvian model. He also has the know-how to continually invent and further develop new instruments for world percussion. And he has the passion and the feeling for the decisive sound. Exactly the sound that touches people emotionally and makes up the SCHLAGWERK SOUND EXPERIENCE. Together with his development team, he is constantly creating new extraordinary cajons and other innovative percussion instruments such as the La Ola Drum or the SamJam Guitar Snare.
The evolution of Schlagwerk
It always was about the perfect sound.
The first sound
In a small barn, the two cabinetmaker apprentices Gerhard Priel and Bengt Schumacher reconstruct a Brazilian log drum that a friend brought from South America.
Back then this instrument is almost unknown in Germany. After some tinkering, a prototype is created that generates great interest beyond the circle of friends - the first step in a long history of innovative instrument making.
The first Cajon Comparsa is developed in the small, cosy workshop, back then in Geislingen, a small village on the edge of the Swabian Alb.
Puerto Rican exceptional percussionist Freddie Santiago, still at the beginning of his career, visits Schlagwerk in Germany. In his luggage he carries an original Peruvian Cajon, which hardly differs from an ordinary wooden crate. Gerhard Priel's instinct for exciting ethnological instruments kicks in and he begins to develop a professional instrument from that wooden box.
A Cajon sets the standard
Schlagwerk launches the Cajon "La Perù" on the market.
The success of the instrument starts with this model:
Music schools, drummers, percussionists, therapists and hobby musicians are excited about the versatility, spontaneity and cultural depth of the instrument and the unique Schlagwerk sound.
Tuning is the key
With the invention of the tunable string cajon, we have achieved another milestone in the development of the cajon. The tuning bar allows our string cajons to be tuned from now on and offers percussionists maximum flexibility in their sound creativity.
Schlagwerk grows up: after the beginnings in the barn workshop and a stopover in an old factory building, we now move into our newly built headquarters. Now we can produce on a large scale with professional standards. And this is necessary, because the demand for Cajons is growing worldwide - and high quality handcrafted products are only available from Schlagwerk.
The hallmark of modern Cajons
With the CP404 2inOne Snare Cajon we create what is probably the most successful Cajon in the world. No design is more associated with Schlagwerk than the traditional box look.
The newly launched 2inOne series with removable snare traverse causes a sensation and appeals to the sound aesthetics of Cajon players worldwide.
More than a Cajon
Cajon is fun - that's why we are always developing the drum box further. The 2inOne series is particularly successful, but other models such as the Fineline comfort are also generating a great response. We open up a new world with our add ons, with which a Cajon can be extended by many sounds and can be played like a drum kit in terms of playing style.
The ears have eyes
We are presenting our new brand identity at the Frankfurt Musikmesse: The logo now shows stylized sound waves instead of the hard to understand Peruvian tree of life of the early days. The new corporate design and website speak an international language and inspire fans and followers worldwide.
We rely on our heritage
An exciting time is upon us.
Our production is bursting at the seams and we decide to build a new production building right next door in order to continue meeting demand. We remain loyal to our location and thus continue to guarantee our renowned quality standard.
High-tech and craftsmanship
At the turn of the year we move into the new building and resume production on over 4000 square meters. The purchase of new machines ensures seamless synergy of precise and efficient technology and traditional handcrafted work.
From the Cajinto to the Cajabuka - with fresh designs, forms and ideas we bring the sound of the Cajon into new dimensions. Various product series and add-ons give our portfolio a great depth and range, so that today you can assemble your perfect Schlagwerk set-up from many components.
Dreams of the future
We reinvent ourselves: With the brand campaign "The Sound Experience" we put all our activities in relation to the unique sound of our instruments. A relaunch of the website, fascinating motifs and a modern design provide visual access to our sound world.
A look behind the scenes at Schlagwerk.
LOG DRUM TUNING
Gerhard Priel, cabinetmaker, founder and owner Schlagwerk.
Before a log drum is finally finished, it has to be tuned. The tuning works by changing the mass on the tongues. We drill the tongues from the inside. Depending on whether the tone needs to be raised or lowered, I drill at the free-floating end, or at the body connection of the tongue. First we tune roughly a bit higher, in order to do the fine-tuning after the complete assembly. Here I am in the process of fine-tuning using a tuner with a piezo pickup. Even a few milligrams of mass reduction by sanding shifts the pitch, so you have to tune carefully. Due to the pentatonic tuning, everyone is able to create melody sequences that are harmonious within themselves.
FILL THE SHAKER
Mrs. D-Argenio, Carpenter.
With our shakers, we also process the cuttings of the Cajon veneers, thus avoiding waste and using our resources down to the last snippet. This is the reason why the colours in the shakers vary. However, the sound components do not change, so that the sound quality always remains the same.
Our Double Shaker is named like that because it is actually made of two sections. A double chamber shaker that allows certain playing techniques that cannot be achieved with a "normal" single chamber shaker. Single shots are as easy to handle as continuous grooves. Here I fill the two chambers with a combination of different shaker beads. The mix here is crucial for the sound, so we use predefined containers to fill the amount and the mix consistently.
MASKING TAPE FOR OUR BODHRAN
Martin Sauer, Cajon Tester and certified Carpenter.
Although originally an Irish folk instrument, the bodhran, with its surprising versatility, can be used wonderfully in other musical styles. Similar to the Cajon, the Bodhran can be used as a complete drumset substitute.
Here I attach the textile band to cover the tuning screws. In addition, the tape provides further stability. Due to our construction, the head can be tuned without tools and can be replaced by standard 14" drumheads. An ingenious drum - you've got to give it a try.
Bernhard Weiser, cabinet maker.
Kai Koesling, master ceramist.
Kai: The udus are thrown, drawn, painted and fired in my small workshop.
This real handcraft is incredibly exhausting. It is important here to achieve the same volume at all times, so that even a tonally matched set is available. This is not possible with all of them, so you simply have to try out whether the desired pitch is available, for applications where this is needed at all.
Bernhard: After firing the Udus are very rough and the playing feel would suffer a lot. So we sand the outer surfaces with fine sanding pads and then apply a double layer of varnish afterwards. Furthermore, this way we can catch any hairline cracks before the lacquer is applied. Because only a flawless udu produces this unique sonorous sound.
Bettina Binder, Logistics/Warehouse.
Since February of this year, however, we have changed over to 100% cotton bags.
Here I am packing an x-One Cajon in this new bag. In this way we save over 1.6 tons of plastic packaging per year, which would go straight into the garbage after unpacking. The cotton bag, on the other hand, can still be used for all sorts of other things. We have also changed our white Cajon boxes to unbleached brown cartons. Climate protection always starts with oneself - if everyone takes part, it has a big effect in the end.
SAND THE LOG DRUM
Bernd Beuerle, cabinet maker.
Here I sand the rounded edges of our 10-tone drum with Wenge soundboard. The radius milling always leaves small marks and edges, which affect the appearance and also the handling. I now sand these surfaces and edges so that they merge seamlessly and do not interfere with playing by hand. We attach the utmost importance to perfectly crafted instruments. In our opinion, an instrument is not only the sum of its parts. Not only the sound, but also the shape, the appropriate materials and the workmanship contribute to the joy of playing an instrument by hand.
SHRED CARBOARD BOXES
Ute Walliser, Shipping Department.
In the beginning, cardboard boxes from surrounding businesses were collected in the workshop and used for shipping our own instruments. In the meantime, however, Schlagwerk instruments have become so popular that the surrounding businesses don't throw away enough packaging that it would be enough for our shipping.
Here I shred our padding and filling material from old packaging from supplier parts or damaged cardboard boxes. This way we avoid waste and always have enough padding material.
This is also part of our directive not to use plastic in our packaging until 2021.
We try to conserve resources wherever possible, even if this is sometimes a little inconvenient.
SCREEN PRINTING SAM JAM
Bünyamin Gökalp, painter.
Sam Jam is a percussion accessory that extends the sound possibilities of a guitar with snare sounds. Here I prepare the finished Sam Jams for printing. We screen print most of the parts ourselves. In this process, the desired printing contour is applied to a screen, whereby the areas in the screen that are not to be printed are impermeable to ink, so that printing ink can only be applied to the work piece through the contour. The position and height of the printing screen is decisive for the printing quality. Especially at the Sam Jam the printing area is very small, an exact adjustment of the equipment is very important.
BORROW CAJON COMPARSA BODY
Stefan Unger, carpenter.
There are two different play areas available at Comparsa. One side represents a kind of quinto sound in pitch, the other resembles a deeper bass tone like a tumba.
Our Cajon Comparsa is a real gem, both acoustically and optically. It is an instrument for ambitious drummers. Here I prepare the solid wood body for gluing.
For acoustic reasons it is important that the frames are glued at right angles. The aspect ratio is precisely defined! If the frames are not in a 90 ° angle to each other, the Comparsa sounds a bit "distorted".
OIL THE FRAME DRUM
Heike Eisch, Joiner.
Some of the materials we use require special care and attention in production, e.g. our goatskin heads for frame drums.
To keep the natural skins durable, I apply in a two-step process biological hard wax and special grease mixed with beeswax. This has three advantages in use. 1. the heads are more supple and easier to tune 2. they are more resistant to environmental factors such as humidity, spores and hand sweat 3. the beeswax content provides antibacterial protection for the heads.
After all, everyone who owns a Schlagwerk frame drum should enjoy it for a really long time. And should the case arise that a skin is no longer playable, we in Gingen can repair it.
CYMBALS QUALITY CONTROL
Markus Schumm, Product Manager.
Our Cajon cymbals are hand hammered by our cymbal smith in Turkey according to our sound specifications. However, as is the case with cymbals of this type, there is a certain spread in the sound characteristics. Even with the greatest care, this can still vary in the post-production phase.
Metal, especially cast B20 bronze, needs as much care as wood in the processing and sometimes has its pitfalls with tensions in the material. Here I compare a new delivery of cymbals with our Master sound sample in-house. If the deviation from the ideal is too strong, I sort out the cymbals. These then go back to the craftsman, are melted down and cast again until they match our sound ideal.
Felix Priel, Joiner.
All the handcrafted components must meet the expectations of a master joiner and the sound must meet the expectations of professional musicians. The renowned quality of Schlagwerk instruments is based on these demands, which still apply today. The journey of an instrument begins with the wood selection. Here I check the direction of the grain or flame or flower (as experts call it) during surface sanding. The pieces are stacked and marked accordingly, so that later on the instrument, the grain points upwards. This has no acoustic effect whatsoever, but the overall impression is enhanced on a subconscious level. It simply looks better.
Sabrina D'Argenio, carpenter. For some of our frame drums we offer a version with a cross support depending on the preferred playing style. These crossbars must withstand the forces that occur during playing. For this reason alone, close tolerances must be maintained in production.
Here I am drilling the joint head into which the cross braces are glued. The four struts then additionally reinforce the drum shell. The head is held in the exact position by a customized template from our workshop. I have to make sure that the drill does not run out of direction at the first contact, otherwise the direction of the struts will not be correct later.
Monika Lauser, Shipping / Final Assembly.
One of our most underestimated instruments is the table tube set. We mount 10 tuned tubes in pentatonic tuning on a wooden frame via a free-floating suspension.
In fact, it is a Schlagwerk specialty that no one else actually builds. In the field of sound and music therapy, this instrument is often used to create room-filling sound landscapes. The trick here is that the tubes can be moved inside the suspension. By moving the tubes the length of the decay can be changed from rather dry and short to never ending.