This instrument is a handy tool for Drum Circle Facilitators, who want drums and percussion instruments that are portable and affordable with ease of use and newbie access to tonal options.

One can play it with the hands, or with slit drum style superball mallets.

To see's other products, visit their site.


The LapDrum from SlapDrum
Review by Eric Stuer

We have been Linking to Chris Nissen's for some time now, and being the wood sounds fanatic that I am, from time to time I would go and look at the slapdrums. One day it became evident that Chris had come up with a new idea in cajones - the Lapdrum. At 13"x13"x4", this drum would be a first, a drum that one could stack several of in the back seat with ease, or store on a book shelf with the books, but big in sound, with depth and richness of tone. We decided to contact him and obtain a Lapdrum. At $60 retail, the drum is a good deal less expensive than many other custom cajones we have seen..

Our Lapdrum arrived after less than a week. Upon opening it, the first thing we noticed was that it was untreated, with no varnish, laquer, or other substance applied. We do want to protect the wood, so we may soon go out and get a can of tung oil and apply a light coat. The wood grain is truly gorgeous. The two 'heads' are made of two kinds of wood; Birch and Luan, with Walnut trim. I presume that the birch side is the one Chris considers the 'top' or playable head, but to me, both sides will be useful; I currently find myself playing the thinner Luan side more often.

The tone is rich, with the low 'doum' sounding F4, and the volume is ample for a cajon. The Lapdrum can be approached from a variety of playing positions. The obvious one is horizontally on the lap, but to get the full sound you have to be careful to open your legs a bit to allow the bottom head to resonate; this takes a bit of getting used to. It responds well to conga style playing, though, and to freehand, and will be a decent traveling practice companion for a drummer who wants to practice, but is away from his drums..

Another solid option is holding it vertically, on one leg, with the non-dominant hand resting on the top. I use the port hole to bend the pitch, and with the port hole on top, it is also more accessible to a microphone..Doumbek and Frame drum techniques work on it in this position.

For the freelance percussionist, it will make a handy little drum for an acoustic guitar ensemble in a restaurant or club setting, for example.

All in all, I am very satisfied with my Lapdrum, and I plan to check out more of these instruments, including the smaller but taller 12x12x6" Kids Lapdrum and the Grande Slit Drum, Mother of all slit drums, a big 22x11x10 inches and 10 warm tones...I recommend Slapdrum idiophones to all drum circle facilitators, teachers and players..Good work, Chris..

Eric Stuer, 2004

Sound files:

rubato sounds on the birch head

Lapdrum with Ipu and Shekere

Hear how the Slapdrum blends with other instruments, in this case an Ipu from the Gourd Connection,

along with a
Haitian Shekere and another small shaker. I layered them in one at a time, with the Lapdrum on the bottom..The bass is prominent because of the mike placement. In an acoustic setting, the placement and direction of the sound hole affects the resulting sound quite a bit.


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