Our hunt for a keenly priced, great sounding drum kit for travel, small gigs, bedroom playing and street busking stops here. Enter Ludwig’s Breakbeats, a dynamic sounding mini kit developed by Root’s drummer Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson (who has also played on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’).
The Breakbeats shell pack is comprised of a cute 14x16-inch bass drum, a small 7x10-inch rack tom, an equally petite 13x13-inch floor tom and a 5x14-inch wooden snare. It’s available in three sparkle options – black, red and silvery white. As is the case with most professional drums, it doesn’t come with any hardware like stands or cymbals, so bear that in mind when ordering.
As the Breakbeats’ bass drum is so small, it comes equipped with a bass drum riser that attaches to the rear hoop, raising the bass drum several inches so the pedal’s beater is able to strike the head in the centre, rather than near the top hoop. This gives the impression that the whole bass drum is floating. However, aside from some overly stiff lugs here and there (expected at this keen price level), the only real issue with the kit is that the supplied bass drum riser’s pedal plate is too short to accommodate some bass drum pedals without their drive chains scraping against the rear hoop. We solved the issue by slipping a 10mm nut between the two connecting plates and now all is well. Incidentally, some users have also solved the problem by fitting Gibraltar’s SC-BDPM bass drum riser, so perhaps also consider that solution if your bass drum pedal doesn’t fit.
The above riser issue should in no way put you off buying this kit because it sounds fantastic. You and your fellow musos won’t believe the depth and punch that pours out of this titchy bass drum. Granted, it can’t compete acoustically with a big 22-inch but jab a mic in its direction when performing live and it’ll sound huge. However, you may wish to remove the front head and stuff a small towel gently against the batter head to prevent multiple rebounds when burying the beater. Some users have also cut a small porthole in the front resonant head to let the air out quicker and make it easier to mic.
The same level of depth and punch apply to the 10-inch rack tom and 13-inch floor. Both can be tuned down much further than you’d imagine to produce a rich, woody tone that far belies their respective dimensions. To be honest, their ease of tuning and out-of-the box oomph actually set the cat among the pigeons, causing this long-term drummer to revisit his full-sized £2,000 DW kit to see if I could get as good a sound out of them. However, I do wonder whether a 13-inch snare drum would have made it a bit more portable and more in keeping with the size of the rest of the shells but, hey, it eventually sounded great after tightening the snare head to table-top tension (even though the rear lugs were incredibly stiff).
If you’re looking for an extremely capable and superbly priced travel-sized kit that truly delivers then go forth and order a set right away. It’s the perfect kit for taxi travel, small venues and bedroom practicing, and an ideal high-quality starter kit for kids. Warmly recommended.