Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is the drummer for ‘The Roots’, a band that frequently gigs around New York and is the in-house band for ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’.
The Breakbeats kit is a drum kit that was designed by Ludwig with the help of Questlove. It’s designed to be an easily portable kit that packs a punch. So, let’s see what it has to offer.
Ludwig Breakbeats Overview
The shells of the kit come in the following sizes:
- 14” x 5” snare drum
- 10” x 7” rack tom
- 13” x 13” floor tom
- 16” x 14” kick drum
The kit comes with a mount for the rack tom, a riser for the kick drum pedal and a full set of nylon bags for storage.
These drums are made from a 7-ply hardwood that gives them a full-sized sound. This sound projects surprisingly well for such a small kit. The kit is loud enough in small rooms to compete with amplified guitars and vocals. It’s also great for playing outdoors and perfect for busking. However, the kit will have to be mic’d up to be heard properly in bigger venues.
The toms are fitted with 2-ply Remo Pinstripes, giving them a warm, full sound that doesn’t have a lot of sustain. They have a wide tuning range, making this kit very versatile when it comes to playing different styles of music. It will work well in jazz, funk, or even rock settings.
The best part of the kit is the floor tom. It produces a huge sound when tuned low, similar to that of a 16” floor tom. Playing Gene Krupa-style floor tom solos on it will sound really good. You just won’t feel it as much as you would with a 16” tom.
The kick drum also sounds big and boomy when tuned low, which is surprising because of how small it is. It’s great for getting that high ringing jazz tone when tuned high. Similar to the floor tom, you just won’t feel it as strongly as you would when playing a 20” kick drum.
The weak point of this kit is the snare drum. It sounds quite weak compared to the rest of the kit and it doesn’t have a lot of low end. However, this is to be expected from a compact drum kit.
A lot of compact kits come with low quality snare drums. Most drummers end up replacing the snare with a better one that they like to use. It will be the same story with the Ludwig Breakbeats kit.
The kit comes with nylon bags to put the drums in when traveling. These bags are quite light and don’t offer that much protection to the drums, but they’re good for taking the drums across town and keeping the dust away.
They also work quite well as sound dampeners when playing at a gig. You can put them inside the kick drum to muffle it a bit.
The Ludwig Breakbeats comes as a shell pack, meaning there are no stands or pedals included. You’ll have to buy those separately if you don’t have them before getting this kit.
The kick drum has a clamp that holds the tom mount. This clamp is quite small and doesn’t affect how the kit looks from an aesthetic point of view. There’s a tom mount support inside the kick drum that reduces stress on the shell. This allows the kick drum to produce a full tone without being affected by the mounted tom.
The kick drum has a riser for the pedal. This riser lifts the kick drum up so that the beater of the kick pedal hits the center of the drum. Any drum will produce it’s most full sound when hit in the middle, which is why the kick drum riser is such a great feature.
The legs of the floor tom are quite long, allowing you to raise the floor tom quite high. This is great for drummers who like to sit high. A lot of compact kits have small legs on their floor toms, stopping you from raising the floor tom high enough to be comfortable.
The rims of the drums look sleek and professional. All the hardware of the kit fits together well and makes it look great on a stage.
Benefits of Having this Kit
The biggest selling point of the Ludwig Breakbeats is that it is a portable compact kit. What does that actually mean and how does it benefit you?
Well, one of the worst parts about being a drummer is the constant set up and pack up routine when playing gigs. We have to lug a huge number of gears from your car to the stage while the singer of the band chats up with the ladies at the venue.
The Breakbeats kit makes that process a whole lot easier. It doesn’t weigh much and it has smaller drum sizes that are easy to hold onto. Carrying this kit around is an easy task compared to carrying around a standard size kit.
Questlove is a musician from New York, a place where most people don’t have their own cars and have to carry gear around subways and in taxis. This kit was designed with that in mind.
You could use this kit as your one and only drum kit. However, it will work best as a second kit. It’s made for gigging, so use it to play gigs while your big and luxurious set sits comfortably in your practice room.
If you live in an apartment where noise is an issue, you could use this kit as a practice option. Kit it out with some silent drumheads and cymbals and you’re good to go.
It doesn’t take up a lot of space, making it easy to place anywhere in your apartment. I have a list of some of the best low volume cymbals here to go along with the drums.
Finally, the Ludwig Breakbeats kit is very affordable. You won’t break the bank to get it, making it really accessible to have as a gigging drum kit. It’s also a great option for beginners who don’t want to spend too much on a drum kit. You’d just have to buy a set of cymbals and hardware to go along with it.
The great thing about the Ludwig Breakbeats kit is that it’s suitable for all levels of drummers, from children to pro drummers. Apart from the snare drum, it has a great sound that will fit in most situations. You could play with this kit in your jazz band or in your heavy rock band.
Again, remember that it doesn’t come with hardware or cymbals. I have a list of some of the best hardware packs here. I've also written about some of the best hi-hats, crashes, splashes and chinas.
Ludwig and Questlove have provided a great compact solution here. The Breakbeats kit is a great investment for anyone looking for a portable kit that packs a punch.