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The Ludwig Breakbeats kit has been one of the most popular compact drum sets on the market for a few years. It has an excellent low price, along with great playability and visuals.
If you’re looking for a second kit a lot smaller than your main one to use for gigs with tight stages, this could be a great option.
In this review, I’ll explain all the features on offer, along with reasons why this kit is so well-loved.
- 7-ply select hardwood shells
- 45-degree bearing edges
- Compact shell sizes
- Remo Pinstripe drumheads
- Included nylon travel bag set
Ludwig Breakbeats Gallery
The great sound quality is one of the most surprising things about the Ludwig Breakbeats kit. With a relatively low price tag, you’d assume that it wouldn’t sound much better than most entry-level sets. However, the guys at Ludwig have designed this set to surprise you.
The shells are made from select hardwood. While that’s one of the cheapest woods used in shell construction, it still gives the drums balanced tones that are both powerful and highly responsive.
There are seven plies of hardwood on each shell, meaning they have a relatively standard thickness compared to other kits. This gives them a similar amount of volume, even though the shells are smaller.
The kick drum has an incredible amount of punch to it, and you can tune it low enough to compete with most larger kick drums. It just doesn’t have the same oomph behind your beater strokes. Using a microphone for live gigs is the best way of getting past that, though.
The drums have 45-degree bearing edges that do a further job of enhancing the tones and ensuring that they sound great.
The final thing to mention regarding sound is the snare drum. It’s a full-sized snare drum that pairs with the compact tom and bass drum shells. This means that you get a full snare drum tone. It tends to sound fairly thin, but I think it’s a lot better than the smaller snares that come with competing compact kits in the same price range.
This version of the Breakbeats is an updated one from the original. With the original, the hardware quality was its weakest point, as it felt very flimsy and unstable.
This new version has updated hardware to make it feel far more solid and secure. The tom brackets, tom mount, bass drum hoops, and bass drum spurs all feel a lot more premium, and that stops the kit from feeling like a cheap option.
Since the kick drum is so small, it comes with a bass drum riser to allow the bass drum beater to connect with the center of the drumhead.
It comes equipped with Remo Pinstripe drumheads. These are high-quality drumheads that bring out excellent sounds from the drums. Since these come with the kit, you don’t need to swap the stock heads out to get the best sounds.
The included nylon travel bag set keeps the kit safe when transporting it around. These bags are one of the big selling points, as they allow you to carry the entire shell pack over your shoulder.
Value is where the Ludwig Breakbeats drum set really shines. As I said earlier, this is one of the most affordable compact kits on the market. You get a few cheaper ones, but their shell sizes are a lot smaller, and they’re far less versatile in what you can do with them.
The value is boosted even further by the included carry bags. If you don’t own any other drum gear, you’ll just need to get a set of cymbals and hardware to create a full drum kit setup.
You can get all of that comfortably for less than $1000 if you decide to stick with this kit. That’s an excellent deal, especially for beginner and intermediate players.
Just note that you could get a compact maple set that would sound much better than this one, but maple sets cost closer to $1000.
The Breakbeats kit was designed by Questlove with the idea that you can take it with you on trains while traveling through New York City. That just tells you how portable this kit was made to be.
It’s perfectly suited for drummers that don’t have much space to lug a large 6-piece kit to different gigs.
The footprint is very small once you have hardware stands set up around it, and that makes the kit easily fit onto small stages in bars and restaurants.
If you have a car, you could most likely fit the shell pack into the boot of a standard sedan or compact SUV. You may even be able to fit hardware and cymbal bags too.
Your hardware may take up more space on stage, so it’s a great idea to get a lightweight set of hardware to match with the kit.
Versatility is this drum kit’s main weak point. You can tune all the shells quite low to get booming tones, but they’ll still sound very thin compared to the toms and kick drum on a standard drum set.
A kit like this is mostly good for small gigs where you don’t need a lot of volume. The shells don’t give you as much impact as you’d get from larger ones, so it’s definitely not a drum set that you should be using at a high-energy rock gig.
With that being said, it will still work decently, especially if you use drum microphones. If this kit is all you have to use, it won’t sound terrible in larger gig environments. It’s just not ideal. It also doesn’t feel as good to play when playing heavier music.
The Breakbeats set comes in three distinct finishes. These are called Black Sparkle, Blue Sparkle, and Silver Sparkle. These finishes are also updated versions of the original ones, and I think they look a lot cleaner and richer.
The original blue finish that the Breakbeats had looked somewhat cheap, whereas these new finishes don’t give off the same vibe.
The Black Sparkle finish is the most lowkey of the three, while the other two are a lot more vibrant and energetic.
It would be nice to have a few more finish options, but you’ll find that most compact kits that cost under $1000 only have three or four finishes to pick from.
I think the Ludwig Breakbeats is a fantastic drum kit. If you pair it with high-end cymbals, you’ll have a great little pro setup that can be used in smaller gigging environments.
It’s mainly an option for beginner and intermediate drummers, but pros would also be happy with it if they swapped out the snare drum.
It’s an excellent kit option for kids too. The small shells allow you to lower the drums quite a lot, allowing kids to feel as though they’re playing a standard drum set.
With all that said, I wouldn’t get this kit if you have a bigger budget available. You could go with a higher-end compact kit with maple shells that would sound a lot better.
What Comes In The Ludwig Breakbeats Box?
- 14” x 5” snare drum
- 10” x 7” rack tom
- 13” x 13” floor tom
- 16” x 14” kick drum
- Remo Pinstripe heads
- Nylon carry bags
- Tom mount
- Bass drum lift
Ludwig Breakbeats At A Glance
- Excellent kit for gigging in small venues
- Huge sounds from the 16” bass drum
- Included carry bags are convenient for transportation
- Surprisingly good tones from a poplar drum kit
- Great finish options
- One of the most affordable compact drum sets
- Small shell sizes stop it from being versatile
- 16" bass drums are never as effective as larger ones