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Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack 

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Breakbeats by Ludwig marks the return of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson to the drums of his youth. With a setup compact enough for an apartment, cab and ...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

"Break-able" for the gritty, raw backbeats you love.

Breakbeats by Ludwig marks the return of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson to the drums of his youth. With a setup compact enough for an apartment, cab and a coffeehouse, Breakbeats by Ludwig are an ideal companion for the gigging, urban percussionist.

The driving force behind these drums are the 7-ply poplar shells that produce punchy, focused attack with dry, clipped resonance. A 45-degree bearing edge ensures quick, classic shell response, while triple-flanged hoops will endure the best rimshots you can produce. Positioned on an included lift for optimum reach, Breakbeat's 16" x 14" bass drum, 13" x 13" floor tom, 10" x 7" tom and 14" x 5" matching wood snare not only fit into tight places, but also break down quickly.

This shell pack also includes velvet storage bags for a convenient transport option. Additionally, you can use the bags to reduce volume by draping each bag over each drum. Available in three durable wrap finishes, Breakbeats by Questlove has a footprint as "tight" as their namesake.

Cymbals and hardware sold separately.

FEATURES
Configuration
  • Bass drum(s): 16" x 14"
  • Tom(s): 10" x 7"
  • Floor tom(s): 13" x 13"
  • Snare: 14" x 5"
  • Total pieces: 4
  • Hardware: Not applicable
  • Cymbals: Not applicable
  • Shells
  • Shell material: Poplar
  • Construction: 7-Ply
  • Thickness (mm): Info Not Available
  • Bearing edge: 45
  • Reinforcement ring: Not applicable
  • Drum Hardware
  • Material: Steel
  • Mounts: Traditional
  • Hoops: Triple-flange
  • Lugs: Standard
  • Other
  • Heads: Branded
  • Finish type: Wrap
  • Country of origin: China

A pocket kit made to fit the seam of tight grooves. Order today!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
LudwigBreakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack
 
4.6

(based on 48 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (35)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Great sound (34)
  • Versatile (28)
  • Responsive (27)
  • Huge tone (16)
  • Sensitive (16)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Small venues (34)
  • Jazz clubs (25)
  • Accompaniment (19)
  • School bands (7)
  • Soundtracks (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (29), Professional musician (15)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Detailed Review

I received a white sparkle Breakbeats as an unexpected gift from my wife. With some vacation time on my hands and nowhere to go, I ran this kit through the ritual of...Read complete review

I received a white sparkle Breakbeats as an unexpected gift from my wife. With some vacation time on my hands and nowhere to go, I ran this kit through the ritual of evaluation.

BUILD QUALITY

The kit comes in a state of partial assembly. I completely disassembled the kit to inspect all hardware and interiors. Shells (excluding wrap) measured .255" with calipers. The interiors are of a white wood rumored to be poplar, and it appears to be just that. Small knots (not holes) indicate that the wood is not deep heartwood, but it is too white in color to have been taken from the sapwood. In Ludwig tradition, date of manufacture is stamped inside each shell. The exterior sparkle wrap is nicely done, and completely glued to the shell. With the hardware removed I took the opportunity to wax the laminate with NuFinish car wax which really made the sparkle "pop" and provides UV protection (keeps the white from yellowing).

The drums were in-round but it was evident that they were not handled with great care in manufacture. There was indication of a "get 'em done, get 'em out" mentality in production. An example is the holes. Though drilled in the correct places, the drill was "punched through" leaving break-out and rough edges on interior wood and spiral shavings of laminate on the exterior. This is all covered by hardware, but on more expensive drums, more care is taken. Drum "badges" are carefully placed stickers. The edge of the bass drum badge was peeling due to lack of adhesive, and with no way to fix it, I removed it. The stickers look really cheezy. Really, how much can proper drum badges cost?

The chroming on the hardware is very thin, and showed what looks like mild chrome "acne." This appears to be due to imperfections in the substrate surface (which thicker chroming would hide) rather than pitting or corrosion. Bass drum legs and tom mount seem very sturdy, if roughly cast and thinly chromed. The hoops are of very thin gauge steel, thinner than 1.6 mm., and feel as though they would deform under tight tension or rim shots. They are polished bright but I'm not sure that they are chromed. Bass drum hoops are metal, tension claws are stamped steel.

Tuning lug screws all have thick nylon washers. All threads on screws and bolts throughout felt as though they were binding until light grease was applied. I think the un-lubed threads were actually galling (catching and tearing metal). It would be best to lube all threads on all parts before doing anything with this kit.

HEADS

Heads are Remo UT/UC made in China, and are poor. They are impossible to tune evenly and wrinkled no matter what I did. The Bass drum heads were passable. Both bass drum heads are thick and both have an interior dampening Mylar ring.

BASS DRUM

With the supplied heads the kick sounds surprisingly deep for a 16" but is quite quiet. The riser is a knock-off of the Gibraltar SC-BDPM, and is of simple design but works well for getting the beater to strike nearer the center of the head. Some people have complained about the pedal linkage hitting the rim. If you put the riser in the lowest position, most modern pedals will clear the rim. If you extend the riser fully, you will likely need to set the pedal back a little. Set low, the beater hits a little off-center (pedal set for center of 22" kick). I detected no difference in sound from behind or in front of the kit regardless of how the riser was set. However, the drum is beater sensitive. With a felt beater, there is an "ooom." A plastic beater drastically increases attack. If you want to change out the batter, the only company I know of making 16" kicks is Aquarian , which is fortunate because their heads are excellent.

TOM TOM

The tiny tom has memory locks for both the down-tube and the L-arm, but the receiving notch in the hardware is quite shallow. This is not Ludwig's regular stuff. I replaced both heads with Evans coated (G2 on top, G12 on bottom sounded best to my ears). The sound is "woody" and very pleasing. Owing to the low-density wood, the drum can be deeper than you would expect, but can be tuned up higher for jazz. Volume is attenuated, which is a good thing if playing in intimate venues. Being accustomed to suspension mounts, this drum lacked sustain with the supplied mount. Unmounted and held with two fingers sustain is very nice. If one were to obtain a suspension mount, one would also need to obtain a mounting bracket, as the hole-spacing of the brackets (same for tom mount and floor tom legs) is less than 2".

FLOOR TOM

The 13"x13" floor tom was outfitted with G12s top and bottom. The drum surprised me for how low it sounds. The rough legs terminate in cheezy hard and thin rubber feet, which diminish sustain but on my sample didn't choke the tone. Gibralter floating feet may wring the potential out of this drum.

SNARE DRUM

The snare drum is made of the same wood in the same thickness as the rest of the kit and is very light for a snare drum. To my amazement, snare beds are present. The strainer and butt are cheaply stamped and chromed, but are rather heavy-duty, and worked very smoothly after they were disassembled, cleaned, and properly lubed. Engagement is not positive, kind of sliding into place, but it stays put.

I pride myself on being able to get any snare drum to sound good with proper tuning. This one frustrated me. The drum sounded completely unfocused and "boingy." To try to fix it without putting money into it, I sanded the interior using 220, 400, and 1,000 grit paper. I applied a coat of clear satin wood wax to the wood, let it dry for a day, and buffed it out for an hour while watching a movie, to produce a glass-like sonically-reflective satin surface. The supplied reso head seemed too thick. I found a reso head from an Acrolite and the Acro's original wires, which were better than the ones that came with the Breakbeats. After installing the head, I affixed the wires with grosgrain ribbon, ditching the thick plastic straps that came with it. I found a G1 in my old stock, and came across a 2.3 mm 14" top S-hoop of 8-lug configuration I had forgotten about. The effect of these was cumulative but of all the things I did, I think the heavier hoop was the source of the single greatest improvement in sound.

The results were not amazing, but the improvements did make for a drum that is at least usable. Due to the soft, low-density wood it is quiet and dry, lacking "crack," but it is surprisingly sensitive and articulate with the improvements, and has a low, "EQ'd sound" that works well in small venues where a better snare might be overwhelming. After the enhancements it sounds like a real snare drum, but not one you'd buy if it didn't come with the kit.

OVERALL

As this is a shell pack, I added some hardware I had on hand: a lightweight snare basket, a lightweight hi had stand, and a lightweight cymbal stand to mount a single crash-ride. Much more hardware than that would defeat the purpose of this light little portable kit.

The whole shell pack easily fits in the back seat of my '02 Mazda sedan. When I took it to its first Jazz Jam, the other musicians poked fun at its diminutive size, until I started playing it. They all commented that they could not believe that such a tiny kit sounded so good. The best part, though, was carrying it in and out of the venue. The drums fit in a set of SKB soft cases (the bass drum, even with all the extra hardware on it, fits in a 16x16 SBK floor tom case; btw, the supplied bags are useless). The snare drum went in an Acrolite backpack case. With snare on my back, I was able to transport the two lightweight toms in my left hand, and the bass drum slung over my right shoulder up the rickety and unrailed switch-back stairs to the Jazz Coop. One more trip with a backpack cymbal bag and carrying a hardware bag is all the gear-schlepping I had to do. Never before have I been able to get all my gear in by myself in two trips.

BOTTOM LINE

The kit looks great, is lightweight and sounds surprisingly good. Necessary upgrades include better batter and reso heads on snare and toms, and a heavier top hoop for the snare drum. Floating floor tom feet, better snare wires and 1.6 mm hoops all around, and perhaps an isolation mount for the tom would be an improvement, but I'm not sure it's worth putting that much money into this kit.

At less cost than a quality snare drum, the Breakbeats are what they are. Not high-end drums, they nevertheless look and sound better than I expected. They play well, amaze the audience and other musicians, and are quick to sto-and-go. They're cool in a kind of a riding-a-tiny-bicycle sort of way.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not bad for the price

This kit is cool, but the quality is sketchy everywhere you look. But for the price, it's expected. Replace the heads. It will tune up surprisingly well. The 16" bass...Read complete review

This kit is cool, but the quality is sketchy everywhere you look. But for the price, it's expected. Replace the heads. It will tune up surprisingly well. The 16" bass drum is fun. The riser (as with all bass drum risers I have ever tried) forces you to put the pedal a bit too far away from the drum so the chain doesn't hit the rim of the drum as you play- the feel is a little weird. The included bags are worthless. All in all, I wonder if the Sonor Safari has better quality for about the same money. Oh well.... would I buy this again- no. But it does what I wanted - small footprint- finish has a cool 70's look- can carry around easy.

Reviewed by 48 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Amazing Little Kit

By Jaytear

from Nevada City, CA

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Great looking
  • Great Sound

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Recording
    • Small Venues

    Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

    I use this kit in my three piece band. We play a lot of electronic pop and this kit is actually perfect for it. I cut out a 16" drum head and rest it on top of the snare drum and now it's one of my favorite snares ever. For the price you can't beat this kit!

     
    5.0

    Big Time sound in a Small-gig kit

    By Father Fury

    from Dallas Texas

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Great Sound
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Small Venues

      Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

      Fantastic Kit. I will always, for as long as I live, own a breakbeat kit. The kit is small and compact like advertised, and has a sound that will dominate any gig or jam session. Although I have been unable to figure out the drum kick riser, I do not require it anyways, but it is nice that they provide one for those who do. The only hardware this kit does not come with is cymbals, a snare stand or a kick pedal. I love this kit and wished that this was my first kit, because the minimalist set-up is inspiring creativity like never before. 10/10

       
      4.0

      Great little drum set

      By SteveK

      from Scranton, PA

      About Me Professional Musician

      See all my reviews

      Pros

      • Good sound

      Cons

      • factory heads, riser

      Best Uses

      • Accompaniment
      • Jazz Clubs
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

      I bought these drums to use on restaurant and acoustic gigs. I play in a lot of situations where "stage" space is limited so these drums seemed about as small as I could get and still be practical.
      Considering the drum set costs less than a good snare drum, I'm quite happy with the construction and quality. The black sparkle finish is good quality with no blemishes. The hardware is nice too. Rims are a bit cheap feeling but not a huge deal.

      The factory heads look like Remo pinstripes with Ludwig logo but suck tremendously. They had very little tone and felt dead at lower tuning. I threw some Evans G2 clear heads on the toms and bass and, in my opinion, greatly improved the sound.

      The 16 inch bass drum is cool. The riser that comes with the drum set doesn't fit my DW pedal so I'm not using the riser. As a result, my bass drum beater hits off center. Not a huge deal for me because I'm using this as a light acoustic kit. If you want to get the most punch out of this little bass drum, you're going to want a good riser! Maybe the riser that's included works better with brands other than DW.

      The snare drum will be sold to a student who will love it.

      The bags are nothing much more than a dust cover. I thought I might be able use them as gig bags but I think they're going to be too awkward to carry them around by their drawstrings. Ludwig says you can use the bags as a mute to get a boxy, thuddy sound. I guess they work for that.

      Overall, with new heads, these drums are going to be great for restaurant gigs, small community theatre productions, etc. When it's time to turn up the volume, I'll bring my regular kit with standard sizes. If you need a throw around kit that looks good, saves space on stage and saves your good drums from wear and tear, I'd totally recommend this kit.

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Defective garbage

      By Don't buy

      from Florida

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

        Cons

        • Flat Sound
        • Not Sensitive
        • Poorly Made

        Best Uses

          Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

          Came in defective and MF didn't even want to help me fix it. They suggested buying a replacement part instead. Kick drum broken. Set up the rest and even with good heads put on, they sound cheap.

          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          No Regrets

          By John

          from undisclosed

          See all my reviews

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

          I was looking for a punchy, lighter, smaller, everyday gig worthy kit that could still deliver a big drum sound. I was pleasantly surprised how well this set tuned up. At this point I don't see any need to add any type of muffling to any of the drums to get the sound I'm looking for. That's a bid deal because depending on the gig I mic, trigger, and go straight up acoustic. Tuned as is, it should work great for any gig.

          First gig is this weekend on a large out door stage and I can't wait to give it a go.

          Quality: The drums look and sound great. However, with a closer look, it is very clear this kit does not have the quality hardware and finish you would expect on a more expensive drum set. As a drummer that has been playing gigs since the 70's, it is great to show your students you don't need to spend a ton of money on a drum set to get that great pro sound.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Mighty mite...

          By William

          from undisclosed

          See all my reviews

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

          I've owned a few compact kits and the Breakbeats are one of the better sounding. Surprisingly toneful for their small size. I found not real problems with the stock heads. The drums tuned easily though I had a bit more difficulty with the floor but overall no issues. The snare sounds better than I expected. I love the blue sparkle color.

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Love these little drums!

          By TWeed

          from Louisiana

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Great Sound
          • Responsive
          • Sensitive
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Small Venues

            Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

            I really dig these littles drums right out of the box with very little tuning they sounded great, real punchy for a small kit. More than I expected!! Very small, light weight easy for small venues without sacrificing sound.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Breakbeats

            By bearded drummer

            from south elgin il

            About Me Experienced

            See all my reviews

            Verified Buyer

            Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

            I do like the sizes , with a few upgrades its dialed in now and perfect for my townhouse!

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            These drums are awesome

            By Brandon

            from Dublin, OH

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Great Sound
            • Responsive

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Small Venues

              Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

              This kit is absolutely perfect for playing in small places and easy setup/tear down. The small dimensions on the drums give a killer punch to the drums, and make them easy to fit into even the smallest rooms. The bags that come with the drums are awesome, although they don't muffle the drums quite as much as the ads make it sound, but they do decent.

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Kit!

              By Jim

              from Parma Heights

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Great Sound
              • Responsive
              • Versatile

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jazz Clubs
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

                Used mostly on the left hand side of a Ludwig Vistalite Zep kit, this kit does all I want it to do and more. Unmistakable Ludwig sound allows the two kits to blend easily. When used as a stand alone kit, this kit kicks it, and that's with the factory heads! The blue azure wrap is well applied. The extra clamp on the tom mount allowed me to attach a 20" China. I'm VERY impressed with this kit, just a great, great sound all the way around!
                The metal bass drum hoops have a channel running thru the center of it (this affects riser attachment, cowbell attachment) but it's livable. My Tama Speed Cobra pedal attaches easily and securely without rubbing on the riser, and if it did that's an easy fix. The finish of the lugs aren't like they are off a high end Ludwig, though the functioning is. Nice nylon isolation washers do the job well too.
                The 45' bearing edge top smooth without chips or splinters.
                The snare throw off is impressive and works VERY well for me with no "clunkiness". The Tom mount is top notch!
                Overall a GREAT buy, Ludwig & Questlove delivered!

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