Ludwig Breakbeats question

roncadillac

Member
I know this kit is covered in other threads but the topics about it tend to trail off so I am specifically curious:

Is anyone using one of these as a gigging kit for non-jazz stuff? (Pop, rock, hip hop, whatever)

Do you experience any issues and/or have you had to make any gig necessary upgrades?

I know the bass drum riser is known to be a pain but once you get it set properly and familiar with it... Is it sturdy? Can it handle say a 60 min set in a club?

I'm not a basher but I'm also not always a jazz-quiet kinda guy either and am really considering one of these for a gigging kit but am concerned about it's durability. I'm also looking at the pearl midtown, which seems much more sturdy and is much better reviewed, but costs almost double for basically the same thing. I sometimes drive up to 3 hours round trip to play a single gig so I need something that doesn't take up much space but also won't require bringing an extra set of "just in case" parts, drums, etc. I'm not new to small drums either, I gigged a Tama cocktail jam but it's shallow depths just didn't punch enough. I switched to a club jam mini yet the shallow bass drum and 12" snare just lose all of their "umph" when I'm not in a small room. I don't expect a thunderous Bonham sound from the Breakbeats or midtown but extensive video research keeps showing me their shell depths and ratio of depth to diameter have been lending a much less 'flat' sound then I've been getting.
 
Last edited:

trickg

Silver Member
A friend of mine uses a set of Breakbeats for non-jazz gigs, and he says he gets a lot of positive comments about how that kit sounds in the context of some of the stuff they play - they do mostly covers, so it includes stuff like Green Day.
 

roncadillac

Member
A friend of mine uses a set of Breakbeats for non-jazz gigs, and he says he gets a lot of positive comments about how that kit sounds in the context of some of the stuff they play - they do mostly covers, so it includes stuff like Green Day.
Recently shared a bill with a band who's drummer used one and through the house PA, he honestly had the best drum sound of the night and one of the best I've heard recently. They started off folky but finished with strong, loud, Jimi style psychedelic jam type stuff and his drums delivered. The only thing I noticed is he had terrible bass drum creep on carpet. I didn't get to talk to him after but they always stuck in my mind.

ALSO, my wife (who really doesn't like new drums coming into the house unless old ones go out) always makes it a point to say something like "those look cool" or "questlove's new kit is really nice" which helps my situation haha.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I don't know anything about the Breakbeats, but I do own a Midtown. I play tons of double kick and the little kit just takes it. My wife got it for me as a Valentine's gift in 2016. The only issue is once you attach the pedal, the riser is about 1/4" off the ground. When I run my feet the kick rocks slightly, but a piece of wood between the riser and floor solves the problem. It doesn't do it when playing "normal".

I really can't say enough about the quality of the Pearl. The fit and finish is spectacular, the kick hoops are wood with the batter side having a cutout so the beater shaft(s) doesn't contact the hoop, it tunes up just fine (the tension rods are super smooth) and sounds good, and is just a blast to play. The kick doesn't creep on carpet either.

It's like driving a go-cart. Sure your normal car is nice, but the go-cart will always be fun.
 

roncadillac

Member
I don't know anything about the Breakbeats, but I do own a Midtown. I play tons of double kick and the little kit just takes it. My wife got it for me as a Valentine's gift in 2016. The only issue is once you attach the pedal, the riser is about 1/4" off the ground. When I run my feet the kick rocks slightly, but a piece of wood between the riser and floor solves the problem. It doesn't do it when playing "normal".

I really can't say enough about the quality of the Pearl. The fit and finish is spectacular, the kick hoops are wood with the batter side having a cutout so the beater shaft(s) doesn't contact the hoop, it tunes up just fine (the tension rods are super smooth) and sounds good, and is just a blast to play. The kick doesn't creep on carpet either.

It's like driving a go-cart. Sure your normal car is nice, but the go-cart will always be fun.
I've read so many reviews of the midtown stating basically the same thing. All of the regular "complaints" about the Breakbeats seem to be solved with the midtown. I'm still not sure that it's worth almost double the price... I say that now, that stupid Breakbeats riser fails one single time during a gig and I'll be wishing I spent the extra $200 lol.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I've read so many reviews of the midtown stating basically the same thing. All of the regular "complaints" about the Breakbeats seem to be solved with the midtown. I'm still not sure that it's worth almost double the price... I say that now, that stupid Breakbeats riser fails one single time during a gig and I'll be wishing I spent the extra $200 lol.
The riser on the Midtown won't fail. It penetrates the shell. It's basically a tom mount on the bottom. There is a memory lock on the riser post, it's a set and forget thing.

Perhaps you could get GC to allow you to A/B the two kits, or find some used ones you could try out.

I am a Pearl guy, but am also brutally honest. If the kit sucked, I would for sure tell you.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I've been using a Gretsch Catalina Bop kit for a year or so - I picked it up as a means to have something smaller and more compact to transport so that I could have two kits for whatever situation, big and small, and so that I could keep one kit set up as a practice kit with another one in the cases.

I've been using my Catalina as the house kit at the church where I play, with the two biggest distinctions being the size of the kick and floor tom - 18 as opposed to 22, and 14 as opposed to 16. Theoretically it was to cut down on some volume, but the truth is it thumps plenty big, and I wind up using split rods on it to keep volume down in that sanctuary. With that said, I'd have no qualms about gigging this kit in a bigger place.

The riser for the kick is basically the Gibraltar riser that attaches to the hoop. I haven't messed with it a single time since I put it on a year ago - the Midtown riser might be better, but this one gets the job done.
 

hawksmoor

Senior Member
I know this kit is covered in other threads but the topics about it tend to trail off so I am specifically curious:

Is anyone using one of these as a gigging kit for non-jazz stuff? (Pop, rock, hip hop, whatever)

Do you experience any issues and/or have you had to make any gig necessary upgrades?

I know the bass drum riser is known to be a pain but once you get it set properly and familiar with it... Is it sturdy? Can it handle say a 60 min set in a club?

I'm not a basher but I'm also not always a jazz-quiet kinda guy either and am really considering one of these for a gigging kit but am concerned about it's durability. I'm also looking at the pearl midtown, which seems much more sturdy and is much better reviewed, but costs almost double for basically the same thing. I sometimes drive up to 3 hours round trip to play a single gig so I need something that doesn't take up much space but also won't require bringing an extra set of "just in case" parts, drums, etc. I'm not new to small drums either, I gigged a Tama cocktail jam but it's shallow depths just didn't punch enough. I switched to a club jam mini yet the shallow bass drum and 12" snare just lose all of their "umph" when I'm not in a small room. I don't expect a thunderous Bonham sound from the Breakbeats or midtown but extensive video research keeps showing me their shell depths and ratio of depth to diameter have been lending a much less 'flat' sound then I've been getting.
I have gigged the Breakbeats kit regularly for one particularly small venue we play at, and it serves its purpose well, although I've changed all the heads and added wooden bass drum hoops. The one thing I would point out is some pedals, owing to the the size and/or positioning of the cams, or the overall design of the pedal in general, will not be usable on the Breakbeats kit with the riser.

My Tama Speed Demon is fine with it, but an old Iron Cobra isn't. The cam simply touches the head meaning the beater won't reach it. If I remember rightly, some DW Pedals can't be used, but I can't swear on that. The Iron Cobra works fine without the riser, but then the beater hits at the top of the bass drum head without the riser. To be fair, none of my beaters hit dead center even with the riser.
 

trickg

Silver Member
My friend with the Breakbeats uses DW 9000 pedals - he's never mentioned anything about the drum riser being a problem. That's not to say that it hasn't been, but only to say that he's never commented on it.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
My friend has a Breakbeats kit and he gigs with it. He lives on the beach, the air is salty. After about two years he sees corrosion appearing on the hardware. The screws on the floor tom legs broke, he had to replace them. The kit sounds good. He replaced all the heads with Remo pinstripe batters and single ply resonators.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'd get a Sonor Players or Martini kit before the Breakbeats kit. Any kit with the word break in it...

I've never heard anyone who really gushed about the Breakbeat kits.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I look forward to the day that I'm blown away by a kick drum that's smaller than 20". I've not played or heard an 18" or smaller kick that I liked (but I'm just a hick from the foothills south of the Mason Dixon line. What do I know?).
 

roncadillac

Member
I went into a local shop today that I knew had a Breakbeats kit set up on the floor just so I could check it out, very happy I did... The shells were really bad. I fully understand that I'm talking about $400 drums with hardwood shells and am not expecting pro level quality but these didn't even look finished. The snare side edge was particularly bad (arguably the most important one on the whole kit) in that they cut the edge into wood knots so it was cracking/crumbling at the edge. Frayed/splintered wood was sticking out all around the interiors and edges as well. My tama club jam mini (and the identically priced 4 piece club jam kit sitting next to it) have pristine edges, smooth interiors, and are absolutely true/flat. From that alone I'll pass on the Breakbeats. Pearl may be getting some money from me soon lol.

Thanks for the responses everyone!
 

trickg

Silver Member
I look forward to the day that I'm blown away by a kick drum that's smaller than 20". I've not played or heard an 18" or smaller kick that I liked (but I'm just a hick from the foothills south of the Mason Dixon line. What do I know?).
In hindsight I wish I'd have gotten the Catalina with the 20" kick instead - the 18" gets it done, but it's lacking in bottom end.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
In hindsight I wish I'd have gotten the Catalina with the 20" kick instead - the 18" gets it done, but it's lacking in bottom end.
Maybe I should back-peddle a bit...I DID have a Sonor Bop kit at one point w/an 18" kick. It sounded horrid sitting behind the kit, but out front it sounded really good. I know that there's going to be a difference in sound out front, but the difference in this instance was borderline illogical. I mean, it sounded great out front; however, I never wanted to practice on it because it sounded so bad from the driver's seat.
 

roncadillac

Member
I saw an ingenious fix to the "pedal hitting the rim" issue: where the two pieces of the riser attach to each other (top hoop clamp and bottom pedal lip) simply add 1-2 metal washers to the two bolts to create or act as spacers between the two pieces. Sets your bottom pedal lip plate back from the top hoop grip plate by just a few millimeters, just enough to clear the hoop.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
The Breakbeats kit is great for what it is. I've played lots of blues gigs with an amplified acoustic guitar and amplified upright bass. Maybe one step up in volume from a traditional jazz setup. It works well.

@roncadillac , I'm not sure if the Breakbeats kit you saw is in shambles or just a dud, but mine has none of those issues you described. Sure, the wood is soft, but the edges are excellent on mine.

About the riser...it works just fine if you tighten it enough like @theseer2 said. I've even used that riser on my Renown 20" bass and have had no problems.

As with most 16" bass drums with risers, the cam often hits the rim because it's too close. This was an issue on my Breakbeats kit using my DW 9000 and my older Iron Cobra pedal. I had to carefully position the pedal just shy of hitting the rim each time. However, when I got my Speed Cobra the problem went away. It has a cam that's positioned about an inch further back...there's no chance of hitting the rim. Before, positioning the pedal further away from the head messed with the physics of the stroke. The pedal had to travel further to reach the surface of the head, and it threw off the balance a little. With the Speed Cobra it now feels great.

The floor tom legs weren't long enough on the Breakbeats kit. They were laughably short for me (I'm 6'1"). I bought Gibraltar legs and it works fine now.

I'm a HUGE fan of the SuperKick II on 16" bass drums. It's a must for the Breakbeats kit...it turned it into a miniature cannon compared to the original head!

With all that said...if I were starting over again and needed a budget bop kit...I'd spend an extra $100 and get a Yamaha Stage Custom Bop kit. It's a solid step up in quality and sound IMO. That's not a knock on the Breakbeats kit, it's still good for $400, it's just not as good as the Stage Customs.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Maybe I should back-peddle a bit...I DID have a Sonor Bop kit at one point w/an 18" kick. It sounded horrid sitting behind the kit, but out front it sounded really good. I know that there's going to be a difference in sound out front, but the difference in this instance was borderline illogical. I mean, it sounded great out front; however, I never wanted to practice on it because it sounded so bad from the driver's seat.
I don't get on with anything smaller than 20 as well. I'm missing nothing with a 20. Big difference, those 2 inches.
I used to practice with a band that had a Cat Club 18" bass drum there. It was almost distressing for me, I was hitting it and nothing was happening. Like a bad dream. I felt like a cat trying to capture a laser pointer dot, totally frustrating. I had to buy a cheap kit to replace it with.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I have gigged a Breakbeats kit several times with a rock band in small venues. I'm not a basher but it has held up just fine.
I was always struck with how good it sounded for such small sizes.
I do use a different snare, but otherwise it is stock apart from the kick heads (PS3 batter, Aquarian Regulator reso).
Here's a short video so you can see how it sounds:
 
Top