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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Set » User review

Big sounding kit in a small form factor and drop dead beautiful

  • Aug 31, 2013
  • by
The finish on this kit is gorgeous. It has to be seen in person to be appreciated because the photos do not begin to do it justice. I have the model with the azure sparkle finish, which is identical except for the wrap. When I saw this one up close and personal I immediately set about scheming about how much I could get for mine because this is simply stunning.

However, there is a lot more to this kit than looks. It's priced in the same range as a decent ride cymbal, but is a serious kit that puts out a big sound for such a small form factor. Also Ludwig managed to put this out without cutting too many corners.

The snare drum which is the weak link. It is not horrible. Mediocre would be a kinder way of putting it. The sound is unfocused no matter how I tuned it, even after replacing the heads with a Remo coated Ambassador on top and a Diplomat snare side (my preferred configuration). What made it come alive was to dress the bearing edges and coat the inside of the shell. Contact me or do a search for 'Hey Jude ... Take a Bad Drum and Make it Better' on the web and you will be taken to an article I wrote about tweaking these low cost kits.

The toms and bass drum have a wonderful lower fundamental that is partly from the basswood from which the shells are made and partly from the roundover on the bearing edges. Ludwig uses 45 degree edges, but have rounded them to limit attack and provide a lower pitch sound. However, you can tune the bass and toms from bebop high to super low. I was surprised by the wide tuning range. More importantly the 13x13 floor tom is super easy to dial in. It's one of the few square drums I have come across that is not a chore to tune. By square I mean that the depth and diameter are the same.

I was expecting the 7x10 rack tom to be too high pitched, but it tunes down nicely. And the 14x16 bass drum is responsive and sounds a lot bigger than it is. My only wish is Ludwig would have made this drum 12 inches deep instead of 14. That would have made it even more responsive (assuming you are playing off the head instead of burying the beater for each note).

The center post tom mount is not only very functional, but it has a clamp opposite the tom mount that allows you to mount a ride cymbal directly off your bass drum. This eliminates a stand, lightening your load and reducing the footprint of the kit. I am using a Tama Cymbal Holder 12 Inch that allows me to mount a 22" ride.

Among the features I do not care for is the bass drum riser. In my opinion it is another weak link because it changes the relative geometry of your beater to bass drum head. Frankly I think risers are a waste of time anyway.

I hated the heads that ship with this kit - I replaced all of them with Remo coated Ambassadors on both the batter and resonant sides. Those allowed the kit to breathe and resonate while slightly warming up the sound. I never use muffling on any kit except for a felt strip behind the batter head on my bass drum. This kit did not need even that. It seemed to come alive with the new heads and if I wanted to tone it down a bit I would probably swap out the Ambassadors for Remo Fiberskyns.

The bags that ship with the kit are fairly useless in my opinion. Ludwig claims that you can drape them over the drums to muffle them. For late night practice in an apartment possibly, but in real playing they transform the kit into cardboard boxes. They also do not protect the drums, other than keeping them dust free. I recommend getting an inexpensive set of drum bags and using the bags that ship with this kit as padding.

Overall, this is an amazing kit. Do not let my complaints deter you because bang for the buck you are not going to come close to a deal like this. To prove it visit any drum supply site on the web and price out the raw shells alone. If you are worried about the size and sound - don't. These sound truly huge and you can always mic them.

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About the reviewer
Mike Tarrani ()
Ranked #284
My day job is in the technology sector as an IT consultant specializing in ITIL, and specifically, configuration, change and release management. I've traveled the world as a consultant before moving … more
About this product


The breakbeats are an awesome set of drums for anyone who needs a kit that is portable and storable. These drum may be small but they pack one hell of a punch. To create this awesome set, Ludwig teamed up with modern hip-hop icon Questlove. Not familiar with him? Well chances are he s played on some of your favorite records. Questlove has worked alongside A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5, Jay-Z, Common, D Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Al Green, Amy Winehouse, John Legend, and is the house drummer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In addition to all of this he still finds time to write and perform with his own band The Roots. With a background like that, it s no wonder Ludwig reached out to him for help with this kit.

Created for sonic punch, portability, and versatility the Breakbeat's feature a 14x16 bass drum, 13x13 floor tom, 7x10 tom, and a 5x 14 snare drum. The bass drum comes complete with a lift for full-sized playability. The 5x14 snare drum delivers a warm, full-bodied sound with a sharp crack, and crisp articulation. Some of the things that make it sound so good are the 7-ply hardwood shells, the 45-degree bearing edge cut within 1/16 from the outside edge. These edges are hand-sanded to ensure a smooth, even, flat surface for easy head seating; the final touch to complete the unmistakable Ludwig Sound. These drums also come outfitted with Remo heads to guarantee the best possible sound right out of the box. It is available in two classic finishes; black ...
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