Picture the scene; you arrive at the venue with your kit on a Saturday night. Traffic on route was no bother, venue looks lovely, great parking too! All the beginnings of what seems like it’ll be a fun night. You unload your big 22×18 bass drum out the car only to discover the room you’re playing in is up SIX flights of stairs …with no lift. Thankfully you packed your lightweight hardware but by the time you reach the room with that big heavy bass drum you’re Donald Ducked! It gets worse, what goes up must come down afterall. You slip around the third floor and can only watch as your big heavy bass drum mercilessly drags you kicking and screaming all the down. CRRRAAASSHHHH!!!!!! When you awake following successful surgery the first thing you do is pick up the phone and have a browse at the smaller kits your good pals at Drummers Only have. So to avoid that potential trip to the hospital, here’s three popular choices that won’t break the bank (or your back!)
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Kicking off with Tama, the Club Jam is a 4pc kit made from 6ply 7mm Mersawa/poplar hybrid shells. Sizes on this kit are 18”x12” bass drum, 10”x7” rack tom, 14”x7” floor tom and a 13”x5 snare drum. Bass drums shallow like this give it wicked attack which cuts through the mix when you put a microphone in it. Similar ideas apply to the floor tom, almost echoing a pancake gong-drum. Lots of punch without those pesky overtones sometimes associated with bigger floor toms. The rack tom is mounted directly from the bass drum via tom holder (a feature consistent with all three of these kits) but in no way does that hinder the resonance of the drum. It sounds like a rack tom is supposed to sound! The lovely 13” snare blends nicely with the rest giving plenty crack when tuned high or nice and fat when sitting in a low range. Borrowing some ideas from the vintage kits of yester-year, it also comes with classic bass drum spurs and a cymbal holder mounted directly onto the bass drum. It’s sturdy, meaning you could easily mount your ride cymbal from it without the worry of cracking the shell AND save yourself some floor space! It comes in three finishes: Satin Blonde, Aqua Blue and Charcoal Mist with options on our website to have additional hardware such as a hi-hat stand, snare stand, bass drum pedal & drum throne.
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Next up is the Pearl Midtown. It’s a 4pc kit made from 6-ply 7.5mm poplar shells. Sizes on this are 16”x14” bass drum, 10”x7” rack tom, 13”12” floor tom and a 13”x5.5 snare drum. Slightly smaller bass drum, being a 16” but with a bit more depth which still provides solid attack without getting lost as you’d maybe expect when first looking at it. It also comes with a small riser which allows the pedal beater to strike the head slap-bang in the middle. A great choice of head on it will only amplify the sound possibilities. Standard rack tom mounted from the bass drum featuring Pearls OptiLock mounting bracket for Optimum (see what I did there?) placement. The floor tom has more depth to it meaning you get slightly more shell tone and depth than shallower versions . The snare drum being 13”x5.5 gives a bit of body with that extra bit of depth meaning it sits well in a mid-range tuning. Again, with a great head choice this snare will be singing. It comes in two finishes: Black Cherry Glitter and Black Gold Sparkle. So if you’re into Pearl, this may just be the option for you!
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Last but by no means least, we have the Ludwig BreakBeats kit. You could argue this kit kicked off the small-kit craze when it was announced at NAMM in 2014. Designed in conjunction with Questlove himself, the Breakbeats shells are made from 7-ply hardwood making it extremely versatile with the bearing edges cut to give that signature Ludwig sound. Sizes are 16”x14” bass drum, 10”x7” rack tom, 13”x13” floor tom and a 14”x5” snare drum. The bass drum comes with a riser to again allow for that optimum punch in the centre of the drum, while the 13×13 floor tom provide that additional depth to the sonic capabilities of this kit. There are three key features of this kit that I really dig, The first being the snare drum. Unlike the previous two kits, it comes with a 14” snare at Questloves request. The 14” gives great coverage and blends nicely with the sizes on this kit. Next is the rack tom mount, it has an additional “clamp” feature on the other side which can mount various things on it. You could mount a boom stand from it for your ride cymbal, or some additional percussion. If you want to dip your toe into hybrid world, you could even mount a sampling pad from it! The third and final feature about this kit is that it comes with carry bags for all the drums. Not only are they for transportation purposes, but they also help mute the drums if you’re in a flat or in a rehearsal situation in a small room and can’t be loud. This kit comes in four finishes: Azur Blue Sparkle, Black Sparkle, White Sparkle and Red Wine Sparkle.
All of these kits are available on our website but come down to the shop and see for yourself. They’re tiny, but mighty! We can help you pick some great hardware and head options that can really make these kits sing for any occasion!
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