Drums at NAMM 2020 – Go small or go home!

Written by Daniel Lamontagne

MONTREAL – There is one thing that struck me at NAMM 2020 in Anaheim: the assortment of compact drum kits. Almost all major companies offer light, ultraportable, small footprint drum kits. Here is some examples that were in display in NAMM 2020:

We all know Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove. This compact kit consists of a 14×16″ bass drum, 7×10″ mounted tom, 13×13″ floor tom, and a full-size 5×14” snare drum, and is among the most popular ones. New for 2020 is a new finish, Sahara Swirl, new cast bass drum claws and anti-slip bass drum lift.

Pacific Drums and Percussion (pdp) also offers a compact kit, the New Yorker, with similar sizes: 14×16” bass drum, 8×10” mounted tom, 12×13” floor tom, and 5×14” snare drum. A beautiful kit in brilliant Pale Rose finish was in display in Anaheim this year.

Want a small bass drum but with regular-size toms? Gretsch has the answer for you with the Catalina Special Edition available in a 14×18″ bass drum, 8×12″ mounted tom, 14×14″ floor tom, and 5.5×14” snare drum configuration. This Catalina Special Edition features 7-ply Walnut/Maple construction, 30o bearing edges and vintage-style maple counter hoops.

Many drum builders now offer compact kits with a shallow 20” diameter bass drum. One example is the Yamaha Stage Custom Hip drum kit, with a 8×20” bass drum, 5×10” mounted tom, 8×13” floor tom, and 5×13” snare drum. The floor tom comes equipped with 20-strand snares and can be transformed into a deep, 13″ snare drum.

Dixon offers the Little Roomer, which can be configured with a 7×20” bass drum, 7×10” mounted tom, and 10×13” floor tom. The Dixon website mentions a 3.5×10 snare drum included with the Little Roomer, but a color-matched larger snare drum was in display in Anaheim.

Already present in the TAMA catalog is the Superstar Neo-Mod kit with thin, 100% Maple shell and consisted of a 10×20″ bass drum, 7×12″ mounted tom, and 9×14″ floor tom.  This year, TAMA offers a supersized Superstar Classic Neo-Mod with a 10×22” bass drum, the same 7×12” mounted tom and a larger 10×16” floor tom. This supersized version of the Classic Neo-Mod may be for a limited time only!

On the other side of the spectrum, TAMA offers a very compact drum kit with the smallest bass drum I have ever seen. The Club-Jam Flyer packs a 10×14” bass drum (no it’s not a typo, it is a fourteen-inch diameter bass drum!), 6×8” mounted tom, 9×10” floor tom, and a 5×10” snare drum. All those could fit into a carrying case for easy transportation.

Speaking of cases, if you are really into portability, why not consider suitcase drums. There was several new models exposed in Anaheim this year, but the best combination of portability and playability belongs to Beatbox Drums, which offers a full compact kit that fits into a single carrying case.

There you have it. The choice is wide for the gigging drummers out there. Don’t be afraid of trying a compact drum kit. They sound great and you will appreciate their versatility and ease of use.

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