Officially launched at the summer NAMM show in 2018, Keo Percussion is the latest brainchild of Keith Keough, the British Drum Co’s renowned woodsmith.
Keo offers a mouthwatering range of UK manufactured percussion instruments and accessories. Our first taste of the new wares arrives in the form of a very special practice pad.
Designed in conjunction with legendary Iron Maiden sticksman Nicko McBrain, the 10" pad features a 5mm thick red natural gum playing surface with a black engineered HDF baseplate. Unlike other practice pads the Boomer includes a large border with a raised rim, designed for rimshot and cross-stick practice. Small circular cutouts around the outer rim emulate the tuning rods of a 10-lug snare giving it a fun, authentic aesthetic.
The pad border is emblazoned with the words Nicko ‘Boomer’ McBrain written in the unmistakable Iron Maiden font, plus a Keo logo on the opposite side. The underside of the pad features a 5mm non-slip foam baseplate for table-top practice and an engraved natural-wood Signature Series nameplate.
The rubber playing surface possesses plenty of rebound and responds naturally as we put it through its paces. Placed on top of a snare drum the pad feels secure and doesn’t bounce around as some smaller pads do, this is likely due to the extra weight of the base. The non-slip foam on the underside keeps it firmly planted on any flat surface. The pad also works well in a snare stand but has no mounting thread for attaching to a cymbal stand.
The rim is an interesting addition that we haven’t seen on a practice pad before. In theory this is a good idea for developing technique and exploring dynamic options, but in reality the solid wood creates a considerable noise, which is disproportionate to the quieter rubber surface. Cross-stick also feels a little unnatural due to the small dimensions of the pad.
The Boomer certainly serves its purpose as a portable practice tool; it’s the perfect size for stashing in the bag with a pair of sticks if you find the time to grab a few minutes practice on the hoof.