Keo Percussion Nicko McBrain Boomer Practice Pad review

Keo Percussion’s signature pad will have you practising like a trooper...

  • £39.99

MusicRadar Verdict

A good-looking, portable practice pad with typically fantastic build quality from Keith Keough and his team. This is just the beginning of a promising line-up from Keo Percussion.


  • +

    Perfect size.

  • +

    Looks great.


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    Rim could use a little refining.

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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 drum 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.  

Hands On

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.

Tom Bradley

Tom is a professional drummer with a long history of performing live anywhere from local venues to 200,000 capacity festivals. Tom is a private drum tutor, in addition to teaching at the BIMM Institute in Birmingham. He is also a regular feature writer and reviewer for MusicRadar, with a particular passion for all things electronic and hybrid drumming.