- Acoustic or Electric
- LR Baggs Mic/Pickup System
- Volume and Blend Controls
- ¼” Output Jack
- Snare Dot, Strap + Gig Bag Included
- Assembled in California
The WalkaBout Drum might look like a guitar that lost its neck, but this patented instrument elicits a range of great sounds that are ideal for worship teams. Like a Cajon, the WalkaBout is perfect for acoustic services, midweek rehearsals, and provides a lot of bang for the buck in terms of value and real estate. Unlike a Cajon, the WalkaBout includes a proprietary LR Baggs Dual Source mic/pickup system so you can plug it in, crank it up, and roam if you want to, thanks to the included strap.
KICK ‘N SNARE
If you’ve seen Tommy Emmanuel play, you’ve probably noticed that he uses the guitar body as a percussion instrument. Externally the WalkaBout looks like an acoustic guitar body, but inside there is a whole world of percussive goodness going on. Since the WalkaBout is not a stringed instrument, the internal bracing is primarily there to enhance the tone since there is little surface tension compared to an acoustic guitar. Inside the body cavity, a pair of DotSpot magnets are affixed on either side of the upper bout, allowing you to mount the included SoundDot Snare on either the side of the “neck joint”. As heard in the demo, this makes for a remarkably convincing kick and snare sound when hitting the lower and upper bouts respectively.
The Volume and Blend controls for the proprietary LR Baggs Mic/Pickup System sit just inside the sound hole so you can get to them easily. Like a traditional acoustic guitar, using the internal mic can trigger some feedback, much of which is counteracted by a special insert that ships with each unit. That said, I’d strongly suggest using one of these with the LR Baggs Align Series EQ pedal to really dial in the frequencies, and to squelch any remaining feedback via the Notch Filter.
The Walkabout Drum is the brainchild of Manuel Luz and Bob Kilpatrick, the original Worship Pastor at Bethel Redding. Saying that Bob knows a thing or two about worship would be a bit of an understatement, which is one of the reasons we wanted to get his input for this review.
[WM] Was there one “aha” moment that lead to the WalkaBout?
[Bob Kilpatrick] Manuel mentioned that he had an idea for a guitar shaped percussion instrument. I was intrigued by the idea, and that’s where it began.
[WM] Who are some of the early adopters and how are they using it?
[Bob] Lincoln Brewster incorporated one into his Christmas acoustic set. Jorge Drexler, a very popular Latin artist, incorporates it into a larger group of percussion instruments. I think it could be very useful to traditional churches that want percussion but don’t necessarily have the space or the desire for a complete drum kit.
[WM] Do you guys do the manufacturing yourselves, and if not, who are your primary partners?
[Bob] Kala is our primary strategic partner and they make the bodies for us. LR Baggs is our second strategic partner. They make a proprietary dual source mic/pick up system for us. We make the accessories like the SnareDot (patent pending) and custom straps, and assemble the entire thing here in California.
[WM] Is this going to be a one and done sort of things or will the line expand?
[Bob] We have a variety of models in the same size that will come out next year, and we have an educational model which is smaller, made for children. We also have some other very exciting innovations in percussion. This is the first percussion instrument with a pickup that you can plug in and amplify. We have another model coming out with the very first microphone ever developed from the ground up for a percussion instrument. That is just one of the innovations we’re very excited about. We are also working with Sabian on a line of cymbals.
As you can hear in the demo, even a guitar player can play this thing, which is kind of the point. The WalkaBout Drum is perfect for worship teams who don’t always have a drummer on hand, or for times when a drum kit is more than you need.