A&F drums

T_Kauff

Member
I wont ever own one. Their build quality is very fragile and poor, I've looked at them very closely and was disappointed but, maybe that's what they were going for? Hard to say really. Some of them did sound good but, WAY over priced for what your getting. Maybe they just have high overhead ? I've had a few clients that bought them and they all regretted spending the money. I definatley wont be adding one to my snare locker anytime soon.
 

Stickandbrush

Active Member
Dealers by me say the same thing, cheap construction , fragile shells and especially bass hoops. The bass spurs are a joke and the prices are ridiculous. Can get a hand made AK snare for less then some AF stuff.
maybe I’m missing something but I don’t get it.
played some sets at the Chicago drum shop and meh… sounded ok but frankly nothing special
I will say the throne top they make is great but at almost 400 before taxes and shipping.. uh no ….
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I wont ever own one. Their build quality is very fragile and poor, I've looked at them very closely and was disappointed but, maybe that's what they were going for? Hard to say really. Some of them did sound good but, WAY over priced for what your getting. Maybe they just have high overhead ? I've had a few clients that bought them and they all regretted spending the money. I definatley wont be adding one to my snare locker anytime soon.
Yep heard more than a few people say the same thing about build quality. For the money they charge you should expect absolutely flawless in every aspect.

Drummers review did a review of a snare that clocked in at £3000 and the tuning range was laughable never mind the build quality. I don't know what they're going for and how they let build quality that bad leave the workshop.

There is something about them that strikes me as going for the hipster market. I went bald years ago so I'm safe from being in the topknot brigade :)
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Here's the Drummer's Review video @mikyok mentioned...

I've had the chance to play two different A&F snares, and a Maple Club kit. Nolly's observations of this snare's build quality, and tuning range, apply to those drums as well.
After watching that video I feel like I would blow that thing apart after about an hour. I'm not a hard hitter, but I beat the crap out of my snares. Brass hoops would get mangled fairly quickly me thinks.
 

single-ply

Senior Member
If you want a thin, metal shelled drum set that sounds great, and is a quarter of the price, go with the Inde Kalamazoo series. Without hoops, the shells are flexible to the point of making me uneasy, but they sound awesome, along with Josh's top notch hardware. Definitely don't have the overpriced, steampunk look though, which is a good thing to my eyes.

A few months ago, I was setting up in a club and the sound guy actually laughed at them (I have a Wayfarer kit with 22x10, 15x10, 12x6 sizes). By the end of the gig, he apologized and said they were the best sounding drums he'd ever mic'd up.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I've been saying this about A&F drums for years, and sometimes took heat for it.

They look great, but they're wildly overpriced, all form and no function, and have a spotty build quality.

But the most egregious thing about them: they don't sound very good. Budget drums can run circles around them in both sound and tuning range. Granted, I don't think A&E drums are meant to be versatile. They are a niche product after all.

To be clear, there are a few A&E snares that sound pretty good, and I'm not saying you should feel bad for owning one.

But on the whole, A&E drums are the Ford Model T in a world of Toyota Corollas. Cool to look at, but outperformed by modern technology.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
I understand what they’re going for and if they really are handmade in Texas I can understand the price to an extent. It’s just that they’re compromising on the one thing that really matters and that’s quality. I don’t care how ‘steampunk’ a drum is supposed to be, the brazing seam on the drum in the video is indicative of poor quality.
 

Stickandbrush

Active Member
I understand what they’re going for and if they really are handmade in Texas I can understand the price to an extent. It’s just that they’re compromising on the one thing that really matters and that’s quality. I don’t care how ‘steampunk’ a drum is supposed to be, the brazing seam on the drum in the video is indicative of poor quality.
Yes let’s compare it to an AK that costs less…
 

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Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Or any metal drum made in the last (say) 50 or so years.

Looking like you're 'old school' is fine - but being made like they're actually 'old school' really isn't. Say what you like about modern drums but the overall quality and consistency of construction - even in budget kits - is leagues ahead of anything being made in the 60s. Especially if you're charging that much. Even modern guitars made to emulate vintage guitars ('relic'd or otherwise) are still made to the same standards as other guitars (unless you're Gibson - in which case everything is terrible).

They would honestly be better off spending a lot less time on the aesthetics, buying some hardware from a third party (e.g. hoops) and upping the quality of their work and it wouldn't cost them any more to make the kits.
 

s1212z

Silver Member
I like the ideas of their knick knacks...like their kick bone, that's pretty cool. But over $300 is just out of reach or even $300 for a base-less Italian leather drum seat, WTF. But I like that a company that is trying to do something different like this exists, you just have to be a millionaire w/ a studio. I've seen the complaints on the fragile stuff, that's too bad.

 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I get their thin-shell idea on toms, that can sound really good if you’re going for that sound. But I don’t like thin shells on snares anymore, after owning several cast drums. You just sound so much more confident on a cast shell. Every note has volume and presence
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
Sometimes a boutique brand gains a great foothold in market, first one I remember was Orange County drums, I remember thinking they were way over priced for what they were and was surprised that the younger demographic they appealed to could afford them,but they had a good 10-12 year run.They had excellent marketing utilizing the internet and their endorser roster.I think A+F has done something similar,it will be I interesting to see if they can sustain it.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I've never played any A&F drums, but I've seen some in shops. On the surface, I like the aged, bespoke look, but I'd want it done well and within modern tolerances. The drums I saw had quality, fitment and hardware issues that weren't even in the realm of modern build tolerances. I don't know a thing about the people at A&F, but I wonder if the antique, bespoke look is a gimmick to mask limited skills and tooling investment. (building drums and charging a premium without the investment of time, research, skill building...etc)
 
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