Does Anyone Actually Gig with A&F Kits and Snares?

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Honest question. I myself would find it hard to justify the cost of buying an A&F kit or snare and use it for playing out. Besides the high cost, they just don't seem practical. Everything that goes into a "modern" drum to ensure it stays in tune as long as possible and is resilient seems to be lost on A&F drums. They seem more an investment, status symbol, or playing around at home if you have lots of expendable cash. I glanced at thread on Black Friday deals and clicked on DCP link to their A&F sale items, and tried to figure out the market segment for this brand. At those price points there seems to be a lot better choices for a serious gigging drummer. But maybe my observations are just flat wrong. Someone here will set me straight!
 

s1212z

Well-known member
I think they are building different sounds as a specialty shop along with a modern nostalgic feel that appeals to certain players; since they are machining so much in-house, I don't think the prices are surprising. If you are a fan of vintage instruments, they will catch player's attention. I think Matt Chamberlain had a 5 minute Gretsch endorsement before switching to A&F, and I can see why; they seem to be studio dream with so many interesting sounds. As far as gigging, the raw metal finishes have purposely distressed/aged look, it may be hard to distinguish a bump or scratch as part of the original decor. Only issue I see is parts which may be expensive if you lose or damage given all the custom brass. So they may be leaning towards a snobby territory but honesty there is nothing on the market quite like them and I think their prices fit those who really want that sound.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
My gig-ability question had more to do with the claw hook tension rods than the finishes. How well they hold tune if you're gigging a lot and playing for 3-4 hours per gig. A lot of modern instruments care for holding tune and market this feature as an attribute. A&F would seem to fail in that regard. Entire industry migrated away from claw hooks for any drum except kick. But I don't do rimshots with my kick.

I think they are building different sounds as a specialty shop along with a modern nostalgic feel that appeals to certain players; since they are machining so much in-house, I don't think the prices are surprising. If you are a fan of vintage instruments, they will catch player's attention. I think Matt Chamberlain had a 5 minute Gretsch endorsement before switching to A&F, and I can see why; they seem to be studio dream with so many interesting sounds. As far as gigging, the raw metal finishes have purposely distressed/aged look, it may be hard to distinguish a bump or scratch as part of the original decor. Only issue I see is parts which may be expensive if you lose or damage given all the custom brass. So they may be leaning towards a snobby territory but honesty there is nothing on the market quite like them and I think their prices fit those who really want that sound.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
..... a serious gigging drummer. But maybe my observations are just flat wrong.
No, I think you're pretty on point. Their 4 piece Royal is just shy $6K. There's a used Club kit, on Reverb, for just over $4K. Gotta have some pretty deep pockets to be gigging with one of these. Along that same thought .... how many guys are gigging with Yamaha PHX kits? And they're totally modern. No, guys are gigging Hybrid Maples a lot more. Tour Maples even more, and Stage Customs even more still !!!
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I had never heard of them before reading this thread just now. Looked at their website and it's clear they are going after the Levon Helm market. I loved him with The Band (RIP). But that sure is a pretty narrow market. I like the look of their drums since I like stuff that's old and looks old. But I'm not sure their focus makes a lot of sense from a business plan point of view. Maybe there are enough buyers out there for their drums. I'm no expert on drum marketing, that's for sure. I come from a more practical school of thought. Versatility. Not seeing that with their drum line. But hey, what do I know?
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I had never heard of them before reading this thread just now. Looked at their website and it's clear they are going after the Levon Helm market. I loved him with The Band (RIP). But that sure is a pretty narrow market. I like the look of their drums since I like stuff that's old and looks old. But I'm not sure their focus makes a lot of sense from a business plan point of view. Maybe there are enough buyers out there for their drums. I'm no expert on drum marketing, that's for sure. I come from a more practical school of thought. Versatility. Not seeing that with their drum line. But hey, what do I know?
There are a certain number of hipster-y drummers out there, and/or drummers who are just looking for something different.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
There's no denying that A&F drums have striking look and vibe to them. I want a kit just for the vibe alone.

I mean, who wouldn't want to pull up to the red carpet in a vehicle like this? It's cool as hell! Sure you get rained on, it sprays oil in your face, and it breaks down more than your better-performing Toyota Corolla (aka Yamaha Stage Customs). But it's not about that! It's about being hip and having something that nobody else has.

I can see the appeal. They're definitely not for me, yet I wouldn't mind having one to gawk at. Maybe even whip it out for special occasions.


 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
There's no denying that A&F drums have striking look and vibe to them. I want a kit just for the vibe alone.

I mean, who wouldn't want to pull up to the red carpet in a vehicle like this? It's cool as hell! Sure you get rained on, it sprays oil in your face, and it breaks down more than your better-performing Toyota Corolla (aka Yamaha Stage Customs). But it's not about that! It's about being hip and having something that nobody else has.

I can see the appeal. They're definitely not for me, yet I wouldn't mind having one to gawk at. Maybe even whip it out for special occasions.


They do kind of have a steampunk vibe.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
A&F also sells square cymbals??? I hit the shoulder of my stick on my ride purposely at times and because the cymbal is round, I always get the result i am looking for. A square ride would move ( my round one moves) and is so impractical on so many levels I think it was designed by a non drummer.
I dont see anyone playing out on super high end kits, not just A&F, I dont see real exotic stuff from DW, TAMA, or even the Pearl at gigs. Concerts from pros are a different story but whoever is buying the high end stuff must not play out like the rest of us.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
They make some beautiful drums - I might pick one one of the thin brass snares one day or a rude boy: My biggest problem is that the style of their drum sets really lend themselves to that low floppy studio sound. In person - they sound kind of flappy and low and don't project and it's just completely not my style sonically - and I also don't like the vintage style hardware for anything I do. I get it - if I was in like a folk band or something that requires that swampy low sound I'd be all over them because they sound cool and Ramy is the nicest guy ever...but I just don't need the sound they provide.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
They make some beautiful drums - I might pick one one of the thin brass snares one day or a rude boy: My biggest problem is that the style of their drum sets really lend themselves to that low floppy studio sound. In person - they sound kind of flappy and low and don't project and it's just completely not my style sonically - and I also don't like the vintage style hardware for anything I do. I get it - if I was in like a folk band or something that requires that swampy low sound I'd be all over them because they sound cool and Ramy is the nicest guy ever...but I just don't need the sound they provide.
Everything you pointed out are reasons NOT to buy one!
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I own 2 of them. The brass and the Maple/Teak, they sound really great.

I mean you could absolutely play live with these snares or in the studio as a unique voice.

I bought mine for multiple reasons: they sound unique, they look really cool, nearly every part is made in the USA, and their customer service is awesome. Plus I also like to collect snares. And no two A&F’s are alike.

I had an issue with 1 of the clips and the owner of the company responded immediately and had new ones shipped out the next day. I’m fairly certain all A&F snares come with a life time warranty.

I mean is it a snare you want to play in a hardcore or metal band in? Absolutely not, though the A&Fer series would perfectly fit that style. But if you want add a unique sound to
A live performance, A&F is a good choice.

Also.... to me the idea around A&F is that modern drums are too perfect. The owner loves vintage drums and vintage drums are flawed in some ways but it’s what makes them unique.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
It's like early American Colonial furniture made by bearded vegans.
Love that!

They're insanely expensive for what you get. The tuning range doesn't seem all that great but it has one amazing sweet spot.

The strainer is the biggest bug gear for me. It looks cheap as hell. No way is that surviving a 2 hour gig. The tuning stability also looks a bit questionable.

I wouldn't use a snare that expensive for fear of it getting stolen
 

wraub

Well-known member
In some respects they remind me of PRS guitars... Gorgeous to look at, often owned by investors, collectors, and dentists who own and collect guitars. :D
In some respects they remind me of the "relic" guitars that you can buy already "roadworn", with none of the actual history involved, or "distressed" jeans you buy already frayed. Personally, I like that look, and several of my basses look all beat up, but it's from actual use and wear (and they are as immaculate as possible inside ;) ) but I'd feel odd paying for it. Still, no judgement from me. Different strokes, etc.

And, in most respects, they remind me of something I'll probably never be able to justify having. I have a couple okay snare drums already. :)
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Love that!

They're insanely expensive for what you get. The tuning range doesn't seem all that great but it has one amazing sweet spot.

The strainer is the biggest bug gear for me. It looks cheap as hell. No way is that surviving a 2 hour gig. The tuning stability also looks a bit questionable.

I wouldn't use a snare that expensive for fear of it getting stolen

The Snare Strainer is not their design. It works pretty well in my experience.


They just added their patina process to it. They felt this George way strainer was perfect for their snares but they do plan on releasing their own at some point.


Gibraltar SC-GW845 George Way Two Piece Throw Off and Butt End https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5LCLUA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_KATWFbJEH5WVW
 
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