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Acid Drums Custom Snare review

One Night Only's Sam Ford gets a drum of his own

  • £349
Willow Bands add extra interest to the snare's African mahogany shell, which is finished with a light lacquer

Our Verdict

When reviewing one-off custom drums such as this, it's important to remember that it was built to a particular spec and to achieve a specific sound. Sam's brief was a warm, fat snare and this drum delivers that in spades.


  • Wide range of customisation options. The willow bands and chromed hardware add a pleasing creative touch.


  • Nothing much - all things considered.

The drum builders of Britain have come to the custom drum party a little later than their Stateside cousins, but by golly, what they lack in history they're making up for in variety!

Acid Drums is the brainchild of Nick Brady and purports to offer excellent service, the highest quality drum materials and parts, and almost unlimited customisation options to the discerning drummer.

A case in point is the snare you see here - built to the exacting specifications of Sam Ford, drummer for rising indie band One Night Only, Acid's custom snare #24 is a unique creation indeed. On a whistle-stop journey via MusicRadar before being whisked off again to join Sam on tour, we quickly pressed it into service to see whether it withstands the Acid test…

"We chose African mahogany for its sound characteristics, which perfectly matched Sam's requirements."


"Sam was looking for a fat, warm snare, so we sat down and went through all the ways in which we could achieve his desired sound," says Nick. "We chose African mahogany for its sound characteristics, which perfectly matched Sam's requirements." The segmented mahogany is highlighted by willow bands, which offer a little extra aesthetic and aural interest.

The shell was left unfinished on the inside to increase the fatness of the sound, while a light, clear lacquer on the outside complements the grain of the wood. The shell is finished with chrome tube lugs, die-cast hoops and a machined Trick strainer and butt. The effect is completed by an engraved Acid Drums badge bearing the inscription, "Acid Drums Sam Ford Signature".

Hands on

Straight out of the box, it's clear that this drum was designed for a specific sound. We tried it with a coated single-ply head (Sam will use an Emperor X), and the thick shell and die-cast hoops gave an immediate clue as to the sound Sam was looking for - a dry, warm 'honk' with minimal overtones.

The well-cut snare beds allow a wide range of snare adjustment, but the drum responded best with a medium head tension. Tightened right up, the die-casts rather stifled the backbeat, but in its preferred tuning range it provided a fat, rounded backbeat and focused, woody rim shots.