April 25, 2024

British Drum Co. axes Axial line, promises new instruments in 2025

The British Drum Company burst onto the pipe band scene in 2018 by hiring 16-time World Solo Pipe Band Drumming Champion Jim Kilpatrick as a “Marching Specialist” and launching its Axial line of pipe band instruments.

The Manchester, England-based company has now announced that it has stopped production of the Axial line “to make way for the introduction of better, more advanced drums that will elevate the performance and experience of pipe band drummers worldwide.”

The company teased an “early 2025” product launch but provided no further details.

At publication time, British Drum Co. International Sales Director (Marching) Stu Warmington had not responded to a request for comment and further details on the move.

In addition to Kilpatrick, the company had secured several big-name pipe band drummers as “brand ambassadors,” including ScottishPower Leading-Drummer Jake Jørgensen, Hawthorn Leading-Drummer Steven Shedden, bass drummer Scott Currie and tenor drummer Tyler Fry.

With a market dominated by Andante and Premier, relatively few bands purchased Axial drums, which were more expensive and slightly heavier. The Axial snare is priced around US$1,300, while an Andante Reactor is less than US$900 each.

“I was surprised at the low adoption among bands.” – Axial drums user

A few Grade 1 bands played Axial drums in sponsorship deals, including Police Scotland & Federation and Hawthorn. ScottishPower severed ties with the company when they did not deliver instruments in time. Jørgensen also discontinued his relationship with the British Drum Company in August 2023. The band now plays Andante instruments.

Pearl Percussion gained a toehold in the pipe band market in the 1990s but has declined in popularity, with no Grade 1 band using the instruments. The company’s Medalist series is still available, and the snare is priced at approximately US$1,200.

The first few years of the Axial line coincided with the global pandemic, essentially putting competing pipe bands on hold, with few choosing to make substantial purchases in 2020 and 2021.

“I can say that the build quality was superior,” said one leading-drummer who asked that his name not be used. “That said, I was surprised at the low adoption among bands, but given the sponsorship of the top bands and the attempts to recreate their recipes for success at the lower grades, it’s tough to realize a change at the required scale.”

A few Axial dealers worldwide said they were unaware of the company’s plan to discontinue the Axial line until they received a news release.

An earlier version of this story stated that ScottishPower used Axial drums when, in fact, they did not. The article was amended accordingly.






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