Sonor Teardrop Fans?

franke

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Please tell me all I need to know. I have a general understanding. Every video I've seen sounds incredible. I would like to add a set to my collection someday and would benefit from hearing more first hand experiences.

Best heads?
Best tuning?
Fair price to pay?
Likes/Dislikes

Anything you want to share about them, I'd like to learn.
I own two 3-ply tear drop kits, both of which were pieced together from orphans and parts. You can read about them here and here. Pics for the first thread can be found here.

Best heads? For both kits I use coated Ambassadors on top and clear Ambassadors on the bottom.

Best tuning? For drums with 30 degree round-over bearing edges and reinforcement rings, they have a very wide tuning range. They can go be-bop high, but if you tune too low, you'll hear more "whack" than tone. I tend to tune them in the medium range. They also sound great single-headed.

Fair price to pay? These used to be one of the best-kept secrets in "vintage drumdom" but not anymore. Up until a few years ago one could pick up a mid-sixties kit in good to middling condition for less than $400; now, I would expect to pay at least twice that, and three times as much for all-original kits. The few that were made in rosewood can fetch upwards of $2k. The same for kits with 18" bass drums (the most common configuration was 14x20, 8x13, 15x16, with snares that were usually 5x14, or 4.5x14).

Likes/Dislikes: There's no disputing the sound. I don't know if it's the beech shells or their rather thin construction, along with the very rigid hoops (that many mistake as diecast but in actuality are stamped steel), but these sing in way that no other brand can come close to. While most vintage drums weigh less than modern examples, the 3-ply kits are feather-light, which is good news for those with bad backs. Folks get all worked up over vintage Ludwigs (and seem to be willing to pay a premium price for them), but these deliver an unparalleled value-for-dollar.

As for dislikes, the three-ply shells can seem quite fragile, particularly on larger-diameter drums like bass drums and floor toms (read first thread I referenced). Finding parts in the US can be difficult and are often expensive, particularly for things like snare throws, wing bolts, leg brackets, etc. The "good news" - if one could call it that - is that many teardrop-era kits were abused and often disregarded for not being "rock" sized and so were left to languish for several decades in a shed with a leaky roof, so there are lots of "donor drums" out there if one is unable to find the exact, period-correct doohickey they're missing. As I previously stated, both of my kits were put together from orphans and parts that I acquired over the course of a year.

Finally, though you didn't specifically ask, the six ply drums (1965 onwards, though some kits left the factory with both 3 and 6-ply shells) are structurally sounder and have a bit more attack. The latter-day tear drop bass drums (1969-1971) have metal hoops. I'd stay away from 1950's pre-international (i.e. metric) sizes since the bass drums measure out to something like 20 1/4" and Remo doesn't offer metric heads larger than 50 cm (slightly less than 20").
 

Drumbeater

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I own two 3-ply kits and a 6 ply kit (really two kits)
  • 1958 kit is 13,16,20 with a 13x6 snare in silver sparkle with horizontal black lines ($1000 shipped from Denmark)
    • 2x 6 ply snares in the finish (4" and 2.5" depths) both auction finds <$300 each
  • 1963 kit is 13,16,20 with no snare in red sparkle ($350 on eBay)
  • 1970 kit is 12,13,13,16,18,18 bass, 22 bass - all in rosewood ($1400 for the small kit and $1500 for the large)
    • this came as 13,16,18 bass (metal snare) and 12,13,18,22 bass, 22 bass (no snare)
    • I sold one of the 22" basses
    • I have blue silk snare with parallel mechanism (<$300)
    • I have the 2.5" deep metal snare ($400 shipped from Denmark)
I'm usually Renaissance Ambassadors over Clear Diplomats. I love the toms and basses - the snares are hit and miss for me. I love these drums. I've owned and sold 2 other 6ply kits over the years. because of the Krupa sizes (13,16,20), folks that listen first with their eyes think not jazz, because 12,14,18 or 20 and not rock, because 13,16,22... but, listen with your ears!

The 6 ply kits are in the <6mm or 3/16" thickness. This is very Gretsch-like for the same time period (roughly 1965 - 1972ish). The rosewood drums are 5 ply with a rosewood outer... that makes them the tiniest bit thinner.

The 3 ply kits are<3mm with a solid reinforcement ring and they are as likely to be out of round as any other 50+ year old drum. Mine are in round at the head, but have some flat spots on the bodies.

All the drums are typically undervalued by the market and overvalued by the players. That's really the ultimate credit.
 

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dustjacket

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I own two 3-ply kits and a 6 ply kit (really two kits)
  • 1958 kit is 13,16,20 with a 13x6 snare in silver sparkle with horizontal black lines ($1000 shipped from Denmark)
    • 2x 6 ply snares in the finish (4" and 2.5" depths) both auction finds <$300 each
  • 1963 kit is 13,16,20 with no snare in red sparkle ($350 on eBay)
  • 1970 kit is 12,13,13,16,18,18 bass, 22 bass - all in rosewood ($1400 for the small kit and $1500 for the large)
    • this came as 13,16,18 bass (metal snare) and 12,13,18,22 bass, 22 bass (no snare)
    • I sold one of the 22" basses
    • I have blue silk snare with parallel mechanism (<$300)
    • I have the 2.5" deep metal snare ($400 shipped from Denmark)
I'm usually Renaissance Ambassadors over Clear Diplomats. I love the toms and basses - the snares are hit and miss for me. I love these drums. I've owned and sold 2 other 6ply kits over the years. because of the Krupa sizes (13,16,20), folks that listen first with their eyes think not jazz, because 12,14,18 or 20 and not rock, because 13,16,22... but, listen with your ears!

The 6 ply kits are in the <6mm or 3/16" thickness. This is very Gretsch-like for the same time period (roughly 1965 - 1972ish). The rosewood drums are 5 ply with a rosewood outer... that makes them the tiniest bit thinner.

The 3 ply kits are<3mm with a solid reinforcement ring and they are as likely to be out of round as any other 50+ year old drum. Mine are in round at the head, but have some flat spots on the bodies.

All the drums are typically undervalued by the market and overvalued by the players. That's really the ultimate credit.
How the heck did you get that red sparkle kit for $350? Was that Ebay in the 90's? I've casually been looking at listings during the last six months and they never seem to hit below 1k. Good score :)
 

Drumbeater

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How the heck did you get that red sparkle kit for $350? Was that Ebay in the 90's? I've casually been looking at listings during the last six months and they never seem to hit below 1k. Good score :)
Furniture store didn’t label it as a musical instrument so there was little competition. I got very lucky - it came with fiber cases too.
 

JDA

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Frank Godiva

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Maxwell Lite find...

I own that config in Onyx including the snare, strange tuning
Nice price

image.jpeg
 

dustjacket

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Maxwell Lite find...

Outa my league!
 


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