vintage sonor snare drum - need help asap

BennyK

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Maybe a factory mistake with the ins-ey bead . The only other manufacturer with that bead to my knowledge was/is Yamaha . No apparent extra holes , but you'd have to disassemble the drum to se any obvious extra holes hiding under washers . The Sonor snare I owned was undersized so that with the correct lugs you had to use the Sonor hoops . Your drum doesn't raise any of those suspicions with me .
 

fivestarkid

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Ah the D444 or “snare of mysterious province.” Hard to think of a snare that doesn’t spark more debate then this one among the faithful.

Folks seam to get the 444 and 545 confused, but as noted the 545 was the first snare to feature the new Phonic lug where the 444 in all its versions feature the old double teardrop lug. The 545 has a sticker badge and the 444 a metal one. The sticker badge is the exact same size as the metal one but in reverse. What’s chrome on one is black on the other.

The 444 was replaced by the 454 in the early 70s as the the basic metal snare. I personally prefer the 444 to the 454 and in fact just sold my mint 454 earlier this year. Both models were offered in the US as listed in the 72 distributors price sheet.

I have seen 3 different factory throws on the 444. The black plastic circle version is the most common and is often broken or missing the cap. Two styles of beer tap throws have also turned up.

IMHO no other Sonor snare has had so many replacement strainers bolted on. You never see another Teardrop or Phonic model show up so often with a non original throw off. This is a testament to how good the snare sounds otherwise why bother?

As stated above, the 69 catalog lists the 444 as steel. My unit is COS with a made in Taiwan generic knock off ludwig throw. Over the years folks have said their units are COB and even COA. It’s hard to tell as many catalogs list the snare as “metal” without being specific. A magnet does not stick to my steel snare. This happens on a few models so take the magnet test with a grain of salt.

From the 69 catalog

Deluxe Chrome Snare
D-444 14"x5"

Seamless steel shell with resonance channel seamless triple flanged counter hoops, floating head- American Plastic two-point muffler, two-sided all-metal strainer with 22 snares. High gloss chrome.

So I look at the 444 in context with other models offered at the time. In 1972 Sonor offered 6 snares in the US, 5 of which were metal.

D420 steel $85
D454 steel $85
D476 steel $130
D444 steel $140
D426 brass $220


So the 545 is most certainly made from less expensive materials then the 444. Sonor never officially made any aluminum snare model. If the 444 was brass then why is it so much cheaper then the 426 which is the same size and cataloged as brass? It’s my opinion that all D444s are steel. They are heavy and the magnet does not stick which makes guys think it’s COB.

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ok. great info. but why wouldnt a magnet work. some sort of weird mixture alloy? i will have the sanre early next week. in transit! i will know more then and if i want to even keep it. if i can get it to sound great, shes staying..lol
 

Frank Godiva

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ok. great info. but why wouldnt a magnet work. some sort of weird mixture alloy? i will have the sanre early next week. in transit! i will know more then and if i want to even keep it. if i can get it to sound great, shes staying..lol
 

ThomasL

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I'm well aware of the different types of stainless steels, but I don't see why Sonor would use stainless steel for a snare to be chrome plated?

I found this link saying that manganese steel in non-magnetic:


Is this the same as Sonor's ferromanganese alloy? Have you tried a magnet on a (later) ferro snare?
 

musiqman

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Frank Godiva

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The last one is my COB :glasses8:

Someone offered me an original plastic strainer but it was plastic (didn’t they made them in metal
Too?) and had already some damage so I didn’t take it.

Would a Dunnett beaded model fit?
Those plastic throws can be a real pain. Most are missing pieces. Have heard trick and indie as replacements, don’t know about the dunnett

they did make em in metal at the end of the run

good luck

TomL will get back to you
 

sixplymaple

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Easy internet search reveals that it's probably a Sonor D444 Chrome over brass snare... see link below to a similar one.

Yeah, that center bead is inwards too.
 

Frank Godiva

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I'm well aware of the different types of stainless steels, but I don't see why Sonor would use stainless steel for a snare to be chrome plated?

I found this link saying that manganese steel in non-magnetic:


Is this the same as Sonor's ferromanganese alloy? Have you tried a magnet on a (later) ferro snare?
You are correct they did not use stainless steel, but rather a ferromanganese alloy. May not be the exact same formula, but it certainly shares the properties described above. I don't know if most folks are aware that some steel formulas are non-magnetic. Some FM shells have been made with low carbon ferromanganese steel alloy and others were not. Since some non-magnet steels become magnetic due to the amount of cold working, its also possible that there was more cold working in the D5xx shells then in the D4xx models. Just my opinion.

So yes there is a running list of models and magnet test results gathered from owners world wide. I will throw that over on the Sonor questions thread.

So what is cold working anyway? Thx to Tarkus the recent reminder of the Jeff S post from the 94 Designer promo in English.

 

Frank Godiva

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I got two D444s, a COB and one COS and they look exactly like this drum.
Yep that’s why I call the D444 the “snare of mysterious province.”

So in 2015 the prevailing thought on the SM forum was that they made 3 versions ; steel, brass and aluminum. That also seems to be the case today looking at the FB feedback on the PC unit. The COB models that have surfaced all show up in the EU. We have 2 users with COBs on this thread. The lion share of US 444s are steel as listed in the Sonor documentation.

So rare and uncataloged but the D444 COB is out there in Europe.
 
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Frank Godiva

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Yeah, that center bead is inwards too.
Unfortunately the seller has misidentified this model which leads to confusion....... this happens often especially with the EU specific models and is often unintentional.

Not a D444, but rather an early example of the D454 with a version of the beer tap strainer. The 454 is all its forms is a different shell then the D444; here described as metal and not specifically cited as seamless.

The pic below is from the 1970 Swinger/Action catalog (NR. 1702) which were only sold in the EU; thx to HH over at the SM.de for clearing that up.

IMG_0168.jpg
 
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Frank Godiva

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about to purchase this. is this a sonor shell?????? bead goes inward. hmmmm
OP think you got an early D454. Got a pic of the strainer? This models looks like COB per HH. I personally have not seen one of these versions, only the later steel version. So just like the 444, the 454 has more then one shell type.
 

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Frank Godiva

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What can I say. I presented it to whom I consider the specialists to help out and that was their determination so I passed it along.

They said that there was a lot of odd stuff going on with those snares back then.
You and they.... were right all along.... funny stuff going on now and then..... stay well friend
 

Frank Godiva

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Here’s another one from an EU owner, magnet sticks to rims but not the brass shell, beer tap strainer; early D454

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Tarkus

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OP think you got an early D454. Got a pic of the strainer? This models looks like COB per HH. I personally have not seen one of these versions, only the later steel version. So just like the 444, the 454 has more then one shell type.
Thanks.

Honestly, I didn't expect it to be a D454. Also didn't know, these have COB shells. But hey, mistakes are there to learn from. I'm curious to see better pictures of the drum in question.
What I missed during the D-444 discussion: how to identify if there is a COB shell? Just understood that magnets are not the way to distinguish. Weighting the shell would work, theoretically, but who dismantles everything first. Is there another 'trick'?
Best would be, if you could hear it directly playing the drum, but I fear I can't without comparison (might even fail a blind test).
 
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fivestarkid

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A


Sorry Joe. Look at all the D444 snares on this post; all have something unique going on; some factory some just to get the old girl back on the stand
hey frank. i received the drum finally and have posted a new thread. called it part 2 with pics. hopefully someone can identify this guy. thanks for the help..
 

Frank Godiva

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Thanks.

Honestly, I didn't expect it to be a D454. Also didn't know, these have COB shells. But hey, mistakes are there to learn from. I'm curious to see better pictures of the drum in question.
What I missed during the D-444 discussion: how to identify if there is a COB shell? Just understood that magnets are not the way to distinguish. Weighting the shell would work, theoretically, but who dismantles everything first. Is there another 'trick'?
Best would be, if you could hear it directly playing the drum, but I fear I can't without comparison (might even fail a blind test).

I had no idea their was a version one of the D454 either. Let alone it would be brass and not a Teardrop model but rather a Swinger / Action series snare drum. The version 2 is a Champion series snare.

As far as the COB 444, its just from users who report it over the years. I like learning about these things as well. Always something new with old Sonor. I learned that this model also came in another version; the D444 M for marching. If your rim shows up with odd extra holes, theirs a chance it may have been a the marching version.

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