Vintage Sonor Teardrop Snare with the absolute worst strainer/butt design! Good replacement?

nickrobotron

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I have a beautiful snare drum that I'd like to play. I have to get rid of these parts though. My questions are:

1. Are there suitable replacements without drilling?

2. Can I still be a member if I put Ludwig parts on this?

I've attached photos of the inside of the drum so you can see the holes. The throw off has two horizontal holes very close to each other. The butt has one hole.

I'm open to any opinions. I personally don't mind modifying this drum, by the way. There isn't a lot of surface area, so I was thinking of the beer tap style or the mini Pearl-style that C&C uses.

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Woody85

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I can't really help with recommendations but let me know if you want to sell that butt plate.
 

Tarkus

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Nice find.
This snare needs serious cleaning, but not much more. As far as I can judge, everything is there to play.

Only thing missing is this round cap to close the snare lifter (might not be the correct word). But this is only optics, snare doesn't play different without. Once you get used to the fiddling with the cord, you can set your snares wires quite well.

There are some of these round caps made of 'chromed' plastic, and some metal ones. I know there is somebody in Germany who made replacement parts that fitted very well. But I didn't ask for contacts as mine is still in place.

Yours was a 'cheaper' line of teardrop snare, so don't expect it to sound like radio kings. But 'vintage sound' will be there. The better ones had parallel snare lifters already in the 50s.

Good luck with getting this retired instrument back to life.
 
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flatwins

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I only have one teardrop era snare (D-444) and it came to me mainly as a project shell that had already been drilled for some other strainer. Just so I could play it I made adapter plates and mounted a P85. The main goal was to not drill any additional holes past what had already been done.

Your snare is beautiful and you’re taking the right approach by not modifying the shell. You could fashion adapters and mount whatever strainer you’d like though it won’t be the prettiest girl on the block. I’ve seen people mount the George Way beer tap on these so maybe that would work. Definitely save the original strainer in case you ever want to sell the drum. Replacement caps are available as well.
 

flatwins

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I found some pics of mine. Keep in mind this was basically a shell and lugs so I figured I’d have a little fun with it. If I had had the original parts I would have put it back factory.
 

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mebeatee

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Yep...definitely the most frustrating strainer/butt end I’ve come across. The “cap” on the strainer was also missing.
Well, and I have a flame retardant suit on, I’m not one for keeping things as they were for collectors sake as all my instruments are working instruments so they have to work, not sit on a shelf and look good.
Having said that mine is a ‘65 teardrop kit and only the rack tom and floor floor have stayed stock. I took all the superfluous stuff off the bass drum, drilled out and installed new spurs. The bd didn’t have a front hoop or lugs for that matter.....so I had a spare 20 hoop with some old John Grey lugs and tension rods and modified.
I had to drill the snare for a new strainer and butt end and now everything works fine.
fwiw I’ve done this to a ‘63 Camco snare, an early ‘“70’s Gretsch kit and probably some more.....
Some pix of the snare mods and a pic of the kit beside a nice big ol’ Ludwig bd that I changed the spurs on....
bt
 

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Big Beat

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There's nothing wrong with these parts. They work perfectly fine when adjusted properly. Many people are simply not used to quirky old European designs and want everything to be as simple and bulletproof as a P-85. If you spend some time with your Sonor, you will learn to appreciate the quality and the thought that went into every part of it. Such quirky details are what makes vintage interesting. But if you absolutely must, do make an adaptor plate and avoid drilling holes.
 

flatwins

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There's nothing wrong with these parts. They work perfectly fine when adjusted properly. Many people are simply not used to quirky old European designs and want everything to be as simple and bulletproof as a P-85. If you spend some time with your Sonor, you will learn to appreciate the quality and the thought that went into every part of it. Such quirky details are what makes vintage interesting. But if you absolutely must, do make an adaptor plate and avoid drilling holes.
+1. I grew up riding motorcycles of Japan (mainly Honda) and did my share of mechanical work on them so I was familiar with their design. But for years I always admired the air-cooled BMW motorcycles of Germany. As as adult I finally got my hands on one and wow were they different from what I was used to. Even using the turn signal switch was a completely different operation than what was familiar.
I came to appreciate the design of the BMW stuff and ended up buying several more. My handle on here is flatwins or “flat twins”, the engine design of the old Beemers.
German drums are just like German motorcycles: different. They both do their job but in a different way and that difference is part of the fun.
 

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mebeatee

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There's nothing wrong with these parts. They work perfectly fine when adjusted properly. Many people are simply not used to quirky old European designs and want everything to be as simple and bulletproof as a P-85. If you spend some time with your Sonor, you will learn to appreciate the quality and the thought that went into every part of it. Such quirky details are what makes vintage interesting. But if you absolutely must, do make an adaptor plate and avoid drilling holes.

All very well and good, and I agree to a point. Yes, the strainer and butt end on my Sonor did work...sort of, but certainly was not reliable or versatile enough to take it out of its case and make any adjustments needed on the fly when the drum is in working mode.
Now having said that...and it should be home from the shop soon.....we have a 1959 Mercedes 190sl and there’s no way I’m gonna drill holes in that and change out parts....;)
Moral of the story....yep I changed out a bunch of parts on a few of my vintage drums....they aren’t “vintage” anymore....big deal.....however being my working tools they (these modified drums) most certainly help me maintain this particular vehicle. Tough trade off I guess.
bt
 

Big Beat

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>>> I changed out a bunch of parts on a few of my vintage drums....they aren’t “vintage” anymore....big deal.

It's your stuff, so do as you wish. But if you make sure those mods are reversible, you'll thank yourself later.
 

bpaluzzi

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Well, and I have a flame retardant suit on, I’m not one for keeping things as they were for collectors sake as all my instruments are working instruments so they have to work, not sit on a shelf and look good.


Yup. I have a 66 Club Date that's been drilled for modern tom brackets and bass drum mount, and an 80s Sonor D506 that I've replaced the strainer + butt end (fit the hole spacing, but had to expand the holes). I buy drums to play them, not to worry about collectors or resale value.
 

mebeatee

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It's your stuff, so do as you wish. But if you make sure those mods are reversible, you'll thank yourself later.

I hear ya....however yes and no.
Over the years of "modding" drums one accumulates quite a "vintage collection" of parts....ie the snare drum bits in this case, et al. I'm sure everyone here has a box or three of of drum hardware items, replacement parts, plus lots of parts of parts...;)
The working and touring kits...'65 Sonor's seen above, '70's Gretsch orphan's, a '60's Slingerland 12x22 bd, and some snares that stay local....all these drums have been modded and in the rigours of touring things happen and they have to be maintained or upgraded because of said drums workload.
So no they aren't going back......HOWEVER....all of those parts don't sit in box(es) in the basement.
About a year or so before everything shut down I gathered these parts together and over a little time took them into the city to an independent drum bunch, where they reside or more importantly have been made avaialable to someone who is looking for......a '65 Sonor snare mechanism, a '63 Camco parallel snare unit, Gretsch tom holders, etc... Even John Grey badges were happily received.
I "customize"...lol....and those folks restore/build real fine..... Win win as they say....we're all good!
I do have a couple of kits that aren't or don't need modding...but they never went around the continent many times....they stayed at home and look pretty.....
The modded ones mentioned....no way....they ain't never goin' back....what these drums have been through and the stories and adventures they hold...
bt
 

Jay_M

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This is actually my favorite snare, wood or otherwise. I have one with single tension lugs (avatar), it's called a D-471. I'm looking to buy another actually. The strainer is very frustrating at first, but I had to fiddle with it and figure out the design. Once you get the hang of it (make sure the cord is secured in that space on the bottom of the circle or it'll keep slipping which may be happening to you) it's actually a decent system and nowhere near as bad as Gretsch 60s Microsensitive or Slingerland's Zoomatic. Sonor made quality stuff for the time.

BUT, something else to save you a ton of headache with this snare that took me ages to figure out - those teardrop lugs had sponges inside them to keep the tension rod threading nut in place. Over the years they disintegrate. When you change a head and then try to tune the snare back up, maybe half of them won't catch the threading, it'll just keep spinning. You can either shake the drum till the nut appears and then you thread, or remove the lug and put a tiny piece of tissue in the housing where the nut is in the lug to keep it in place. I went nuts for hours (no pun intended) wondering why the rods wouldn't thread when I tried to change a head on one after it not being done for 50 years. Not as simple as a supra or RK but once you dial these in the tone is unmatched.
 


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