Is it possible to visit SONOR and take a factory tour?
Factory Tours at SONOR in Germany are usually being arranged for groups with up to 25 people and arranged approx. 2 months prior to the tour. Please contact us via the contact form.
Is SONOR a German company?
SONOR is a German company that belongs to an international corporate group of musical instrument manufacturers.
Can I buy directly at SONOR? Is there an outlet center?
We basically only sell via our dealer / distributor network, with the exception of Merchandise. Please contact your SONOR dealer if you want to buy our products.
How and where can I experience and test SONOR products?
Possibilities to test our instruments are given at a vast number of specialized SONOR Dealers. Use the dealer site to find a dealer near you.
How do I become a SONOR endorsed artist?
An Endorsement is an exclusive partnership between SONOR and a group of selected artists. There is no special procedure how to apply for a SONOR endorsement. Usually we always contact the artist directly. However, if you should consider to apply, please always send in compelling material (to include e.g. CDs, DVDs, information about your musical activities, tour dates, information about record label and management).
Where can I get SONOR information such as catalogs?
SONOR catalogs are available worldwide at every SONOR retail partner. You can also download catalogs etc. under "Media". Merchandise items (shirts, caps etc.) can be ordered in our online store, but currently only available to German residents.
How long may I order discontinued drums or finishes?
SONOR is able to offer discontinued drums or colors within 2 years after official production stop. It's only possible to order single drums and not pre-configured drum sets or shell sets. In the exceptional case of discontinued raw materials or other supply and production related outages, SONOR preserves the right to differ from the regular 2 years reorder time frame. Statutory warranty claims remain unaffected by this rule.
Is it possible to get products, outside of drums series, that have been discontinued?
After products have been discontinued and have sold out (such as snare drums, hardware parts, cymbal and other products) SONOR is not able to build them for a special order. Statutory warranty claims remain unaffected by this rule.
How long do I have access to spare parts after products have been discontinued?
Usually SONOR is offering to reorder spare parts for discontinued items within 5 years after official production stop. Spare parts does not mean complete drums or complete hardware components. In the exceptional case of discontinued raw materials or other supply and production related hindrances, SONOR preserves the right to differ from the regular 2 years reorder time frame. Statutory warranty claims remain unaffected by this rule
Can I use any hardware fittings on different drums?
Compatibility has to be checked individually due to varying drilling distances, thread types, tube diameters, etc. of older and actual instruments/ hardware components. Please contact your local SONOR dealer to get detailed information.
How should I store drums?
Please do not expose your drums and hardware to extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. Storage would be perfect in stable room conditions of approximately a temperature 20°C (70ºF) and humidity of 55%.
What is the best way to protect my drums when I move them?
Make sure that you carry your SONOR drums in well protected and padded bags or cases during transport. Please make also sure that the bags or cases aren't exposed to extreme heat or cold.
How do I clean and maintain my drums, fittings and hardware components?
Use a slightly damp, soft and colorless towel from time to time to clean satin lacquered wooden veneers.
Please make sure you are wiping consistently with the grain, not against.
For high gloss lacquered shells use a damp, soft and colorless towel first and then use a dry, soft and colorless towel after.
Never use any kind of furniture polish or sprays as they can be too aggressive and cause hazy spots on lacquered surfaces!
Hardware and fittings should be wiped dry when being exposed to any kind of moisture to avoid corrosion. Never use chrome polish on gold or black chrome hardware components and fittings!
For maintaining your cymbals we recommend that you clean them with a dry, soft and colorless towel on a regular basis.
Can I order special designed custom instruments outside the regular program and SQ²?
SONOR does not offer this special service outside of regular program and SQ². SONOR preserves the right to differ from this regulation in exceptional cases.
Can I exchange squared tension rods for slotted tension rods?
It is possible to exchange tension rods of both version from production year 2007 and newer. Squared and slotted tension rods are available in the SONOR spare parts program. Please make sure you order the correct length. Contact your local SONOR dealer to order the right tension rods to customize your drums.
Can I order raw materials such as veneers, wraps, raw shells, fittings, etc.?
Raw materials, such as veneers, wraps, raw shells, raw metal parts and fittings, etc. are not subject to purchase. SONOR sells only complete products and parts.
How do I tune my drums?
There are many ways to tune a drum and your personal drum sound is a matter of your own taste.
A basic way to start: After you have put on the head and the hoop make sure you tighten all tension rods with your hands until you feel resistance. Now slightly press the middle of the head with one hand, you will see that the drum head will have a wavy surface. Now take your tuning key and tighten the tension rods equally next to the wavy areas until you see an even surface. Do this with the same amount of pressure on the batter and resonant heads.
Now you should have reached a basic tension and sound from where you can start fine tuning. Fine tune by hitting the head next to each tension rod.
If you hear different pitches, try to balance them by increasing or decreasing the tension of the particular rod until you reach the pitch you desire.
The next step is to balance batter and resonant heads to the desired pitch, and tune all of your drums to your favorite pitch. The batter head is responsible for the attack tone and the resonant head is responsible for the sustain tone of each drum.
What does "bearing edge" mean?
The bearing edge means the cut edge of a drum shell top and bottom. This is important because this is where the drum shell contacts the drum head. In 1975 SONOR found that the 45° radius cut creates the best contact with the head for the best response, tuning and tone. On the outside a slightly countercut is visible. A perfectly even and precise surface is crucial for perfect sound and easy tuning.
What does CLTF mean?
How are the different layers laminated?
What is the effect on the sound?
CLTF means: Cross Laminated and Tension Free.
In this SONOR special procedure the different layers are cross laminated, which means that the structure of the wooden grain crosses from layer to layer at a 90 degree angle. All layers are glued and pressed in oil heated molds (110 degrees Celsius), the result being a perfectly round and strong wooden shell which will keep its shape. Even when you cut it, it will stay in this radius. CLTF has a major influence on tuning stability and tone.
What is the difference between the individual SONOR drum heads?
SONOR drum heads are made by REMO in the USA and are available in the sizes of:
Medium - choice of white coated and clear, similar to Remo Ambassador single ply heads. These produce an open, bright, and resonant sound with plenty of attack.
Heavy - clear version only, similar to Remo Emperor double ply heads. These produce slightly less overtones and a bright, focused sound combined with higher durability. They are also available in white coated for snare drum sizes.
Double - clear version only, similar to Remo Pin Stripe double ply heads. This makes them ideal heads for the “fat” sounds of Pop, Rock and R&B and for those who want a low pitched sound with moderate attack and response characteristics. They are also available in white coated version for snare drum sizes.
Power - choice of black, white coated and clear, similar to Remo Powerstroke 3 heads. These feature a thin underlay at the outer edge of the head to subtly dampen unwanted overtones. This creates a near-perfect balance of response and tone control.
What is the difference about the wood that SONOR uses for shells?
Pre-selected Maple, Birch, Beech and Poplar is used in SONOR drum shell production. Each wood species has it's own property and timbre, due to its unique structure and density. The thickness, diameter and length of the shell interact with the head selection and has a major impact on the sound of each drum. The combination of all of these parameters opens a widespread choice of sound possibilities for your personal sound. Please find more information about specific shell construction in the detailed description of the available drum series on the SONOR website.
Where is SONOR sourcing it's wood for the drum shells?
For ProLite, SQ², some Artist-, and Signature Snares SONOR uses Maple from North American and Canadian sources. SONOR uses Beech from Germany and Birch from Scandinavia.
The Beech used on Ascent series is from Germany. Maple used on Select Force is from North American and Canadian sources. Birch used on Essential Force is from China. Poplar used on Smart Force and Smart Force Extend is also from China.
SONOR only uses woods from select, certified and enviromentally friendly sources.
Where do cymbals come from?
Cymbal originally come from Asian cultures where they were traditionally used for religious ceremonies. The Chinese have used bronze since 3000 B.C. for the precursors of the products we are using nowadays. Tibet, India and Turkey also have a long history of creating cymbals. Through migration cymbals spread all over Europe in the middle ages. Cymbals have also played major role in the military of many cultures.
Which material are used in making cymbals?
The majority of cymbals are made using all copper, tin and zinc in varying compositions.
These bronze alloys are then cast, pressed, hammered or bent into different types of cymbals.
Some cymbals are hand made, some cymbal are machine made.
For the beginner range of cymbals brass is also used as the raw material. The raw materials used to create the cymbal combined with the production method have a major influence on how the cymbals sound and resonate.
Am I able to purchase SONOR products from SONOR directly?
Please contact your authorized SONOR dealer to get SONOR products.
What is the difference between SONOR Prolite and the SQ² drum series?
What is the difference between SONOR Prolite and the SQ² drum series?SONOR SQ² drums are custom instruments, hand made in Germany to your specific wishes with all the possibilities that the SQ² Configurator (www.sq2-drumsystem.com) offers.
Choose between four different shell materials, 160 different shell sizes, three different fittings choices and more than 260 different finish options.
Finish options are exotic exterior vertical veneers, exotic interior vertical veneers, satin lacquers, high gloss lacquers, solid lacquers, fade and burst finishes. Wrapped finishes are also available. Each instrument is an exclusive item and one of kind. Special customization beyond what the Configurator offers isn't possible.
ProLite drums are made by hand in Germany using production line methods. Each ProLite instrument goes through the same production process as an SQ².
The difference between the series is a production line approach versus custom made production in SQ². ProLite drums feature the Vintage Maple shell construction. Nine different finish options are available.
How do I order my SQ² instruments?
After you have configured your drum or kit on the SQ² Configurator please press the "My SQ² Setup" button. Your SQ² configuration will pop up in another window, ready for printing. Please print this pdf and send it (or email a copy) it to your authorized SONOR dealer. You can also simply provide your dealer with the unique UPID number and they can reference the drum(s) online. Your authorized dealer will forward this information SONOR Germany through his distributor. A list of dealers can be found on the Configurator as well. After your order has been received SONOR will begin building your custom drum(s).
How long does it take to get my SQ² instruments after my order has reached SONOR?
The production time of SQ² Instruments takes approx. 16 weeks once your order has reached SONOR Germany. Freight back to your country increases the time based upon where you live.
Is the Perfect Balance Pedal also available as a double pedal or is a release planned so far?
The Perfect Balance Pedal by Jojo Mayer was developed as a single pedal only, as Jojo Mayer only uses single pedals. The single post construction featuring the self-mounting clamp mechanism (patent pending) also makes it impossible to turn this pedal into a double pedal. While there are no plans for a double pedal, the technolgy developed for this instrument could certainly be appropriated for a different product.
Replacing cover plates
1. Don’t be scared, you can do it!
2. If a broken cover plate or pieces remain on the instrument you must remove these. To remove you might have to use a combination of the following:
Unscrew any remaining screws.
Use a hammer or rubber mallet and carefully tap against the plate from underneath to loosen it.
If necessary you can take a screwdriver, paint scraper, putty knife or some other flat device to pry the plate up.
If this still does not work you can saw the plate into small pieces until it falls off. Don’t worry about breaking the cover plate as long as the rest of the instrument stays intact.
3. If there are anchor bolts stuck inside the wall cut them off so the surface is flush.
4. Use sandpaper and remove any remaining glue or wood splinters.
5. Attaching the new plate.
Take the new cover plate and put it in place on the side wall of the resonator box. Use a pencil to mark the predrilled holes on the top of the wall. Remove plate and drill the screw holes in side wall just a few millimeters (about 0.2’’) to create guidance for the screws later on. Take the screws out again.
Then fill the groove on the cover plate with wood glue.
Put it in place and tighten screws.
Broken off pins?
SONOR's pins are quite durable, but off course they are wear parts. The rubber can become porous or peel off when bars are removed and also kids sometimes have a way of tilting the bars when taking them off. Fact is: pins sometimes need to be exchanged and some people are quite scared about it. The good news is, it is unnessecary, there is a very easy way to remove broken off pins.
Simply take a drill that is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole for the pin and drill right into the middle of the plastic that is still stuck inside.
If you have not broken the stuck part while trying to get it out another way it should swirl right out. Otherwise use the drill to break it up into little pieces that then can be taken out with tweezers or simply shaken out when holding the instrument upside down
Try sticking in the new pin. If it won’t fit in, cautiously drill a little more, because there might be some of the old glue stuck inside. Then take the new pin, put wood glue in the whole and stick it in.
Which specifications does SONOR need to identify old bars?
What is the note name and pitch of the missing bar, for instance d1 or d2? Is it a bar for a glockenspiel, metallophone, xylophone (wood or fiberglas) or a chime bar? Which line does it belong to, for instance Primary or Meisterklasse?
A few tips for identification:
If you find a name written on the side of the resonator box, please state it. A description of the bars (material, color, imprint, one or two holes) and the measurements (length, width, thickness) of the bar that is situated directly next to the lacking bar, including its note name, is very important.
In general with these specifications SONOR can determine the instrument and replaceable bar.
A picture says a thousand words: Therefore we recommend taking pictures of the bars and the instruments. Please send them to your local dealer or to SONOR’s distribution partner in your country. They will make sure that you get the right bar.
What spare parts are available?
Basically SONOR provides any kind of spare part, be it a little pin, single or more bars - you name it. Even many parts of very old models are still available. However, in this case it might happen that single items are missing and can't be manufactured anymore. But it's always worth asking!
Which songs are suitable for playing on diatonic barred instruments?
You can play all songs in the following keys:
C-major or A-minor,
F-major or D-minor,
G-major or E-minor
How are the SONOR Orff lines structured?
MEISTERKLASSE is the flagship and also the most extensive range of SONOR Orff. All instruments are available in the full chromatic range, from Sub Contra Bass Bars up to Soprano Glockenspiels. However, you can of course purchase diatonic instruments separately, if you don’t need chromatics. Xylophone bars are made from genuine rosewood, which probably is the best sounding wood available, and the sound quality of Meisterklasse instruments in general is very rich and full - literally SONORous. Brackets for attaching stands are included. Tuning: high range fundamental tuning, low range overtone tuning
Comparable to this range is PALISONO, which has the same quality. This range only contains xylophones and chime bars, however they are not made with wooden bars, but with a fiberglass called Palisono, which was developed by SONOR in cooperation with specialists. Fiberglass has a little more sustain compared to wooden bars and has the advantage of not being hygroscopic, i.e. it doesn’t react to climate changes like temperature or humidity. Brackets for attaching stands are included. Tuning: high range fundamental tuning, low range overtone tuning
PRIMARY is the middle class and has a slightly smaller range. Metallophones and xylophones are available in chromatic versions, glockenspiels and chime bars are diatonic with the accidentals f# and bb. Xylophone bars are made from Pao Rosa, which is an African wood with very good sound qualities. Brackets for attaching stands are included. Tuning: high range fundamental tuning, low range overtone tuning
GLOBAL BEAT is meant for beginners or schools with a very low budget but needing to buy high quantities without wanting to compromise regarding tuning quality. Glockenspiels, metallophones and xylophones are only available in diatonic versions with the accidentals f# and bb. There are no chime bars available. Xylophones are available with wooden or fiberglass bars. No brackets for attaching stands are available. Tuning: high range standard or fundamental tuning, low range overtone tuning
All series can be mixed and matched, because they are all tuned correctly. However, the sound characteristic is different. I am not categorizing this sound quality into good or bad, because experience shows that this is strictly a matter of taste. What I want to point out is that if you mix, you should rather stay within one range for each instrument type, e.g. purchase all xylophones from Primary and all metallophones from Meisterklasse. If you mix within one type the instruments in this group will have a different sound quality (not tuning quality!), which might disturb the overall sound homogeneity of the whole ensemble.
When deciding on a range you should also keep in mind that not all series have chromatic upgrades available, which you might want to add later.
What is the purpose of the notes f# and b-flat?
On diatonic barred instruments you usually find the notes of the C-major scale:
c, d, e, f, g, a, b
If you now exchange the f-bar for the f#-bar (c, d, e, f#, g, a, b) you get a G-major scale:
g, a, b, c, d, e, f#
If you exchange the b-bar for the bb-bar (c, d, e, f, g, a, bb) you get a F-major scale:
f, g, a, bb, c, d, e
How am I supposed to hold the mallets?
Especially for playing xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, timpani and other percussion instruments the following is advisable:
Your thumb and index finger should hold the shaft of the mallet near the middle. Easy – don’t clutch it too hard! The head of the mallet should hit the middle of the bar. If you hold the mallet loosely the bar can vibrate freely and the longest possible tone is created. If you press the mallet onto the bar, the bar's vibration is stopped and the outcome will be a rather percussive sound.
Of course there are varying degrees between those two extremes and they all can be used as stylistic elements.
H = B? B = Bb? What’s that all about?
When SONOR first started making Orff instruments, of course the German note names where printed on the bars, because they were designed for the domestic market. Then Orff took off on its triumphal course around the globe and it became apparent that in other countries the notes where named differently. Only in the German speaking part of the world the note names were (starting on A):
A H C D E F G.
In many other countries the alphabet was taken as the basis:
A B C D E F G.
So the German H in some other countries is called B, and the German B is named B which admittedly is much more logical. However, the instruments had to be adapted and to simplify matters they printed H = B and B = Bb on the bars – which since then has posed questions in classrooms around the world... – but somehow also has become a little bit of a trademark of SONOR Orff.
But why is that so in the first place? In the beginning the alphabet was the basis for the note scale in German speaking countries as well. Word has it that in times when monks still where in charge of copying manuscripts, sheet music as well – there were no photocopy machines then – one monk didn’t write quite neatly. Maybe he was tired, maybe he had enjoyed his wine too much - however, he didn’t quite close the bow of the lowercase b on the bottom. Murphy’s Law stroke and the next monk copied the note name as h.
Fact or fancy? In any case this is a good story to tell your students about the background of the bar imprint. Or to make a student with a spidery handwriting comprehend the repercussions this habit might have in the future.
By the way: all new SONOR Orff instruments are available in two separate models for German speaking and other countries. Also the „old“ instruments will be adapted bit by bit.
Comparison of piano keys and sound bars?
The standard piano or grand piano claviature has 88 keys (52 whites and 36 blacks) with a range of 7 1/4 octaves, from sub-contrabass A to c5.
In general the c located close to the keyhole (in the middle of the claviature) is the one-line c: c1.
The lowest note of SONOR barred instruments are (The lower notes, down to the sub contra C, are covered by the Chime Bars.):
Can metallophones and glockenspiels go out of tune?
No, SONOR metallophones and glockenspiels are almost indestructible. Only by applying brute force our bars made of specially alloyed metal can be deformed and detuned. This also applies to SONOR Chime Bars with metal bars.
Can Xylophones go out of tune?
SONOR xylophones with Palisono and hardwood bars have very consistent pitch due to the precision SONOR uning process. Since wood is a natural product, compared to Palisono it reacts more sensitive and should not be subject to extreme temperature and humidity changes. This could impact the tuning and in the worst case the bars will even crack.
Palisono is a fiber-glass material developed by SONOR, which has a full, xylophone-type sound quality and is non-hygroscopic. This means, it does not absorb water molecules from the surrounding environment, which makes it unsusceptible against changes in temperature and humidity.
Why are there staged and slanted resonance boards?
The composition of sound in musical instruments is influenced by the form and making of the resonator boxes.
A staged resonance board has a different sound reflexion compared to a slanted one. To judge one or the other as better or worse does not help and makes no sense. The decision for one or another instrument will be based on the personal sound preferences of the musician.
Why do resonator boxes have a chording?
SONOR resonator box instruments have a textile braided chording of best quality, so the bars can vibrate freely and create the best possible tone.
What is the meaning of overtone, fundamental or standard tuning?
SONOR uses this terms to describe different work routines for tuning:
While the fundamental pitch mostly represents the perceived pitch of a tone, the overtones essentially determine the tone color. SONOR sets a high value on good timbre and therefore usually uses this laborious tuning on all bars that have a pitch lower than c1.
On bars of a higher pitch, for instance alto or soprano barred instruments, this tuning method is used, with convincing sound results.
SONOR usually uses this tuning method only for glockenspiel bars starting on c3 and higher. This method makes instruments well-priced.
Which tuning method is used for particular instruments you can find out when going to the information pages of the individual instruments.
What is Palisono?
Palisono is a fiber-glass reinforced material, which was developed by SONOR in collaboration with a specialized company.
The sound character of Palisono is perfectly suitable for the manufacturing of Xylophones. In addition Palisono bars have the advantage of being non-hygroscopic, which means they can not absorb water molecules. Therefore a stable tuning can be guaranteed in various climatic conditions.
What are barred instruments?
All musical instruments that generate a tone by hitting a bar are barred instruments.
At xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels all bars lie on one resonator box. Chime bars each have their own resonator box.
What do I have to consider when buying Congas?
First of all you should consider the setup: 1, 2 or 3 Congas. Then the material, wood or fiberglas. Also, the type and quality of the drumhead is very important. We offer various models in different price ranges, which you can find under Congas & Bongos. A personal test at a SONOR dealer, as always, is strongly recommended.
How do I tune Congas and Bongos?
Tune the hooks one after the other with the supplied wrench to keep the head even. If you have two Congas, you might tune them to G and C, the most common tuning. In setups of 3 Congas, the highest one is tuned to E.
What Rim is better, Comfort, Soft, Easy Play or Traditional?
The type of Rim depends on your personal like. We strongly recommend a personal test.
Where are SONOR Congas and Bongos being made?
Champion Series: China
Global and Latino Series: Thailand
Which heads does SONOR use for their Congas and Bongos?
We use handselected bufallo skins.