RE­VIEW sonor steve smith 40th an­niver­sary snare

£1,184 Cel­e­brat­ing the Vi­tal In­for­ma­tion and Jour­ney drum­ming leg­end’s 40th an­niver­sary as a Sonor en­dorsee

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS - Words: Ge­off Ni­cholls

Af­ter hav­ing seen Bernard Pur­die play­ing Sonor in 1977, Steve Smith headed out and bought him­self an orange Sonor kit with twin 24" bass drums. He’s re­mained com­mit­ted to the brand and, in ac­knowl­edg­ment of this loy­alty, Sonor com­mem­o­rates Steve’s 40th year with this sig­na­ture snare with a lim­ited edi­tion of 77.

Safely cos­seted in a for­mi­da­ble hard­case, the drum ar­rives com­plete with Vic Firth An­niver­sary drum­sticks and a black wood (10"x7½") box con­tain­ing an au­then­ti­ca­tion cer­tifi­cate and golden drum key. A special com­mem­o­ra­tive badge com­pletes the drum’s ex­clu­sive look. You may have no­ticed the some­what in­flated price, which re­flects the special, lim­ited-edi­tion sta­tus.


Hark­ing back to 1977 there’s a strong vin­tage slant to the drum, with rounded bear­ing edges and eight 1970s Phonic-style ‘bow-tie’ lugs – the same lugs as on Steve’s Sig­na­ture steel snare drum. Also in classic Sonor style, the 14"x5¾" shell is crafted from nine plies of Ger­man beech wood, just 6mm thick. This is in turn bound by a highly fig­ured semi-gloss ve­neer of Moun­tain Burl, both out­side and in­side. This is an ALPI ar­ti­fi­cial eco-re­spon­si­ble de­signer fin­ish, sim­i­lar toSonor’s other SQ2 fin­ishes, such as Cho­co­late Burl. Close in­spec­tion re­veals the shell is nigh-on flaw­less, although it does vary slightly in round­ness.

Con­tin­u­ing the pe­riod vibe, the en­graved Su­perPro­fil chromed-steel hoops have their stick-sav­ing top flange folded in­wards. The ma­jor con­ces­sion to the modern era is the re­doubtable Dual Glide strainer, butt and 24-strand Steel Sound wires.

Hands On

Beech is an un­der­used wood and yet al­ways im­presses with its rich sound strad­dling the more fa­mil­iar taut birch and open maple. Beech was a 1970s Sonor sta­ple and fea­tures on the re­cently-reis­sued Vin­tage series. Con­trast­ing with Smith’s steel sig­na­ture snare, here we have a mel­lower, darker and more con­trolled char­ac­ter de­riv­ing from the rounded edges and slightly in­creased depth of the thin beech shell. Special 24-strand wires give a thick snare-y crunch to the back­beat.

Still, the drum re­sponds to crisp tun­ing. There’s a def­i­nite pop when ten­sioned medium high – a jazzy-funky clar­ity nec­es­sary for the slick ex­e­cu­tion of Smith’s rapid-fire stick­ing. Steve tells Rhythm ex­clu­sively, “I loved the sound of the Vin­tage snare drum that Sonor re­leased a cou­ple of years ago and I wanted some­thing close to that. The rounded edges help give the snare a darker sound.Also, with eight lugs I hear more low-end be­cause the heads keep an open feel.”

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