Dies ist das Sonor Hilite Exclusive Set von Joep aus den Niederlanden.

Er hat einen schönen Bericht über die Restaurierung geschrieben.

I thought some of the guys here might be interested in this..
After the restoring of a Ludwig Vistalite kit and a Sonor Signature kit  last year, I’ve taken on a bigger project a couple of months ago. It’s not finished yet, but it’s coming together nicely.
I’m restoring Sonor Hilite Exclusive kit from 1988, but more specifically, the hardware. This is the only kit in history of all drum kits that I know of that had all hardware copper plated. And all hardware means ALL hardware. Lugs, rims, washers, claws, spurs, stands, clamps strainers, everything. Some think it’s hideous, some think it’s classy, but it’s unique for sure. The copper hardware is very easily damaged though. To prevent oxidation of the copper, the copper plated parts are sealed with a thin layer of clear lacquer. When this lacquer is damaged, the copper underneath starts oxidizing. Of course, lacquer is not nearly as hard as chrome, so putting all stands together in a hardware case is a no go with these kits. Unfortunately, that is what most people do, so many of these kits are not very nice looking after 20 years.

This kit was no difference. When I saw the ad it all looked ok, but when I asked for more pics, it was clear that the hardware was horrible. More people thought so, because not many people bid. So I got the kit for a nice price. It included a Sonor HLD590 33lbs bronze snare drum, the holy grail of Sonor drums. This one too had some scuffed copper hoops, but besides that it was in excellent condition.

Sizes are:
8x14 snare

These were the places where the copper was the worst looking (and the flash made it look even worse):

With the dusty shells on the pics I couldn’t really see how nice the shells, lugs and hoops were, so I was delighted to see that those were very nice. The shop that was selling it also said that the guy they were selling it for had always put the shells in cases, but all the hardware in one. So after I cleaned the toms I was delighted!
Just a bit of snare rash on the 10″ and 12″:

At this point I decided that these shells needed nice hardware. I first thought I could maybe restore the hardware myself, but found out that that would be impossible to do in a nice way, and hazardous. (getting the lacquer off in a acetone filled bath is not something I look forward too…). Also, polishing thealready thin layer of copper wouldnever be as nice as replating.
So I decided to contact some companies to see what replating the hardware would cost. I contacted about 10 company’s. 4 wouldn’t do it, 4 were around 2000 euro, and 2 were able to do it at much less cost. The first one was close, the second one was a bit further away, but said they could replate riveted parts, without the hinges getting stuck! So I went to the first company closest to where I live to get a few parts done as test pieces. It was disaster from the beginning…
I called and asked when I could drop by to talk about it a bit. ‚Tomorrow before 12am is ok‘. When I got there at 11, the guy wasn’t there. So the workshop guy told me he would do three pieces for free, so I could see if it was ok for me, so I could decide if I wanted to do the rest. Ok, all nice. When after a few weeks I called for an update, I got the answer that ‚they had just been copper plated, and will be chromed tomorrow‘. Chromed? WTF? I kindly told them that they were supposed to be sealed, not chromed. A week later, the parts were ready… well…


The grooves are filled with lacquer, not much groove left.

he didn’t think that the inside of the hoop would be visible, so they didn’t polish that.

And left a nice greasy finger print on it.

Big big disappointment! The guy said that the lacquer made it dark, another company did that for them (powder coat lacquer) and that there was no lighter lacquer that he could offer me.

My hope now rested with the other company. I looked at the stand and realised that all theplastic parts had to come off before I could have it replated. Rubber feet, plastic inserts that slide along the vertical tube, all had to go. At first it seemed impossible, but after 45 minutes, success:

The rubber feet came off quite easily after placing them in a cup of boiled water for a minute or so.
I figured that I could get the plastic sliding piece out if I could remove the vertical tube. That was riveted with 1 rivet, and clamped. The rivet came out quite nice, just filed the head off. But getting that tube out was nearly impossible. I eventueally clamped the tube and held the file to the round part with the rivets and smacked the hell out of it with a heavy hammer. It came loose eventually

I could then force the plastic ring out after again warming it up a bit in some hot water. Next the ring with wing screw came off:
The other plastic parts were secured with a small black insert, which I could press out with round file that was exactly the correct size.

Once the insert was removed, the plastic part slided right out! No glue (luckily)…

So now I had the stand all seperated in parts. No more plastic parts attached! Off to the company that said they can replate it with the rivets installed. I would have this one done to see what that would look like and if the stand could indeed move freely. If it was all ok, the rest of the stands bases would be taken apart and replated.

After way too long (3 months I think), the parts came back:


Nice! It was beyondmy expectations. The riveted parts moved like they did before and it looked much better than I expected.

Next job, disassembling everything else:

Exploded view of a hihat stand. Now let’s hope I can get it back together when all is done…

Asked for a quote, and it would be 1000 euro ($1500,and the first stand had already cost me 200 euro / $300), and I even forgot some parts (bass drum T-rods and claws and the hoops of the snare).
Bummer, but I really want to go through with this.

Also, an additional bass drum popped up on ebay and I won the auction!
Also, in the months before, I had assembled from various places several copper mufflers to go with the kit. One for the snare and one for each tom. Like the one on this snare (courtesy by me ):

This is where I’m standing now. I just sold some stuff to have the rest replated. I think that will take another 2 to 3 months. Can’t wait!

Updates will come! Enjoy!

First update after a long time. Lot’s of stuff happened in between. Firstly, I’ve fallen in love with the copper. The idea was to sell once done, but I no longer plan to do so. When I say I’ve fallen in love with the copper, I don’t mean I’ve fallen inlove with the red maple / copper combination. I’ve always likedthe black with copper better, and I would imagine white / copper would look even better. Too bad, Sonor did not offer the Hilite Exclusive in crème lacquer (white). Only the regular Hilites were offered in that colour. So I started looking for a Black Hilite Exclusive. At the same time I started thinking about buying a regular white Hilite as well, and swap out all hardware, to have a black Hilite, which I could sell again, and a White Hilite Exclusive with copper hardware.
Anyway, it was clear that my next kit would have copper hardware, soI decided to add some of my chrome Signature hardware to the parts that had to be copper plated. The great 5-way adapters that allow for 5 cymbal or tom arms on one stand were never offered in copper, so I added two of those to the parts. In total I was having 5 cymbal arms replated and two straight cymbal stands, enough for 7 cymbals which is more than enough for me. Also, I added a drum key :).
Those parts have been brought to the replating company last week, with the stands, tom arms, bass drum claws and T-rods, snare hoops and a few lugs, etc…
Price: 1500 euro 🙁

This is becoming one very expensive project. Buying new would be cheaper, but this is more satisfying.
The parts will take about 2 months to be ready.

In the meantime I found two Hilite Exclusive kits in black, 22-10-12-14 and 22-12-13-16-14x7s. Nice! One of the bass drums arrived cracked along it’s full length. Bummer, but I would use one only, so no big deal. Still, a rare piece of Sonor History lost, and that sucks.
Then someone responded to my ‘wanted, white Hilite’ ad. He had a 22-20-10-12-13-14-16 kit in good condition. I jumped on it, the price wasn’t low, but you can’t complain when you find what you’ve been looking for.
Now I have a whole lotta Hilite at home…
Red Maple Exclusive: 22-22-8-10-12-13-15-16-14x4s
Black Hilite Exclusive: 22-10-12-12-13-14-16-14x7s
Creme Lacquer Hilite: 22-20-10-12-13-14-16

So now I could make my white Hilite Exclusive!

Today I started on a 12” tom. I swapped out the hardware, and drilled out the rivets of the badge. See the pics below. Then I installed a Hilite Exclusive badge from the 12” Red Maple Hilite Exclusive tom. The grommet will stay chrome, I don’t want to mess with that, and one would hardly notice it.

The piece of woould with holes drilled above the badge ritvets prevent scratches on the shell or badge if the drill wouldsuddenly slide of the rivet.

Nails in the holes will prevent the badge fom spinning when removing the last rivet.

Tape protects the badge fromthe wood board.

This is what a Sonor Hilite Exclusive Crème Lacquer 12”x10” Tom looks like!

Next, the 10”. I measured the lug length of the crème lacquer 10”, and it appeared to have a lug spacing that is 0.5 cm (2/10”) larger than the Hilite Exclusive 10” toms I have. Bummer! Don’t know what to do with this yet, but I immediately started measuring the other drums. The 22”-12”-13”-14” and 16” are all exchangeable (big relief), but the 22” bass drum lugs don’t fit on the 20” bass drum. The 20” has later, not fully round tubes like the Force 3000, while the 22” bass drum I would use has the fully round tubes.
Again, not sure what to do yet. The older lugs can apparently be taken apart and the inner tube piece shortened, but I’ve not managed to succeed in that yet.

Next weekend I’ll try to finish the 22-12-13-14-16 drums. But man, does that white and copper look awesome together. I don’t know why Sonor dropped this colour from the list in the Exclusive line, it’s in my opinion the best combination.

More updates will follow in coming weeks. In the meantime, if anyone sees a White Hilite tom in 8”, 10” or 15”, please let me know! Also a white Hilite 14”x4” snare would be great!

Hope you like it!

Hier noch einige Fotos von Joep´s Traumset oder wie es dazu wurde 😉