Expertise on Cleaning a Sonor Phonics kit circa 1980-81...


Junior Member
She was purchased in 1984 so that would make the gunk I am finding underneath the lugs about 27 years old.

I've been wiping down the hardware consisting of a Pearl boom and double-braced Tama stands with Seventh Generation Multi-Surface Cleaner and Handiwipes/Paper Towels plus 0000 Steel Wool for the really grimy patches, and Goo-Gone for the duct tape residue. I've used Armor All Leather cleaner for the little booties on the Floor Toms.

I know that this kind of treatment will not be acceptable on the Lugs and Wrap. It's turned a Creme White and I'd like to keep the blemishes to a minimum and not add to it. Any expertise would be gladly appreciated!

I really do not want to have an "Oh no!" moment!

I've taken the Bass Drum apart and have found that some screws are missing (there's a joke in there somewhere). I am loathe to take the Toms apart with a screwdriver. Tempted to yes but, I won't. There seems to be two different keys for the Sonors. What gives?

Am I headed down the right path here people? The things I have in my head from research are Carnuba Wax, Vinegar and Water (huh?) and No Ammonia!

I just vacuumed the Bass Drum and am about to tackle the task of cleaning after I find the proper screws for the Lugs.



Senior Member
I have several Phonic kits. If the wrap has yellowed (which is normal) I have not yet found a treatment that restores it to the original state. I use Brasso for the chrome hardware. The gunk under the lugs is deteriorated foam rubber. You can replace the old foam with fresh foam or polyester/cotton. You should use an official Sonor key to loosen the slotted tension rods, not a screwdriver. The screwdriver has beveled edges that may hurt the slots. I am not aware of two different slotted keys from Sonor but they did make several styles of keys over the years. As far as I know, they all had the same type of insert to turn the tension rods.

That kit you have is a Phonic Plus which had deeper shells than the standard Phonics. Both Phonic and Phonic Plus are great drums!

The hi hat stand in the photo is a Sonor Protec (or 3000) model and the cymbal stand behind it is a Sonor Perfomer series or maybe it's also a 3000 series.

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Silver Member
I detailed a white phonic 81 kit for a friend awhile back.I recommend buying a sonor key for two reasons,1,your sanity when tuning, 2 Sonor makes their own rims,and cost a lot of money,whether triple flange or die cast,so I don't want to take the chance of scratching them or the shell with a screw driver.The keys come in different styles,but as far as I know they are universal as far as the business end goes.Windex or ammonia based products are O.K. for the wrap and it cuts nicotine/tar from cigarette smoke really well,as long as you use water on wet/damp cotton cloth (use 100% cotton on wrap so you don't scratch it) to get rid of any ammonia residue.Yours don't look as yellowed as some I have seen,and if you use non abrasive auto polishing compound on the shells they will shine up nicely.For the Lugs mounts t rods etc I soak them in hot water with dish washing soap,that should get the dirt grime and most of the rust off,I then use triple or 0000 steel wool just on the rust,and then rinse with water,dry,then apply Turtle liguid wax (green Bottle) follow directions on bottle.I usually soak the t rods and anything that is heavily greased/ rusted seperately,and will use light machine oil and steel wool on the threads.As you probably know these kits are very well built,and the one I detailed came back beautifully.

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
I recently restored a white Sonor Phonic kit. Everything that's been said already is good and informed advice. You will not be able to get the wrap back to white - the 'yellowing' is not dirt but a consequence of a photochemical reaction that is irreversible. That said there are some old game console enthusiasts who claim to have invented a method of restoring yellowed plastic back to white. It would be an expensive and risky operation on something as big as a whole drum kit but if you want the link to the info I'll happily post it. I ended up recovering mine but not because the kit had yellowed but because the original wrap was damaged. I personally liked the vintage feel a yellowed finish gives a kit.

The lugs and other cast parts are prone to an oxidation rash that sits underneath the chrome plating (looks like the part has measels). If your kit hasn't yet suffered then you can help prevent this by using a good quality car wax polish once the restoration is complete. Otherwise try and arrange the lugs so that the spoiled ones are not visible.

If you are missing odd screws or other small parts let me know - I might have suitable replacements having amassed something of a collection of Sonor phonic spares over the years.

And yes ALWAYS use a proper Sonor drum key for those slotted tension rods for no other reason than the chrome plating on those tends to flake if you so much as look at it in a less than sensitive way.

Have fun dude - nice kit and built like a tank (sorry 'Panzer').