Sonor Bebop is one of the best jazz drum sets. It comes from a company that has been at the top of the market for many years, building good drums you see around.

Jazz is one of the original forms of art in America, defined by smooth grooves. It offers an excellent soundtrack for the Sunday bunch.

A jazz drummer understands the importance of getting a perfect jazz drum kit. And there are so many kits on the market today that choosing the right one might get a little overwhelming.

The Sonor Bebop kit is one of my all-time favourites. The kit features the top line of the most compact kits on the market.

If you are still wondering what makes this kit incredible, I will be reviewing it in this article.

Sonor Bebop Drum Kit

Smaller kits have become increasingly popular in the modern jazz world. The Sonor AQ2 features as one of the best, with its lacquered maple shells and a great range of options.

Sonor is one brand you can always count on for high-quality drum sets. And the brand has revamped all its drum lines to come under easy-to-follow products.

The Sonor SQ1 and the Sonor SQ2 are its flagship lines. The same series also comes with AQ1 in the entry-level, and the AQ2 at the intermediate level. These four come as the brand’s gateway products. ProLite and Vintage lines of drums separate them.

And with that, you already know what the kit is all about. I am always sure that when buying Sonor drums, they are made from the best materials for the best performance.

If you are looking for a high-quality kit that will give you a great jazz performance, you will never go wrong with the Sonor Bebop series.

The new AQ2 they take on the market, motivated by the well-received jungle series and the compact SSE sets only that the AQ2 extends cleverly to cover all bases.

In other words, this is not only a kit you can enjoy playing jazz on, but it’s also versatile enough to give you everything you need. Well, the AQ2 is initially offered with five shell packs measuring 14-inch, 16-inches, 18-inches, 20-inches, and 22-inches on the bass drums. And these have made the Sonor market teams very proud as you will often hear them patting each other on the shoulders.

Apart from these configurations, you will also find the 14-inch Martini, 16-inch Safari, the 18-inch Bop, 20-inch Studio, and the 22-inch Stage. These outfits tend to define what Sonor stands for generally as a brand, and what they wish to achieve for the modern drummer.

According to Frank Boestfreisch, the Product Manager at Sonor, the new line of AQ2 drums sets comes as part of Sonor’s realignment, which began a few years ago. They took the whole drumline portfolio into an evolution, creating something new and exciting.

And for this reason, the Sonor Bebop kit is a wonderful drum set that will handle all your drumming needs. Every drum you get from the series is aimed at the high-end market, delivering great features and incredible performance altogether.


Even though the kit offers incredible tonal values, there is a need to consider its build. After all, every drummer understands that it’s the little details that make all the differences.

The AQ2 drum set is typically a representation of Sonor. It comes with everything you will find on the brand’s up-market products.

Hence, it is a cheap beginner kit, yet serves as a mid-range aspirational drum set.

Force Select maple shells have replaced the 9-ply poplar shells that were on the SSE. According to Sonor, and some drummers who have used the kit, the new shells look better and sound even better.

They come with a combination of three plies of Chinese maple engulfed on the outside. The inside has twin plies of Canadian maple, which brings up a total of seven plies.

I like the improvements made on the snare, the toms, and the bass drums. They now feature a 5.8mm shells, while the bigger drums, 18-inch, 20-inch, and the 22-inch comes with 7.2mm thick shells.

And that is not all. The AQ2 kit has more features, which are most elevated in with the finish. You will love the four high-gloss lacquers that have replaced the old plastic wraps. They also feature single Delmar White Marine wraps for those who prefer the classics.

For this review, my kit came with an incredible silky Aqua Silver Burst. This finish makes it look professional, and it can easily be everyone’s favorites. The alternatives include Titanium Quartz, Brown Fade, and Transparent Black.

Note also, that the AQ1 now comes with lacquered shells. They are derived from the previous Essential Force shells from the Asian Birch, making them easily the best at this price range.  

The maple shells on the AQ2 feature a complimentary lacquered maple bass drum hoop. This makes them look even better for the market and more than what you can get at this price range. Also, they seem to be tougher than some of Sonor’s Asian wood.  

Also, the claws give it away as an intermediate drum set. It comes with pressed steel rather than cast, as we have seen on the previous kits. And yet, they appear decent enough for the market. Besides, they now come with obligatory isolating rubber liners.

Each drum is fitted with a full complement of lugs, which have been newly re-created. Well, they are still Sonor, with a twin-mallet logo, but they are not very hard to notice. They also come cast. The hardware is cast, and radiantly chromed and polished.

There are more great upgrades, which involves a new rack tom suspension system. It features an obstructive SmartMount steel plate that attaches steadily with two upper heads, without affecting the bracket. This feature comes with an essential improvement. The previous RIMS-style mounts were not the best, especially when it came to changing the heads. Nevertheless, you can always feel like Sonor has been very keen on discovering new features that make drumming even more fun.

As if that is not enough, the new line features a new CTH 4000 set of cymbal and tom holder. This feature supports the Smart-Mount, making this kit one easily everything you will ever need. And for those who would love to swap out to a second mounted tom, you will find it extremely easy to replace the cymbal holder with another bracket for your toms.

Sonor is making each individual drum available, with the toms, kicks, and snare, so that you can buy them separately.  

Feel it

I have been playing Sonor drums for more than five years now. My first was a Sonor, and I have never regretted buying them.

In this case, things have only gotten better. The 14 by 6-inch snare is something different from what you might be used to. And it’s important to notice it before setting up the whole kit. This means it’s quite heavy, carrying 10 lugs and 2.3mm super-hoop.

The previous drums had a strainer and butt. In this kit, they are Sonor’s basic models, although they are stouter. As you may already know, many budget snares are quite flimsy, and hence, this kit comes a better solution for a wide range of users.  

This kit offers a feel twice its price range, and it’s one of the reasons it has become very popular. At first, I was not sure if this was the kit I had paid for, considering I could find some of its features in higher-end drums.

The six inches on the snare makes it a bit deeper than smaller-sized kits. However, it’s the main reason behind a warm contrast with the edge immediacy you notice on the drums. Sonor has been very careful in adjusting these features so that you can feel at the top of your performance. The accurate 45-degree bearing edges deliver a more focused and easier to adjust drum set.

The toms do not disappoint either. They feature a classic dimension of 12 by 8-inches and 14 by 13-inches. This makes them all bright, especially from the maple. They offer a pure and modern sound, more so, with the single-ply coated heads delivering a good sustain and punch.

I have never seen toms that sound as good as these ones do at this price range. Sonor’s team has really tried to give you every good thing that can come from a drum set.

But the most defining part of this kit is the 18 by the 14-inch bass drum. This diameter was introduced to the market and made popular by Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes. But it was not until the late 1960s that the 18-inch kick drum entered the market.

The bebop classics are mostly linked to the 20-inch, and the 18-inch has only become famous because of the smaller jazz groups that play them. But this does not mean they are exclusive to jazz. Many other drum styles are finding their ways around these smaller kits, and we all agree that they are doing quite well.

From the first impression, you will love the ultra-tight bonk of the 16-inch bass. But it does not reach the complete fat roundness of the 20-inch kit. The drum turns out to be quite hard, too, with some abruptness and knocky feeling. This is mostly due to the clear single-ply Remo Powerstroke 3-style UT batter head.

Small-sized drums have the advantage of a reduced need for damping. However, you can make them warm and deep on the pitch by inserting a small towel.

In terms of miking-up and EQ-ing, an 18-inch drum can be quite versatile. Its deeper frequencies, or higher, pushier regions, make them applicable to a wide range of music styles. Also, tighter, harder sounds are perfect for a wide range of drumming needs.

Sonor gives an option of five drum sizes of the AQ2, ranging from 14-inch to 20-inch. Their quality, thin-like maple shells and wood hoops come at a low price.

The hardware

The AQ2 is a moving-up kit, which means the hardware is sold separately. You can get the HS LT 2000 package from Sonor’s entry-point hardware. It’s heavier than normal, just like the drums, but an upgrade of the 2015 HS200.

Based on the modern trends, the tripod bases on the snare and cymbal stands come with a new design. This makes them work with standard triangular tripods efficiently.

A few frills on the design ensure they do a good job. The bass pedal features a single chain over a circular cam drive. It is newer and better.


Smaller kits are becoming increasingly popular in the world. And the Sonor AQ2 is among the best. It features lacquered maple shells and a wide range of bass drum options, which makes it highly appreciated.

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