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Paul Guerrero’s Sonor “New York” Drumkit

Jan 23, 2023, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Sonor New York Drumkit

Donated by Celeste Guerrero, 1993-08-01

Paul Guerrero (November 5, 1931–March 3, 1989) had an extensive career as not only a professional drummer and musician, but also as a teacher. Born in New Braunfels, Texas, to Mexican-American parents, Guerrero served as a drummer for Woody Herman’s band, Stan Kenton’s band, the North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, and the 4th Army Band. He also performed with major artists such as Henry Mancini, the 5th Dimension, Dean Martin, Sonny and Cher, Chet Baker, and Charlie Barnet. Guerrero earned a doctorate from North Texas State University, eventually spending much of his teaching and performing career in the Dallas area, where he taught at North Texas State, Southern Methodist University, and Richland College. Not only was Guerrero a drummer for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, but he also served as a member of the Board of Directors for that organization.

Throughout his extensive career of both live and recorded performances, Guerrero endorsed Sonor drums and Evans drumheads. This set, a 6-piece “New York” model Sonor kit, dates from about 1970 and consists of an 8 x 12 tom, 9 x 13 tom, 16 x 16 floor tom, 16 x 18 floor tom, 14 x 22 bass drum, and a 5 x 14 snare drum (model D-426). The toms and bass drum are constructed with 6-ply beech shells and covered with rosewood in a vertical rather than horizontal direction. The drums are equipped with Evans UNO 58 heads. This kit also features “slotted” tension rods and a “rifled” surface on thumbscrews for the hardware, as well as Sonor’s characteristic staggered, “teardrop” lugs for the toms.

The kit’s hardware is comprised of two cymbal stands, a hi-hat stand, a double tom mount, snare stand, and bass drum pedal. In addition, Celeste Guerrero donated three pairs of sticks and brushes, an additional 12-inch mounted tom, and the throne used by her late husband, which are not shown. Two Zildjian ride cymbals (both 20 inch) and a pair of 15-inch thin Zildjian hi-hat cymbals are each autographed by Guerrero.

[Note: A feature article on Guerrero by Victor Rendón appeared in the December 2011 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.]
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