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2013 PRE-MOUNTED hide head menu and PRICE LIST

Posted by jbalch on Friday, April 5, 2013

like this


Stern Tanning Premium Calf Skin         $80.00

Stern Tanning Premium Goat Skin        $70.00

JDBalch 4-star Natural Goat                  $55.00

JDBalch 3-star Goat or Calf                   $45.00

Coffee staining add:                               $ 3.00

Sheepskin banjo stuffer                            $5.00

US Postage                                              $ 4.00

Canada Post                                             $ 5 -10  depending on destination (e-mail for quote)

Most European addresses                        $10-15 depending on destination (e-mail for quote)

Photos of various hide types here:


JDBalch 3-star goat or calfskin heads are my standard quality.  These are reliable heads that sound very good.  3-star heads may have natural cosmetic blemishes, slight variations in thickness, or small flaws that should not affect integrity or performance.

JDBalch 4-star goat heads are my preferred quality.  These are what I choose for most of my personal banjos.  4-star heads are selected to have more consistent thickness, and better appearance. 4-star heads will have fewer blemishes or flaws.  Natural imperfections are generally small and inconsequential.

Stern Tanning Co. produces sheepskins, goat, and calf hides for a variety of applications.  They specialize in processing hides for premium drum and banjo heads.

History: In 1939, Joseph Stern, and his son Theodore, purchased a tannery in Sheboygan Falls, WI.  Joseph and Theodore Stern, who had fled Hungary prior to WWII, renamed their business the Anglo-American Tanning Co. It thrived by providing sheepskins for mouton jackets, which were popular throughout the 1940s and '50s.

In 1991, Jeff Stern joined the family business, by then known as Theodore Stern Tanning Co.  Eventually Jeff created his company, Stern Tanning Co. In 2001, Stern Tanning Co. bought Chicago-based United Rawhide, which for many decades, made calfskin drum and banjo heads for Slingerland, Ludwig and others.

Stern drum heads are preferred by musicians seeking an authentic vintage sound.  His high-grade heads are suitable for premier orchestral instruments which demand very strict tolerances for thickness and quality. Stern produces a limited number of hides for banjo heads.  His clientele includes custom banjo builders, select retailers, and discerning musicians.

Prices effective: Jan 1 2013.  Subject to change and availability of materials.

9 comments on “2013 PRE-MOUNTED hide head menu and PRICE LIST”

DEmery Says:
Friday, April 5, 2013 @8:46:30 AM

John I like the choices you are offering and feel at each price point your heads remain a great value. The latest head on the Sproull #9 is performing very well and looks outstanding. I look forward to seeing the head next week that was provided to Dan Knowles for the slot head. Dan said it is perfect and "looks like it grew on the banjo." David E.

rdean Says:
Friday, September 6, 2013 @10:07:51 PM

Hi John, I have an Enoch "Tradsman" with a 12" head that I would like to put one of your 4-Star goat skin heads on. Do you have any available? And if so, how do I go about ordering one from you? Thanks, Ron

jandcb Says:
Saturday, February 1, 2014 @1:19:58 PM

I would like to order a 12" head and cant find anywhere to do so. Help, Thanks James

jbalch Says:
Saturday, February 1, 2014 @1:27:52 PM

E-mail me at


5Stringtrout Says:
Saturday, October 18, 2014 @8:10:15 AM

Hi John, I put the goatskin head on my Huss and Dalton Singletree and it is almost like a new banjo. I am still exploring the sound of it but it has a great plunky growl. Andy

Stephen45710 Says:
Friday, December 23, 2016 @7:26:36 AM

What are the prices for the hairy skins?

jbalch Says:
Friday, December 23, 2016 @7:43:27 AM

Stephen - here is the current price list:

neergcod Says:
Monday, May 22, 2017 @6:50:27 AM

Good Morning John, I have an 11' goat skin Head you made for my open back Bart Reiter and love it. Now I have a 12" open back and would like to buy a premium goat skin head for it with a dark coffee stain like on some Romero banjos. I play old time. my email is Thanks
Wes Green 9 Highland cir. turners falls, ma. 01376

Baniju Says:
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 @12:41:27 PM

Hi John. I would like to purchase an 11” Stern premium calf skin banjo head for a 1905, 17 fret, “no-name”, open back, flat top (I believe), 5 string banjo I have inherited from my grandfather.

My Dad told me he remembered as a kid when he, his Mom, and his two siblings tried to help his Dad change the banjo head. He chuckled as told me that handling the wet hide was like trying to hold an eel down, and it took all five of them to get the new banjo head on!!
I don’t know how you pre-mount the heads by must be fun!
Don Teter

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