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JDBALCH pre-mounted HIDE BANJO HEADS - 2020 Price List

Posted by jbalch on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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JDBALCH pre-mounted HIDE BANJO HEADS - 2020 Price List

NEW website for ordering:

Prices below include FREE USPS shipping (inside USA) (International orders - email for shipping cost)

  • Stern Tanning Premium Calf    11"              out of stock - please email for availability
  • Stern Tanning Premium Calf    12"              out of stock - please email for availability
  • JDBalch  SPECIAL Select mottled Calf     out of stock - please email for availability
  • JDBalch SPECIAL Select Mule hide         $  85.00  Supply is limited - email for availability
  • JDBalch  FuZZy Goat hide with HAIR      $  90.00  Supply is limited - email for availability
  • JDBalch  SPECIAL Select Goat               $  85.00
  • JDBalch Coffee Stained Goat Hide         $  90.00       
  • JDBalch Walnut Stained Goat Hide        $ 95.00
  • JDBalch 4-star Goat                                    $  75.00
  • JDBalch 3-star Goat                                    $  65.00

These prices are for a complete, pre-mounted head.  Waterproofer spray (on request) & hand-applied wax offered at no extra charge.

See below for detailed descriptions of all grades. All grades and options subject to availability - please contact me for current stock.

A free case sticker is included with each head order.

 Options & add-ons:   (see details below)    Price us$

  • Spiral Wound Flesh Hoop                             $  12.00 
  • Sheepskin banjo stuffer                               $    7.00

 Supplies:      Price us$ 

  • Semi-finished flesh hoop – sq. brass           $  15.00
  • Unmounted goat hide (18" round)                $  24.00
  • Extra Case Sticker                                          $    2.00

 Pre-mounted heads are available in these sizes:

  • 10 15/16” (Vega)
  • 11”
  • 11 13/16” (Vega)
  • 12”

Other sizes are available only as custom-mounted heads.  This requires shipping your rim for fitting (including tone ring, tension hoop, & hooks & nuts).  Cost is the same as a pre-mount – plus the actual return postage. Contact me for details and arrangements. NOTE:  due to problems with breakage of inferior hardware and high cost of replacement parts, I no longer can install heads on Eastman Whyte Laydie banjos (sorry). 

Check the Classifieds for finished heads ready to ship:

Grades - details:

Premium (calf )  - Stern Tanning Co.  Stern tanning produces highest-grade, machine-sanded, calf hides. Stern hides feature precise, even, thickness (for optimum tonal response).  These are comparable to the best heads of the bygone era. Availability is very limited. NOTE:  Stern hides are natural (unbleached).  This is preferred because chemical whiteners may weaken the hide. Most Stern calfskins exhibit some degree of natural mottling and/or coloration. Stern calfskins may not be stained or oil finished.  Wax treatment is included at no extra cost. SUPPLY IS VERY LIMITED - conatct me for availability.

 JDBalch 5-star SPECIAL Select Calf    Calfskin is sturdy and reliable. They are generally thicker than average goat hide. Most are mottled. Supply is limited. Contact me re: availability.

JDBalch 5-star SPECIAL Select Mule    Mule skin is sturdy and reliable. They are generally thicker than average goat hide. Most are fully translucent with few opaque areas. Suppl;y is limited.  Contact me re: availability.

JDBalch SPECIAL Select Goat heads are individually chosen for unique appearance.  They are the best of the 4-star grade hide heads.  They may be are mottled with a mix of translucent opaque areas - or mostly opaque. They are offered as available and supply is limited.

JDBalch  FuZZy Goat hide with HAIR Un-shaved natural goat hide.  Hair is trimmed.  Length and thickness of hair will vary.  Colors available in a wide range. Sound is slightly muted compared to shaved hides. Tone is very good! See links below for comparison samples:

Bart Reiter Bacophone-plus – Fuzzy hide head:

Bart Reiter Bacophone-plus – Shaved  hide head:

 JDBalch 4-star goat heads are a very popular grade.  4-star heads are selected for good thickness, and attractive appearance. 4-star heads may have inconsequential cosmetic blemishes or flaws.

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

 Options & add ons:

Stain – Coffee, Tea, or natural walnut extract (when available). Staining includes the application of the Hard Oil finish as described below – no extra cost.

Hard Oil finish (for unstained heads) – a mulit-step, hand applied finish designed to enhance appearance and significantly improve stability.  (Available on request).

Spiral Wound Flesh hoop.  – a fiber wrapping designed to improve the grip of the hide around a round brass hoop. I personally use and prefer these hoops. See here:

 Sheepskin Stuffer – small piece of sheepskin with the hair on.  Useful and very effective to control overtones.  Color, size and shape will vary.  E-mail for availability.

Payment is accepted by PayPal, check or cash (in person).  Contact me for instructions.


Installation video: How to install a pre mounted JDBalch hide banjo head - YouTube

 Photos of various types here:

Daily photos of new heads are available in INSTAGRAM at: #hidebanjoheads


Prices effective 01/01/2019 - subject to change

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