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JDBALCH pre-mounted HIDE BANJO HEADS - 2019 Price List

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

JDBALCH pre-mounted HIDE BANJO HEADS - 2019 Price List

Grade of hide:   (see descriptions below)    Price us$

  • Stern Tanning Premium Calf    11"              $ 100.00 - out of stock please email for availability
  • Stern Tanning Premium Calf    12"              $ 110.00 - out of stock please email for availability
  • Stern Hides are in limited supply -  please e-mail for availability
  • JDBalch  SPECIAL Select mottled Calf    $  85.00  Supply is limited - email for availability
  • JDBalch SPECIAL Select Mule hide          $  85.00  Supply is limited - email for availability
  • JDBalch  FuZZy Goat hide with HAIR     $  80.00
  • JDBalch  SPECIAL Select Goat                  $  75.00
  • JDBalch 4-star Goat                                    $  65.00
  • JDBalch 3-star Goat                                    $  55.00

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$

  • Coffee Stain (includes oil finish)                    $  15.00
  • Hard Oil Finish  (on unstained head)           $  10.00
  • Spiral Wound Flesh Hoop                             $  12.00 
  • Sheepskin banjo stuffer                               $    5.00
  • USA domestic postage (1st class)               $   6.00
  • International postage                       contact for quote

 Supplies:      Price us$ 

  • Semi-finished flesh hoop – sq. brass           $  10.00
  • Unmounted goat hide (18" round)              $  18.00

 Pre-mounted head 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.

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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Playing Since: 1973
Experience Level: Purty Good

jbalch has made 12 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

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Gender: Male
Age: 62

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Favorite Bands/Musicians:
In no partiular order: Tim Obrien, Dirk Powell, Bruce Molsky, Dan Gellert, Joe Newberry, Bob Carlin, Riley Baugus, Mark Johnson, Mark Schatz, Stuart Duncan, John Hartford, Jim Wood, Daniel Carwile, Arnie Naiman, Reed Martin, Adam Hurt...Bobby Thompson, Charlie Cushman, Noam Pikelny, Jim Mills, Ron Block, Alan O'bryant, Rob McCoury, Allison Brown, Tony Furtado, Bela Fleck,The Jack Pearson Band.

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Created 11/28/2003
Last Visit 12/15/2019

I'm mostly a clawhammer banjo player.I’ve released two cd’s (Carry On John /2002 and ~HOT~ Biscuit Jam /2004).  I played as part of “Pa’s fiddle band” on the CD: Happy Land Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder  (Pa’s Fiddle recordings 2005). My original banjo music was published on a CD which accompanied the book: The Voice of The Heart by Chip Dodd (Providence House Publishing 2001).  Many years ago, I played clawhammer  and bluegrass style banjo on an old vinyl LP with the Pure Mountain Water Band (First Jug /1979).  I currently have other recording projects in the works…so please “stay tuned.”I’ve been very fortunate to have served nearly 30 years years with the Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival organization. .

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