Skin Banjo Head

  • 16 Reviews
  • Write a review

For a truly original mellow banjo sound, a natural skin head is first choice. Unmounted calfskin; fits rims up to 12" in diameter.

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Skin Banjo Head

Item # 0522
In stock, ready to ship!


3 or more $22.49
10 or more $19.09
Quantity Discount Prices apply when you buy multiples of the same item number.
Total: $0.00
Quantity: 20


For a truly original mellow banjo sound, a natural skin head is first choice. Unmounted calfskin; fits rims up to 12" in diameter.

Installation instructions included.

Choosing the right size banjo head
Measure your banjo for the correct head diameter
Your banjo's rim may be slightly out of round, so take at least three diameter measurements at different points on the outside of the banjo's tone ring or rim top. Use the average diameter to the nearest 1/16" to order the correct size.

Most modern banjos use an 11"-diameter head. Modern makers of "old-time" open-back banjos usually use 11" (and sometimes 12") heads. Vintage banjos, however, may have a range of rim diameters from 10" to 12".

Choose the correct crown height
Crown height is the vertical distance from the top of the head's mounting band to the top surface of the head. A banjo with a flathead tone ring (or a flat-topped banjo) requires a medium or high crown head. A banjo with an archtop tone ring requires a low crown head. The correct crown height prevents the banjo's tension hoop from pulling down too far, and ensures the hoop won't be so high as to impede the strings.

Product Instructions

How to install a skin banjo head

Dan Levenson explains how to install an unmounted, skin banjo head.

Ratings & Reviews

Skin Banjo Head

  • Based on 16 Reviews
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By Pacific North Coast Guitars from Washington USA
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, April 01, 2014

If you want your banjo to sound like all banjos used to, then put one of these on. Make sure your instrument has a "flesh hoop" before you order one, or just be prepared to make one when you're head material arrives. They come with great instructions that are good even if you've done a bunch before. You are working with actual animal skin so during the soaking and stretching there is a slight odor, but it smells like old times and good tunes!

Natural Skin

By Paleotool from New Mexico
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, February 20, 2014

This is my second calf skin from Stewart-MacDonald. I was so happy with the first, I bought this one as a backup. Decent price and good quality.

Good material, easy installation

By Al Watsky from Leonia NJ
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, February 17, 2014

Had no Idea StewMac stocked this product. Glad they did. Happy to turn around a job and make a customer happy. Even if it was a mando banjo! Just kidding mando banjo fans!

Another reliable product from StewMac

By banjoworks from Sandwich, MA
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, November 17, 2013

We do a lot of vintage banjo restorations and a source of good, consistant quality skin heads is critical to our business. We do ring them out a couple of times when wet to get rid of the white powder. But, no complaints with the skins or the ease of installation.

First time's a charm

By Karl Wagoner from Burlington, Washington
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, October 17, 2013

I had never installed a skin banjo head before, but the project came out perfect. The instructions were easy to follow and the product was great. Thanks again , StewMac.

Banjo Parts

By bILLY hARRISON from North Ireland
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, September 28, 2013

Am moving slowly on this, having never worked a banjo before, and this is a 100 year old instrument that was gifted to me by a friend. I do all my own work ref my instruments, which are all vintage from my days as a pro musician. Any time I have ordered parts from your outfit, I have been totally satisfied with my purchases. Ordering, easy, delivery, first class, parts, as advertised. NO problems with any of my requirements. Will get back to you with proper reviews when I have completed the work on this instrument. Would really appreciate some tips on banjo work. I follow all your workshop tips with interest and ALWAYS learn something. Keep up the good word, good service, and, hey, just keep it rockin' people, it works for me, every time. Thanks StewMac people, I WILL BE BACK. Billy Harrison (THEM)

Skin banjo head

By Mike Foyle from Kinscote, S Australia
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's not often that you get instructions that are easy to read, easy to follow and absolutely bang on. I thought that because I was fitting to a Windsor Zither banjo (1890) that I might have a problem or six. No way the whole operation took 2 hours, no blood, no tears and one heck of a lot of fun. Sounds good too. Thanks Stew Mac and Dan Levenson. Brilliant. Regards Mike

skin banjo head

By jay langan from clarks summit, pa
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, May 07, 2012

after searching for a head for a 1926 gibson banjo ukelele i found out i would have to use the calf skin head.the directions at were excellent my project turned out great.thanks,

Calfskin heads

By calfskin heads from Ontario Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I have just finished reparing 2 banjos a tennor and ukulele. Both were over a hundred years old,so modern head's would not fit,I had to use skin.The instructions were a relief to say the least and made for a successfull reheadding

Fiberskyn vs calfskin head

By Eugene from Switzerland
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, September 22, 2011

I replaced a Fiberskyn head with one of those calfskin heads on a Whyte Laydie pot assembly #0910. What a difference, that Whyte Laydie got a very sweet voice now ! Followed easily the joined mounting instructions. One more hint : that job can't be done in a hurry, take your time : let it dry out 24 h, then it will take some 2 or 3 weeks to settle in. After that it will stay stable in tune with Nylgut strings.

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