Who is responsible for replacement Cost when a banjo head breaks During tightining ?-- Repair Shop or Banjo owner?

As part of a set up on a used on a less expensive Fender banjo I tightened the Remo head. I used my US made inch-pounds torque wrench. I proceeded slowly form the initial readings of near zero. My goal was 12-13 inch-pounds. I got it at/near 10 inch pounds and left it over-night. The next day the readings had dropped to 5-7.5 inch pounds and I resumed tightening.Again, proceeding slowly. I got it back to 10 inch-pounds with no sounds of concern. To my ear it still was not near an A. I left it for a few minutes and while it was just sitting that horrible sound occurred.On inspection I could see the head had split at the usual place, where it goes into the rim. I have yet to dissable the banjo so I don't know if there is a sharp edge/or other cause for the head splitting. In my mind and my heart I know I did nothing wrong. So, form my standpoint I should not have to absorb the cost of a new head and installation. But, from the standpoint of the owner the cost of installing a new head was not expected. (Nor did I even mention this as a possible additional cost above the estimate for the set up.)
   In my many years in business I have not had this happen before. Have any of you? What did you do?

  Even if you have not had this occur what is your opinion and why?
Ed Taublieb
The String Shoppe Est. 1966

Tags: Banjo, Head, breaks, during, tightening.

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You're supposed to be the pro, so you should eat the cost of replacing the head. Unless, of course, you warned the customer before you started that old heads on those imported banjos can break if tightened properly and that you would not be responsible if that happened.

Taking responsibility for stuff like this will pay off in the long run.
i agree when i break even year old strings and the customer was not prepared to pay I re place at my cost ouch a banjo head is only 20 to 30 us?
My approach is that a word of mouth reference is worth gold. I try to over deliver in all cases. Make it good. Hand it back with a smile and a short explanation. Extra care and effort is sometimes rewarded in mysterious ways :)
If I break the head, I replace it. Just about the last thing I want to do is to call the owner with a surprise of an extra charge on a repair needed because I missed it during diagnosis, or had a problem along the way. I'd much rather guess on the high side, and when things work out better than expected, kick back a bit of a refund. Guaranteed to make friends that way!

Banjo heads are cheap compared to even a small loss of credibility, I think.

For example, we just took on a 1970 D-35 for neck resetting and at the time didn't notice it would need a new bridge. New bridge - no charge. And, to make it a bit more painful, it was one of those that needed to be custom-made to set the saddle in the correct location.

I always do take credit, though. So, I'd give the banjo back with its new head and say, "We didn't notice the head needed replacing, so we did it as a courtesy."

When taking in a banjo that will hae its head tightened, I always press HARD on the head with my palm to see if it's starting to separate from the epoxy channel.
Howdy everyone. Here's my 2 cents worth on this. I have played 5 string banjo for more than 30 years, taught banjo for about that long and currently teach elementary band. Remo and Weatherking heads are great for drums but not for the tensions many banjo players try to get from their banjo heads. 5 star banjo heads and the Elite brand banjo head stand up much better to the tensions demanded. If you can convince the customer to try these heads I think they, and you, would be much happier about heads not separating from the rims. And I agree that the head should be replaced by the person who accidentaly broke it.
Yes indeed, the Five Star heads are much stronger than Remo (Weatherking) because the Mylar is held mechanically, not in the epoxy channel that Remo uses.

BUT, the Elite heads are made by Remo, and have the same mounting and strength characteristics. Unfortunately the Five Star heads are only available in 11" compared to the wide range of Remo sizes. Many of those cheap Asian banjos take 11-1/16" or 11-1/8" heads.
Thanks to all for their suggestions. I should have mentioned in my initial post that it is a Remo head. Based on the nearly unanimous opinions I have decided to replace the head at no cost to my customer. but, now a new question:
Since the head was used is it OK to replace it with a userd one (Remo of course)?

Ed Taublieb
I'm sure you know the answer here - you've been around a good while. Use an old head if you want to take the chance that the customer will think you're a cheapskate or simply spend a few bucks to make a friend. . .
What ever { I damage I } replace I find It is the best way to keep repeat customers. Keep up the good work Bill."""""""""""""""""
Whats that old saying....? The cheap choice turns out expensive.
Unless you can show a defect in the banjo, I'd say it's on you. Did you inspect the head for potential damage or defect before tightening it? IMO, and I've worked with banjo heads for more than 45 years, you should be able to judge by your own expertise when a head is threatening to break--not rely solely on a torque wrench. I've never had one, never used one, and never broken a head or had one let go soon after tightening--nor had a complaint that someone's head was too loose. Put on a new head; otherwise your customer will likely be unhappy.
Again, Thanks to all for your help. A new head it will be, at no charge to the customer.
Ed Taublieb


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