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Mesh head guide for drummers | What’s best for your budget?

mesh heads for drums

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Mesh heads have become the go-to drum head type for electronic drum kits and are also a great option when you want that real kit feel at a lower volume.

Due to the popularity, there are now several options available on the market. In this guide, we’ll talk through the different types of mesh heads available and which are the best for your budget.

What are mesh drum heads?

Mesh heads are a type of drum head that aims to give you the feel of a normal acoustic drum head but at a lower volume. Tradition heads are made from plies of mylar sheets whereas mesh is made from plies of woven material. 

Since it is woven they don’t produce the sound you would expect from a drum head. There is almost no sound. Since there are tiny holes all over the mesh, all the air is escaping removing any tone or volume.  

In general, mesh heads do provide more rebound due to how the plies are woven and how the tension is formed on the head.  

Why would I want mesh heads?

There are two main reasons for wanting mesh heads. 

1. Making your drum kit quieter

If you are wanting to make your drum kit quieter replacing your standard drum heads for mesh heads is going to do a great job. This will drastically reduce the volume. If you are wanting to remove even more volume, switch out your resonant heads for mesh heads as well. This will remove even more volume but it will remove any tone from the drum. If the sound reduction is what you are after, replace the batter head first and see if the volume is low enough for you. If you don’t need to switch out the resonant head don’t. That little bit of tone will make playing the kit a lot more enjoyable.

2. For an electric drum kit

Mesh heads are the head of choice for most electronic drum kits. They are quiet and good for triggering. Since electronic drum kits come with mesh heads you will only be replacing heads every couple of years if you look after them. 

Types of mesh drum heads available

Mesh heads come in a range of different forms. Most notably by the number of plies. They come in 1 ply, 2 plies or 3 plies. It isn’t that straight forward though as the thickness of plies will vary by manufacturer. So a 1 ply head from manufacturer A may be similar to a 2 ply head from manufacturer B.

The main thing to consider when choosing a mesh head is that you are going to be looking for the right balance of feel and volume reduction for your application. In general, quieter heads are more bouncy so you need to find what is best for you.

1 ply mesh heads

One-ply mesh heads are made from one layer of fabric. This is the most common type of mesh head you will find. In general single ply mesh heads offer great volume reduction but have a lot of rebound.

single ply mesh heads

Remo Silentstroke Heads

The Remo Silentstroke heads are made from one ply of thin mesh. The heads reduce volume by up to 70% but they are fairly bouncy. These are the most expensive of the single-ply heads available. 

Sizes available:

  • 6″ to 18″ tom heads
  • 16″ to 24″ bass drum heads

WHD Practice Mesh Drumhead

The WHD Practice Mesh Drumheads are a great option for cutting down the volume on a budget. WHD doesn’t make any claims on a percentage of volume saved.

Sizes available:

  • 10″ to 22″ heads

Tama Mesh Heads

Although Tama is predominately known for their great acoustic drums and hardware they do also manufacture mesh heads. These mesh heads are single ply and claim to save up to 70% of volume. These are also in black rather than white so that finish may be more appealing for you.

Sizes available:

  • 8″ to 16″ tom heads
  • 18″ and 22″ bass heads

Evans Soundoff Mesh Drumheads 

These are similar in appearance to the Tama heads with a nice black finish. Evans claim these can reduce volume by up to 95%. That is a massive claim but from the videos online they do seem to be extremely quiet. They are fairly bouncy though.

These heads also feature the signature level 360 technology to ensure an even playing surface. 

Sizes available:

  • 8″ to 18″ tom heads
  • 13″ and 14″ snare heads
  • 18″ to 24″ bass heads

Drum-tec Basic Mesh Heads

Drum-tec is the leaders at everything electronic drumming. This goes for their line of heads as well. They have four different types in total and this is the basic model. These are single ply and offer the best volume reduction but have a powerful rebound. These heads are available in either white or black.

Sizes available:

  • 6″ to 16″ tom heads
  • 18″ to 24″ bass drum heads

View on drum-tec

Drum-tec Pro Mesh Heads

These are the other single-ply mesh head offered by Drum-tec. Although these are single ply still, the material is very thick. This thickness gives these drums the most realistic feel. Probably the most realistic on this list. The downside is they are louder than the other heads featured. If you play an electronic kit, want the best feel but are bothered about the sound reduction, these are the mesh heads for you. These heads come in a black finish.

Sizes available:

  • 8″ to 18″ tom heads
  • 18″ to 22″ bass drum heads

View on drum-tec

2 ply mesh heads

Two-ply mesh heads are made from two sheets of mesh. In general, two-ply heads have a more natural feel but are louder than single-ply heads.

two ply mesh drum heads

Roland MH2 PowerPly Mesh Heads

The Roland MH2 PowerPly Heads are manufactured by REMO so you know you are dealing with a quality product. These are also the heads you will find on all Roland mesh head electronic drums. So if you have a Roland V-Drums kit and you want to maintain the same feel, these are the heads for you. These heads are the most expensive two-ply mesh heads. 

Sizes available:

  • 8″ to 22″ heads

Drum-tec Design Mesh Heads

With the Drum-tec design mesh heads, you are getting an all-around drum head. It has volume reduction, a good feel and accurate triggering. For a drummer looking for the best overall mesh head, this is a good option.

Sizes available:

  • 6″ to 16″ tom heads
  • 18″ to 26″ bass drum heads

View on drum-tec

3 ply mesh heads

These heads are made from three plies of mesh material. In general, three-ply heads offer a more realistic feel but don’t reduce the volume as much.

three ply mesh drum heads

Drum-tec Reel Feel Mesh Heads

The three plies on the Drum-tec Reel Feel Mesh Heads offer a more realistic feel whilst still producing accurate triggering volume reductions. 

Sizes available:

  • 6″ to 16″ tom heads
  • 18″ to 24″ bass drum heads

View on drum-tec

Jobeky Prestige 3 Ply Mesh Heads

Jobeky has become leaders in creating custom electronic drum kits that look like a real acoustic kit. The product they make is fantastic and they also have their mesh heads to match. The 3 ply mesh heads are made with three thin layers to mimic that reel feel.

Sizes available:

  • 8″ to 16″ tom heads
  • 20″ and 22″ bass drum heads

View on Jobeky

Our top pick

It is almost impossible to pick out a top mesh head to choose as they all have such different characteristics and if you are after a combination of volume reduction and feel it can be very difficult.

Based on our findings we would suggest the following:

  • Best feeling mesh head – Drum-tec Pro Mesh Heads
  • Best sound reduction – Evans Soundoff Mesh Heads

If you have the budget we would suggest choosing out a couple of heads you think fit your desired characteristics best. Give them a try and then order a full set of the ones you liked best.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a specific head for my snare?

Most manufacturers don’t offer a specific snare drum mesh head as there is no need. As long as the size matches the head will fit just fine.

Can mesh heads damage my drums?

If you over tighten mesh heads they may damage your rims over time. Especially if your rims are made from wood. The good news for your kit is that there is no need to overtighten mesh heads.

Can I tune mesh heads?

Mesh heads don’t produce a tone so they can’t be tuned. Adjusting the tightness will affect the feel on the head and how well it triggers.

Can I change the feel of a mesh head?

You can change the feel on the mesh by adjusting the tightness of the head. When you put adjust the lugs make sure they have an even amount of tension like you would when tuning a normal acoustic drum.

Final thoughts

Mesh Drum heads are a great option for reducing the volume of your kit. Personally, I think I would only buy mesh heads for an acoustic kit if I was wanting to convert it to an electric kit. I don’t think the sound of pure mesh heads is that nice on the ear. I would rather use a couple of practice pads. But this is my personal preference.

Do you have mesh heads? What are the best ones you have tried? Let us know in the comments.

The author

I’ve been playing the drums for over 15 years and I still love them! I am mostly a metal drummer but I am currently working on groove and applying rudiments to the kit!

5 Comments

  1. I have 16/18/20″ bass drums. Do you know of any 16″ bass mesh heads?

    • Hello! Remo does actually do a 16″ Silent Stroke Mesh head. I don’t know how I missed that one. I have updated the article 🙂

  2. can mesh heads and quiet cymbals (such as Zildjian L80) be fitted onto junior size drum kits?

    • Hi Andy. As long as the sizes fit you should be okay. Chris

  3. I use a mesh head on the resonant side of my bass drum in lieu of no front head when i want that dry sound, but also want look and protection you get with a BD hoop.


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