I'm producing a song and I'm using virtual drums via midi notes to achieve the drum sounds. I want a real drummer to eventually perform this piece so I'm asking you drummers out there if it's practically possible for a drummer to hit the snare, ride, and crash at the same time (this is performed inside a sequence of other "hits" (if that makes any sense), so it isn't a thing performed independently in the piece)..

It doesn't seem possible from an outsider's perspective or if it is possible it doesn't seem to be an easy thing to accomplish (and it may be a problem if it's a too advanced thing to do)..

PS: I've probably gave you insufficient data about my situation (due to a lack of real drumming knowledge) so feel free to ask for more info and I'll try to answer..

  • 3
    Given that most drummers have only two arms (there are those with fewer), and snare, crash and ride all need to be sticked...
    – Tim
    Aug 4, 2020 at 18:22
  • 3
    Are you imagining one stick hitting both the crash and the ride? There exist crash+ride cymbals that combine the ~~worst~~ best of both worlds. Aug 4, 2020 at 18:34
  • 1
    I'm with @JohnnyApplesauce on this one… but the only kits that come with crash/rides also cost less than 50 bucks… or pence… & were probably produced in the 60s :P
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4, 2020 at 18:55
  • 2
    IMO, nothing essential will be lost from your arrangement palette if you restrict to only one cymbal hit at a time. Either ride, crash/splash/china or hi-hat. But only one. There are some special cases like pedalling high-hats, but they aren't essential for most things. Aug 4, 2020 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


I spent the entire 90s being paid (quite handsomely, tyvm ;) to seek & destroy 3-handed-drummer syndrome in midi/sample playback songs & styles for a major instrument manufacturer.

No, a drummer cannot do that & someone, somewhere, will spot if you do it.

On the other hand [pun intended] any half-decent drummer can be riding the ride, flip in a quick crash & be back to the ride before anyone would even notice he'd missed one. The crash will easily cover a fair bit of where the ride would have been, so you don't need it there at the same time.

Unless you are producing 'pure electronic'/sample playback music, where frankly anything goes, then avoid 3-handedness like the plague.
It really does help, when programming drums to actually know how a drummer would do it - even if that drummer is better than you;) Study drummers, they will teach you things about drum programming. You don't have to be able to play yourself… so long as someone can.

  • Sorry, cannot resist, " (quite handsomely, tyvm ;) " looks mismatch: xkcd.com/541 ;)
    – Tom
    Aug 5, 2020 at 17:32
  • Anything wrong with using a 'crash' stroke on the ride for that one hit? Works for me...
    – Tim
    Aug 6, 2020 at 6:42
  • @Tim - rides just don't crash properly - they also end up swinging around making a mess of your natty little be-bop swing - ka-ting-ga-ding-a-ding-ga-ding Personally, I use paper-thin crashes, but my ride is like a train wheel.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 6, 2020 at 9:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.