The basics of scratch

Why start with the basics?

To begin with, the basics of scratch are the techniques you need to learn first. These techniques will be the foundation of your scratch knowledge before you move on to other more complicated techniques. In order to produce good scratches, you must choose which hand you are most comfortable with to manipulate the vinyl (or the jog wheel). Thus the other hand will control the crossfader. In general we start with the "faderless" techniques, i.e. without the use of the crossfader. Theoretically they are easier to produce, because there is no need for synchronization between the hands.

Here are the names of the most famous: the drag scratch, the baby scratch, the chirp, the transform, the click flare and the scribble.

We will review a number of techniques.

Here is an example with the drag scratch, one of the first scratch invented by Grand Wizzard Theodore.

Look at the graph below.

Here we see the times of the vinyl going and coming back. The times 1 and 3 are on the foot (or kick) and times 2 and 4 are on the snare drum. It is thus the going between the foot and the snare drumand then the return between the snare drum and the second foot. Then the red line represents the release of the vinyl. The fourth remaining beat (between 4 and 1) is the time of the vinyl rewind. In this example we use the crossfader or the fader, just to resume the movement. Note, and this is essential, that your hand should not come off the vinyl, you control the forward and backward movement with your hand.

The practice

To continue you can reproduce the example of the graph with this audio. The first 4 beats are the example to reproduce. Then the beats from 5 to 8 are without scratch. These are the 4 beats where you need to practice the drag scratch. Download the practice Q&A to improve your precision with your vinyl!

Download the samples and use the "DJ Tools 1" with the crash sound.

If you are new to scratching and you don't know the meaning of time and measurement, start by just listening to the sound. Scratching, like everything else in music, is all about rhythm.

To conclude

Finally it is by learning the basics of scratch that you will be able to progress afterwards. Thus, you will approach the most complicated techniques thanks to these bases. Finally, if you follow the other 3 techniques, you will be ready for more advanced tricks.

Now we will use the crossfader in a simple technique.


Follow step by step the basic techniques and increase your accuracy in your scratches.

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