3 Tips for learning how to scratch using a DJ turntable

Most people think that DJing is an easy job and one that does not take much skill. Contrary to popular belief, being a DJ takes a great deal of skill, personality, perseverance, and pizazz to be a success. The market is oversaturated with mediocre DJs, so to make yourself stand out, you need to be able to not only play some music, but also have some extras up your sleeve. Some DJ’s make it a priority to learn how to beatbox or scratch on a turntable. Others choose to dabble in producing music, mixing unique tracks, or working as a VJ on the radio. All of these ideas are a great way to differentiate yourself from the common DJ, however if you have an interest in learning how to scratch using a DJ turntable, this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you perfect your new skill of scratching.

1. Invest in the proper equipment. Before you can begin to master the art of scratching, you will need to make sure that you have high quality equipment that is conducive to the type of music you want to create. To start, you will need to invest in a pair of direct drive turntables and a mixer. In addition, you will need to build a vinyl library as well as practice vinyl. You certainly do not want to mess up your good vinyl while trying to learn how to master the art of scratching so some practice vinyl is critical. When setting out to buy your equipment, be sure to conduct research and look for a product that is good for beginners. While you may be eager to purchase the best turntable and mixer that your favorite celebrity DJ uses, it may be a bit out of your league at the moment. It is great to aspire to owning more advanced equipment, but try hard not to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. All this will do is damper your spirits when you struggle while learning. It is okay to have a hard time. Stick with it and practice and you will be well on your way to constant DJ bookings.

2. Practice. It is true that practice makes perfect. When you first start off scratching, the technique will feel completely foreign and you may find yourself worried that you will break your equipment. If you are using practice vinyl as we discussed earlier, you should not have to worry about this notion as your equipment will be able to take on the work. When you first begin, be sure to listen for breaks in the music. Finding breaks in the music is a good place for you to try to scratch. When you find a sound that you want to use, it is a good idea to mark the spot on the record. Some DJ’s use small stickers to mark their spot while others use tape. Do whatever works best for you.

3. Stop the record. To learn how to master scratching, you will need to dabble in a variety of techniques. One is to use your fingertips to stop the record. Build on to your sound by adding another song to the mix. This is the technique that makes scratching truly unique and something that people admire. Sure, you can scratch to a single song, but that will get old quick. Mix a couple of songs together and you will garner great attention.

As with any new skill, it takes practice and perseverance to become proficient. Stick to these tips, watch some YouTube videos on scratching, and read about varying techniques to find the style that fits you best.

Ben Ownes
Ben is our content manager and is perfect for his role due to his vast experience in testing, setting up and using DJ equipment. His love for DJing started at just 14 when he got his first amateur set up in his parent's basement. Since then Ben has perfected his craft which has allowed him to get regular spots in local nightclubs. When he isn't playing or mixing he is writing reviews and guides for our site.

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