To work out how to DJ scratch, you must have at minimum one turntable, and a sample record. You should choose the sample first on the sample record. For beginners, it helps to mark your record using a sticker so that you have a visual representation of where the sample is that you will scratch over. The record that is playing can be any old beat whilst your practising.
How to DJ scratch in the most basic way
The simplest method of scratching is done without using the crossfader at all. Simply place your hand on the record and move it back and forth. It’s important to note that you don’t have to actually be playing the record while you scratch. You can use this technique to scratch over another song if you have the crossfader set in the middle, so that the sound of both channels comes through the speakers. Have your tune playing, and have the other record on stop with the needle on the record. Then move your hand back and forth, and voila. This is the easiest way for beginners to learn how to DJ scratch, and is often referred to as a baby scratch.
How to DJ scratch by utilising the crossfader
To get a little more advanced with scratching, you will need to use the crossfader at the same time as you scratch. If you have a record playing and have the crossfader set all the way across to that record’s side, you will be unable to hear the sounds produced on your other turntable. This is referred to as having the crossfader ‘closed’. Having the crossfader in the middle when scratching is referred to as ‘open’.
A forward scratch is a DJ scratch performed when scratching while the record rotates in the direction it would face if the turntable was rotating. To eliminate the backward scratch, when you need to bring the record back to the beginning point of the scratch, close the crossfader. This results in only a forward scratch being heard, which has a different sound than a backward scratch.
When learning how to chirp scratch, a little bit of coordination is required. Chirp scratching is a relatively easy technique to get initially when learning how to DJ scratch, but difficult to master. To chirp scratch, you close the crossfader whilst pushing the record forward, and open the crossfader while you pull the record back. Easy enough, but it takes practice to make it sound good.
To get different pitches when scratching, the record needs to be moved at different speeds. A higher speed will result in a higher pitch and vice versa.
These are the very basics of how to DJ scratch, stay tuned to learn how to create different scratch sounds.