How to Shred Like a Scratch Beast
Scratching super fast is a skill most dj's strive for. Unfortunately, the typical approach for building extreme speed is severely ineffective. There are several things that must be considered if you want to build speed effectively. Missing any of it will prevent you from scratching at the most extreme speeds possible.
The Average Strategy is Tempo Boosting
While boosting tempo has benefits, it's not the sole way to build speed. Most dj’s assume if they keep increasing the tempo and try scratching over it, they'll eventually be able to scratch faster. However, a lot more must be considered and worked on if you want major results.
Think about it like driving at extreme speeds. If you’re driving on a race track built for insane speed, it won't guarantee you’ll be able to drive extremely fast. You still need the right kind of vehicle and highly developed skills to fly through the race track at a lightning pace.
Efficiency of Movement is Crucial
If your record and fader hands are moving inefficiently, you’ll never scratch as fast as possible. Being efficient means achieving maximum results with minimum effort. Examples of inefficient movement are: moving the record too far from the starting point; opening the fader too far from the cutoff; and releasing your fingers too far from the fader.
Clearly, the more unneeded movement you use, the longer it will take to do those things. Which leads to scratching slower than desired. You need to identify where you're being inefficient, how inefficient you are in each area and how to scratch more efficiently.
Relaxation is at the Heart of Speed
You may have noticed it’s tough to relax when scratching at faster tempos. When you’re more relaxed, it’s easier to scratch efficiently. The reason being, when you tense up, you tend to overdo things. Even if you're making an effort to move efficiently.
That's why it's useful to scratch over mellow tempos, such as 80 bpm and below. This way you can learn to scratch in a relaxed state, while gaining higher levels of speed. When you successfully do this, it helps you stay relaxed at much higher tempos.
While mellow bpm’s will help you relax, you still have to learn more about the physical side. Learning to optimize your record hand pressure, fader hand tension and overall physical relaxation when scratching will make your movements more fluid. Which all leads to greater overall speed.
Good Timing Equals Further Relaxation
In addition, you need to time your fader movements with your record hand. This gives you the chance to rest between record movements, so you’re not building excess tension in your fader hand. The more in sync you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. Which of course means you’ll scratch cleaner and faster, because you’re clicking the fader at the right time.
Measuring Your Speed Leads to More Speed
It's essential you also have some set parameters, so you're aware of how fast you're actually scratching. How many notes you execute per beat will determine how fast you are at the tempo you're scratching over. 1 note per beat is quarter notes, 2 notes per beat is 8th notes, 3 notes per beat is 8th note triplets, 4 notes per beat is 16th notes, 6 notes per beat is 16th note triplets and so on. This is assuming you know basic counting over a 4/4 beat, which is the time signature for most music.
It’s partially helpful to know how many notes there are for each scratch technique and combo you’re working on. However, you also have to keep in mind repetitions per beat. For example, if you’re performing one technique per beat, the amount of notes that technique contains will represent your speed. However, in order to increase your speed without increasing the tempo, you have to add repetitions of that technique.
The more repetitions of a technique you can do per beat will represent your true speed of that technique at the chosen tempo. It’s only when you maximize your reps per beat of a technique or combo, that boosting the tempo will be necessary to gain more speed. Keep in mind, everything I've discussed will need to improve for you to actually gain speed. Boosting the tempo after maximizing your speed at a lower tempo, only helps you measure your speed accurately.
Don't Underestimate Building Speed
Although I’ve covered a lot about increasing speed, you need to know much more to reach your potential. It isn't just about the methods of speed building. It’s about your own weaknesses and strengths. These issues are handled best by a high quality scratch instructor who knows from their own experience, how to scratch at extremely fast speeds. It’s also important that they’ve successfully taught others to scratch fast. Bottom line, the fastest way to learn to scratch extremely fast, is to seek help from a mentor who will help you reach your goals.
Article written by Kwote