How to Make Your Scratching Super Clean
Being able to scratch really clean is something many dj’s greatly desire. Part of what makes scratching sound professional is executing everything as clean as possible. If your scratching is really sloppy, it prevents you from clearly communicating what you want to express. Many dj’s think practicing a lot will get their scratching super clean. However, your scratch practice probably isn’t focused on what will lead to clean scratching.
Use the Right Tool for the Job
Imagine you had a really dirty toilet. Now imagine the only tool you had to clean it with was a toothpick. You could scrape off some gunk, but it would take a long time and the toilet would still be filthy. Now imagine you had a proper scrub brush and cleanser to clean that same toilet. Clearly, the results would be much more to your liking and you wouldn't be stuck with a nasty toilet anymore.
The same applies with cleaning up your scratching. You need to pick the most effective method to get the job done. This method is what I refer to as 2 hand sync. This method involves synchronizing your record and fader hands.
Being Out of Sync is the Biggest Cause of Sloppiness
Now that you're aware of the method for cleaning up scratching, you need to understand how to harness its power. If you don’t know how to synchronize your hands, you’ll still have problems fixing sloppy scratching. When your hands are out of sync, you won’t click the fader in time with your record movements.
Better Understanding of Techniques is Important
In order to sync your record and fader hands, you need to know how each scratch technique you’re practicing works. Each technique should dictate specific timing. If you don’t understand how techniques work, you’ll never execute them cleanly.
Techniques like forwards, stabs, reverses and transforms dictate very specific timing. The definition of those techniques clearly states that the fader must begin and end with the fader closed. Timing for techniques like 1 click, 2 click and 3 click flare scratches depend on the fader beginning and ending open, as well as clicking in the middle of a forward or reverse record movement. While you still need to know more about 2 hand sync, the technique definitions provide a good place to start.
Speed is Very Important
A huge misconception about clean scratching has to do with speed. It is not advised to try scratching at warp speed if you are generally sloppy at slower speeds. This is an obvious point that many dj’s are familiar with. Despite being familiar, they typically run into another problem when scratching slowly. They think because they’re scratching slower, they should open and close the fader slowly.
Unfortunately, this leads to big problems when increasing your speed later on. It’s crucial when you open or close the fader, to do it as instantly as possible. This sets you up better for increasing speed because you won’t have to train yourself to click faster later on. You'll simply need to decrease the amount of time that passes between each click of the fader.
Mastering the Basics and Taking Things to Another Level
You now have the general guidelines for ultra clean scratching. You should begin using this advice for the scratch techniques, scratch combos and patterns you want to clean up. You should do this in isolation, over a beat and your freestyles, as each context presents its own challenges. Just because you can do a technique cleanly in isolation, doesn’t mean you’ll be as clean over a beat or in a freestyle.
Developing clean, expressive scratching is a personal journey. This is mainly because your strengths, weaknesses, challenges and goals are unique to you. If you want to sound extremely clean, you need high quality scratch instruction. Come to my scratch lessons for dj’s page and learn how to conquer your scratching challenges.
Article written by Kwote