How to DJ: Learning to Scratch

By | June 1, 2016

Guide to DJ Scratching

DJ ScratchingScratching is the most impressive of all techniques when DJing. It’s a mix of timing, coordination, accuracy, style, all in one. Its an art form of its own.

Scratching is manipulating the sound on a record, whether is it’s the kick, effect, snare or vocals, by moving it backwards and forwards. Also, the sample is cut into parts in some cases by the manipulation of the crossfader, volume control/upfaders or any other feature that can bring in the sound on and off. In scratching you are only limited by the DJ equipment you use, and how fast your hands move. If learning to control pitch took you a while to learn, this will be the same thing.

Learning to DJ online and to add DJ Scratching to your sets is a great way to add style and flare. You will stand out from the crowd.

DJ Equipment

Decks: Directs are needed. The better the pickup and stability the better the scratch. To scratch properly we need the proper gear. You can do it on beginner equipment but it will not be stable enough because of the build quality.

Mixer: You will need a loose x-fade, with an adjustable curve so you can sharpen the cut in point. Using punch-in buttons is the best option when starting out, as it creates a clean cut in and always at the same volume. This allowed me to tap the punch in button to make a scratch rythym. I would then move the record back and forth to get different sounds and tap the rhythm when I wanted onto the punch button.

You can also use the line/phono swithches to punch in or out the sound. If you are spinning a record normally on channel 2 you then would put the vinyl on channel 1, cue your sample and then flick channel 1 line switch it to CD, temporarily cutting the sound to the deck. Pop the fader in the middle as this will let the sound to be heard.

Stylus: We will need the needle as stable as possible and not skipping every time we touch the record.

CDJs: Scratching is mainly done on vinyl decks but controllers now a days are able to replicate this, though not as good.


To start off we will need a sample to scratch with. Scratching can be applied to anything as longs its not a woosh sample.

Understanding Clicks

As I progressed I realized that punching in was only half the battle. There is a way to reduce the speed of your hand, but get faster sounding more split sample for less work.

Option 1: Start with the fader closed on channel 2. Allow the record in your left hand to slowly travel forwards to move forward a few inches whilst at the same time tap the fader in, take it out, push it in, return it closed. To the tsame with punch buttons and you push forward you tap the button twice.

Option 2: To get the same effect with half the fader movement, instead of twice, you

Types of DJ scratches

Baby Scratch: Fader less scratch, probably the best know scratch, its like a wicca-wicca sound. Open the fader past the cut-in point. Time it with the music, push your hand back and fourth.

Scrible Scratch: Just a faster baby scratch, fader stays open.

Uzi Scratch: Just a faster scribble, fader stays closed on an uzi and you tap the fader open.

Tears: Open fader technique, pull sample back using two jerked stages, splitting the sample.