Would you like to amp up your scratch game and add some cuts into your performance arsenal? A few well-placed scratches can give DJ sets an original, cutting edge sound. These scratches can be used with any style of music, from future bass to acid house to hip hop to trap. Here's a tutorial that explains how to perform a classic scratch called the Chirp and a combo called the Chirp-Flare.
If you prefer to learn by video, here’s an overview video showing how to create the Chirp & Chirp-Flare scratching effects:
Equipment You'll Need:
- One DJ turntable (Pioneer DJ, Reloop and Stanton all manufacture turntables)
- One scratch style DJ mixer
- Scratchy Seal slipmats
- A scratch needle and cartridge, like the Shure M44-7
- A scratch record with samples (real vinyl or a digital version for Traktor or Serato)
Chirps are quick scratches that sound clean and a little bit flashy when they are performed well.
To perform a chirp, begin by finding a long sample, like 'ahhh'. Mark the beginning of the sample on the record, so you can easily see where the sample begins.
Record hand: With the hand that's on the record, start at the beginning of sample and push the record forward.
Crossfader: Place your thumb on the inner side of the cross fader and your first finger on the other side. Start with the fader open and close the fader as the record is moved forward.
Record hand: With the hand that's on the record, drag the sample back to the beginning.
Crossfader: Push the fader open with your first finger so that the fader is moved back into into middle of the cross fader.
Practice slowly at first, with every forward and backwards movement as a quarter notes. (on beats 1, 2, 3 & 4) To make sure you are in time, practice along with a track. Once you've mastered the scratch at a slow speed, double up the speed, so the chirps as twice as fast (on beats 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &).
Tips & Tricks
Try to keep your hand that's on the record close to the record for more control. Work on keeping the movements with the record as tiny as possible, so that the scratches sound sharp and tight.
Chirp-Flare (aka the Stutter Scratch)
The Chirp-Flare is a unique combo scratch that sounds really cool in sets when it executed well. I call this scratch the Sutter Scratch, as a talented scratch DJ called Deejay Stutter taught me this scratch.
Use a long sample for this scratch, like 'ahhh'.
Record hand: With your hand on the record, start the sample about 50 percent of the way through the sample. Use the mark on the record to guide you.
Next perform the following scratches:
- Backwards chirp
- Forwards chirp
- Backwards chirp
After the last backwards chirp, the sample should be at the beginning and the fader should be open. Next, perform a flare by pushing the record forward and closing the fader. Next, gently tap the fader with your first finger so it opens and closes as the record continues to move forward. The fader should be closed at the end of the motion. Keep pressure on the fader using your thumb during this movement so the fader can quickly close. With the fader closed, bring back the sample to just a little after the starting point of the sample so you can begin the scratch again.
Practice slowly until you get used to the motions with both hands. After you master the scratch at a slow speed, speed up the motion so you can preform the scratch fluidly at a quick pace. To learn good rhythm, be sure to practice along with a track and make sure your scratches are in time with the music.
Practice makes perfect. Work hard and hopefully soon you'll be performing these scratches like a pro!