Okay, maybe that title is hyperbole, and meant to parody clickbait, but the other day I was with a DJ who has been practicing turntablism for the past 6 years, and I noticed a flaw in his technique. I made a simple suggestion to him, and after making the adjustment told me that he was suddenly able to do some things with the record that he couldn’t do before. I was legitimately shocked by what he said, as I didn’t expect him to have any immediate results, and wasn’t even sure how much help my tip was going to be over the long haul.
Will this advice help you scratch better? I can’t say. But it might, so continue reading this briefest of blogs and give it a try. If you’re already doing what I am about to suggest, then so be it, but if not, and it helps, let me know. I’m genuinely curious if my friend is an outlier, or if this is something more burgeoning scratch DJs will be helped by learning.
The simple tip? Don’t move your arm when you scratch, and for the most part, don’t move your wrist, either. Nearly all your motion, and all the movement of the record should come from your fingers. That’s fingers plural, as my friend was only making contact with the vinyl with his middle finger. The middle finger does the bulk of the work, but your index and ring fingers should also be firmly on the record. Only your thumb and pinky are free. You’ll have far more control over the record that way, and by using only your fingers you will be able to accomplish much more precise maneuvers. You will use your wrist only when you want to apply greater force or speed, but that will be a quick movement, not a consistent series of movements. Your arm will move in reaction to your fingers, but none of the force you apply to the record should come from your arm.
Give it a try. Did it work? Yes? No? Maybe? Tell me!