Just recently received this question from one of my YouTube Subscibers. As I get asked some of this frequently I thought I would answer publicly so that others can benefit and some of you more experienced scratchers can give advice in the comments. It’s more powerful that way.
So here it is:
Hi, I’ve been watching your scratch tutorials, they are by far some of the best I’ve seen. wondered if you might help me out?
Do you make a tutorial for ABSOLUTE beginners? I’ve been offered a set of TT500 decks for a real cheap price. I play a lot of musical instruments, I’m primarily a drummer. Always loved the sound and rhythmic qualities of scratching, thought I’d try it out. Never done it before because it seemed expensive, but for so cheap, even if it’s not for me, I can give it a go.
So I need 2 decks, mixer, amp / hi-fi to play through, and then what? Slipmats, needles, cartridges, sample vinyl? I saw where do you play beats from? I see in many tutorials the 2nd deck isn’t going, I assume you put an mp3 through the mixer too? If I’m a right handed drummer, which hand is best to use for the record and which for the crossfader? which need more rhythm control?
I know this seems really basic, but it’s stuff I don’t know.
Thanks for getting in touch! Glad you like the tutorials. They do jump in assuming that you have got a scratch set up but I realise that many people need assistance with this part too.
Is there a tutorial for absolute beginners? – Not in terms of equipment and set up and basic concepts, but I will cover that at some point. The first scratch to learn is the Baby Scratch. I understand what you mean about drumming. I actually always wanted to be a drummer but we didn’t have room for a kit and ended up scratching which does have similar qualities as it is so rhythmical.
Equipment you need:
- 2 decks (direct drive with high torque if possible)
- Mixer (one with a sharp cut in or adjustable curve)
- Amp + speakers
- Slipmats (I use butter rugs)
- Needles / cartridges (Try Shure m447 for a good scratch needle)
- Scratch vinyl – my personal favourite is Super Seal by thudrumble
- For other great scratch records look here
Normally you play the music to scratch to on the second deck, but as you have noticed in my tutorials sometimes you are correct, I use a line in to play an mp3 or similar off a computer or other device / serato scratch.
Cheap vs Expensive / Basic vs Quality – Equipment
In terms of cheap equipment, I went down this route myself. Whilst it did allow me to see if I wanted to pursue it seriously, I did outgrow the equipment extremely quickly. The crossfaders broke and the cheap direct drive turntables just were not built well enough to withstand the rigours of scratching. So whilst I understand that you don’t want to spend alot on something that you are not sure that you want to invest in, just be aware that you might outgrow this equipment very quickly and need to spend more on some serious kit (e.g technics / vestax decks and a decent mixer like vestax / rane / ecler). Unless you can sell your old equipment you may lose some money but I preferred to look at it like I was paying to do a course before I committed myself.
Record Hand vs Fader Hand
Which hand to use on which deck is the next question. I never really thought about this and just did what felt natural. Some people think that it’s best to use your dominant hand on the record, whilst others think it should be the crossfader hand. I can see both benefits. Qbert and D-Styles I believe use their dominant hands on the record. I have my dominant hand on the crossfader. So see how you feel. Or learn both ways! What do the rest of you readers think?
Hope that helps.
If anyone has any further advice please post it in the comments below.
I leave you with my free Video Scratch Tutorials playlist (9 Videos):