Our New Scratching For Controller DJs Course: What Should We Include?


There’s loads of tuition out there for scratching with vinyl, but none aimed at controller DJs – until now. Tell us what we should include.

We’re shortly going to begin filming a brand-new DJ course to teach scratching to controller DJs, and we’d like your help.

Are you a controller DJ who’d love to learn how to scratch? What’s your biggest problem getting started? What’s holding you up? What would you most like to know? If we can teach you how to scratch on your DJ controller, where would you like to use your new-found skills?

Please use the comments below to tell us. It’s really important – everything you can share with us will help us to ensure the course we produce has all the stuff in it that you want. As a bonus, everyone who comments below will be put into a draw, and ten winners will get to beta test the new course for free.

So – please tell us below what you’d most like us to cover in the new course. Remember, just by doing so you may get the chance to take the whole course for free as one of our beta testers.


  1. One of the biggest struggles I have with DJing with a controller is space and doing transformer scratches. I don’t know if that is useful to you haha but yes.

  2. Beat juggling tips, and Scratching acapella’s and bringing in tracks :D hell ya ill test it

    • I don’t imagine juggling would be possible because you can’t mark the jog wheel and have it accurately represent a true rotation with regards to the amount of track back spun

      • You may not be able to “mark the jog wheel” but you can set cue points.

      • Well that’s not beat juggling, that’s cue juggling, and then you’re always stuck to those preset cues, you won’t be able to play with it on the fly

      • You can zoom out on the waveforms on traktor and use them as a visual instead of marking ur record. Its quite easy to beat juggle on a controller as long as the jogs are good quality. You can also use the cue points to be more creative with your beat juggling and scratching, jumping more quickly to the next vocal/part of the track making for more interesting combinations.

      • Again lol not really beat juggling if you’re using cue points – now being able to scratch with more effectively switching to different parts of songs is a great idea

      • Dj Toko Supreme says:

        Actually you can beat juggle on a controller. All you need is a bunch of stickers that most turntable-list dj’s buy from the local library/book store.

        Now Follower these instructions carefully:

        Open any dj software you use.

        Load any track, whether it is an acapella or beat. Don’t play the track and put it on its first beat.

        Auto-Loop the track (starting at 1 beat loop or one beat measure as other dj’s know it).

        Then on your dj controller, initially where you want to start placing your hands to scratch, place a sticker on the hardware on the side of the jog wheel (not on the jog wheel itself but on the surfaces of the controller near the jog wheel) then rotate the jog wheel until you have covered the one beat loop/ one beat measure, then place another sticker on where your hands ended while rotating the jog wheel for one beat loop/ one beat measure (remember to place the sticker on the surface of the controller and not the jog wheel.
        Repeat above steps for 2, 4 or even 8 beat loop measures always starting at the first sticker and rotating the jog wheel to where those loops end on your software and placing a sticker on the surface of the controller then you can teach yourself on how to beat juggle on your favourite controller.

      • You don’t need marks to juggle. You can do it by ear, sure the marks help – but not entirely necessary if you know your routine.

      • Maybe Vestax VCI-380 can handle it? It’s possessed of LED jogwheels markers.

    • beatjuggling is possible. just watch your screen. the ‘vinyl’ platter in your screen has markers which you an use the same way as traditional vinyl. In djay with the wego controller from pioneer i can perform the same routines as tech 12′s. you only have to get used to watching your screen instead of your tables/jogwheels

  3. Petey Karalis says:

    I just have no idea where to begin with scratching. Like, I’m not stupid, I know to use the platter and crossfader, but I have no idea how to integrate it with a track, and not make it sound like something’s gone wrong. ahaha

  4. I’ve tried watching YouTube for tutorial but still struggle to convert it into reality. I’d like a clear step by step break down of different scratches with attention to when the fader should be opened/closed and the hand movement on the platter. Perhaps paying some attention to the onscreen wave form. Never seen a tutorial with the wave form so may be of some use.

    • Pollux Star says:

      Scratching is about manipulating the sounds, so the focus should be more about what you hear when you move that platter back and forth as opposed to what it looks like on the screen. If they do come up with this program for controllers, it will be more important (as you stated) to have a camera on the fader hand and the record (or in this case jogwheel) to see the combinations needed to create the different scratch sounds used by turntablist.

  5. Nathan Webb says:

    I would love to learn how to scratch!!! I have picked up some basic scratches with sounds but can’t make them sound good at all in my mixes and have no idea about scratching vocals. I want to add that extra bit into my mixes and really wow the crowds!!!

    • It’s just practice, which only works if you’re realistic about how long it takes. For instance – if I want to become a master painter and know that it should take 10 to 20 years to become one I wouldn’t give up practicing in 5 years. Scratching doesn’t take that long but it does that a long while. Keep practicing and don’t give up!

  6. I’m curious about the differences between software platforms: I use Virtual DJ 7Pro now, looking forward to 8, but I’m curious to see how you would get the same sound using the big 3 (VDJ, Traktor, Serato) and what the plus /minus are between them.

    • Serato has the best vinyl simulation, Traktor has the best effects and sampler, VDJ is the most stable for video. Unfortunately it’s effects and sampler are limited, but it’s perfect for gigs where you don’t need to be super impressive with effects and scratching.

  7. What controller’s have a suitable platter, and what controller’s really don’t capture the feel of scratching at all.

    Help people know in advance whether the skill set/muscle memory will transfer over and what amount of effort is needed to do so.

    Also have a section dedicated to buying turntables, and compare the new super OEMS accurately with the Technic 1200′s.

  8. Personally trying to scratch using CDJ style jogs are near impossible for me when I was trying to train myself. Ive since moved on to Numark V7′s and I think we can benefit if there is also a motorized controller training video as well to cover the basics.

  9. Where to start in terms of scratch samples and settings for jog wheels, crossfader etc. how things can be achieved easier on digital than vinyl (if there are such things?), and how to scratch while both decks are playing without screwing up a mix

  10. Maurice Carpede says:

    I would certainly want to know everything about it. When and how to use it. Do you scratch just for the sake of scratching because it looks cool? All the different types or styles of scratching and where and how to use each of them. Finger or hand exercises for scratching if there are such exercises. Using spesifically controller jogwheels for scratching. What other music styles or genres, apart from obviously hip hop, is suitable for scratching and how to use it within those styles.

  11. How does latency on a laptop affect the scratching? Lower the latency the better? Or does it even matter

  12. How does it fit into Electronic music from 120 – 140 BPM?
    How do you find fitting Samples for a propper scratch?
    What EQ is to use to integrate it greatly into another playing song.

    Great Idea to make such an Tutorial. Thanks!

  13. As a scratch DJ coming from the 1200′s and battle tools, I recently migrated to Serato and I have to comment the following:

    1. Scratching on a DVS is completely different than scratching with normal records. Even if the vinyl is still there, the behavior of the DVS produces sound results different from what expected. For example, drags are completely useless. Double time chirps will result in each cue drifting. And more.

    On the other hand, such flaws can be used in favor of the DJ. For example, no more bass rumble from the platter, or needles skipping. Juggling is dead easier with a DVS.

    2. Using controllers for scratching will complicate things even more than just using vinyl with a DVS. Not only you have the above, but the controller will behave most likely even more different than even CDJ’s and other jog wheel systems. Therefore, muscle memory training will be different etc. People need to keep that in mind.

    3. Available space is also a huge thing to consider. Most people are comfort in between a couple 1200′s and a 2ch mixer. Now you will have to fit in half this space.

    4. Last but not least, the available crossfaders. Controllers are not designed for scratching. Which means that their crossfaders will feel like the worst graphite fader, at their best. Everybody needs to be very careful with that, otherwise their normal speed and accuracy (on a normal setup) will drop half from what expected.

    Scratching may not be the most favorite thing of the audiences, but nobody can deny that it is by far the most complex and detailed thing in DJing. Like I like to call it: split-second science.

    There are a lot of factors which need to be considered, especially in a controller environment. Good idea to drop a session on that.

    Nevertheless, I will most happily accept my gift, if picked up! LOL!

    • Most controllers come with the changeable crossfader and i have to say some of the controllers I’ve used have realy good faders. i’m using the stanton djc4 at the min and the crossfader feels just like a normal 2 chan mixer.Ur right about the space thing. It takes alot of getting used to and can sometimes feel like someone has glued ur elbows to ur sides!

  14. Scratching with house/EDM. Who plays hip hop these days, it’s as dead as a fish on land ;-)

  15. I understand scratching techniques and have seen it done many times. The hard part I have is getting the settings right. I use VDJ 7 with cdj 400′s and find a delay. It is a bit better with my VCI-400 but I find that using traktor it sounds much better. Any suggestions? Examples of settings and techniques would be great! Thanks!

  16. Happy to hear that course is on its way :)
    I have couple of suggestions on what the course shall cover:
    1) Scratching is usually hiphop/rnb thing. I would like to learn how I can use scratching for EDM. Which techniques/styles of scratching are suitable for EDM.
    2) I’d like to learn how I can use scratching for transitioning between the tracks.
    3) Which effects go well with scratching.
    4) Since scratching on the controllers is harder I’ve heard that you can use gater effect (traktor), looping etc. for pseudo-scratching effect. I would like course to incorporate those issues too.
    5)How should I adjust platter and fader sensitivity for scratching
    6)Scratching of one shot lyrics/acapellas
    7) Also I think that course must be general and not just specific controllers. I have Numark NS6 (with Serato,which is more suitable for scratching than many other controllers) and Traktor Kontrol S2 (have a hard time even back-spinning it). I want to learn scratching tips that are suitable for both.
    8) Would like to hear practicing tips. Which hand/finger exercises can help.

  17. Learning how to Chirp on a controller would be Ideal!!

  18. Scratching on a controller would be a plus to many of us…we tried doing it and for whatever reason it just does not sound like the cdj….we would the do’s and dont’s to this art on our controller

  19. Please add the things scratching can add or take away from your set.

  20. how to crab and all that crazy finger stuff

    • You can watch any usual tutorial for fader patterns. There is nothing special in this case, besides the quality of the available crossfaders on controllers.

  21. How to keep the right place of the track when you are not holding the jogwheels all the time. And all the more complicated scratches, baby scratch is easy, of course, but when it gets more complicated and you can’t adjust the crossfader. And of course some practise tips. I’m using Traktor Kontrol S2 and I would like to improve my mixes and live sets. I am mostly a house and EDM DJ and would like to know when and when not to use scratching.

  22. well i got my dvs this christmas and had a controller before and to be honest it is not only much more fun on a dvs but also certain techniques seem to be impossible on a controller with those tiny jogs and the fader which seems to be too tight …

    like the biggest problem I see are those tiny jogs which seem inaccurate for more advanced scratches

  23. chapter 1: Traditional turntables and mixers – where scratching comes from, what influence the setup has made on the type of scratches, and a primer on how to setup a turntable for scratching with or without DVS.

  24. DJ N'Sane says:

    exercises you could do to help you move your fingers move better and faster with the crossfader

  25. DJ Rinzler says:

    Not only how to do all kinds of scratches, but HOW TO PRACTICE scratching. I’ve used YouTube videos to try and learn but I never know how to practice it. Thanks Phil!

  26. Would love to see a piece on proper jog wheel setup for controllers like the VCI-100-I’ve got crap resolution in traktor-so much so that I’m unable to even manually drop the beat…

  27. Split screen for waveform, platter and crossfader.

  28. I’d love to learn how to set up the software for it…..such as settings on sensitivity and just how to do it and not sound like crap…

    Thanks Phil

  29. It also comes down to which controller you are using. You of course can accomplish probably a few more tricks on one controller over another. my suggestion is to start with that because one might be wasting valuable time one certain skills that might not be possible on what they are working with. I own a Vestax VCI-300 and a Numark NS6 and there are specific tricks that I favor on one and some that I favor on the other. the crossfader curve is more absolute on the NS6. while the feel of the platter is more favorable on the VCI-300. Also it might be of benefit to talk about after market products to swap out faders and knobs to assist with the goal.

  30. FreshNstuff says:

    Defenetly atleast thease things:
    1. Different controllers, if there even is major differenses whit different controllers.
    2. Differences whit different softwares
    3. How to proceed to timecode/real vinyl
    4. How to integrate X1, F1 or Xone K2 etc.

    Thease are just some things i would personally want to see !

  31. Alot of the YouTube videos are on vinyl or Cdjs so this would be amazing. I would love to see the different scratches but also using them in a mix (not just hip hop).

  32. Here is an example of a neat Gater scratching effect in Traktor using a midi controller with jogs (Touch sensitive are best; I have the VCI-400):

    - Get your hands on some scratch-able samples (vocals, horns; the classic “Fresh”, etc cuts work great)
    - Load one of your samples into Deck A and set up some loops and cues over the “meaty” parts of your clip.
    - In Deck B, load up a drum loop or song you’d like to scratch to. Hip hop, trap, or some house works fine. I find that the less busy the track, the better the scratching meshes.
    - Set your Keylock to OFF. Sync is optional.
    - Set one of your FX banks to chained, and load up Delay in the first slot, Reverb in the second, and Gater in the 3rd. Apply the FX to just Deck A.
    - Set the params of your FX. Play around with different values. I’d start with 50% on all of em and then go from there. The Gater effect is what you’ll be fluctuating on the fly to get a neat scratch-like effect.
    - Cue up one of your loops on Deck A and then play Deck B.
    - With the jog on Deck A in Scratch/Vinyl Mode, move it back and forth in a traditional scratch-like motion.
    - With your other hand, play with the Gater knob adjusting the size of the effect. You don’t have to use the crossfader for this technique. You’ll get a scratchy-like effect without it.
    - Fool around, juggle cues, play with the FX levels, and enjoy your new scratch-style skills :)

    Nicholas Marquis aka DJ SNACKS

  33. I see a lot of people using Virtual DJ. I have used both VDJ and Serato and from my experience, VDJ does not seem to be as accurate in sound and control as Serato. Also, Serato’s color coded waveforms make it easier to find midrange sections that are better for scratching

  34. Darwin Theory says:

    A lot of good tips above! I’ve tried scratching with a controller, but have never really scratched before. Some basics of scratching would be a definite plus. Also how should the crossfader be setup in Traktor for scratching?

  35. I think there are only 2 acceptable controllers out there when it comes to scratching. The VCI 380 and the Pioneer DJ SSX. The reason I say this is because these are the only 2 controllers that offer an LED ring to indicate a track position. This is the next best thing to a moving platter. This is really important because it allows you to look down rather then have to look at your screen to make sure you’re at the right spot. Seeing what your hands are doing is important for learning to scratch, beatjuggle etc.

  36. Scratching/controllerism combined! Like scratching over cue points and cue point juggling.

  37. its hard for me to scratch on static jog wheels. i’m not a scratch dj but i can manage doing some cutting here and there and some baby scratching combos, for me is a lot easier doing it with turntables than doing it on static jog wheels.

    Since the turntables are always spinning when you release the vinyl theres not much delay however with jog wheels at least on controllers i detect a slight delay that causes me to fall off beat. I owned a Numark NS7 and i didn’t have an issue, seems to cost me more on static wheels.

  38. Hallelujah!

    My biggest challenge is adjusting to doing the basic techniques: baby scratches, stabs, backspinning etc on a much,much smaller surface. I find myself feeling “cramped up” and I’m not sure if its hand position, body position, table height or what.

    I’d also like to know how to adjust the controller be more precise/sharp on my cue points for scratching. With vinyl I’d put a sticker down where the scratch sentence starts that I want to use, and I could gauge my scratching from there. With the controller I’m ready to pull my hair out.

    I cannot wait for this course! if you need a tester I gladly volunteer.

  39. How about adding some tutorial about scratching using cue points & effects only.
    Like what Ean Golden is doing.

  40. Dirtdog48188 says:

    I think as a beginner or someone totally new to the industry it would be beneficial to show how to change the different scratch types(sounds)in the course.

  41. How about a section on setting up your controller for optimal skratching performance. Specifically the MIDI mapping settings in Traktor.

  42. DJ Mark Moore says:

    Mind you, I do use SSL with turntables and a rane 57 mixer. Scratching for me is way different that controller scratching.

    But thinking back the biggest tip I got was to change my hand position on my cross fader, so I’m using my fingers to tap a beat and my thumb is acting as a spring to close the channel. It will vary from mixer to mixer, or controller to controller on how much thumb pressure you need to be effective. Before I was using my wrist / arm to move the crossfader and it sounded like junk.

    Also might be helpful to throw out some scratch tracks with all the classic hits.

  43. King Of Snake says:

    Hi Phil
    If you could learn me how to scratch on the twitch, i will instantly join the course… ;)
    I also reacted via FB, does that count as well for your free gift?

  44. Instead of re-creating the exact scratch technique (or: the “input”), you could focus on how to re-create the scratch effect (or: the “output”).
    For example, a transformer scratch is quite difficult to do on a controller due to the low-quality crossfaders. But one can re-create the transformer scratch sound by using a drag/rewind or push together with a stutter effect (such as the “Gater” effect in Traktor Pro).

  45. Being someone who doesn’t scratch, I’d like to learn the basics, track suggestions, DJ software settings to use etc.

  46. DJ Whoa-Dee says:

    Scratching is one of the most powerful effects available in terms of technical elements used in a performance. The audience always notices it, and can tell if you have skills or not.

    DVS Systems do an excellent job of replicating natural vinyl, and fix some of the major pitfalls that vinyl created (having to carry crates of records, Using REL mode to prevent skips, etc)

    Most controllers are replicating DVS systems, which are replicating classic vinyl setups. By the time the equipment gets to the 3rd generation, scratching is no longer the main tactile weapon, and the “controllerist” setup is now featured.

    You probably won’t see many all-in-one controllers used at the DMC championships, but realistically they have enough power for most performances. I have a lot of friends who use controllers, and can scratch their asses of with them. They just have a piece of equipment that tries to get scratching right. Any controller with a moving platter or sensitive jogwheel should be fine.

    As far as crossfaders go as long as you can adjust the curve, and like the feel, it should be fine. Expensive faders are nice, but you can perform all the same things with a cheap fader.

    The most important thing about scratching is that YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE!

    You can learn to mix or produce by simply following a pre-planned sequence. Scratching is more like playing an actual instrument. You might understand what sound you are trying to make, but you have to train your body to be able to perform it too. This takes a lot of dedication. To achieve expert skill level at any particular task takes 10,000 hours apparently. Scratching is no different. The best turntablist in the world have spent that much time.

    I might try using the sync button at first too. When you first start you will sound horrible anyway, but at least you will be dropping on beat.

  47. Best and easiest way to scratch on controllers with small jogwheels.

  48. Step 1 . Remove your whack crossfader and install an Innofader.

    But seriously, if your going to want to progress past baby scratches you need a fader with a sharp cut on it and one that will last as your going to be giving it quite a battering.
    At the very least you want an adjustable crossfader curve.

    I’ve personally not used a wide variety of controllers but i gather the jog wheels vary widely in function and sensitivity so would be worth pointing out that learning on one controller the skills/techniques may not instantly transfer to another controller when playing out on other equipment. I know this to be true as i started to scratch with belt driven turntables and a cheap mixer and felt like i had to start from scratch (pardon the pun) when i upgraded my gear.

    Perhaps links to guides to modding faders/controllers and upgrading faders
    I dont know if its possible as im a DVS user, but to midi map a button to be an on/off switch much like a transform button found on some DJ mixers? would at least be able to perform some transforms!

    Links to free samples would help people starting out

    Most importantly of all it needs to be pointed out that it takes a LOT of practise and i mean a LOT! and theres always new techniques to learn. so make sure you learned to beatmatch first as not only will it help your style/flow but you’ll think that was a piece of cake compared to an Autobahn scratch!

  49. i have an S4 and traktor and would love to know how to properly scratch with it. What settings to use, different techniques and so forth. I mainly do hip hop so this would be awesome!

  50. If you’re going to teach Scratching, you have to do at least as good a job as Q-bert’s classes. http://www.qbertskratchuniversity.com/

    I agree that if you’re going to scratch, you want to set up your gear to have the best cross-fader you can get (I hear innofaders are awesome) and setting up the software for the quick cut-offs that scratch DJs have. Remember that you’ll want to get the “Scratch” version of DJ software you like (and the companion hardware) so you can make use of the DVS controls over digital files unless you only want to scratch Analogue (from the original record the song came from).

    On a personal note, the price of adding on the scratch element as an effect just seems to high for me right now and ties a person to one DJ program (Traktor Scratch Pro and Serato DJ do not use the same protocols). I’m curious about how scratching might help me, but I’m not overly-anxious to drop the cash and spend all that time just so I can sound like a DMC champion.

  51. Meticulous T says:

    Def interested in jog wheel scratching tutorials! In depth hand motion/crossfader/tempo fader relationship and diff. Types o scratching. What to scratch over & when. Jogs vs vinyl

  52. I know this isn’t scratching but something i really would like to know is how to convert all of my music to play the same volume without hurting the quality with a mac. that would be a life saver.

  53. Hey Phil, i have a few ideas for what i personally would find useful and i think many others will have the same issues. i have never scratched in my life and started on digital controllers (now have a 4Trak) and always wanted to learn it

    1 what to scratch?… is it bad to scratch part of a song with a bass line, I’ve seen most people use acapella tracks but are there other ways of doing it

    2 how to scratch?… i.e starting with a basic scratch and then later including the different movements you can do to produce different sounds.

    3 What sort of music is appropriate for scratching?…. i play mostly EDM at around 128bpm and i’ve never seen or heard scratching used in this style only on hip-hop style music… also what music should i avoid scratching on?

    4 controller setup for scratching?… i know i can control my crossfade curve on my controller but i wouldn’t know what to do with it for scratching. also are there any other settings in traktor or other software that help scratching?

    5 any nice tricks for scratching maybe using effects or something as a little bonus when we can get the hang of it?… maybe the use of a sample pad like the Traktor Kontrol F1

    one thing i don’t think you need is to talk about which controllers are best for scratching as people will already have made their choice by that point… maybe a good idea for an article one day though!

    hope this helps!

    will be interesting to see what you come up with and hopefully i’ll get to Beta test :)

  54. Showbiz Connor says:

    The real basics, the rythem and compilations of baby and tears before moving on to more complex stuff

  55. Just reiterating what lots of the comments above have said.

    1. Jogwheel settings.
    2. Integration, when and where to scratch.
    3. Practices to help.
    4. Incorporation of F1, X1 etc.

    but also add the sounds you are using as free downloads, so we can practice and learn using the same sounds, so we know how accurate and similar what we are doing, compared to what it should sound like.

  56. This is a fantastic idea! I come from a background of top 40/wedding DJ’ing, but I want to get into doing more club-style DJ’ing. I have felt for a while that not knowing how to scratch is a big setback.

    I’ll echo what others have said like vinyl versus digital, how to make digital sound like vinyl, etc. What I’d like to know is how to sample good scratch sounds beyond the standard go to “fresh” sound, and delve more into scratching straight from a track. What makes a sample a good sample for scratching (length, loop length and such)? Something else I’d like to see is how to apply scratching to other genres of music beyond RnB and Hip Hop (think some of the newer ambiant and chill tracks that incorporate scratch). I have seen some truly amazing performances that heavily rely on a scratch, but I feel I would be better off learning how to incorporate more subtle scratching into music.

    Can’t wait to hear more about this coming up!

  57. Crab scratching is what gives me the hardest time–guess it just comes with practice but would like to get tips on how to master it!

    • Crabs are no doubt the hardest to master but once you get it down they become second nature. I couldn’t crab until I switched my hands to opposite sides so my wrists made an “X” over my controller. Keep practicing and sometimes placing a piece of tape on the ends of the cross fader (so the fader cuts a tad shorter) helps in practice sessions.

  58. Just can’t get my scratches right. Don’t sound like it’s suppose to. I can do cuts pretty good but thats about it

  59. I think the course should include basic things like backspins and juggles but also unique combinations of scratching and effects only possible with digital DJ kit. Personally I use a gater to fake the crossfade cuts. It makes me sound like a pro even though I have virtually no idea how to scratch.

  60. Id like to see which controllers are better suited for scratching, its pretty obvious ns7 is gonna be top ranked with like the reloop terminal mix 4 being second but id like to read your guys opinions as you guys got much more options and resources to better judge. And basically cover some of the cool things you can do with controllerism scratching. But I think as scratching tutorials go its gonna be hard to beat DJ Angelos tutorials as far as basics and advanced methods ars concerned

  61. How to scratch to electro house and any other type of house music, how to use it in a live set and when to use it

  62. I’d love to see just a basic course on the unique challenges scratching on a controller.
    I can’t move my CDJs platters as fast as DJ Angelo can move his vinyl, making it tough to learn.
    I’ve been waiting for this for months! Make us proud! I’m excited, your past course was excellent.

    • By the way, I use two CDJ 900s with a Kontrol Z2 in HID Advanced mode, seems like it would be a decent “controller” setup for scratching, but I’ve been unable to translate what I see on the vinyl scratch tutorials to my traktor setup.
      Teach me the basics, a solid practice routine, and maybe a smaple “scratch set” that I can use as a launching pad to creating my own sratch routines.
      This is one of the last major hole in my DJ skillset. I get asked all the time, “so, can you scratch?” it’s universally expected of a DJ, and can add a lot of spice to a set, but in this controller DJing world, it seems the skill has gotten little to no attention. Kudos again for your attention on this topic! You’re going to help round out many DJ’s skill set with this.

  63. If “Scratching For Controller DJs” is he working title for the course then no DVS for me please, this might be extensively covered elsewhere.

    I guess one of the main differences is moving vs static platter. As Manuel Zarate pointed out above, there are issues of responsiveness in the jog/software interaction that might be hard to get by just by adjusting Midi sensitivity&accelleration. I would love to see the basic settings covered that need be taken care off before even starting, like keylock off etc.

    I’m really curious about the direction this will take, as most people seem to agree that scratching is a vinyl/DVS only art and that on the other hand the “controllerism” of the Ean Golden/Mad Zach/Moldover direction is the art that is specific to controllers. Amazing idea to dig into this field!

  64. i starts xears back with mk1200. im hip hop dj (then) and ckratch is part of every mix, even more on some mixtapes oand intros.
    now i using controller and skratch is not that much diferent, bit also it isnt same.
    i play with 4 decks and often using accapela vocals (for me that is favorite sond for skrstch). for skratch for orientation i using two things:
    1. wave form
    2. place of my hand (fingers) on jogweels (i dont have motorized controler)
    i perform skratch as on turntable…move jogweel back and move crossfader awey while u moving it on first position. start position u can “feel” by position or by waveform.
    one thin on controller is advantige for skratch…and that is cue points…i using numpad for it..overy number is cue point so after skratch u can start back on every part of song. efect is great
    word…skratch…other word…skratch..other word…skratck..first word

    • Would you considering making a short YouTube video or upload an MP3 showing what you mean? In having a hard time visualizing how you’d work the cross fader and hit the numer keys as well as when and how to move the cross fader in relation to the platter movements.

      • i can do it..isnt problem
        for crossfader little explanation…
        in turntable skratch and controller skratch is pretty same…when you start skratch put hand on vinyl or jogwheel and pull it backward. in two channel mix in that sec u put crossfader in middle. after that when u move hand foward u dont want that sound and put crossfader away…back=sound, front=no sound
        if u mix on 4 channel u can avoid mistakes of stoping whole sound and start master sound and during skratch use fader/gain and do the same thing back=sound, front=no sound

  65. DJ CNTRL (Matt) says:


    I think what would make the course strongest is to emphasize that the same scratch might need to be “translated” for each type controller (job, vs push-button cues, etc). I would recommend watching Q-Bert’s “Skratching Vol. 1″, and then visualize each scratch being done on different controllers.

    The traditional scratch “vocabulary” requires a hand for on/off (fader), and a hand for sound manipulation (record rubbing). I think it might be worthwhile to think of the limitations however, unless someones creates new “controller-based scratches”.

  66. Diogo Sousa says:

    I would like to learn how to make live remixes, by using scratch with samples and loops.
    I’m currently using Reloop Terminal Mix 2 with Traktor Pro, and I would like to take profit of all the resources available.

  67. The absolute first thing to consider is the type of controller your using to scratch. It has to have absolute minimal latency. The first controller I ever purchased was a vci-300 because it was the first controller that I’ve ever used that felt easiest to transition to after using vinyl. Latency is responsiveness are the keys here. Second, you have to make sure the crossfader is suitable to your style. I borrowed an older reloop controller from a friend once and I couldn’t scratch because the latency was terrible. I dunno if it was the controller, traktor, or his computer causing the latency but PLEASE trust me on this: if you plan on scratching with a controller, buy a proper controller and use proper software. Then start listening closely to your favorite DJs scratche, juggles etc, and try to mimic them. When you feel comfortable enough with the copycat scratches, record them and listen to them next to the original scratches by your favorite DJs and compare the results. Whenever I think I’m getting crappy, I listen to DJ Premier scratches and try to mimic them.

    Get a proper controller (obviously jog wheels are a factor). Then practice the basics.

  68. Since going digital getting from one tune to the next has become easy so I have been trying different things over the years, like using my cue points to skip out large sections of the track then getting the next mix on the go only playing 2 / 3 minutes of the tune.
    I played this style at a bar recently as I only had a 1 hour set and it went down really well (it also keeps be busy too)
    I’m also starting to play different styles of music in the same set this is where I feel I could chuck in different BPMs with a simple scratch and go down a different avenue.
    I can pull of a nice sounding scratch with my right hand but I get lost when it comes to using my left at the same time, both hands are doing the same, it’s the whole rubbing your belly and patting your head thing (i can’t do that) as someone said before its all about practise but I would be very intrested in your guide to make sure I’m on the right road.
    How long intel you are going to release ?

  69. Honestly I know zip to zilch about how to scratch so my request is that you simply go over the basic fundamental concepts and techniques of scratching. There’s a lot of people on here making suggestions using words that you must need to know a little something about scratching to comprehend. I don’t know these styles, techniques and associated words so if this course comes out speaking terms like I should know them, it would completely alienate someone who just wants to learn how to scratch. So for me if you include a super simple beginners section it would be awesome as true beginners could also take away stuff, not just experienced djs looking to scratch with controllers.

  70. Ryan Schultz says:

    Scratching basics: how and when to do so. Different styles of music and the various scratching techniques applied to each. How different controllers, software, and even jogs work/act. I would be using this I’m practice for a good while until I’d become comfortable enough to use in a set. As far as the timing goes, that would remain to be decided based on confidence level and environment specifics (full floor/empty floor, music type, mixing or not, beginning/end of night, etc.). Being able to throw in scratching would enable change, although not permanent, to escape the norm of software effects, samples, and simple beat matching.

  71. Phil, great idea. For your course I would suggest the following:
    -Setting your fader curves sharp, seems obvious but that’s where one shod start.
    -Twitch – the feature where if you use multiple fingers on a touch strip (think hold right index finger down then tap right ring finger in various widths away from index to really effectively scratch)
    -FX tips – using transformer at 1/32 to emulate crabbing. OR 1/2 hold echo for hip hop transitions.
    -When NOT to scratch – how to ride the fader up on a scribble to test your gain before you go wild with overbearing patterns the crowd isn’t interested in (lower bass/hi on channel you’re scratching on)
    -Play well with others – how to participate in call and answer phrase scratch sessions
    -Ahhh, Yeah, & Freshhhhh – the holy trinity of samples
    -how to impress the vinyl crowd – I come from the analogue world, so I know the pressure controllerists face ESP outside of the EDM scene. With controllers like the DDJ-SX that can scratch 2 decks on one platter there are ways finally for controllerists to stop the haters
    -Sample library management – MIK, comment tagging, etc… This would lead to advanced routine planning.

    -MOST IMPORTANT – rythem and feel will beat tech patterns for 90% of crowds. Like any effect, do not overuse the same cut or pattern. Less IS more.

    One last bit. The setting on the Stanton C304 or C314 where touching the jog brought the play position back to cue. This was GREAT 6 yrs ago. Really helped with sounding professional. It’s like cue juggling with scratching. Great shortcut for all ability levels other than Jedi/DJ Shiftee


  72. Dj Lyts Out says:

    Only make the course if #1 you have a “true” turntablist teaching and #2 all scratching techniques can be taught using jog wheels

  73. Hey DDT crew,

    I think everyone has already said everything there is to say on the basics so far, but as a special bonus I think it would be great if you could show us a brief intro on how to scratch WHILE activating effects (or any idea how you could go about that since we only have two hands :) )

  74. Personally I haven’t messed too much with scratching on my S4 because the jogs are real small and I haven’t learned how to scratch on anything else yet. I just bought one Technics 1200 (looking for another) and would love to learn both how to scratch on the ones and twos as well as on a controller.

    Big ups on the blog, been reading for about a year. :D

  75. I would like you to share links to specific practice samples, break down scratch techniques in slow mo and spend more than 30 seconds explaining the hows and whys.

  76. it would also help to have some sort of technique for scratching with tropical spanish music i.e.merengue,cumbia,maybe even salsa for us working spanish djs,im interested in this course because they only seem to have vinils and cant realy find do tutorials for my pioneers ddjs1

  77. - Sources for good scratch tracks
    - How to create your own scratch track
    – Sounds to look for/avoid
    – sample lengths and spacing between samples on the track
    - When you should and should not scratch
    – appropriate time/place in a track
    - Scratch encyclopedia (more developed version of that article you posted a while back with the different kinds of scratches.)
    – Guest appearances from various DMC champs sharing their knowledge

    Also, please try impress upon students that the average club attendee does not understand/care about scratching, they come to dance. So it’s more important to have clean, well timed scratches than to show off your off-time orbits or beat juggling haha

  78. A main issue I have with the tutorials that are out now is that they move to fast. It’ll show you the basic way to do each scratch once, then they go to the super advanced version of each scratch. I think the most important thing you can do is show how to actually practice each scratch. either with a beat or metronome

  79. Be as thorough as possible. Make it worth buying. I had to figure out myself that the crossfader had to be adjusted in order to scratch. No other how to vids say anything bout that

  80. Thanks to everyone for your comments so far – we’re filming now and they’ve all been really useful.

  81. I would love to do this because scratching is somethig i find really hard to do with a controller and i see people scratch vinal all the time and i cant recreate what they are doing!

  82. I own a DDJ SX and feel it is a very capable unit for scratching. I am relatively new to controllerism and would like to be able to scratch with confidence, but do not know the tips and tricks to dial in my performance. I practice scratching on my DDJ SX a couple times a week and I love it!! I feel I will get better over time, practice can help make close to perfect results :) I’m enjoying the DDJ SX but have thought about using a turntable with the controller… Any thoughts?? Thanks

  83. One thing I would love to learn more on is understanding latency and how to configure it. Owning a Mixtrack Pro, I’ve seen and read many reviews where the reviewer talks/comments on latency, and their settings with latency on it to better scratch. I know what they mean, but a little more detail and clarification on how to configure and play with the latency setting in your controller would be a big help. At least, for me it would be.

  84. Good call on giving this topic a go, Phil!
    I would like to see some general info on controller scratching, like software comparison, latency settings, acceleration settings and all tat good stuff. Like mentioned above, some links to the samples you will be using so us, beginners, could use the same sounds as you. Some “do’s” and “don’t’s” of cratching would be awesome.
    One beta test this way, please! ;)
    Thanks again Phil,
    Keep up the GREAT WORK!

  85. Interesting read. Ive used controller from when they first came out back in like 5,6 years ago. I enjoy scratch no matter what genre is. Somebody mentioned that they want to know how to scratch with edm, house kinda 128bpm tunes. Its all abt ur skill level and ur musical library or creativity. Or depending on what u ever listened. Try A-Trak’s Dirty South Dance mix volume 1 and 2. Its almost 128 bpm with scratching, hiphop mixed. Plus, party music scratching pioneer DJ AM’s mixes can be good example. All in all, i would say controller can be lack of originality versus turntable, but its pretty sure that there r tons of more way to play with it with fun. Dont just match the beat or count bars. Be always creative if u r really a dj. Controllerism is all abt it.

  86. I have an ns6 using serato itch. I have been trying to learn how to scratch for a while. Whenever my scratches sound pretty good, its mostly out of luck. i would love to be able to have clean, good sounding scratches whenever i please. I will use at all possible times. I would love this course!

  87. Alex Pardon says:

    I have often realized as soon as someone gets near to some DJ decks for the first time their natural instinct is to try and scratch. It is I suppose the stereotypical view of what DJ s are expected to do, I have no knowledge whatsoever of how you would go about scratching with a controller and it would be great if one day someone would come up to my decks, attempt a scratch, and then I, the triumphant controller scratcher could show them how to do it, the real way.

  88. When will this course be available and for how much?

  89. the crossfader, i cant manage to do the movement in relation to the disc movement. in other words i cannot coordinate both hands.

  90. Latency and settings

  91. Touch strip controller scratching with controllers like the Twitch

  92. well mostly we need a bit more speed &spread out the platters!!!! connecting the unit to a laptop driver issues!!!!!!!!
    device not seen by laptop or device manager
    driver errors kill us

    my unit still don’t connect
    make the units with built in drivers!!!!!!!
    i hope this helps

  93. I am president of DJ Club at my high school and I get them started reading all of your “News Letters” and even though we learn on turntables, some of our guys can only get controllers, which I think is fine because I have one myself. They have problems with different scratching techniques, especially because some jog wheels are “heavy” or hard to move fast. Especially on the Numark Mix track pro, which most of them have. Just wondering what I can do to help in that area.

  94. Clayton Wood says:

    My biggest flaw with my djing is being a “select-sync” dj sometimes. Even though I am comfortable doing slams and other techniques, whenever I don’t feel like my next song is going to work I revert back into select sync djing. By learning to scratch on my Numark N4 I will be more in control of my music and mixes, so what I would like from this course is that it will start from a beginner who had never scratched in their life.


  95. I’m looking into purchasing a numark ns7fx. Bc of the simplicity of the set up, it’s an upgrade from my 6 year old equipment. What are yours guy’s opinion on the unit? as far as scratching, mixing, general use etc. thanks

  96. Ian 'Cryptic' Hopkins says:

    I am definitely interested in this. I stopped dj’ing back when I was 24 and recently started again (31) but made the switch to controller and I’m just going to assume that I’m rusty but nothing seems to go right when I’m attempting to scratch on the NS6.

  97. My biggest problem is staying in time with the music and having interesting sounding scratch rhythms. I think it’d be great to use this to maybe gain some respect from non Digital DJs. Even with manual beatmatching a lot of us still rely on the technology, while that’s not all that bad, manual DJs are more receptive of those who share their set of skills.

  98. Phill! When is the scratching course ready pls?

  99. Collin says:

    I practiced scratching and was somewhat decent when I was in middle school/the beginning of high school. I picked up DJing again as a senior and lost alot of my skill scratching due to the gap of time I spent away from DJing and the new found interest I had in spinning mainly techno, especially house.
    Now as a college student, I feel like I could really add to my DJ arsenal if I could relearn the art of scratching. It would make me that much more comfortable behind the decks!
    I would like to see:
    -very specific beginner scratching tutorials geared towards the controller
    -scratching samples vs scratching acapelas
    -scratching part of the next track you might want to bring in and dropping into the mix
    -beat juggling
    -incorporating scratching uniquely into different genres of music
    -how things especially unique to the controller like cue points can be used to give the controller unique scratching techniques
    Thanks for listening! Id be happy and honored to test it out :)

  100. I am interested in this, and I would want to see:
    Digital Controller Tweaking (AKA getting the right “feel”, as I feel this is my biggest problem when I try to mess around)
    Nudging vs Scratching for controllers that do both
    How to properly loop a sample to scratch with

  101. Hi, please help.

    I’ve been using my vci-300 for scratching for a while now. Here’s a quick video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I06xAeSRP8.

    My left deck has now given up, so in need of a new controller. It looks to me to be a toss up between the pinoeer DDJ-SX, Reloop terminal 4, Vestax VCi-400 or 380.

    Which of these are the best in terms of scratching?
    Is there another controller that has come out or coming out that I should consider?

    Would love to test but no DJs shops around me that sell any of them, so having to base it all on website reviews. Need the opionion of someone that has scratched on them through.

    Thanks Lindsey

    • also need to be portable enough, so the numark ones probably out of the picture. I’m a girl so need to be able to carry it on my own.

    • All are more than good enough, according to our scratch tutor Steve.

      • cheers phil,

        yer the vci-380 does look good. bit of a shame its only 2 decks. My vci-300 last three years, and both the unit and fx have slightly broken. Would of hoped for a longer shelf life, as expensive pieces of kit, but does bring me lots of joy so need to get them replaced. Just wondering if the oversized jogs of the reloop make it a better choice for scratching? but also want good sound quality.

      • also is it easy enough to replace the cross fader in the vci 380. Is there a good cross fader to replace it with looks like the Vestax CF-X2 is not available in the uk.

  102. Just wondering when you’re re-opening the course? Couldn’t afford it the last time but would love to do it

  103. This may have been said already, but I would like to see a course on controller setup for scratching. There are many controllers out there so maybe you could do a general and then a specific setup for video for specific controllers. I use the Numark NS6 myself. Then a course on software and considerations for the different kinds that are out there regarding scratching. I use Serato DJ myself. I would love to test out the course and offer constructive feedback.

    • Our scratching course included all of this.

      • 888noxxi@gmail.com says:

        i missed the first course :( what i would really like to know about setting up the jog wheels, is, how much of the track 1 full turn of the jog wheel should play (4 inch wheels) i had mine set to 4 beats roughly but it felt weird, im really not sure how sensitive they should be

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