The 5 Steps To DJing Success, #1: The Gear

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 6 April, 2021

In this special series, I’m teaching you about the five steps to total DJing success. Yesterday I revealed how I discovered the steps, and in today’s video you’ll learn about step one: The Gear. Please do share this article so your friends can join in too!

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These are steps that I discovered after 15 years working as an international DJ and club promoter, and ten years running Digital DJ Tips – steps that I also wrote about in my Amazon bestselling book on DJing, “Rock The Dancefloor!”

Now these articles will give you all you need to learn DJing the RIGHT WAY – but they do assume you’ve grabbed yourself a FREE copy of the book. I told you how to get that at the bottom of the intro article, so if you haven’t been there yet, head over there now!

Step One: The Gear

The five steps are Gear, Music, Techniques, Playing Out and Promoting Yourself… and today we’re talking about the first of those steps, which is Gear.

Now we’ve all seen crappy laptop DJs with a cracked copy of Virtual DJ and no DJ gear to speak of, sat in a corner train wrecking tracks together in cheap bars, right? Not a good look, and frankly an insult to the art of DJing.

These people are an extreme example of DJs with no knowledge of, respect for, or frankly it often seems, no desire to learn about, what we here call “the gear”.

In the five steps, “gear” means “the geeky stuff” – not what you DO with the gear – that’s “Techniques” which we cover later – but your UNDERSTANDING of how it works.

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Another example: The music suddenly stops at a gig. The DJ or DJs flap around, trying all sorts of things, nobody knows what to do to get it on again.

When I was at a DJ convention in Vegas recently, several DJs take SEVEN MINUTES to get the music back on at a club event – trust me, those seven minutes would have felt like a LIFETIME, and it was ALL anyone was talking about the next day.

Knowing what to do in situations like that? That’s mastery of “The Gear”.

Another example: If the music is distorting, and the DJ doesn’t even realise it, then that DJ is guilty of not understanding the gear and therefore is not able to play a set that people love, and that gets him or her booked again. Ignorance is never bliss.

Yet another one: If you spend thousands on DJ equipment, only to move a bit down the line in your learning and realise you made the wrong choice – you’ve failed in having a proper understanding of The Gear, and it’s just cost you a LOT of money.

What it’s like to nail it

Conversely, when you DO have this step nailed – you have a good understanding of the “geeky stuff” – cables, electrical matters, how things work, what plugs where, PA systems, mixers, lights, troubleshooting, optimising laptops for DJing, how different types of DJ systems work from decks to iPhone DJ apps, and what’s REALLY important when setting up for a DJ set – well, that puts YOU at an immense advantage.

You can play confidently on anything. You can get the music playing when you turn up to a gig and the manager is not around, and the bar staff just expect you to know what to do. You can get the music playing again quickly when things go wrong. Your sets technically sound SWEET – and you’re NOT like the cracked software laptop DJs I mentioned early. No one wants to be like that, right?

In short, you’re competent in everything to do with the equipment and software that is needed to DJ properly.

It’s fine not to know this stuff if you’re only DJing in your bedroom (if you only want to use the gear you have now, in the exact way you’re using it now, forever) – but in the real world, you need a solid technical and yes, geeky, understanding of how DJ gear works.

That’s what “gear” means in the five steps – and why if you want to succeed as a DJ, you need to get this down.

What to do now…

Now there’s a whole section in the book that deals with understanding DJ gear, choosing a laptop, choosing software, buying the right set-up, other things you need to have and know how to use, and how to set everything up correctly – so if you don’t have the book, go and watch video one to learn how to get it, including a way to get it instantly, for FREE.

Want to see the course based on the book? Go to the Complete DJ Course

Meanwhile, take an interest in the geeky side of your gear. Read the manuals. Talk to friends who are better than you at this stuff. Be curious about different types of set-ups. Too few people do – and so this knowledge will stand you apart.

I’ll see you in the next article, where we discuss step two in my five steps to total DJing success – The Music.

Check out the other parts in this series so far:

Please share your DJ gear-related horror stories, thoughts, questions and feedback below!

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide