Your Questions: Which Hand Should Do What When Scratching?

Steve Canueto
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 10 April, 2018

Scratch hand
So when you’re learning to scratch, should you use the left hand or the right hand on the jogwheel? Or should you learn to use both? And how much does it matter?

Scratching For Controller DJs student Kevin says: “I’m learning to scratch on my controller, and am concentrating on the ‘baby scratch’ using just the jogwheel, and not trying to add in the crossfader yet, as you guys advise. However, which hand should I use on the jogwheel? I’m worried that when I move onto the crossfader I will have learned the ‘jogwheel scratching part’ with the wrong hand!”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Good question, Kevin! Here’s our tip for working out which hand you should choose for the ‘jogwheel part’ of scratching. If someone were to say to you “show me how you scratch!” – what would you do? Would you mimic the action of scratching the “deck” with your right hand or your left?

The hand that you would naturally use when doing an impression of a scratch DJ, or “pretending” to scratch, will most likely be the one you should use to actually learn it! (Remember no-one pretends to “crossfade” when doing an impression of a DJ, they usually have one hand “scratching” and the other hand on the ear pretending to hold headphones… try it!)

Having said that, it’s totally up to how confident you feel. If you want to, you can learn the baby scratches with both hands. Just a word of warning, though: When you move onto learning the crossfader technique with whatever “other” hand you choose (ie the opposite one to your favoured scratch hand), you will be learning movements and timing that are totally separate to those you learn with the scratch hand. So you may make things harder/confusing for yourself learning the scratch rhythms with a hand that you then want to move onto the crossfader with.

The beauty of scratching on DJ controllers is that (for the most part) they are not too wide, so it’s not difficult to use your favoured scratch hand on either deck whilst keeping the crossfader hand on the fader. Bearing this in mind, our advice is to keep it simple – choose a scratch hand and stick with it. Keep the other hand well rested and ready to master the crossfader without any habits to unlearn. Good luck!

Which is your favoured “jogwheel hand” when scratching? Do you think it has a bearing whether you’re right-handed or left-handed naturally? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

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