How to Do (Perform) a Baby Scratch

Scratching on a Pioneer DDJ-400 DJ controller with the right hand on the jog wheel

Many people see scratching as the hardest part of DJing. The easiest scratch to learn from all scratches is the baby scratch. Here we can learn how to perform the baby scratch, and more.

How to do (perform) the baby scratch? We place our index and middle finger on a jog wheel, and then we move it. This movement can be first to move the wheel to yourself and then from yourself, or first from yourself and then to yourself.

In this post, you can learn more about the baby scratch and also learn how to do it, with some songs and genres with which you can practice the scratch. Also, you learn more about some similar scratches. Plus, you can find here some related questions.

What Is a Baby Scratch

Baby scratch is the definition of a backward and forward motion on a jog wheel.

The baby scratch is one of the first scratching methods you should learn as a DJ. It’s the foundation for many advanced scratching methods. Make sure you learn the baby scratch before you start moving on to more advanced techniques. It will give you an extra scratch in your arsenal as well as a good learning experience.

How the baby scratch sounds like depends on the speed and the distance you run your fingers on the jugg wheel. Now when you know what the baby scratch is, let’s move on to how to do it in detail.

Learn the Baby Scratch

Place your index and middle finger on the jog wheel. You can decide where on the wheel you want to place your fingers. I like to do most of my scratching close to the inner circle of the wheel. This way I can use smaller movements to create my sound. Try different placements and choose the spot you feel most comfortable.

When placing your index and middle finger on the jog wheel, make a forward and backward motion on the jog wheel.

Visible scratching on a Pioneer DDJ-400 DJ controller with the right hand on the jog wheel

Congratulations you have completed your first baby scratch! Well, now you have to tune it, make it unique and your own.

Practice with different finger placements, speed, and range of movement. These three factors will create a distinct sound. Find your sweet spot and master it. When you have done this, you will have an excellent foundation for your next scratches.

Good Tracks (Songs) to Practice the Baby Scratch

There are plenty of good songs for practicing the baby scratch. As a rule of thumb, the slower the music is, the easier it is to practice scratching. At least, this rule works for many people, probably not for everyone.

It can be helpful to have an instrumental song to use while practicing in the beginning. I know a lot of people prefer this. I prefer to have my everyday music playing and play around with those, but that’s me. Let me give you a few instrumental songs that you use while scratching.

First one on the list is Technologic by Daft Punk. Its a well-built song throughout and is an excellent example of how a song should be made. At the beginning of the song, you have some isolated vocals. I love to scratch on this part and add transitions to other parts of the song. The first 30 seconds of the there is no beat to be found, but you should be fine and you could add some beats on your own.

A good and close second is the I remember by deadmau5 and Kaskade. It’s such an uplifting song and makes practicing your DJ skills truly enjoyable. I promise you, you can do nearly anything to do this song, and it will still sound good. There are a lot of great spots in the song where you can put in place the baby scratch to make the song sound even better, at least while DJ’ing.

Most people that read this post are probably EDM lovers, but I know people are DJing with rap. I love to do that myself once in a while. When doing so, this is the song that bursts through the speakers, gin, and juice by Snoop Dogg! Its a classic, it’s great to listen to while you’re cruising your car and ever better to DJ with. If you are into hip hop, I highly suggest you play it a long while you are fine-tuning your baby scratch a long side with it.

And lastly a song for the laid back folks. It is sometimes not ideal to listen to the faster house music genres when you are tired and practicing your DJ skills late in the evening. A song that fits for such circumstances is Kings of Tomorrow – 6PM (which is still 123 BPM) and Full clip by Gang Starr (one of my big favorites as well). Check it out and let me know what you think about it in the comments. If you have any other suggestions on great songs to DJ along with then leave them in the comment section as well.

Best Music Genres for Practicing Scratching

There are no requirements for a style of music you should use for practicing scratching. There are great songs in every genre can you can use for practicing your DJ skills.

Try to pick songs that you think will be easy to work with and have a build-up that you are familiar with. Choosing songs that you like and enjoy listing to is the most crucial part. It makes practicing fun and enjoyable.

That being said, many people find it easier to practice on slower genres.

Scratching Methods like the Baby Scratch

As I mentioned earlier, the baby scratch method is the foundation of many other scratching techniques. I will show you a few scratching methods that you can learn quicker because of your practice with the baby scratch.

The first scratch I am going to show you is the forward scratch. It’s very like the baby scratch, but with something extra. To perform the forward scratch, you need to drag the jog wheel forwards and turn the crossfader off when you are pulling the jog wheel backward. This will make a crisp sound that you can now put in place during your practice routine.

Opposite to the forward scratch, you have the backward scratch. To do this one, you turn off the crossfader while the jog wheel is moving forward and turning it on when you drag the jog wheel backward.

These two are just simple variations of the baby scratch. You may be already doing these well after a few attempts. The only difference is that you use the crossfader in various ways while doing the baby scratch.

Now when you know the baby scratch and know two variations of the baby scratch. Let me show you two other scratching methods I would start practicing right after you have learned the baby scratch. By which the first is a bit harder than the forward and the backward scratch. However, you probably need the most practice with the second.

(drum roll) First, we got the Chirp scratch. The chirp scratch is an excellent scratching method that can make remarkable variations of sounds, which looks like the forward and the backward scratch. To perform this scratch, move the jog wheel from yourself, while also opening the crossfader at the same time. Afterward, you move the jog wheel back to yourself, while also closing the crossfader at the same time.

Second, on my list is the orbit scratch, also known as the “2-click flare” scratch. This scratch is the hardest in this post, and also takes the most time to learn. To perform this scratch, move the jog wheel from yourself, while also opening and closing the crossfader two times. Afterward, you move the jog wheel back to yourself, while also opening and closing the crossfader two times. Furthermore, take a look at the videos, which probably helps you with learning the scratch.

Related Questions

How to scratch? To scratch, you need a jog wheel. Put your index and middle finger on the jog wheel and move it in any direction you want to. This movement will create a scratching sound. Scratching has been used for years to make sound effects in a variety of different songs.

What’s the best DJ controller to practice scratching for beginners? The best DJ controller to practice scratching for beginners is the Pioneer DDJ-400. It’s effortless to use and is powered by a USB which makes it very portable. It is compact making it an excellent mixer for travelers as well. Also, it works with the software Rekordbox, which is at the moment the industry standard.

By Markus Kreukniet

Markus Kreukniet is an electronic dance music (EDM) producer and founder of Passion for EDM. He wants to share his EDM knowledge with the rest of the world. Read more about Markus Kreukniet.

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