Having outstanding record control is the holy grail of scratching. Yet it is far too often overlooked, even by people you may consider advanced. The biggest reason for this is people's obsession with fader techniques.
Flashiness Can be Distracting
You may have noticed, especially if you're new to scratching, that most modern day scratch dj's use the fader quite heavily. In fact it's not odd to see thousands of fader clicks go down within just a few minutes. If you don't know any better, it's easy to get the impression that scratching is all about ripping the fader. Thus lots of newer scratch dj's and even some seasoned ones fill their repertoire with many fader clicks with little regard to what they're doing with the record. This often leads to uncoordinated, sloppy sounding scratching.
Even scratch dj's that are fortunate to gain coordination between their fader and record hand and clean up some sloppiness, never really gain much more than that. A lot of the emotion that could exist in their scratching won't because they aren't giving their record hand the chance to develop at an equal or higher level than their fader work. The most ironic thing about this is that having great record control will allow you to further develop your fader work, as what you do with the record dictates your timing of fader use.
Record Control Equals Emotion
You must realize that scratching is music. Music's purpose is to stir up emotion in the listener. That being the case, you should have some control over what emotions you trigger in your audience. One way to do this that resonates most with people is the pitches you use. Pitch control in scratching is a HUGE part of record control!
Lower pitches tend to represent mellow, melancholy feelings. Higher pitches tend to represent extreme intensity and excitement. There are many shades of those pitches, as well as all other pitches between them. Not to mention countless combinations of pitches that can make up a scratch phrase and what it represents. What it all boils down to is without high development of record control, you will severely lack the ability to be an expressive musician and thus never really connect strongly with your audience. Clearly this is important should you ever want to be a successful scratch dj, so don't continue to make the mistake of overlooking your record control.
Attack Your Record Control from Different Angles
There are two methods for record control development that will get you HUGE results. The first involves zero use of the fader. That's right, ZERO! Now if you're extremely accustomed to always using the fader, you're going to have to force yourself to let go of your dependence of it.
When first doing this, it's like taking a look under the hood of your car. From the outside it may look like a really nice vehicle, but if you've been neglecting what's going on inside, it's not going to be pretty. Don't worry about this! It's actually great to realize how flawed your record control is. Once you're truly aware of where you're at, you have a much more substantial chance of overcoming your weaknesses.
Keep in mind, you must approach faderless scratch practice with focus. You need to have specific things to focus on or you will NOT get the results you're striving for. There are three scratch techniques in particular that will be of great benefit to focus on. The baby scratch, drag scratch and tear scratch. These three techniques are the heart of all record control. In fact, most scratching is simply variations of baby and tear scratches.
The next method can and should be used as part of the previously mentioned strategy, but will also be of great benefit to apply while using the fader. This involves keeping your hand on the record at all times. This means you never release the record. You only push the record forward and pull the record back for all movement.
Generally, people approach their scratching by mostly releasing the record whenever they want it to move forward. This is unfortunate because by doing so you give up all control over the countless options of pitches you can use if you were to hold on to the record. When done in conjunction with the fader you can really breathe some life into all your fader based scratches!
Be Sure to Get Your Priorities Straight
You should never be 100 percent focused on any one area of your scratching. Obviously, record control is just one aspect of scratching. However, it is the MOST important and should be treated as such. The exception being, you already have stellar record control, but your scratching with the fader needs more development. Most likely that will not be the case though, as most people tend to have more of a deficit in their record control.
Gain the Most Record Control Efficiently
Since record control is such a deep issue, one of the best ways to develop it well, as quickly as possible is through professional guidance. Although you now know the general areas of record control that need attention, you'll likely have different weaknesses in different areas that are personal to you. These things won't always be obvious and even if they are, you won't always know how to overcome your issues. Don't allow yourself to get lost in a sea of problems! Take charge of your progression in the most effective and efficient manner possible with my online scratch dj lessons!