We were all amateurs at one point in our lives. Have some respect for the newbies – they’ve got a long ways to go. Here are some tips and tricks to help get you there:
- Never be afraid of harming your turntable. It’s a natural inclination for beginners to be too gentle with their equipment. While this is fair, because DJ equipment is expensive, it’s actually fairly difficult to damage DJ equipment.
- Get a direct drive turntable, as opposed to a belt drive. Trust me.
- If you buy a cheap mixer, you may hear a ‘buzz’ sound come out of the mixer, especially when it’s turned up really loud. You get what you pay for.
- Nothing sounds worse than playing 2 tracks simultaneously with the bass way up. Avoid this.
- If you’re learning to mix at home, regular home theater or computer speakers will often be fine. As long as they’re fairly high quality and have some nice, rumbly bass to them.
- Choose headphones that are flexible and strong. You’ll be thankful in the long run.
- Cheap decks don’t always hold the pitch perfectly. Again, you get what you pay for.
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Experiment with bar timings and avoid the 16 bar outro/intro trap. It becomes really predictable. Some sharp transitions will have your audience bumping.
Every DJ has their own unique style. There is no ‘correct’ way to spin a track, nor is there a wrong way. If it works for you, then carry on.
However, there are certain methods that every DJ should know. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for intermediate DJs:
- This one is obvious for some people, but trying to mix and match the beats of old songs is incredibly frustrating. Technology was different back then; don’t hurt yourself trying to put a song where it doesn’t belong. That being said, Kayne West does one hell of a good job fitting random old beats into his mixes.
- To alter the number of high frequencies that are coming through the mixer, use the hi frequency band. This controls the hi-hates, cymbals, and percussion (as opposed to the mid range – vocals and low range – drum and bass)
- Always try to match the last beat of the intro of one song with the last beat of the outro of the other. This takes some talent and timing. However, since many modern songs have 4 beats a bar and 16 bar intros and outros, it can often make you life easier. Be sure to stream song 2 into your headphones to make sure its matching properly before you send it out to the crowd.
- Consider investing in a slipmat, which are felt pads that slip under your turntable. This will allow the turntable to continue turning while the DJ holds the record.