Baby ScratchEdit

Baby scratch example Edit

Scribble scratch example

Cut scratch example

The cut scratch is also known as a release, chop or stab (sometimes even 'sampling' when done at a basic level), and involves both hands. The record is released (the scratching hand lets the motor take control) whilst the fader is open to let the sound out the speakers, and then the fader is closed whilst the record is rewound back to the start of the sample. If this scratch is to be performed fast rhythmically, the scratching hand must gently push the sound forward to let it catch up to speed quickly (especially true with very slippy slipmats). The terms chop or stab generally refer to much faster cues of the sound than just a plain cut.


Tear scratch example

A tear is a more complex version of the baby scratch; the fader is always open but the record movement is altered so that on either the forwards or backwards movement has a short stop in it where the record comes to rest very briefly. This creates three specific sounds/notes.


Chirp scratch example

A chirp is a fast scratch that if done right and fast enough can sound like a bird chirping. It involves doing a fast baby scratch and only opening the fader on the middle parts of the scratch, closing the fader whilst it changes direction.


Uzi scratch example

The uzi scratch is essentially a very, very fast scribble scratch over a very small amount of the record; it requires muscle tension in the scratching hand to produce the very quick movements required.


The transform is essentially a technique done with the fader where the sound is cut in/out at a quite fast pace (e.g. at eighth notes).  The record manipulation varies and can be anything, but the sound needs to stuttered/cut, and the fader is never open when the needle changes direction.  It is most easily achieved with a baby scratch and the fader cuts the movement section twice in each direction.  The scratch got its name because a beholder listened in and commented that it sounded like the Transformers cartoon, as the robots transformed from their vehicular states into robot states. It was first created by DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Cash Money.

Scare Flare Edit

Flare scratch example

A flare is like a transformer, but it is when occurs on the open fader. The closed fader, or click, comes in between the change of direction. Multiple clicks can occur in this part, making it a 2-click, 3-click flare, etc. The scratch gets its name from its inventor, DJ Flare.


Twiddle scratch example

A twiddle is a scratch where the index and middle finger on the fader hand are used in conjunction with the thumb to create the cutoffs, or clicks, in the sound. The record hand may perform a number of movements, and the clicks may be placed in a number of places relative to the record movement, so both flares and transforms can be performed with twiddling. Alternatively, any two fingers can be used by the turntablist if more comfortable.

Crabs in ya pants

Eight-finger crabEdit

Eight finger crab scratch example

An eight finger crab is one where the record hand is taken off and used to manipulate the fader as well as the fader hand, creating more clicks in one movement. It means that no control is on the record, thus a constant long sound is often used this scratch.

Peaking TweakEdit

Tweak scratch example

The tweak scratch is a complex, more melodic based scratch, in which the record is set spinning with the motor off and the fader open, and its speed is tweaked as it rotates. This allows its pitch to be changed up and down, creating a sort of melody and odd sound. Extra techniques like vibrato can be added to widen the palette of sounds that can be achieved. This is most often played with long sounds or continuous tones on the record.


A laser, also spelled lazer, is a scratch done by hitting the record along with the record control hand, creating (with most samples) a characteristic sound effect not unlike a laser in an old video game such as space invaders, hence why it has this name. The laser is typically performed via a number of hits both backwards and forwards, and can be done with both hands (to push the record in direction) to make a faster sound.

The laser is obviously hard to notate in plain TTM as it was originally released, and so the TTM standard was extended by DJ Skar of easy-fader to include the ability to notate the laser move. It is notated in the mixer line with an upwards pointing triangle and brackets to indicate the duration of which the score is to be performed by laser-ing.


A phaser, also spelled phazer, is an extension of the laser technique that makes it completely faderless, whereby the record is held by a second hand whilst the first hand performs the hits on the record. It means the sound comes to a complete stop faster, giving a different sound.

As with the laser, it was hard to notate until DJ Skar extended the TTM format; a phaser is


A hydroplane is a faderless scratch done by using the fader hand on the record to provide an extra force against the direction of movement. This causes the sound to be 'chopped up' kind of like a hydroplane boat; it is a hard technique to describe. The record hand typically moves the record in a single direction whilst the hydroplaning occurs, as this is easiest.

To notate the hydroplane, we must use a third symbol added by DJ Skar; two triangles, one pointing up and the other down, together on the mixer line with brackets to indicate the duration.


Many many other scratches do exist, but as many of these are variants or combinations of the above basic techniques, these are described on the variant scratch page. Please check there before adding any scratches here.



An orbit is a scratch repeated the same forwards and then backwards; most often applied to the flare scratch as due to the nature in which the change of direction occurs on an open fader, and so turning back and repeating the clicks backwards makes a 'complete-sounding' scratch.


The name 'click' refers to the clicking sound a fader makes when closed, and thus a click is a point in which the fader has been closed very quickly. A scratch can be referred to with the number of clicks it contains: a two-click Flare, for example, has two closes of the fader in the one forwards motion.

Phantom clickEdit

A phantom click refers to the drop in sound generated by changing direction of movement on the record without moving the fader to the off point. The phantom click is most often pointed out in the context of the flare scratch which uses this point to create extra audible hits and thus makes the scratch 'faster'. The phantom click is the place where an open fader mark should be placed.

Open faderEdit

An point marked as having an open fader is essentially one where the fader is left open so that the turntable sound comes through; the opposite of a click. The open fader mark is applied in TTM and can be placed on a score for a number of reasons, most often where a phantom click is perceived or a pattern that would be expected to have a click does not.


A drag is a scratch performed by moving the record very slowly, thus the sample is played back at a low pitch. Drags can be used to modify any number of scratches, for example a "transform drag", but typically when a drag is mentioned on its own it means a drag release, or cut, scratch. On TTM the line appears to very gradual for a drag, indicating the low pitch.


Vibrato is terminology borrowed from other, more traditional musical instruments; it is the effect of 'wobbling' the pitch around the main pitch that is being played. On the turntable, this can be achieved either by record control or by using the pitch control if the motor is on. The pitch control may be 'stiff' or slow and thus hard to manipulate on certain turntables.

See AlsoEdit

External linksEdit

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