Turntablism Gear Tips 'n' Tricks

Here you will find some topics related to your gear that can be of interest. Some are especially useful for turntablists, others for DJ’s in general.

Marking samples

In order to be precise during scratching it’s good to have a point of reference on your record so you know exactly where a certain sound starts. Let’s say you’ve got a sound on your record (e.g. ‘fressshh’). Just before this sample starts you stop the record. Now you can place a sticker somewhere on the label of the record, this will be your reference point (it’s smart to always place it in the same spot so you get used to it. You could place it at 12 o’clock, 9 o’clock or facing the tip of the needle). Alternatively you can also draw a line on the label of the record.

Let’s say you placed the sticker at 9 o’clock. Now if you start to scratch, you always know where the sound starts, even when your fader is turned off.


Have you ever noticed that turntablists hardly ever use headphones? Still they manage to find the right samples and make the beats crossover fluently. Some guys really posess the skill to needle-drop accurately but for those of you that don’t, here’s the lowdown on ‘groove-finding’.

My method works like this: stop your record about a second or so before the sample you want. Now try to place a sticker just next to your needle (this would be under your stylus) on the right side (the second between the sample and the sticker prevents the sticker from bumping into the needle during scratching. This can happen when the sticker is too thick or if it’s not placed perfectly). When the sticker is in place you have to try if it’s in the right place: place your needle just in front of the sticker and let the record play slowly so the sticker will make your needle ‘glide’ into the right groove. Let the record play for about a second and there should start your sound!

For this technique it’s best to use a circular shaped sticker so your needle can glide without to much abuse. When you’re sure the sticker is in the right place you can easily cut away the parts that you don’t need from the sticker.

If the needle doesn’t glide to the right groove you’ll have to repeat the process until you get it right. It might take a while before you get the hang of it.

Sample looping

During battles you might want to repeat a single fragment of a record over and over. You can achieve this by letting your needle ‘bounce’ back a groove.

Basically this works the same as groove-finding except you place the sticker on the left side of the stylus. Let’s say you have got a sample on your record like ‘…DJ, you suck…’ and you want to repeat this over and over. The aim would be to let the needle bounce back to the point where ‘DJ’ can be heard.
Stop the record about a second before ‘DJ’ starts. Place the sticker under the stylus on the left side. Done. For this method it’s also best to use circular stickers so the needle can glide back a groove with ease.

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