Scratching Terminology

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few terms that are often misunderstood or interchanged. In this section I will try to explain them in a way that they make most sense.


Moving a record back and forth under the stylus of a turntable. This can be done at various speeds. These movements can, but need not to be, combined with opening and closing a fader on your mixer to manipulate the volume of the outgoing sound. Since the combinations of these actions are infinite, possibilities are endless. Things like hand speed, movement and direction of movement (vinyl control), and the sound on the record itself also play a major role as to how the resulting scratch will sound.


A short silence during a scratch, induced by a fader from the mixer, is commonly referred to as a ‘click’. The click (or multiple clicks) can be achieved by closing and opening the fader, often in a rapid motion.

Check the x-fader technique section for details on how to ‘click’ fast.

It is important to know that a ‘silence’ in a scratch is not necessarily created by fader-clicks. When the record changes direction there is a brief moment when no sound is fed thru the needle. This brief moment of silence is commonly referred to as a ‘ghost’ or ‘phantom’ click.

Another silence that can be utilized during scratching is the natural silence on the record just before (or after) a sample.


If one uses clicks to ‘cut’ the scratching motion into pieces, one would end up with several cuts from a scratch. Thus a cut is a piece from a scratch.

Often people use the phrase ‘give me some cuts’ or ‘cut up that record’. This is the same as saying ‘do some scratching’.

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