Here is a scratch drill you can use to help you make progress through practice.
Have you heard of “low to high” baby scratches? Or “scales”? These are designed to help you develop your record hand control and create a greater degree of expression so your cuts have more flava!
Here’s a scratch notation diagram of a drill you can use to practice, which is a low to high to low sequence using 3 different record movements – low pitch, medium pitch, high pitch:
How to use the diagram above:
Using an “ahhh” sample, with the record marker starting at 12 o’clock, the marker positions are as follows:
- Low pitch is 12 o’clock – 1 o’clock,
- Medium pitch is 12 o’clock – 2 o’clock and
- High pitch is 12 o’clock – 3 o’clock.
This example uses 8th note timing – 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.
If you imagine the baby scratch forward and back movements, it breaks down like this on the ‘1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &’ counts:
- 1 – Forward, & – Back – Low pitch
- 2 – Forward, & – Back – Medium pitch
- 3 – Forward, & – Back – High Pitch
- 4 – Forward, & – Back – Medium Pitch
(Note: if you need help understanding scratch notation diagrams, the ahhh sample, record makers and 8th notes / timings, I can help you with this inside my School, more details at the end of this post.)
Although I never actually count scratch notes when I freestyle, it can really help when you are learning and training to understand what you are doing in terms of timing and notes, like a drummer or pianist.
You can apply this low to high / scales concept to many scratches like stabs, chirps, flares and transforms.
When you vary the record movement like this, you develop create a greater level of record control and expression as a result.
I invite you to try it out and watch your scratches sound more expressive.
Shout to and maximum respect to @vekked who I first saw talk about ‘scales’ and @beatjunkies.tv who breakdown and teach this concept super well. In my School I always called it “vary the record movement” and I love the phrase ‘low to high’ as an alternative description which seems to fit better to me. It’s fun to witness the evolution of the teaching our art which is such a free expressive musical form. Much love to everyone involved in teaching.
Thanks to all my students who keep helping me get better at teaching and explaining. @_pineapple_p for linking me to Vekked’s Twitch stream.
If you want a complete scratch curriculum and structure to practice and work through, I invite you to join my online School of Scratch.
It includes all the tuition you need to learn how to scratch, including technique masterclasses, timing and counting tutorials, plus a complete curriculum and practice guide you can work through to help you make consistent and steady progress and enjoy the art of scratching.
Wanna join our School and be part of our online community? You can join our Supa Scratch Crew and School here.
Happy Scratching! 😀