This month in School of Scratch, our students are practicing the Crab Scratch for our monthly challenge, designed to help them train effectively and make progress.
If you already know how to do this technique in theory, yet something sounds off, or if you are in the process of learning it and it feels like you are not quite getting it, this article is for you.
I’ll share some insights, secrets and tips on how you can practice effectively so you can make progress.
This scratch has a reputation for being tricky to master and I have seen my students use these tips to start making great progress from day one. Let’s go!
An introduction to the Crab Scratch:
A common issue I hear from students who are starting out practicing the crab scratch is that their crab scratch sounds “muddy” as opposed to clean and crisp / sharp. They may initially struggle to create the individual sounds.
The following is something I shared with my students to help them practice more effectively and overcome the common stumbling blocks.
This is an extra mini lesson I created for a private student on how to create really clean and controlled crab sounds.
- 00:00 – Excuse my cuts, I’m scratching regular instead of hamster which is unnatural for me.
- 00:09 – 123, 123, timing to learn controlled crabs.
- 00:29 – Faster offsets.
- 01:14 – Creating deliberate movements. Be precise and make sure each space between sounds is the same.
- 01:38 – Use that pattern as a way to introduce / set up other scratches.
- 01:50 – Crab to Transforms demo.
- 02:39 – A key technique to use to introduce other scratches – its gotta be really tight!
- 03:05 – Regular demo.
- 03:24 – Some other patterns with crabs.
- 03:35 – Crab forward + whip backwards + 2 dices.
- 04:15 – Add a flare on the end.
- 04:39 – Creating clean sounds vs muddy unclear / undefined sounds.
- 04:59 – Creating sharp clean sounds plus how to use dicing.
- 05:20 – Using dices and drags (or any technique) to see how expressive you can be.
- 05:58 – Crab to reverse to drag or forward
- 06:30 – END.
16th notes crab drill / practice exercise to develop control
A (very rough) crab drill / timing demo video you can start to practice. I am creating crab sounds evenly on the first three 16th notes of each beat.
If you don’t understand how to count 16th notes yet, I’ll be sharing a video and article to help you very soon. Stay tuned!
An explanation of what I am doing in the above video:
We count 16th notes like this:
- 1, e, &, a (Pronounced: one, eee, and, uhhh)
- 2, e, &, a (Pronounced: two, eee, and, uhhh)
- 3, e, &, a (Pronounced: three, eee, and, uhhh)
- 4, e, &, a (Pronounced: four, eee, and, uhhh)
Create single sounds using each of your 3 fingers on the 16th notes:
- 1, e, &
- 2, e, &
- 3, e, &
- 4, e, &
i.e. 1 = ring finger, e = middle finder, & = index finger.
Leave the 4th, 16th note sound (“a” of 1, e, &, a) silent.
This is what I am demonstrating in the above video. Think of it as counting 1, 2, 3 – 1, 2, 3 etc, if that’s easier for you.
Other crab scratch drills and timings you can practice
(If you don’t understand how to count notes yet, I’ll be sharing a video and article to help you very soon. Stay tuned!)
Create 3 controlled sounds on each of the 1/4 notes:
Count 1/4 notes like this: 1,2,3,4.
- 1 – Create 3 crab sounds forward, one sound for each finger
- 2 – Create 3 crab sounds forward, one sound for each finger
- 3 – Create 3 crab sounds forward, one sound for each finger
- 4 – Create 3 crab sounds forward, one sound for each finger
When you can do the crab forward, practice on the reverse. Then alternate forward and backwards.
Create 3 controlled sounds on each of the 8th notes
Count 8th notes like this: 1, &, 2, &, 3, &, 4, &.
- 1 – 3 sounds forward
- & – 3 sounds back
- 2 – 3 sounds forward
- & – 3 sounds back
- 3 – 3 sounds forward
- & – 3 sounds back
If you don’t understand how to count notes yet, I’ll be sharing a video and article to help you very soon. Stay tuned!
Join in our Crab Scratch Practice Challenge
This month, December 2019, our beginner students are practicing the Crab scratch and are posting their progress in our community forum. Already we are hearing super clean crabs!
Do you wanna learn the Crab Scratch ? and get tools to help you practice?
Our full Crab Scratch Masterclass Video Tutorial includes:
- 00:00 – Intro.
- 01:26 – Technique Breakdown.
- 02:42 – Closed Technique, reverse fader.
- 04:47 – Closed Technique, regular fader.
- 06:06 – Closed Technique with a locked groove sample. Includes a download of FREE Looped / Locked Grooves samples for DVS use (loop up in your DVS software).
- 08:54 – No Locked Groove? Try these 2 methods to practice.
- 09:12 – Let the record go.
- 10:14 – Skipless sample repeats.
- 11:31 – Combining record control.
- 12:45 – Open Fader Technique, reverse.
- 14:04 – Open technique with a sample.
- 15:52 – Open technique, regular fader.
- 17:02 – Vary the record movement.
- 17:51 – Vary the samples.
- 18:31 – Ways to use the crab.
- 20:06 – Crab scratch over a beat.
- 21:24 – QnA Practice.
- 26:38 – Wrap Up.
- 27:17 – The Thing!
- 27:21 – END.
Sign up to School of Scratch to access the full masterclass here:
You’ll be part of our Supa Scratch Crew, get full access to the school, tutorials, all my scratch secrets and our awesome community.
Or try out some of our free, full length tutorials to see if the School is for you: