The Advanced Cue Point Scratch

Cue point juggling is a lot of fun, but unless you’re fine with the 90’s style sample repeats, then it’s critical to introduce musical variation for interesting results. In the video above I showcase 4 techniques useful for creating a wide palette of voicing. These techniques take a simple cue point press and transform it into a expressive instrument that can be voiced just like the quintessential scratch but with digital benefits.  In the following article, each of the techniques will be broken down and explained in greater detail.


Cue Point Placement

Traditional scratch-sounds, like the “fresssssshhh” sample, are great for cue point juggling. They provide a long section of white noise with an evolving tone. If you place at least 2-4 cue points along the samples at key points it’s possible to jump around within the sample rapidly, and use the natural pitch to create interesting voicing.

Effects for Tone variation

The fundamental reason a scratch is so effective musically is because it allows the DJ to naturally vary the pitch using only hand speed. While the left hand is producing rhythmic variations, the right hand produces pitch modulation and attack changes all with a subtle wrist flick.

In this new concept, I have reversed the paradigm. The right hand is responsible for rhythm while the left hand is producing pitch changes using a range of effects tied to a single fader.

The potential benefits of exploring this are:

•    Instant access to multiple sounds with 4 fingers.
•    Flexible assignment of the expression control to various tones, sounds and effects.
•    Right hand dominant rhythm paradigm.

To achieve the same sound you hear in the video, it is critical to use the right effects and in the same order.

lo-fi > filter lfo 92 > reverb > peak filter

Volume and Filter Sweeps

The main problem with sample repeats is the consistently sharp attack that comes from a single play point. Turntablists have traditionally used the line fader to soften the attack, creating a variety of voicing including gentle sweeps and swells leading into the down beat. I have also found the filter incredibly useful for cutting off the attack of the sample and changing the way each hit sounds. The line fader is ideal for big sweeps, but the filter works even better for fast cuts and manually changing the attack and sustain curves of a bland sample.

Key knob

One trick I don’t show in the video involves a clever use of the key knob. With a standard potentiometer mapped to the key knob in your software of choice it is possible to re-tune a sample in real time creating a full musical line out of a single voice. Without a lot of practice it’s really hard to land perfectly on specific notes but big sweeps between octaves are easy to pull off and very effective live.

Scratch n Pitch

this is not the first time I have explored this territory. A few years ago we published the following video, which demonstrated how you could pitch cue points with a jog wheel producing similar but different results.

Try it out!

Download the scratch sample used in the video here.
136 samples & scratches by Ean Golden

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  • Nice! I’ve been playing around with similar ideas in Ableton, but these tips just refine the process even more. Thanks Ean!

    Ps… Some of you are requesting the download for SoundCloud. Use Firefox browser, and install a little add-on called DownloadHelper… that’s all I’m saying! 😉

  • That’s not a filter, it’s an ADSR ENVELOPEz!@# 😛

    But yeah, very neat trick.

  • Freekeyish

    Very informative. And yay, another scratch over dubstep. lol

  • Love the clip!

  • H Day

    I think I’d rather have the beat than the scratch samples. I really liked that sound

  • Bigislanddreaming

    cool effects don’t always like what I see with scratch workaround but this is pretty good. Reminds me of a bunch of the reaktor stuff I’ve played with.

    Nice vid

  • Bigislanddreaming

    cool effects don’t always like what I see with scratch workaround but this is pretty good. Reminds me of a bunch of the reaktor stuff I’ve played with.

    Nice vid

  • Virtualunknown

    NICE article Ean this is the kind of stuff that will bring the new guys to traktor. For some unless they hear scratching they dont think its Djing!
    Some just do not get the power of the Darkside!

  • Virtualunknown

    NICE article Ean this is the kind of stuff that will bring the new guys to traktor. For some unless they hear scratching they dont think its Djing!
    Some just do not get the power of the Darkside!

  • Milgauss

    I got a rough S4 mapping done for this, but I’d really love to hear from Ean how to implement this correctly.

  • Milgauss

    I got a rough S4 mapping done for this, but I’d really love to hear from Ean how to implement this correctly.

  • Nice paper Ean..

  • Nice paper Ean..

  • Khoi Le

    Hey Ean I just recently started DJing and I have to say that finding DJTT has not helped me a lot but also inspired me to get better in many ways. Always digging your videos man.

  • Khoi Le

    Hey Ean I just recently started DJing and I have to say that finding DJTT has not helped me a lot but also inspired me to get better in many ways. Always digging your videos man.

  • R3 Bonaire

    deam great stuff, but i dont want to wait longer , Ean Why is NI Holding back the sales…i want it now……New TR……

  • R3 Bonaire

    deam great stuff, but i dont want to wait longer , Ean Why is NI Holding back the sales…i want it now……New TR……

  • SmiTTTen

    Thanks Ean, yet another technique to get my arms around, in addition to the boat load of other ideas you have given me that I haven’t gotten round to trying yet! Would you mind popping round for some extra tuition and maybe a spot of babysitting so I can practice? You can help yourself to anything in the fridge…

    SmiTTTen

  • SmiTTTen

    Thanks Ean, yet another technique to get my arms around, in addition to the boat load of other ideas you have given me that I haven’t gotten round to trying yet! Would you mind popping round for some extra tuition and maybe a spot of babysitting so I can practice? You can help yourself to anything in the fridge…

    SmiTTTen

  • Shane

    Do you seriously think that he is trying to get people to sell their tables? Most of the DJs I know who have tables keep them even after picking up controllers. The few that sell them typically regret it a couple of months later.

    Don’t be so negative and look past the blinding light of your ignorance.

  • Shane

    Do you seriously think that he is trying to get people to sell their tables? Most of the DJs I know who have tables keep them even after picking up controllers. The few that sell them typically regret it a couple of months later.

    Don’t be so negative and look past the blinding light of your ignorance.

  • Zac Kyoti

    Digital djing makes some time consuming things simpler. Other things – programming, set up, handling 4 decks and fx – not so much. It can get very complex quickly. I don’t use computers and controllers because it’s easy, I use ’em because I can do more. That being said, there’s nothing like plain old turntable scratching. I’m lost for hours.

  • Zac Kyoti

    Digital djing makes some time consuming things simpler. Other things – programming, set up, handling 4 decks and fx – not so much. It can get very complex quickly. I don’t use computers and controllers because it’s easy, I use ’em because I can do more. That being said, there’s nothing like plain old turntable scratching. I’m lost for hours.

  • Mapping walk through for this please. I have the custom MF with Super knobs and Faders.

  • Mapping walk through for this please. I have the custom MF with Super knobs and Faders.

    • There’s a separate tutorial on mapping super faders, and this article tells you everything you need to know in combination with that. 🙂

      • dave

        quick question: where do i find this tutorial??
        i tried a lot of mapping options in traktor and im not a beginner but this one i just cant get right…

        • imWUMPUS

          I’m looking for the tutorial too. I cannot seem to find it. A link would be wonderful.

        • imWUMPUS

          I’m looking for the tutorial too. I cannot seem to find it. A link would be wonderful.

      • dave

        quick question: where do i find this tutorial??
        i tried a lot of mapping options in traktor and im not a beginner but this one i just cant get right…

    • There’s a separate tutorial on mapping super faders, and this article tells you everything you need to know in combination with that. 🙂

  • can’t donwload samples! FFFFUUUUUU

  • can’t donwload samples! FFFFUUUUUU

  • DJNunz

    Excellent. Loving the new Waveforms in Traktor 2 btw.

  • DJNunz

    Excellent. Loving the new Waveforms in Traktor 2 btw.

  • Huyabusa

    If you can host the audio file somewhere for everyone that would be awesome, thanks Ean!

  • Huyabusa

    If you can host the audio file somewhere for everyone that would be awesome, thanks Ean!

  • Stephen

    SoundCloud should hook you up with a premium account with a 10,000 download limit for the product placement! (Tee)

  • Stephen

    SoundCloud should hook you up with a premium account with a 10,000 download limit for the product placement! (Tee)

  • jprime

    Pretty cool – not sure if anyone has mentioned this but to me it sounds like a controllerists’ version of the traditional transformer scratch.

    Well done!

  • jprime

    Pretty cool – not sure if anyone has mentioned this but to me it sounds like a controllerists’ version of the traditional transformer scratch.

    Well done!

  • Thanks.. would love to download your scratch samples. could you please reup them, or post a direct link. .cheers

  • Thanks.. would love to download your scratch samples. could you please reup them, or post a direct link. .cheers

  • stewe

    soundcloud download limit… could someone who already dwl. this upload and post link here? thx

  • stewe

    soundcloud download limit… could someone who already dwl. this upload and post link here? thx

  • Dj Funk

    Take some time to learn to scratch, it will be much more rewarding.

  • Dj Funk

    Take some time to learn to scratch, it will be much more rewarding.

  • MJ

    wasn’t digital djing about making things simpler in order to concentrate more on other aspects and have as the outcome a better show?

    well, scratching on a 1200 is way simpler than this.
    not hating, read well 🙂

  • MJ

    wasn’t digital djing about making things simpler in order to concentrate more on other aspects and have as the outcome a better show?

    well, scratching on a 1200 is way simpler than this.
    not hating, read well 🙂

  • Toontown

    Re: no.2…completely agree. Governments are being overthrown in the Middle East because of this. Gadhafi/Mubarak… forward-thinking controllerists. The Libyan and Egyptian people are all turntablists. Guys, it’s very important that we continue to raise awareness about this issue so that we can have debates in which new points are always introduced and cannot be copied and pasted from ones previous to them. The fate of our world depends on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Toontown

    Re: no.2…completely agree. Governments are being overthrown in the Middle East because of this. Gadhafi/Mubarak… forward-thinking controllerists. The Libyan and Egyptian people are all turntablists. Guys, it’s very important that we continue to raise awareness about this issue so that we can have debates in which new points are always introduced and cannot be copied and pasted from ones previous to them. The fate of our world depends on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • meh

      seriously. Don’t compare the situation in the middle east to hipsters hitting arcade buttons.

      • Toontown

        I hope when you typed that you did the whole “talk to the hand” thing and swiveled your head side to side like people used to do back in the day.

      • Toontown

        I hope when you typed that you did the whole “talk to the hand” thing and swiveled your head side to side like people used to do back in the day.

      • DoA

        Why the hating? he’s just trying to do stuff in a different way….if Trent Reznor had begun with NIN doing the same old stuff everyone else did at the time…he wouldn’t have an Academy Award….Get over yourself…. don’t like it, don’t comment.

    • meh

      seriously. Don’t compare the situation in the middle east to hipsters hitting arcade buttons.

  • Can’t download the sample, on soundcloud 🙁

  • Can’t download the sample, on soundcloud 🙁

    • Buddha-DJ

      quote….

    • Buddha-DJ

      quote….

    • you should be able to download now-

    • you should be able to download now-

      • stewe

        thanks for reupload! chears

      • stewe

        thanks for reupload! chears

      • Buddha-DJ

        Thx ean 😀

      • Buddha-DJ

        Thx ean 😀

  • Wookie51

    Oh no!! “This track has reached its download limit.” ….!

  • Wookie51

    Oh no!! “This track has reached its download limit.” ….!

  • thx for this…
    I’m gonna map my nanokontrol for scratchin’ =)

  • thx for this…
    I’m gonna map my nanokontrol for scratchin’ =)

  • Bob Bell

    Thank you for this, just what i was after!

  • Bob Bell

    Thank you for this, just what i was after!

  • Great one Ean.

  • Great one Ean.

  • The Dinosaurs will hate you for that…
    i love it!

  • The Dinosaurs will hate you for that…
    i love it!

  • Use pitchshifting (ie voice transformer from roland sp555)

    When you move a record you are changing its pitch not only the position.

    -m!

  • Use pitchshifting (ie voice transformer from roland sp555)

    When you move a record you are changing its pitch not only the position.

    -m!

    • Toontown

      I’ve been trying this out and I find that if I map the fader to the key knob it gives me better results.

    • Toontown

      I’ve been trying this out and I find that if I map the fader to the key knob it gives me better results.

  • Flik

    I’d say ‘sample repeat’ is more of an 80’s style than 90’s. Think everything by the art of noise, paul hardcastle, falco etc..

  • Flik

    I’d say ‘sample repeat’ is more of an 80’s style than 90’s. Think everything by the art of noise, paul hardcastle, falco etc..

  • StarS

    IMHO Pitch and Scratch technique with jofwheel on VCI-100 is more impressive

  • StarS

    IMHO Pitch and Scratch technique with jofwheel on VCI-100 is more impressive

  • YO YO, DJ techtolls is like santa undercover. Thanks sharing this.
    Midifighter will be ordered today 🙂

  • YO YO, DJ techtolls is like santa undercover. Thanks sharing this.
    Midifighter will be ordered today 🙂

  • Nick Monge

    Yet another reason for turntablists to hate on digital DJ’s. Nevertheless, excellent post Ean. You are literally pioneering digital DJing and changing the face of DJing as a whole. Thanks!

  • Nick Monge

    Yet another reason for turntablists to hate on digital DJ’s. Nevertheless, excellent post Ean. You are literally pioneering digital DJing and changing the face of DJing as a whole. Thanks!

    • Your welcome! Its important to understand that I am not claiming this technique can replace scratching or would ever replace it at all. I am simply exploring new territory in hope of finding some fresh concepts that can be used alone or in conjunction with turntables.

      • bat

        For me, you are the “digital q bert”, you
        are pushing djing too a new level and I give
        you much respect for that.
        But I really don´t appreciate the “turntablist
        will hate this” comments i´m reading. I don´t
        consider myself good enough too call myself a
        turntablist, but I love scratching. And even if I
        use midi (thanks for your oxygen 8 mapping,
        great inspiration), I will never trade my turntables
        for some soulless jogweel…
        I have an appointment for a scratch session at
        the nursing home now, so I gotta leave.
        Amen.

      • bat

        For me, you are the “digital q bert”, you
        are pushing djing too a new level and I give
        you much respect for that.
        But I really don´t appreciate the “turntablist
        will hate this” comments i´m reading. I don´t
        consider myself good enough too call myself a
        turntablist, but I love scratching. And even if I
        use midi (thanks for your oxygen 8 mapping,
        great inspiration), I will never trade my turntables
        for some soulless jogweel…
        I have an appointment for a scratch session at
        the nursing home now, so I gotta leave.
        Amen.

    • Your welcome! Its important to understand that I am not claiming this technique can replace scratching or would ever replace it at all. I am simply exploring new territory in hope of finding some fresh concepts that can be used alone or in conjunction with turntables.

  • Erikt6

    amazing, i was just thinking of ways to do similar things with efx. another thing is that the majority of these techniques can be used with any gear that has cue points and filters. top notch!

  • Erikt6

    amazing, i was just thinking of ways to do similar things with efx. another thing is that the majority of these techniques can be used with any gear that has cue points and filters. top notch!

  • Freddy_hung

    Lucky Ean !! playing all the way with the new Traktor 2 ….

  • Freddy_hung

    Lucky Ean !! playing all the way with the new Traktor 2 ….

  • Nice.

  • Nice.

  • ok, time for me to:

    A) purchase a custom midi fighter
    b) practice these methods with a spare midi controller laying around
    c) incorporate these methods into my dubstep sets..

  • ok, time for me to:

    A) purchase a custom midi fighter
    b) practice these methods with a spare midi controller laying around
    c) incorporate these methods into my dubstep sets..

  • Rin

    Hey Ean, can you post the sample you used in your video online?

    • yeah- forgot to add that part. The post is now updated with the samples. 🙂

      • MYQ-Q

        Can you please repost the samples, the download limit has been reached. Thanks!

      • MYQ-Q

        Can you please repost the samples, the download limit has been reached. Thanks!

    • yeah- forgot to add that part. The post is now updated with the samples. 🙂

  • Rin

    Hey Ean, can you post the sample you used in your video online?

  • This has been in my head for awhile. Nice to see I was actually thinking of something feasible.

  • This has been in my head for awhile. Nice to see I was actually thinking of something feasible.

  • Good article, bit of a pretentious title though mate.

  • Good article, bit of a pretentious title though mate.

    • Piopro

      a true title not every 1 who follow this blog is up to a sound engineers or a 10 dj vet

    • Piopro

      a true title not every 1 who follow this blog is up to a sound engineers or a 10 dj vet

    • Piopro

      a true title not every 1 who follow this blog is up to a sound engineers or a 10 year dj vet

    • Piopro

      a true title not every 1 who follow this blog is up to a sound engineers or a 10 year dj vet

  • Russ

    Me and my fellow dj buddies were discussing this idea literally days ago, this could not come at a better time! thanks again Ean !

  • Russ

    Me and my fellow dj buddies were discussing this idea literally days ago, this could not come at a better time! thanks again Ean !

  • Cool_awesome

    I’m selling my turntables! Btw nice hair Ean!

  • Cool_awesome

    I’m selling my turntables! Btw nice hair Ean!

  • soundcloud tee is dope as fuck

  • soundcloud tee is dope as fuck

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome great stuff amazing work u done there

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome great stuff amazing work u done there