Underused DJ Techniques: Beat Jump

Compared to cue points, looping, and effects, beat jump is one of the more rarely discussed DJ software features. It’s underutilized by a majority of DJs, mainly because many DJs don’t know how to use it effectively. Beat jump is a powerful tool not only during performance, but it can speed up preparation time as well.

What Is Beat Jump?

Imagine throwing on a new track in the middle of your set, but you aren’t sure where to mix it in seamlessly. You have to scrub back and forth through the track to find the right spot, then worry about how far back you need to bring the track to give you enough time to mix in. In the heat of a set, having to go through those steps can take you out of the moment and ruin your groove. Beat jump can simplify this process and make it feel effortless.

Beat jump allows you to skip forward or backward through a track on beat, based on the beat grid. The on beat part is what makes this feature a game changer. With a few clicks of the mouse you can find the part of a track you are looking for and not worry about phrasing.

Currently beat jump or something similar is available in:

  • Traktor Pro
  • Rekordbox DJ
  • Serato DJ
  • Pioneer DJ’s XDJ-1000 (MK1/2) and CDJ-2000NXS2

3 Things To Keep In Mind When Using Beat Jump

Beat Grids

Keep in mind when using beat jump make sure the beat grid of the track is correct. Beat jump works around the beat grid, so if the beat grid is off the beat jump will be off as well.

Beat Jump Length

Most software that has beat jump allows you to select the length in beats that you would like the move through the track. Be sure that you have the correct length select before you start jumping through the track.

Forward Or Backward

Along with length controls there are controls to jump either forward or backward. Make sure that you are aware of which button you are hitting as they are usually placed pretty close together. This can be less confusing when using a controller with tactile buttons.

3 Great Uses For Beat Jump

Setting Cue Points

For DJs who place their cue points based on song structure, beat jump speeds up the track preparation. For example, I like to place a cue point at the beginning of an intro, mid-way through the intro, and at the end of the intro. Beat jump allows me to just click through the track on time instead of having to scrub through the track.

Learning Song Structure On The Fly

When introducing new songs into your sets there is a period of getting familiar with the track. Some songs might have 32 beat build up, some may only have 24 beats. Using beat jump to get move through the track on beat makes learning each song much faster. 

Saving Mis-Cued Drops

Here’s an example of how beat jump can be the most useful:

  • Mixing out of a song with a 32 beat chorus with the next song cued
  • Hit the cue point on the incoming track, but you realize that the incoming track has a 64 beat intro. This would create some phrasing issues
  • Use beat jump to correct the position of the incoming track – jump forward 32 beats and avoid having to loop one of the tracks

Now Put It To Use!

Adding beat jump to my preparation and performance work flow has been nothing but positive. It’s easily overlooked and definitely under-appreciated. Give beat jump a try, add it to one part of your DJ process. 

Here’s a video walkthrough of how to use beat jump with Rekordbox, Serato, and Traktor, as well as examples of the uses I explained above:

Watch next: Ean’s Tutorial On Loop Move Macros in Traktor

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  • Anton Styles

    another way i use beatjump is sometimes when you’re using a tracks intro to mix in, 9 times out of 10 the track will hit a breadown right away for 4 or 8 bars before it hits the first beat to the quintessential ‘buildup’ to the first drop. depending on the track, this can sometimes cause just a huge perceived drop in energy or the momentum of your set.
    first i’ll determine whether or not it’s a standard 8 bar breakdown or if it’s a 4 bar one, then i’ll place a marker at the beginning of said breakdown (so my mix-out point is still clearly represented on the new track and also a visual cue to when i’ll most likely want the last track to be out/looping out/fading out, etc…
    i’ll then name that cue point either “J16” or “J32” and know how far of a beatjump to hit right then to get the new track jumped ahead to it’s drop buildup–which just feels cleaner most of the time.

  • Clayton Clayfighter

    The beat jump knob on my controller has made it a real pain in the ass to relearn my mixing style on pioneer equipment. It’s honestly too convenient.

  • Sergiu

    You inspired me a lot! Thank you, djtt! <3

  • flotation device

    so it’s a crutch for people who can’t dj properly basically

    • baalp

      sounds like it. All these new , bedroom, and wannabe djs now… Back in my day all we had was vinyl.. and you just knew music WELL. didn’t need tools aids and handicaps.. you just listened to music all day, had a passion for it.. and played it so much already you knew exactly where everything was PHYSICALLY on the vinyl itself. no need for this beat jump mess. That’s training wheels.

      Can still learn and know music well and not need this stuff on controllers and CDJs too

  • Niresh

    Maybe this is cos i am still new. I find beat jump useful at first to get the two tracks in sync. Rather than using the platter to get it in sync, the beat jump set at 1/16 helps to get the overlapping beats just right. I don’t know what the technical term is but some beats clash even though its in sync and beat jump has been the only way out until I got some more experience on syncing beats. I don’t use it that much now (maybe I am more experiences LOL) but I have noticed that for some songs, you gotta do it using beat jump, I have not found another way of doing this.

  • despoil

    Too bad the S2 hasn’t the space to implement 8 buttons for beat jumping. I beat jump via cue point to throw people off a track and keep them guessing what’s coming next. The best shit is the look on someones face on the dance floor when they realize “oh shit, I thought it was that track, but it sounded different tonight”

  • Mr Wilks

    Simply put, hands-down this is THE most used function for me in Serato. When they finally introduced this I was stoked.

    10/10 for usability. I don’t know how I coped without it. Well I do… I used the Kontrol S8 😉

    Love it.

  • bla

    underused? it’s BY FAR my most used feature

  • Nacor Carmona Blanco

    Flow Dj also has this feature, if I am not wrong.

  • John

    I sometimes use it on 32 to cut up a track on the fly like a giant slicer function gotta to keep a track of your one beats tho

  • ?The Other Denzel?

    In A Single Sentence, Why You Should Use Beat Jump?

    Ean Golden’s Mixing For The Stage Video.

  • CUSP

    There are buttons for beat jump (above the touch strip) on the Novation Twitch. That controller is STILL pretty advanced for the times.

  • kadomony

    beat jump has saved my ass so many times with mis-phrased mixes!

  • Benjamin Koehler

    This feature is so well implemented on the traktor s4, it’s the only thing that has kept me from changing to cdjs. The new nexus 2 cdjs only have it up to one bar at a time aswell which is useless.

    This feature is a life saver and the creativity which comes from it is hard to live without. I can’t get over that most DJs I know don’t use it.

    It’s also great for controlling the energy of your floor quickly. You can skip the high energy phrases of a song and go to the breakdown to let the floor breathe or skip the breakdown to jump into a build-up or continue the beat longer. It’s sort of like making your own edits on the fly.

    • locodog

      I agree, I love bouncing round tracks, cutting the main beat into the intro and a life saver for dealing with over run breaks.

    • Ben Sherman

      one bar is pretty weak, but I kinda get it as you don’t always have a tight beatgrid to work with.
      It sounds dumb, but I think of it as ‘double clicking’ to jump two bars. Maybe that’s just to help me keep track after a few beers 🙂

  • Gwen Roelants

    VirtualDJ is also missing from the list.
    Furthermore, in VirtualDJ, even clicking on the song overview waveform will jump in sync with the beat making it easy to visually skip a long intro for example without a noticeable jump.

    • Dag Sonikku

      You can also do this type of jump on the cdj2000nxs2 as well as look forward in the waveform without jumping

    • Ramon Richie

      Yep works great in VDJ, use it a lot actually, preparing sets and live. I got it mapped to the pads on DDJ-SR and you can skip 1 2 4 or 8 beats, back and forwards. Really saves the day when I misfired my mix just jump back and try again 🙂

  • Oddie O'Phyle

    Cross DJ has something similar as well, they call it Smart Seek.