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Introduction to DJing :: DJ Equipment :: Beat Matching Tutorial
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DJ Tutorials

STEP III : Beat Matching

This section aims to take you through my interpretation of beat-matching, which will differ from DJ to DJ, and should not be taken as gospel - part of the beauty of DJing is that we can all learn from each other and keep pushing the boundaries of this art into new directions.

1. Take two records from your collection that are of the same genre, i.e. two house records, two drum & bass records etc. The more familiar with the tunes you are the better.

2. Place record 1 on the left-hand deck and start playing it from the beginning.

1. Ensure record 1 is playing through the speakers via channel 1, and that the cross fader is all the way over to channel 1.

2. Put record 2 on the right-hand deck.

3. Set the headphone cue to channel 2.

4. Cue up record 2 at the first beat (if this is your first lesson see the Cueing section on how to cue up a record by clicking on the ‘Cue up’ link).

5. Listen to the beat of record 1 (best to use the bass drum). Count the beats in fours, as almost all tracks are in 4/4 timing or some multiple of 4. Count the beats out loud or tap your foot if it helps. On the first beat of a new bar (usually 32 beats per bar), drop record 2 in with a little push to help the record catch up to full speed – the idea is to start record 2 spinning so that the first beat of the bar matches up with the first beat of the bar of record 1.

6. Listening to the beat of record 1 through the speakers and the beat of record 2 through the headphones establish the speed difference of record 2 in relation with that of record 1.

7. Adjusting the speed of record 2...
a. If too fast: slow record 2 down with your finger on the base plate, or for minor adjustments slow the spindle using your finger and thumb, on your left hand. Using your right hand adjust the pitch control accordingly.
b. If too slow: speed the record up using your left hand to push the record forwards (clockwise), aim to touch the record on the label rather than the record itself. Again, if only minor corrections are needed spin the spindle with finger and thumb. Use your right hand to adjust the pitch control accordingly

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the two beats of the two records are in synchronisation with each other, and stay inline for several seconds. When they are you have beat matched two records, now comes the mix!
NB: This is the hardest step to get right, particularly when starting out, so don’t get too worked up when it goes wrong. Don’t be worried if the beats were in time and they start wandering – also known as the Ascot syndrome, as the beats ‘gallop’. This will happen all the time as its verging on impossible to get the two records perfectly in time. You will need to pay constant attention to beats of both records and make continuous adjustments. If you do incur Ascot syndrome and have no idea which one is faster, re-cue record 2 and start again. 

Learning this skill will take time, patience and lots of practice so get to it! 

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