Beat Juggling Tutorial

Here I am going to do my best to describe what beat juggling is and try and explain how to get started, I haven’t yet read any good tutorials or seen any good documents on how to juggle, as far as I know no such document exists. I am going to do my best to provide such a tutorial.

What is beat juggling?

Beat juggling is basically where you take 2 records, either 2 copies of the same record or 2 different records, and manipulate both turntables and the mixer in order to re-arrange the beat patterns on the records in order to create your own beat patterns.

Marking your Records for a Juggle

Visual marks are very important when beat juggling, here’s a little bit of advice on how to go about marking your records…

When beat juggling, or scratching for that matter, it is alot easier if you have visual marks on you record so you know how far to spin the record back. You can mark your records with anything you you want, I normally use stickers or marker pens. Where you decide to make your records again is whatever works best for you, I’m going explain roughly how I decide where to mark my records and why.

Normally when I decide to do a juggle and that it’s time to mark up a record I usually look for the first beat of the first bar I am going to use and then cue the record up to play that beat and mark the record at the top or 12 o’clockposition. I now have a marker and as I start trying to work out my juggle I start to remember where the marker is for each sound I am going to be using. For instance I know the kick it at 12 o’clock because thats how I set up my mark, I now find that the next beat or snare is at 5 o’clock.

Sometimes, if I feel I need to, I will mark the second beat of the bar as well. This can then help you find the next/previous beat. For example if the first beat is at the point when the first mark is at 12 o’clock then I now know the second beat is when the second mark is at the same place the first mark was for the first beat (12 o’clock).

This is just a rough guide to how I start going about marking my records. My best advice for you to find the best way to mark your records is go and experiment.

Important Note: Different decks have the needle sit at a different point on the platter, this means that if you mark up you records on one deck (a Technics SL-1200 for example) then put the records on a different deck (maybe a Vestax PDX-2000) then your marks will be in a different place, to get round this you can either mark up you records twice with 2 different colour markers or learn to compensate.

Looping a section of a beat using 2 copies of a record

Although I would not consider looping as beat juggling it is probably the most fundemental skill of a DJ which beat juggling is based around. If you want to start learning to beat juggle I think the very first step you need to take is learn to and practice looping a section of a record.

The first thing you want to do is cue up both records at the beginning of thesection you want to loop then put the fader across to one of the records and letthe section you want to loop play through as you hold the other record in the cued up postion. When the first record gets to the end of the section your are looping slide the fader across to the other deck and let the second record go, keeping everything in time. As the second record is playing backspin the first record back to the start of the section you are looping again. As the second record reaches the end of the section you are looping put the fader back across to the first record and let the first record go again. Keep repeating this, alternating between the first and second record creating and endless and seemless loop.

You can loop as much or as little of the record as you want: 8 bars, 4 bars, 2 bars or 1 bar or maybe 2 beats, 1 beat, half a beat or even quarter of a beat,whatever. Practice looping big sections and little sections.

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Tapping a record causing it to slow down

There is not alot for me to say here. This is a simple technique for slowing a beat down by extending the gaps between each sound by simply stopping the record by tapping it with your hand. You can get the hang of this very quickly if you just do it on a record but when you start trying to combine it with otherthings it can get confusing (e.g. tapping one record down whilest backspinning another record with the other hand).

Rather than me trying to explain this futher I will just upload a video which will be pretty self explanatory on its own. At some point I will write up some stuff and provide an example of using it in a pattern.

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Phasing

I think you could argue whether or not this belongs in a beat juggling tutorial, but you can incoperate it into your juggles so I’m going to put it here anyway.

Phasing is a technique used to create a similar effect to a phaser or flanger setting on an effects box. You do this by using to copies of the same record playing at the same time. What you do is match up the speeds of the two records, then mix them together so they are both playing the same part of the record at the same time. Now what you do it knock one of the record ever so slightly out by either, pushing/slowing it manually or slightly adjusting the pitch slider. Once you get it right you should hear a sort of sweeping, whooshing effect.

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Doubling and Echoing

Here are a couple more simple techniques which again I’m not sure if it theybelong in the beat juggling section, but as they can both be used in part of juggles I’m going to put them here anyway.

All the techniques I’m going to talk about here involve just mixing 2 records together in an offbeat way then manipulating the mixer to create different effects. The first one I’m going to talk about is a technique used to double up the beats by cutting the fader back and forth between to 2 records. What you do it make sure both records are playing at the speed, then mix them together so that one is playing behind the other, them move the fader back and forth so thateach sound played is repeated once. The size of the delay between the 2 records determines what effect is created, for example if the second record was playing 1/8 note behind the first record then you would move the fader across every 1/8 note to get a sort of doubled up beat. If instead you were to play the second record 1/4 note (or a beat) behind you can get the effect of removing the snares from the beat and just getting the kicks, or by moving the fader the opposite way you can make it so you just hear the snares.

The second technique I’m going to talk about creates an echo effect, this is quite easy to do. Basically you mix one record so it playing a bit behind the other with the volume of the record playing behind turned down a little bit. By changing the gap between the 2 records and the volume levels you can get different echo effects.

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Tripling

Just a little extension on doubling, this time you make each beat play 3 times. To do this you start with the kick on the first turntable and play it, then you play the kick on the second turntable, while it is playing you rewind the kick on the first turntable. Once the second kick has played you let the 3rd one go on the first turntable and pause (tap) the 2nd turntable to hold it at the snare.

Now that you’ve played the kick three times it time for the snare. When the 3rd kick has finished you drop the snare on the 2nd turntable. The pattern is now repeated but the other way round since we started on the second turntable.

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Strobing (aka Chasing)

Stobing is where you play a section of the record doubling up each sound by tapping the two records alternatively and fading between them.

The first step is to get both records cued up, then with the fader across so that right deck is on, release the right record. As the right record plays to the end of the first sound to be doubled push the fader across with your right hand and release the left deck and put your right hand on the right deck, stopping it so that it is cued up for the second sound to be doubled. As the left deck reaches the end of the sound (now we have doubled the first sound) use your left hand to push the fader back you the right and release the right record again then grab the left record as you did before with your right and. Once the right deck has reached the end of the second sound repeat the motion you used before when you doubled the first sound. Keep repeating this motion alternating between the right and left until you have doubled up each sound or beat for the section of the record you wanted to strobe.

Practice this by strobing the same section of the same record on each deck effectively doubling each sound but once you have got the hang of it you can use a different section of the record on each deck or even two different records causing a different effect to just doubling the sounds.

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Shuffle Strobing

This is done using the exact same technique as strobing but using slightly different timing to get the rhythm to ’shuffle’ or swing, To do this lets take simple beat pattern on 2 records which goes like so…

kick-hat-snare-hat-kick-hat-snare-hat-etc…

Now rather than cue up the kick at the start of both beats like with a normal strobe, cue up the first kick on one turntable and the first HAT on the other. Now what you do it release the record with the kick cued up and let the kick-hat play, as soon as you hear the hat play pause(tap) that record and release the other record to let the hat-snare play, as soon as you hear the snare play pause that record and release the first record to get the snare-hat to play and continue with this motion. The trick here is to release the record very quickly after the beat is played to get each beat to double up and sound shuffly, so the final result doesn’t go like this:
kick-hat-HAT-SNARE-snare-hat-HAT-KICK-kick-hat-HAT-SNARE-etc…

but instead goes more like…

kick-hatHAT-SNAREsnare-hatHAT-KICKkick-hatHAT-SNARE-etc…

(btw, I used capital KICK-HAT-SNARE to show it playing from one turntable and small kick-hat-snare to show it coming from the other)

It’s a little hard to explain but as soon as you get it right for just a beat or 2 you’ll know and you’ll understand what you are trying to do.

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The Broken Chase

The broken chase is a variation of the strobe or chase.

With a broken chase you constantly tap down one record but you only tap down a section of the othen record then backspin it to the start of the section. So cue both records up at the same place then strobe for one bar, now as you play the first beat of the next bar on the first record back spin the other record back to the start of the bar and strobe for one bar again, keep repeatingfor as long as you want.

You can create some interesting patterns by varying the length of the sectionyou looping, for example strobe for 1 bar, backspin, strobe for half a bar, backspin, strobe for half a bar, backspin and repeat.

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Pattern 1

Here’s a little pattern for you, I not sure if it has been given a name so I’ll call it Pattern 1 for now.

Again we’ll just be using just the first 2 beats of the bar on both records (a kick and a snare). Cue both records up to the first beat or kick of the bar and put the fader across to the right hand deck.

Let the right hand record go so you hear the kick then 1/16 note before the snare plays, cut the fader across to the left hand deck and let the left record play the kick for 1/16 note, then quickly push the fader back across to the right deck to let the snare play. As the snare plays pull the left hand record back to the kick and push the fader across and let it play 1/8th note after the snare had hit. Let the kick play for a whole beat as you bring the right record back to the kick, push the fader back the right and let the kick play for an 1/8 note. As the kick plays hold (tap) the left record at the snare then push the fader back to the left and let the snare play for the last beat of the bar. As the snare play spin back the right record to the kick and you ready to repeat the pattern.

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There’s a little suprise at the end of the video, on the last bar I do a little fill. If you can’t work out how I do it give me a shout and I’ll explain it to you.

The one, two patten

There are 2 new things to get used to to learn this patten, the first is that instead of cuing the beat on the first beat of the bar you will be cuing on the last beat of the previous bar. The second thing to get used to is moving the cross fader without touching the record, this sounds easy and it will be but at first it may seem unnatural but this will change very quickly.

At first I would recommend you pick a beat which just goes kick, snare, kick, snare, etc.

First thing to do to get started is cue both records up on the last snare of the previous bar. Now let the first record go, the cued up snare will sound then the kick (the down beat), what you do now is move the fader across to the other deck and release the record so the snare sounds between the kick and the snare (1/8th note after the kick) on the first deck. Next put the fader back to the first record to hear the snare. Now cut the fader back to the second deck (you should get a kick) and pull the record on the first deck back to repeat the snare which has just played, then put the fader back so the snare is repeated. Now put the fader back onto the second deck and as the snare is played spin the record back to the snare it was first cued up on. Now when you let the record go to restart the pattern.

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