Mastering your DJing techniques is a fantastic way to grow your presence as a DJ worth their name. Having the right equipment, though quite important, is just the first step. Even the best guides on DJ controllers and accessories can only push you so far.
That is why learning to transition correctly is a skill you should learn. We know that learning a new skill can be difficult, especially when you don’t know where to begin. This article will give you a leg up on DJ transitions. So, read on to learn basic transition techniques you should know.
The fade is an important technique that every DJ should know. It is a great way to move between songs and a simple transition that is easy to learn and the best place to start. It is ideal for novices because, when done correctly, it enables you to move smoothly to the next song, no matter the genre.
Learning the fade will get you out of situations when you don’t know how to move to the next song. You can use this technique when you have played the wrong song and want to move on to another one or feel like a song has been played too long. To do the fade:
- Figure out when you want to fade. Timing is everything. Make sure you don’t fade out when the crowd has just begun enjoying the song. You must time it so that the transition maintains the crowd’s energy.
- Use it correctly. As mentioned, don’t just fade out a song. First, fade out the volume of the song quickly to let the crowd know that you are transitioning to another song. Then start fading the songs out slower for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Match the transition. As your song is fading, start the new one by matching the downbeat of the outgoing song with that of the next song.
The cut is a great technique to use when mixing songs successfully. The cut, as with other techniques, depends on timing. You need to know where to apply this technique. The cut allows you to transition anywhere in a song.
However, with this technique, you will have to be very smooth. This means you will have to create the illusion that the two songs are one. To do this well:
- Ensure that your song is ready. Ensure it is on one beat, ready to be played.
- Count the beats and bars in the current song. Beats are usually counted in eights. Therefore, you need to find the right place to cut to the next track. You have to make sure your cut doesn’t disrupt the transition.
- Move on the downbeat. Once your count for the current song is at the right place, move to the next song immediately, ensuring they blend together.
This technique is harder than the fade but can be mastered with lots of practice and beat synchronization.
Single Phrase Beatmix
Beatmatching or beatmixing is a necessary skill that all DJs should learn. In fact, some DJs actually argue that beatmatching is what DJs actually do. Nowadays, you can use software to do this, but learning by ear is the best way o do it.
Phrase mixing involves overlapping one part of a song with another part of a different song. The single phrase beatmix is a technique that combines beatmixing and phrasing by playing two tracks on one phrase of four or eight beats. To do this:
- Line your tracks. You can start by choosing tracks from the same genre or tracks that have the same tempo or BPM (beats per minute).
- Prepare your incoming track. Load your next track and match its tempo to the track that is playing. You can do this using the tempo slider.
- Start playing the first beat of the next track on your headphones so that only you can hear it. This is to ensure that the two tracks align before sliding the fader up, allowing your audience to hear the synchronized tunes.
- Play the matched tracks for a musical phrase of eight or sixteen bars. This depends on the tracks you are playing.
- Once you have played for a while, you can slowly fade the first track so that only the second one plays.
This is a more advanced technique. It is a follow-up to the single phrase beatmix. This is a go-to technique for DJs who mix trance, house, techno, and modern disco. These genres usually follow a pattern of drum, drum, and bass combo, vocals, buildups, drops, and breakdowns.
This technique is used for tracks playing that sound off, and the basslines of both songs sound mismatched. To fix this, take advantage of your EQ knobs. Completely turn down the bass of the incoming track. Turn the bass of the incoming track to normal when the bassline arrives as you turn down the bass of the outgoing track.
Learning a new skill requires practice and learning from masters. Create time to learn one skill before moving on to another one. This will make the process easier and help in perfecting your techniques.