The Beginner DJ Blog
The Beat Matching Quick Guide
Beat matching is the most essential skill to DJing which makes it all but the most important for the beginner DJ to learn. Although BDJ already has a complete tutorial on beat matching, it would be helpful to show you a very simple guide to beat matching that everyone would be able to quickly read and implement.
The purpose of this DJ tutorial is to show you how to learn beat matching in the least amount of steps while also making sure you understand the fundamentals and good practice.
1. Understanding BPM and Beat Matching
BPM (Beats Per Minute) is the amount of beats … per minute.
The purpose of beat matching is to match the BPM of the records so when you transition between the two records, it sounds like a single song which will allow you to continue playing an entire set.
2. Starting the first song
Starting the first song is very simple; you simply queue up the track and press play.
3. While the first song is playing
As the first song is playing, you need to be listening to the BPM of the first track.
The first track will begin to progress into the meatier portion around the middle, at this time you should grab the other track and get it ready.
A simple way to keep up with the beats of the track is to tap your foot or finger at the same BPM.
4. Queuing up the second track
While the first song is still playing, get your second track queued up.
Find the point you wish to start the second track and rock it back and forth on the first kick of the phrase. The start of the second track could be the beginning, middle or end – wherever you feel the second track needs to start.
The important part in this step is to be listening to the first track while rocking the second back and forth with the BPM of the first, this will help you keep count and get you ready to start beat matching the second.
5. Start your second track
When the time is right, when you feel you should start beat matching. Throw the second track forward so the first kick of the second track hits at the same time as a matching kick of the first.
If you threw it off perfectly, the tracks will sound like they’re both thumping at the same time.
Because you will probably need to beat match the two, this is the point where you will begin to use the pitch bend to make sure the two tracks are in sync.
6. Sync up and beat match the two tracks
While the first track is playing, use the pitch bend.
If it sounds like the second track is faster than the first, you will need to adjust the pitch bend slider toward the negative % (-%), but only for a split second then return it back to zero (0). Repeatedly do this until the two kicks of track 1 and 2 are in sync with another.
If it sounds like the second track is slower than the first, you will need to adjust the pitch bend slider toward the positive % (+%) but again, only for a few seconds until returning it to zero (0). Repeatedly do this to put the two kicks of track 1 and 2 into sync with another.
By using the pitch bend, you’ll be able to beat match the two tracks.
7. Now, begin your transition
With the two tracks beat matched to another (they’ll sound like they’re both thumping at the same time) you’ll now begin to transition from track 1 to track 2.
There are a few ways to transition back and forth between the tracks but for the purpose of this quick guide, begin to slide the mixer slider from track 1 to track 2.
Congrats, you’ve just beat matched and did a very small mix between the two!
A few things to remember
When beat matching, there is a lot more than just matching the beats.
The mixer uses EQ knobs to make sure that the two records match similar frequencies as well. A song that has higher EQs going into a second will make it sound off key and muddy. For now, just try to perfect beat matching your songs, then worry about the EQs.
Another thing to take note of is when to transition the two tracks. If you transition a track over to the other, it needs to be at the appropriate time as well.
There are also many different kinds of transitions such as cutting. Again, for the purpose of the tutorial, just focus on doing a simple sliding transition to make sure you understand beat matching first, then work on the advanced stuff.
A video guide to simple beat matching
Ellaskin, DJ Tutorial extraordinare, has plenty of videos available on YouTube which show you how to beat match. I highly recommend checking out his other videos which will teach you the basics all the way up to advanced techniques. Take a look at this video which should help you visually understand beat matching as well…
If you’d like to check out more videos, take a look at BDJ’s Top 10 Beat Matching Videos on the Net.
There’s always more to learn
Hopefully this quick guide will help you get started with beat matching.
Remember, there’s a lot more to beat matching and mixing but just practice the basics for the time being. As you progress with your beat matching, you’ll be able to work on advanced techniques.
About the Author - Muxx
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