Balancing a Turntable Tone Arm and Marking Records: DJ Tricks with Claude Young

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Claude Young—a renowned techno DJ and producer from Detroit, Michigan—into the Reverb studio. Young, who got his start back in the early '90s, was kind enough to go over a few of his best beginner and organizational tricks for young DJs just getting started.

In the video above, Claude starts at the very beginning: balancing your turntable's tone arm. When you're getting ready to perform, this is the first thing you should do when you get up to the decks. Claude demonstrates how to balance the arm with precision by pulling the weight to the back and dialing it in until it balances as flat as you can get it.

Then, you're going to set your weight to zero and turn the knob counter-clockwise to around 1.5 or 2, which will give you just enough pressure for the needle to touch the record without digging into the grooves and causing damage.

For his second lesson, Claude demonstrates how he keeps everything organized using painter's tape and a marker.

When Claude goes to play a show, he likes to have visual markers on his records that tip him off to what's happening on that record at that specific time. If there's an ambient section he's planning to use in his show, for example, he'll cut a small piece of painter's tape (as painter's tape is easily removable without leaving damaging residue), write "AMB" on it in marker, and stick it onto the record straight down the middle.

Having the visual markers on his records not only helps his transitions run smoothly and keeps the show going, it also ensures that every time he goes to play that record, he starts at exactly the right spot without fail.

Check back next week, when Claude will return with some new tips and tricks.


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