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Crab (scratch)

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Title: Crab (scratch)  
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Subject: Beatmatching, Mixtape, Sampling (music)
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Crab (scratch)

A crab is a type of scratch used by turntablists. It is made from a combination of moving the record on the turntable by hand and quick movement of the crossfader.


The crab scratch was invented by DJ Qbert as a variation on DJ Excel's "twiddle." The two met up in Japan for the Vestax DJ competition in 1995 and Excel was asking Qbert how to flare. When he showed Qbert how he thought the flare was performed, he was actually doing the twiddle instead (using his thumb as a spring and "twiddling" the fader with 2 fingers). After this meeting, Qbert took the idea back to San Francisco and after showing the scratch to DJ Disk, he created a move that used 3 or 4 fingers: the crab. Later in 1995, while the DMC USA finals were being held in San Francisco, a group of DJs and judges which included The Beat Junkies, The X-Men (now called the X-ecutioners), and the rest of ISP among others got together for what would later be known as the "Famous Warehouse Session" at Yoga Frog's old mobile DJ warehouse. It was at this session that Qbert publicized the new scratch.

While the name "crab" seems self-explanatory since it makes your hand look like a crab when you curl all of your fingers to perform it, according to Qbert the name originated elsewhere. Apparently, he and Mixmaster Mike had just returned from Beirut, Lebanon around the same time that he invented it where they were served crepes one night after a show. He said that when the people over there pronounced crepes, it sounded more like "cccccreb" and since he thought it was funny, he used it to name the "cccccreb" scratch which everyone now pronounces as the crab.

But recently there has been a dispute on invention and origin of the crab scratch. The counterclaim is that Qbert came back from WORLD DMC one day after listening to DJ Sparra UK in Europe. Qbert had asked DJ disk for help doing a twiddle scratch. DJ Disk after training with finger weights. Tried to roll his fingers as done with the weights. " when i tried the the first time - second time ,, Qbert noticed i wasn't doing what he had saw in DMC , i can tell by his look on his face that it was something new he had never seen or heard , he told me to keep doing what i was doing ,,so i kept doing it and the Crab was invented ! He tried doing it after me but no go" Dj Disk


To do a crab scratch the DJ quickly rubs/taps the fader knob with 3 or 4 different fingers in sequence starting with the pinkie or ring finger while using the thumb as a spring to cut the fader back out after each tap (or in if scratching hamster style). The result is much like a 3 or 4 tap transform (or a 3 or 4 click flare if you scratch hamster style) only much quicker than you could probably do with one finger. Many DJs find this move easier or more comfortable to perform hamster style by bouncing the fader off the side of the fader slot, but the move can be performed both normal and hamster. As with orbits, crabs can be performed once as a single distinct move, or sequenced to produce a cyclical never ending type of crab sound.

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