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Alt.Music DJ.Faq




 Alt.Music.DJ Faq

This mix has been assisted by:

Danny Bastian (
Jim (
William Kelly (
Joncas D. (
Aaron J. Grier (
ProformDJ (
Will E. Reburn (
Artie (
DJ Ellis Dee (
Michael Erb (
DJ Chris (
Simon Leyland (
Dave Schwarz (
Rob Clark (
Scott W. (
Keiser (

With a special thanks to Al Weltha ( for is valuable
feedback and suggestions.

Have a comment or suggestion? Please! E-Mail me at any of the following:


Topics discussed:

o What is the FAQ About?
o So, What is a DJ?
o What are the Different Kinds of DJs?
o Terminology
o "I want to learn how to DJ. What should I do?"
o CD or Vinyl?
o Equipment
o Mixers
o CD Players
- CD Player Care
- Protecting your CDs
o Turntables
- Record Cleaners
- Needle and tonearm setup
o Mixtape Production
o Contracts
o Netiquette
o Steve Rothkin's DJ Info
o Hearing Damage and DJs
o Weddings

What is the FAQ About?

This FAQ is provided for people new to both DJing and the newsgroup.
It covers a wide range topics for both the beginner and the advanced DJ
and therefore should be read by both.

Before posting a question to the newsgroup, it is recommended that
you refer to the FAQ and verify that it isn't already answered here. This
will save you time and bandwidth as well as keeping others from calling
you an idiot for not having read the FAQ first.

There are also a few subjects that we beg you not to post questions
about. They are (in no particular order):

o CD's vs. Vinyl -- Which is better?
This question has been beaten to death by both sides already.
The best thing we can do is agree to disagree and move on
with our lives. Both sides present good arguments, but the
bottom line is that the issue is a holy war in which no one
will sway the other. It is useless to discuss a topic in
which no one gains anything from it.

If you are new to DJing and aren't sure about which medium to
pursue, refer to the "CD's vs. Vinyl" section of the FAQ. It
presents the facts for both mediums in an unbiased manner
leaving it up to you, the reader, to decide on which medium
is best suited for you.

o Club jocks vs. Mobile jocks
Again, another topic which has been beaten to death by
people on both sides of the fence. It's another holy war
in which neither side will convince the other that they
are right and no one gains anything from the discussion.

If you aren't familiar with the differences between the two,
consult the section in this FAQ comparing the two types of
DJs. The text explains what each type of DJ is expected to
do and how they operate.

o The Best Album is....
I love gabber. If you haven't heard of it, thats probably
because you're part of the majority of earth who doesn't
particularly care for 180+bpm techno. I happen to be in
the minority that does like it. I think "other" music sucks,
and the people who like "other" music think gabber sucks.

The point? Simple: Each of us have different tastes in music.
Trying to pick "The Best Album" is much like taking a few
thousand people to the video store and all agreeing on a
movie. It doesn't work. You have your favorite, I have
mine. Lets just keep it to ourselves.

o The newsgroup should be split up...
Recently the newsgroup was split into two parts, and
for those "less professional" DJ's. If you've checked
out the latter, you probably noticed that about
the a majority of the posts consists of pornography
sites and a few advertisements from spammers who
want to make sure and get all the "relavent"

Point: Future talk about splitting the group into
two is silly. Despite what a few individuals think,
most DJ's regardless of what style of music they
play or where they work have a lot in common.
Splitting the group into smaller subgenre's isn't
going to be useful.

As exciting as the first few rounds of discussion was on
the issue, we'd rather not go through it again. Please
do not post this suggestion as nothing but flame wars will
come out of it.

So, What is a DJ?

Tough question. A DJ (disc jockey) takes many forms. The three most
common forms is: Radio DJs, Mobile DJs, and Club DJs. All three share the
common goal of providing an entertainment for a wide variety of people through
various means, mostly however, through music.

A DJ's job is to combine all the elements necessary for their
performance into one fluid package which can be easily swallowed by all of his
or her's listeners. For some DJs this includes talk and games, while for
others it means spinning the latest and greatest to the hippest people in

All DJs, however, deserve respect for the job they do. This gets
really tough among DJs themselves simply because you can't fit too many
ego-inflated heads into one room without some of them bumping into each other
(and believe me, the average DJ has an ego-inflated head... =). But in the
end, we're all trying to accomplish the same thing -- providing entertainment.
Respect that.

What are the Different Kind of DJs?

There are three major kinds of DJs: Mobile, Radio, and Club.

Mobile DJs are the most common. They generally work parties and
special events (ie: weddings, birthdays, etc.) onsite. This sort of work
usually entails entertaining a wide array of tastes and age groups, as well as
a bit of MC'ing.

Radio DJs are the least common. Their task is to make sure there is
never any dead air time by filling it with either their words, or music.
Again, there is a certain mass appeal that needs to be worked on and
being a Mr. Personality is important.

Club DJs can be found, but aren't nearly as prominent at mobile DJs.
They have a very specific clientele (age group wise) and are expected to play
the latest and greatest all the time. This sort of DJing often requires the
most technical know-how on mixing since style and uniqueness are critical to
establish a name for yourself and the club you work for. Rave DJs tend
to fit into this category because of the similar mixing skills required.


Before we can even get to the interesting stuff, we all have to be
speaking the same language. Here are a few terms you should know to
communicate with other DJs effectively...

Pitch control -
The ability of a device to change the tempo of a song. This is very
important if you are beatmixing.

Pitch lock -
The ability of a device to change the tempo of a song, without
changing the pitch. This lets you drastically speed up songs with
vocals without a "chipmunk" effect.

Pitch bend -
The temporary changing of pitch to get beats in phase. Vinyl DJs
typically use their fingers to speed up or slow down the record
by pushing/pulling the record by the label. Some twist the spindle
in the center to change the pitch momentarily. CD players offer this
as buttons. Once the DJ stops bending the pitch, the decks will
automatically snap back to the current pitch control settings. This
is necessary since its possible for two songs to be playing at the
exact same tempo yet have their beats out of phase. By bending
the pitch momentarily, the beats come into phase and the DJ doesn't
have to worry about readjusting the pitch control.

Tempo -
The speed of a song. Usually measured in Beats Per Minute (BPM).

Mixers -
The essence of a mixer is that it can combine two or more audio
signals into one output signal. It should be noted though that most
mixers can do much more than just combine signals.

Turntables (alias: TT's) -
The proper term for a "record player." Now -- if you ever hear anyone
say the "rec.. player" term again, you must take the time to either
severely hurt them or educate them. Whichever you deem appropriate.

Beats Per Minute (BPM) -
The number of beats during one minute of a song. An identifier of a
song's tempo.

Cueing -
Using your headphones to find the spot you want to start the next

Throwing -
Giving a record a little push when it starts up so you don't have any
lag time while it gets up to speed. CD players do this by featuring
instant start. (normal CD players may take a few tenths of a second
before a song starts) Throwing a record nulls the lag time while it
accelerates from zero to 33ish RPM. It sounds silly at first but it
is actually very critical for beatmixing. (see below)

Cross fader (alias: x-fader, fader) -
A slider control which moves from one input channel to another in a
very smooth fashion. The volume on each channel is inversely
proportional to each other, so if the x-fader is completely on the
left side, you will only hear the input for that channel. Once you
start moving it to the right, you will gradually hear the right
channel becoming louder. When the x-fader is in the middle, each
channel will be of equal volume. As the x-fader continues to the
right, the right channel will approach full volume, and the left
channel will diminish.

Beatmixing (alias: beat matching, beat synching, hot mixing, mixing)
The art of bringing the beats of two different songs into phase
with one another and fading across. For example, if the song the
crowd is hearing is 130 BPM, and the next song you want to play is 132
-- you slow the second song down to 130 bpm using pitch control, and
cue it up to the beat. When you are ready to bring the second song
into play, throw the record so the beats stay aligned and listen to it
on your headphones. MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN SYNC!!! Once you are sure
things are in order, use your cross fader to let the new song blend
into the old one, and eventually go completely across so only the new
song is playing. This will give the illusion that the song never

Once you get the hang of getting beats into sync, you will quickly
find many more interesting ways to fade in and out of songs.

Decks -
A very generalized description of gear used by a DJ to play music.
Most often referred to turntables and CD players.

Vinyl (alias: records, wax, 12" (reference to LP), 7" (reference to single)) -
If you aren't clear on what a record is, then this probably isn't the
sort of thing you should be doing...

"I want to learn how to DJ? What should I do?"

The single greatest piece of advice that can be given to someone
starting out is -- PRACTICE! Many aspects of DJing are reasonably intuitive
and will present themselves the more you practice. The core of being this sort
of entertainer is being able to work your music. Learn your songs well, and
get your beatmixing down solid. A natural progression will start from there.

The hardest part about writing this document is covering all the
different choices available. From my experience and listening to other
professional DJs, I've learned that most decisions are personal choices which
only you can make. If you find yourself unsure about what direction you want
to take, examine both for yourself. Its not nearly as easy as someone telling
you "decision X is the best way to go," but you will be much more confident in
your choice and will have much less room for bad decisions.

The first few questions you have to ask yourself are common amongst
beginners, and they are:

o Do I really want to do this?
This may seem like a terribly odd question to be asking, but it is
something that you need to evaluate carefully. DJing requires a lot of
time, energy, money, and patience. If you aren't sure you have these
sort of facilities, avoid making any commitments until you are sure.

o What sort of equipment do I need to start with?
If you aren't sure about whether this is something you want to
seriously pursue -- don't buy anything. Find a friend who'll let you
use their equipment and practice on it a bit. (Don't forget to take
them out to dinner in exchange! =)

Once you're sure you want to get into this some more, be ready to drop
serious money on gear. Professional level gear should run you about
$1000 to get started. This will include either a pair of turntables or
a pair of CD players, and a mixer. You can use a home stereo as your
amps and speakers while you get started.

If you aren't sure that you're going to be doing this for the long
haul and can't drop $1000 for equipment, then skimp as much as you can
and save for the real stuff once you're sure. This means getting
turntables with minimum features (ie: Gemini XL-BD10's) and a simple
mixer. If you're going to spin CDs, this becomes tough real quick...
the minimum priced pitch control CD decks are from Gemini and cost
about $250 a piece. They are good starter decks, but moving up to
better CD players in the future is something to seriously consider.
Bottom line: Spend the least you can if you aren't sure. Buy the real
stuff as soon as you can afford it and are sure thats the direction
you want to take.

And don't forget to buy a pair of good headphones! You can get them
from Circuit City or similar stores for about $40 for a decent pair.

o CD's or Vinyl?
Please read the section on this later in the FAQ.


Please, please, please, please -- do NOT ask this question on the
forum. experienced its first VERY ugly and painfully long
flamewar with this subject. You'll probably get more flames than answers for
asking the question.

There are basically four things to consider when deciding this:

1. What do you already have?
If you have a large quantity of CDs, moving to vinyl probably isn't
the best of choice. There are very few reasons to abandon a large
quantity of CDs. The same is true if you already have a lot of vinyl
and few CDs. Buying a CD player is probably not the best choice right

However, don't let this isolate you from the other in the future.
There is always room for a DJ who can work with both mediums.

2. Style
Some styles are easier to get on one medium than another. This is
especially true of underground dance music. If you find yourself
spinning a lot of rave oriented material, you may have to move to
vinyl simply because most new releases come out on vinyl first. On the
other hand, if you are spinning a lot of Top-40 type material, you'll
probably find most of your selection is easiest to get on CD. Every
style has their own preference of medium. Choose the one that best
suits what you want to do.

3. Availability
This ties in very closely with style. My only comment with regards to
availability is that -- you can always find it on either vinyl or CD.
It may be harder to find Ace of Base on vinyl than on CD, but it is
out there if you look hard enough.

4. Mixing style
This is where most people get separated in the issue of Vinyl vs. CDs.
Each has their own benefit. Here is what Jim ( had to
say on it:

"Lets see someone sample as cleanly and start as quickly as a c.d!
Sure, you can't scratch, but that's what the turntables are for. Be
more talented, use both. There a lot of times when I can't get
something on c.d. and have to resort to vinyl, and vice versa. But
there are advantages to both, so why aren't more people willing to
take advantage of that???

o You can have more precise mixes with c.d.'s, so that is an
o You can scratch with vinyl, so that is an advantage.
o You can do instant starts with c.d.'s, so that is an advantage.
o You can do spinbacks with vinyl, so that is an advantage.
o You can sample a sound and cue back up in an instant with c.d.'s
o You can hit the stop button on the turntable, so that is an
o You can fit far more c.d.'s in on spot, so that is an advantage.
o You can find some really cool tunes on vinyl that aren't on c.d.
o You can find a wider variety on c.d., so that is an advantage.
o You can cue up a record faster, so that is an advantage.
o You can see the precise time left/advanced on a c.d.,
o You can.......

Where the hell is this going????? No where. Use both and appreciate
advantages from both. The only person who wins in this argument is
the one who has mastered both, and is happy with both."

And to sum it all up, Al Weltha ( said:

"The heated debate between the pro-CD and pro-vinyl factions over
which is better has all the merit of people who argue over
whether their beer tastes great or is less filling. ie: Whatever
floats your boat works!"

"It's a 'style thing.' If you have a preference, GREAT! Use it! If
you don't, then maybe you should TRY a couple of different options
before you make up your mind. Your personal solution may depend on
the tools you have available. People can often learn a lot by trying
something new. "


There is more to say on this subject than there is time to write it.
Most of what you'll learn about equipment will come from experience.
(Remember: PRACTICE!) Here are a few things that will get you started...

If you are just getting into things and are unsure if you want to be
doing this sort of work a year from now, investing into a big "it can do
everything" mixer probably isn't a good idea. There are a lot of good smaller
mixers available which fit the bill fine.

There is a common misconception that a better mixer will make a better
performance. A better mixer will only better a person's performance once they
have the practice and know how to make effective use of their "it can do
everything" equipment. Even then, a good DJ doesn't need it to do everything
for a good mix. My favorite example is when I let a local radio station (KUCI
88.9FM in Irvine, CA -- Riders of the Plastic Groove Show) use my mixer for an
evening. DJ Ron D Core (a big name in the Los Angeles area) was one of the
guest DJ's for the evening and refused to use the station's mixer which had
circular faders. (He said it was like using a washing machine.) My very simple
Atus 200 sat between his turntables and let him mix one of the best sets I
had ever heard. Believe me when I say the mixer had nothing to do with it. My
point: Equipment never makes up for talent.

A few names to start with are:
o Gemini
o Atus
o Vestax
o Radio Shack
o Rane

MTX. Very few poor reviews have been posted concerning the unit and
it seems to be a popular unit for many DJs. It is mid-priced ($200-$500)
and offers all of the elements needed in a good DJ mixer. Nothing flashy,
just solid performance.

Gemini mixers are a definate consideration for the starting DJ. They
offer a wide array of mixers from entry level to professional and most DJs who
use them seem to be pleased with their performance.

Radio Shack is just bad news. Within the last three years of my net
presence, I have only heard ONE good comment about their equipment and staff.
(This comes from frequenting many different newsgroups, including many
technical groups) Their mixers are the best priced, but it many not be a unit
you'll want to keep for a long time...

Vestax is better known for the CD players. I haven't heard much about
them or their mixers, but you should just know that they are out there.

The Rane MP-24 is a high-end mixer constructed with the professional
in mind. At $1000 for a single unit, they are the most expensive DJ mixers
available, but Rane has managed to justify the price tag with an impressive
array of features and professional components. There is an audible difference
when using one. These features include: ALP faders for clean transitions,
four independent outputs, transformer isolated light trigger output (so you
won't lose your sound if the light chaser cable shorts), a loaner program
in case your unit goes bad (although it has been noted that redundancy is
a key feature), and last but not least, a feature to disable the MIC from
tape outputs (this allows you to use the MIC during a performance, but not
have the taping reflect these announcements). 48 hour repair turnaround is
also available.

A note about sampling mixers: Sampling mixers have received mixed
reviews in regards to their quality. Some have found their quality to be fine
while others complain that they are too spotty. It seems a lot of people agree
that the samplers are typically good enough for drum loops but not good enough
for vocals.

CD Players
The features you need to look for in a DJ level CD player include:

o Instant start
o Fast cueing
o Pitch control/Pitch bend
o Easy to read display

Features that are nice to have:

o Pitch lock

The choices you have are:
1. Denon
2. Pioneer
3. Gemini

Some basic common tidbits of information:

1. The smallest unit of sound on a CD is a frame. One frame is
equal to 1/75 sec.
2. Instant start means a start time in the hundredths of a
second. Claims of instant start "In under 1 second!" are
3. No CD player (yet) can scratch or backspin.
4. This FAQ doesn't consider a CD player to be a DJ CD player
unless it has pitch control. Although there are many DJs
who use traditional CD players for their work, that sort
of list would be better suited for Consumer Reports to
tackle. =)

Suggestions for CD-Player Care:
(derived from the Denon CD-Player Tips 1.01 by Joncas D)

Although these were pulled from a Denon specific document,
most of the suggestions are applicable to all CD players.

o General Care
o Rack mount the unit -- this will result in much
less physical abuse on the unit In the case
of the Pioneer unit, keep it in a coffin.
o Keep it clean -- Dust and the sensitive
electronics inside the unit don't get along.
o Usage Tips
o Use sticky on one side clean lamination sheets to
protect the display from scratches.
o Support the back of your rack mounted unit with
a sturdy brace made of metal or wood. This will
help reduce skipping caused by vibration.
o Use three units of rack space instead of two and
fill the gaps with foam pillow. This reduces
vibration even more.
o Make sure your CDs are clean if you find cue times
getting excessive.
o Operational Tips and Difficulties
o Try turning the unit off and then back on. Most
problems fix themselves this way.
o Don't bend your controller cables (if you have
any) tightly. This causes errors when the units
communicate with each other.


Denon's good reputation in the pro-audio market reaches well into the
DJ market as well. All of their products are solid performers and are often
the standard by which other units are compared.

On the lowest end if the DN-1000F. This is a single unit CD player
with instant start, +/- 8% pitch, pitch bend (+/- 12%), and frame cueing. It's
a solid performer and is extremely easy to carry around. There are two special
plugs in the back to connect it with another DN-1000F and to connect it with
an RC-35 adapter (see below). The open/close button on the tray is protected
which means the unit will not eject a playing CD. This kindly keeps clueless
people around you from stopping a playing song. The CD must be either cued or
paused to be ejected. Last but not least is the self locking transport.
The laser pickup automatically locks in place when the power is shut off.

Right next to the DN-1000F is the DN-2000F. This unit is no longer
manufactured but there are still quite a few out there. The DN-2000F is
essentially two DN-1000F's packaged in one convenient box. Both CD players are
in one box which only has a power switch and eject buttons on it. The controls
for it are all on the RC-35 which comes as part of the package.

The RC-35 is a remote control for the DN-1000F and DN-2000F players.
This allows you to mount the actual units in your coffin (often seen a little
above the knees) and keep the actual controls (pitch, start, stop, track
change, cueing) and backlit display right next to your mixer. This unit
comes as part of the DN-2000F package and is required to use the DN-2000F.
The DN-1000F has all of these controls on the face of the unit already and
therefore does not need the remote control for operation. However, it is
handy if you want to mount the DN-1000F somewhere else and control it from
the area around your mixer.

Since the DN-2000F has been discontinued, the DN-2000F Mk II has been
released. It is very similar in structure to the DN-2000F but offers many new
controls to making mixing a touch easier. The display on the RC-35 is now
active matrix instead of backlit making it easier to view from different
angles, the power switch has a protector around it to keep idiots from turning
everything off, instant start has been made a touch faster at 0.01 seconds
from the old 0.03 seconds.

As a replacement for the DN-2700F, Denon has released the
DN-2500 as its top of the line unit. The DN-2500 offers all the features
of the DN-2000F Mk II as well as three pitch ranges, 4%, 8%, and 16%, a
preset mode, a jog wheel for cueing, sleep function, index search,
skip search, sampler with seamless looping, master tempo, brake effect
(similar to turning a turntable off and letting the record glide to
a stop), and a voice reducer.

It should be noted that these units use plastic CD trays. BE CAREFUL!
They are $100 to repair and are NOT covered under warranty if broken. Clubs
should mount the transport high to avoid drawers getting squashed by belt
buckles when open. Mobiles should be careful!

Should your unit need repair, it will be taken to United Radio in
Syracuse, NY. At United Radio, a team of Denon specialists will examine
and repair the unit. Remember: These techs are people too! You'll have much
better luck remaining civil with them and explaining your problem in a
well thought out systematic manner than you will screaming at them.

Some unofficial notes from these techs are:
o Some units with serial numbers below one thousand had
consistent trouble with their circuitry not being
well connected. Difficulty cueing and skipping on beats
only during breakdowns are telltale signs. Accuracy:
50% o units which consistently skip most likely have a
misaligned laser. handle it with extra care. accuracy:75%


Unlike the Denon series, the Pioneer CDJ-500 was meant to resemble a
turntable more than a CD player. The unit fits nicely in a coffin space
originally for the Technics SL-1200 and all the operations (including disc
load) is done from the top instead of the side. The pitch slider goes +/- 10%
and includes pitch lock. Instead of using buttons for cueing and pitch bend,
the unit uses a large jog wheel to control the CD which is supposed to
resemble the feel of manipulating vinyl. (Whether or not it resembles vinyl is
up for debate, however, many say that it is easier to manipulate than the
Denons.) It can also display CD-G discs and karioke discs.

The only noticeable downfall for the unit is it's larger price tag. If
you have the kind of money it takes to get one of these, go for it.


Gemini's recent addition to the Pro-DJ market is the CD-9500 and
CD-4700, units which are in direct competition to the Denon DN-2000F/Mk II and
DN-1000F respectively.

The CD-9500 features frame level cueing (1/75th of a second), a jog
wheel allowing for six different search speeds, instant start, two disc bays,
a remote control so you can mount the unit away from the controls, and the
standard +/- 8% pitch control. Because it has only recently been introduced,
we don't know its long term stability, however, initial reactions to the unit
have been very favorable. Cute features include a protector on the power
switch so you don't accidentally turn the unit off, and eject buttons which
will not eject the disc while it is playing.

The CD-4700 is just like the CD-9500 except it sports only one disc
bay and no remote control. An ideal backup unit or a good way to start buying
equipment if you can't afford a 9500 on the first shot.

The nicest feature of the Gemini units is their price tag. Much
friendlier than the Denon units with comparable features. One feature that
Denon has up on Gemini is the pitch bend buttons -- the Gemini units only go
+/-8% whereas the Denon units go +/-12%. The extra speed on the Denon units
are useful when you've pitched up +8% on a track and need to push it just a
little faster to get the beats in sync. On the other hand, the Gemini's
multi-speed search is terribly useful when seeking through long tracks.

These are units worth checking out.

Protecting your CDs

Theft is a serious problems DJs have, especially with CDs. Because of
their smaller size, its much easier to slip them out of parties, clubs, etc.
and is much harder to prove ownership of afterward.

There are, thankfully, a few things that you can do to help protect
your discs from theft. A simple solution is to notch the cases. Unfortunately,
this is a common practice and may not do you much good if the CD inside gets

Another option is to use an exacto knife and carve your name or other
ID information into the clear center of the disc. Many used CD stores will
require that the seller produce identification if the disc they bring it has
an ID number (ie: drivers license) on it.

A more noticable solution is a special unremovable front clear
adhesive with your name on it. A company out in Arizona makes these and can
be contacted at 602-435-7299.

Depending on whether you are just starting or have decided to go pro,
you have these choices:

1. Gemini
2. Technics
3. GLI
4. Vestax

There are many other people who make turntables, however, these
tend to be the more popular models. If you have questions about a specific
model, please post it to the newsgroup -- that's what it's there for. =)

Starting DJs who aren't sure if they want to drop $400/unit for a
professional turntable should look into the low-end DJ turntables from Gemini.
These units aren't the best in the world, but in terms of bang for the buck,
they're a good option.

The Gemini XL-BD10 is a belt driven turntable which can be purchased
for less than $100/unit. It has +/-8% pitch control so you can do true
beatmixes with it. This sort of turntable is fine for learning how to work
your music and get the hang of putting together a good mix.

The Technics SL-1200 Mk II and SL-1210 Mk II turntables are
considered professional level equipment. There is a common
misconception that the only difference between the 1200 and 1210 is
their color, however, both models have been seen in both silver and
black. The true difference is in the 1210's ability to switch voltages
for use in European countries. Both decks sport a high torque motor
and use direct drive instead of belt drive. This results in a faster
spin up time thereby providing means to do instant starts. The pitch
slider allows for +/- 8% pitch and is extremely accurate. They are
also known to hold their value for long periods of time due to their
sturdy construction. For more information, check out the Technics SL-1200
FAQ at

Gemini XL-1800Q IV is Gemini's attempt at the 1200 level market. It
features anti-skate adjustment, pitch control, adjustable tone arm,
feather-touch start/stop, strobe illuminator, pop-up target light, XLR lamp
adapter, and a S-shaped tone arm. The units are cheaper than the Technics,
however, many say that they aren't as pleasant to work with. If you're tight
for money, get behind a pair and feel them yourself before making a decision.

A recent entry into the turntable war is Vestax. Their
PDX line was meant to compete with the Technics SL-1200 and based
on what many have said it is a good competetor. Definately worth
the time to check them out and compare for yourself.

Here is a quick breakdown of turntables:

GLI SL-1900
o Direct Drive o Fully manual o Start/stop button
o Slide pitch control o Cueing o Strobe illuminator
o Pop-up target light o Aluminum platter o 23lbs
o Adjustment s shape tone arm o Anti skate control

Gemini PT-1000 (The PT-2000 is no different besides 7g anti skate)
o Anti-skate adjustment o Adjustable pitch control
o Feather touch start/stop o Strobe illuminator
o Pop-up target light o S-shaped tone arm
o XLR lamp adapter

Technics SL-1200
o Quartz-Direct Drive o Heavy Duty Aluminum Platter
o Adjustable Weights on Tonearm o S-Shaped Tone Arm
o Feather Touch Start/Stop Button o Anti Skating Control
o High Torque Motor o Slide Pitch

Vestax PDX-5000 (the PDX-d3 digital table is also a great deck.)
o Direct drive quartz o Ultra high torque motor
o Start up time of 0.5 seconds o Starting torque of 1.6kg-cm
o Electronic braking system o Pitch adjustment of +/-10%
o Illuminated analog pitch VU meter o Detachable mini-light
o Detachable pitch fader o Anti-skate adjustment of 7g
o Static balanced S-shaped arm vibration sync suspend sysytem
o Remote momentary start (mini-jack) o No-dead zone around zero
o Quartz lock button

Record Cleaners
(Special thanks to Aaron Grier ( for sharing this information
on the BPM mailing list)

Dirt usually manifests itself as crackles, pop, and increased noise,
whereas a worn-out stylus typically sounds like the high-end has dropped

The best record juices won't leave any residue on the records.
The worst ones will leave a layer of "gunk" in the grooves, and possibly
draw plasticisers out of the vinyl itself making it brittle. The folks
on have shared cleaning recipes which generally
consist of 75% water (deionized, filtered), 25% ethanol (everclear), and
some photo-flo (wetting agent).

For those of you who are more interested in pre-made cleaning
agent, there have been positive reports with Discwasher D4 juice and a

Another suggestion is to use rubbing alcohol and felt cleaner.
Once the record is clean, place a few drops of WD40 on the corners to
return the moisture to it. Remember to do this last step VERY carefully.

Don't forget that bad needles can be the cause of record damage
as well. Protect your vinyl -- replace needles every few months. Your
vinyl is your lifeline in this industry, take care of it.

Needle Care and Tone Arm Adjustment
(Written by DJ Ellis Dee)

1.) Mount the needle carefully, plug into mixer and make sure
you attatch the grounding wire to eliminate hum and noise.

2.) Backoff main tonearm weight all the way to end.

3.) Move tonearm in position as if you are going to put the needle on
the record. Don't worry if it the tone arm sticks in the upward
position -- remember: the weight is all the way back.

4.) Slowly turn the weight until the tonearm balances parallel
with the deck. Make sure its exactly balanced and level.

5.) Adjust the skating so the tonearm doesn't sway to either
direction but just sits there perfectly still. This will
probably be "0".

6.) Move the black ring on the very front of the main weight
until "0" is at the top. You are now at 0 grams tracking

7.) Adjust the height ring of the tonearm assembly to about 3
so "3" matches up with the red line. Now lock the assembly
down with the locking lever. You can mess with the height
later once you feel more comfortable mixing.

8.) Although it depends on what style of music you plan to work
work with and whether or not you plan to scratch, a good
starting place for the tracking weight is 3 grams. To set the
weight, move the main tonearm weight counter clockwise until
it reads 3 at the top. Make sure to put your finger underneath
the tonearm so it doesn't it the platter and damage the needle.
The more weight you track at, the better the needle stays in the
groove. However, the additional weight will wear down both the
needle and the records. Everything is a trade off...

9.) Now you're ready to go!

Its a good idea to buy a bubble level (easily available at hardware
supply stores) and adjust the rubber feet to insure your decks are
parallel to the ground. This helps keep the needle in the grooves.

by DJ Ellis Dee
Edit 1.0 by Steve Shah, Sep. 26, 1996
Edit 2.0 by Steve Shah, Nov. 17, 1996

Steve's Legal Notes:

Remember: It is illegal to sell other peoples work. In the
case of mixtapes, reselling without acquiring permission from the
song's publisher is a definate no-no.

On the other hand, it is legal to make Demo tapes. This falls
under "fair use" of copyright law since the focus would no longer be
the music as much as it will be on your mixing (ie: submission to a
club for possible employment, etc.)

Should you decide to sell your tapes, don't say I didn't warn
you. =)

And back to DJ Ellis Dee....

Always master your mixtape on DAT. If you don't own a DAT,
rent one. A poorly recorded mixtape will reflect on your ability as a
DJ, possibly giving you a bad name without good cause.

Once you have a perfect master DAT (which is no easy task,
mind you) you have to ask yourself some questions about marketing,
money, and how big of a DJ you think you really are. All of these
center around the question: "How many mixtapes can I sell?" After all,
do you really want to be stuck with 500 mixtapes in your closet?

Your two choices are to dub them off yourself (for low to
medium volume) or to retain the services of a professional tape
duplicator. Regardless of the route you take, always use chrome
position tapes for copies. Normal and metal position tapes are of
inadaquate quality.

The home recording method is where you boy the blank chrome
tapes and make the labels/J-cards yourself. You'll need a dual tape
deck (preferrably several decks) and a LOT of time. Since you'll
need to constantly rewind and replay your original, you'll want to
press your DAT to CD which costs about $40, however, you'll then have
a permenant master which will not degrade in quality.

Once you have the tapes, you'll need to think abou the J-cards
(the inserts which show through the tape's plastic cover.) Believe it
or not, good J-cards a big selling point. Spend the time and money
(if you need to have someone else do it) to make clean, well designed
cards. Color, of course, being much preferred.

With completed, ready to sell tapes, you begin your marketing.
Remember that there are a million DJs out there and every one of them
if your competition. Do you feel well enough known that people will
recognize your name in a store and ask for your tape without goading?
If not, its time to begin getting as much exposure as you can by
doing as many events as you can.

As much as we'd like to deny this, there is a substantial amount
of in-store politics when it comes to record shops. You need to learn
how to get on the good side of the people working behind the counter
so they will recommend your tape to people when asked. Possibly even
recommend your tape without being asked. =) Just being a good DJ isn't
enough, unfortunately, so giving the employees free tapes is a good
way to make new friends. Its not the most pleasant way to acquire
business (giving away free tapes), but in the long run, you'll find
the benefit will cover such costs...

This section has been written by William Kelly (
Minor editing by Steve Shah (
Additions provided by Al Weltha (

[Ed. note: This contract is meant mostly for mobile DJs, although I'm sure
a club DJ can learn a thing or two to help protect themselves.]

DON'T LEAVE ROOM FOR LOOPHOLES. If you are lax on the exact rules,
then you could leave spots wide open for your customers to bring up in
case of problems. Check and re-check your contract. Think of
worst-case scenarios, and would the customer be able to weasel out of
the contract in those cases? My main generic suggestions for a good
contract are:

1) The date that you are scheduled to perform.

2) The time at which you are scheduled to begin and to end.

3) The place that it will be held.

With these three, they can't say, "Well, we need you to start an hour
earlier, play an hour later, move it up to next Saturday, and do it
100 miles away from where we first told you." That's all covered.

4) The price that you will pay for this time, and how much it will be
if your crowd chooses to go into overtime.

Once again, be very thorough. If you charge extra for the drive over
or the setup fees, be sure and include them in the contract. ANY
money that you want to be paid, include in the contract. Seal any of
those gaps.

5) The deposit you must (or may) pay to reserve the date is:

You can require a deposit, but I personally don't. HOWEVER...

6) If you cancel the event, we keep the deposit (if one was placed) OR
we charge a cancelation fee (if one wasn't).

I charge a $50 cancelation fee, but think I might raise it.

7) The deadline for the payment is this date...

This way they can't keep saying "Well, we're working on it." I give
them 2 weeks after the event, normally. Even the longest of paperwork
should be done by that time. In special circumstances, I'll change
this area of a contract.

8) If we do not receive payment by that date, we charge $X per DAY
past the due date.

Put this in big, bold print. I threaten $15 per day late fees, but I
only really charge it if the customer is EXTREMELY late and/or if the
customer is just someone really annoying. I've only charged a
customer ONCE. If they see this on the contract, they'll usually get
the payment to you on time...

9) Your company/establishment will be held responsible for
damage/theft of equipment or damage to DJ company employees caused by
crowd members, faulty wiring, etc... [This should take several
sentences.] Also, put in something about how they must provide
"adequate security" for the event.

This will make the customer know that you're serious about the state
of your equipment, and that they'd better keep a grip on the situation
and be prepared to take responsibility for their crowd's actions.
This is really useful if one or a handful of people cause some
problems, because the company will have to make a choice between
"hiding" who really did it and paying for the cost themselves, or
actually making the effort to find those who were responsible and
making THEM pay the costs. By experience (where a drunken college
girl knocked down our mirrored ball at a college-sponsored dance), I
can tell you they'll normally go for the latter.

Note that the tough part of that rule is the "theft" part; it's hard
to prove that you "brought" a record or CD and that it was "gone" when
you left. Thankfully, I've never had that happen. Also, I learned
from the earlier damage experience to put tape around the hook on my
mirrored ball!!

10) We won't be responsible for damage to your facilities from OUR

This is pretty much covering your butt, and if you DO know of
something that you have damaged that could have been avoided, it's a
good idea to go ahead and pay for it so that you don't get the
reputation of being a troublemaker. However, if they have bad wiring
and your stuff blows something out, they can't say "Well, it was bad,
but your equipment threw it over the edge and thus you have to pay for
rewiring the whole building."

Do NOT assume that just because you put a "not liable" clause in your
contract that you are protected from your own mistakes. You CANNOT
disclaim your own mistakes and be protected from lawsuit. Acts of
negligence CANNOT be written out of a legal agreement. The only way
you are truly covered is to outline the what-ifs in cases where YOU
don't perform as promised. For example: No-shows, equipment failure,
illness, etc. should be dealt with. "I forgot" is negligence and
*could* get you sued for the entire cost of the reception REGARDLESS
of the language you put in your contract.

I'll give you one more piece of advice: ALWAYS be honest with the
customer. Make your contracts very clear, and to the point. Make
sure you give it NECESSARY detail, but don't try to be deceptive.
Plus, make thorough checks for grammar and spelling errors. They can
really hurt the customer's respect for you, especially when they're in
a legal document.


Since many people new to the newsgroup are also
new to the Internet, I thought I'd mention a few things about Netiquette. (Net
etiquette) First and foremost, remember that you are talking with other
people, not other machines. Before going off on anyone, ask yourself if you'd
be that nasty if they were standing in front of you.

Net lingo for insulting someone. Unfortunately, most flames
are annoying noise set off by people who don't know better. On the
other hand, there are instances when flaming someone is fair and
justified. The judgment call is yours. Just be responsible...

A few notes about "flaming" someone:
o Unless what you have to say may be of interest to other
people, send the flame via e-mail. A lot of folks have to
pay for their net access and don't care to hear non-relavent
ramblings for pages on end.

o Make sure you clarify -- are you flaming their IDEA or the
PERSON. If you are flaming the person, ask yourself if you'd
say the same words if they were 3 feet in front of you.

o There are a lot of ways to say the same things. Is it
necessary to call someone "a rambling idiot" when you don't
have to?

Since has started, the people who read and
contribute have been friendly and open. Flames are kept to a minimum and there
is an atmosphere of good will. It is this sort of behavior which is what the
Internet is all about. Lets try and keep it that way. Sound like a plan?
Thought so.

"Spamming" (alias: cross-posting)
"Spamming" a message is posting the same exact message to multiple
newsgroups. Usually unrelated newsgroups. Before posting the same message to
various newsgroups, make sure that what you have to say is relavent to all of
them. Posting a message about the latest Garth Brooks release into the
alt.rave newsgroup is essentially the same thing as putting on a large neon
sign above your head that screams "moron!" Its a great way to get flamed, so
be careful when doing it.

As a courtesy, you may want to include which groups you posted to as
part of the message. This will help people following up on the message from
possible cross posting a message to unrelated newsgroups.

"Signatures" (.sig files)
Signatures are little messages that automatically get appended to your
messages whenever you post. Every newsreader has a different way of
implementing this so ask the locals for more info on how to do it in the first

It is common courtesy to keep signatures between four (4) to six (6)
lines. Signatures which are longer are good quality flame bait. We want to
hear what you have to say, not what your signature has to say.

This is a really gray area. Again, use your own judgment. If you are
a business, be especially careful. You can lose your internet access if you
post blatant advertising since it is unsolicited. Plugs are usually okay, but
keep them short. A note saying to e-mail you personally for more information is
the best way to handle these sort of things.

Putting your company's name and phone number in your signature is
fine. Just follow the notes on signatures (see above) and you should be fine.

"Want" and "For Sale" lists
Be considerate to people who have to pay for their net access and/or
may have a slow net connection. DON'T post large lists of songs you are
either selling or looking for. The best method to provide these lists is
by posting a message to e-mail you if there is interest. Supplying a web
page with all the info is equally useful. What is a large list? Anything
over 50-100 lines/items is considered reasonable. Use your good judgment.

Steve Rothkin's DJ Info

Steve posted his notes from being a DJ onto several months ago and everyone who read it
claimed it to be a tremendous help to them. He has since updated it
with new tidbits of information, but it isn't a FAQ. It's actually
more like a technical reference manual, this FAQ being more like an
introductory guide. I recommend you take the time to download the
latest version of it and read it. As for December, 1995, the document
is about 200k in size and can be fetched from

The base page, is a good place to
find other DJ related web pages.

Hearing Damage and DJs

A special thanks to all the people who contributed to this
section of the FAQ. The information is invaluable to all DJs no matter
what their niche is. The people I've managed to credit for their
contribution are:

ProformDJ (

A DJ's hearing is the ultimate gift. Without it, not only can
they no longer perform, they miss out on a lot of life too. It's
important that you think about your hearing from the start -- not
after the damage may have been done.

The typical nightclub DJ plays at around the 100 decibel
range. Based on the Ontario Health and Safety Act, this means a
maximum exposure time of approximately 2 hours. (See table below)
Realize of course that these levels are coming from the speakers --
the headphones are another story altogether. Research has shown a
hearing loss of 10dB at 4kHz after five years with 0.35% of this
listening population losing enough hearing to impair speech

There are three kinds of hearing loss:

o Acoustic Trauma -- This causes immediate and permanent
hearing damage. This happens when a person is exposed to a
sudden and excessive noise. (ie: an explosion, 140 > dB)

o Temporary Threshold Shift - This is a noise induced chemical
imbalance in the inner ear and will go away when time is
spent away from the noise source.

o Permanent Threshold Shift - This is noise induced hearing
loss caused by damage to the cochlea, an organ covered with
tiny hairs and nerves. The higher frequencies are where this
type of hearing loss is first noted because the hairs for
those frequencies are more fragile. This is the usual type
of damage that leads people to believe that they are
"getting used to the noise." What is really happening is
that the damaged ear can no longer hear the damaging
frequencies as well and therefore the perceived volume is

So what can you do to help protect your hearing? Several

Position the DJ setup behind the dancefloor speakers. It's
obviously not nearly as noisy behind the speakers as it is in front of

Earplugs. Surprisingly, there are many earplug options for
musicians which protect ears while allowing for a clean enough sound
to effectively play their instruments. If you DJ regularly and are
exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time, you should see an
audiologist to make sure your hear remains in check. Customized
earplugs can also be made for a perfect fit in your ear.

Nutritional supplements. Research found correlations between
serum magnesium levels and noise induced permanent hearing threshold
shifts. What does that all mean? Go down to your drug store and buy a
bottle of magnesium supplements. You'll be less likely to receive
permenant ear damage once you do.

For beginning DJs, train yourself to mix and monitor at very
low volume levels. You'll find that there is a natural tendency to
turn the headphones and/or monitors too loud while learning to mix
thereby requiring the same (possibly damaging) level once you've
gotten the knack for it.

If you're working in a club where the dancefloor is
overpowering your monitor, turn the monitor off. With a little
practice and warm-up you can learn to compensate for the delay created
by signal processors, remote amplifiers, and echo.

Leave the headphone slightly off your ear to soften the
impact. If you've learned your music well enough, you don't need to
hear the music clearly, just well enough to discern the beats.

These simple tips will greatly help you keep your hearing.
A cause most definitely worth the time and effort.

Useful Tables:

The Ontario's Health and Safety Act

Sound Level (in dB)Max Allowable Exposure (in Hours)
90 8
92 6
95 4
97 3
100 2
102 1.5
105 1
110 0.5
115 0.25
Over 115 No Allowable Exposure

A big special thanks to: Simon Leyland, Dave Schwartz, Michael Erb, and Rob

Weddings are probably one of the most frequent DJ gigs going.
Thankfully, has a few seasoned professionals who have
shared their insight on the matter.

Before getting into the internals of DJing a wedding, you need to ask
yourself a very important question:

Are you ready for the responsibility?

The DJ has a VERY important role in weddings today. They need to make
announcements, set the tempo, and manage the structure. There is a great deal
of focus placed on the DJ (almost equal to that of the bride and groom) which
means lack of performance on your part will result in a wedding gone flat.
Depending on your relationship to the bride and groom this could mean anything
from being sued to losing a friend. Be sure you understand what it means to
be in this role BEFORE taking it.

Some additional things to think about before taking on the event are:

o Do you have the appropriate gear? This includes speakers, amps,
and microphones. They need to be powerful and sturdy enough for
the number of people attending. With the speakers, be sure they
are heavy enough so they don't tip over with people jumping up
and down on the dance floor.

o Do you have appropriate music? This is especially true if you
typically work parties and clubs/raves. Remember: You'll
need to appeal to a diverse group of people here, most of
whom will still think C&C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You
Sweat" is the hot thing on the dance floor. See the "Music"
section below.

o Are you comfortable talking on the microphone? You will need to
(at the very least) announce the arrival of wedding party followed
by introductions of each couple.

o Appropriate attire: If you don't already own a tux or other
appropriate formal wear, be ready to rent one.

Once you are sure you are ready to take on the task, you need to
prepare. There are many things you need to be aware of BEFORE getting to the
wedding to insure things go smoothly. These things can typically be found from
asking the person(s) responsible for organizing the wedding. Most often this
is the bride and groom, however, if it is not, you may want to let the bride
and groom know what the plan is. You don't want ANY surprises on the wedding
day itself.

Questions you need to ask include:

o What is the desired order of the event? (see suggestions below)

o What will be your role as the MC (Master of Ceremony)?

o What songs would they like played for their "Special Dances"
ie: First Dance, Parent/Child dance, etc.

o Any special song requests?

While discussing the reception music with the bride and groom, be sure
to keep in mind the accessability of a song to all the people there. If they
have any odd or unusual requests (ie: a track from U2's War album) you may
want to ask them to rethink it since it isn't very dancable and most people
will not be able to recognize it. You may also want to ask if an odd or
unusual request has any sentiment attached to it. If so, you could make an
announcement that the song is special (be sure to mention why, ie: song
playing when they first kissed, etc.) before playing it.

While asking for input you may find that one relative that thinks they
know enough to do your job and may feel it necessary to tell you how to handle
things. This can be especially troublesome during the reception itself. Don't
ignore them altogether, but take their input with a grain of salt. Be
interested in what they have to say about the people there more than their
input on what songs to play.

On the Day Itself

Be ready to work. Being the DJ doesn't mean being a human jukebox, it
means having to read the crowd, pick the right order, and guide the energy.
(Mix alcohol into this and you'll need to guide the drunks too. =)

Note: Read the section on contracts first. You should have a contract
between you and the wedding party agreed upon early. Especially take note of
the time requirements -- How long do they want you to play?

To setup, you'll want to arrive at least one hour early. This gives
you enugh time to setup and do a sound check. If you plan on doing any beat
mixing, you may want to try a small one to get a feel for the acustics and
delays from the speakers to you. You will also want to get a feel for what
"loud" is for the room. Be sure to test the microphone too. There should not
be any feedback and the volume should be easy to control. Don't forget to
bring plenty of duct tape and a pair of scissors! You'll need to tape cables
to the floor. Also be sure to bring power strips and extension cords.

Tip: Bring two pairs of shoes. A pair for moving gear around and a
pair for the reception itself. This will allow you to move your gear without
as much risk of slipping and/or dropping things. Be sure to change into the
appropriate shoes before people arrive.

If your gear is not in coffins (although they should be), be sure to
tie the cables in the back of your gear together so they appear clean and
neat. Appearance is very important.

Once the people begin arriving, you'll need to play background dinner
music. The ambient noise isn't so much to annoy you as it is to make people
more comfortable talking with one another. Preferred music for this sort of
thing is insturmental and very light. Jazz and new age is ideal (ie: Kenny G
and Enya). The occational slow big band tune is fine too. Use good judgement
-- the music should only be background noise and easy to ignore. You should be
ready with at least 2 hours of music, preferably 3. (Just in case...) Unless
asked to, be sure to have enough different stuff for variety. You may be
surprised at who pays attention to the music.

As things get started, you'll need to keep an eye out for the wedding
party. Most people will arrive before they do which means they'll be crowd to
contend with as well. When you see them arrive, greet them and let them know
that you're ready. Perform the introductions. Remember to speak slowly --
they'll be photos being taken as this happens. Have some music mixed into this
as well, but again, keep it mellow and insturmental. The typical order of
introductions are: Grandparents, Parents, Bridesmaids & Ushers, Flower Girl &
Ring Bearer, Maid/Matron of honor & Best Man, Bride & Groom.

Inbetween the beginning of dinner music and the dancing is the
mish mash of eating, pictures, announcements, toasts, etc. Be sure to have
these worked out in advance as to who will be saying what and what they'll be
saying. Here is a possible "order of operations," however, be ready to throw
this out and allow for regional and family differences in how things are done.
Be flexible, but insist that the order be agreed upon ahead of time.

o Announce that dinner is being served. If there is a blessing to be
given, this is the time for it. If it is a buffet style, you'll need to
"release the tables." This means explaining to the crowd to come to the buffet
one table at a time so there isn't a excessive line. Suggest a order (ie:
tables that go left to right). Remember that the bride and groom go first,
then the families, followed by everyone else.

o As the dinner ends, the best man should announce the toast.

o Cake cutting and serving.

o Ask the couple if they are ready for their first dance (done eating,
etc.) If so, announce it. The song for their first dance should already be

o Announce the parent/child dance. Be sure there are parents involved
with this before announcing it. It would be very awkward should someone's
parents be deceased and there not be a matching parent. This should be figured
out BEFORE the actual wedding day.

o Open up the floor for family and friends for a slow dance. If there
are enough people dancing, you may want to let it go for two songs.

o Announce the dollar dance. Have at least 5-10 songs ready for this
since you don't know how long this will last. The first song for the dollar
dance may be something that the bride and groom select.

o Announce the garter/bouquet toss. Have appropriate music for this,
esp. for the garter toss. Typically "The Stripper" is played, however, there
have been some people using alternate songs such as the Mission Impossible
theme. You may want to ask the bride and groom about this before playing it.

o Open the floor up for everyone to dance.

The opening of the floor is a big deal and you're going to need a
clincher song to get everyone onto the floor. The song needs to appeal to the
young AND old so stick to classics from disco or rock. Something that everyone
knows and is comfortable with. Up tempo is important. Suggestions include:

o Celebration
o Twist and Shout
o Stayin Alive
o Elvis tunes

Other suggestions include rock'n'roll megamixes since they tend to
cover a lot of favorites and will get everyone up and dancing.

This is when you NEED to watch the floor like a hawk. See what the
people respond to and what turns them off. This will help guide you in picking
songs to play for remainder of the evening.

This is where no one can really tell you what to do. Every crowd is a
little different and will respond differently to the music. Your ability to
read the crowd and pick the right songs to play is critical to keeping the
tempo of the party going.

Depending on the contract you signed with the bride and groom, you'll
need to be ready for anywhere from 2-4 hours of dance music. Its rare you'll
need more than that, however, should the contract call for longer play you'll
want to be ready for it.

Remember: You need to play songs to satisfy everyone -- not a trivial
task. The guests may have travelled a long distance to get there and spent
money on a present. If they don't like the music you are playing, they aren't
going to have a good time. The best thing to do is to play as many requests as
possible (as long as they are dancable!). Encourage requests early on.

Assuming a "normal" wedding crowd, keep the music recognizable, keep
mixing up the styles and don't neglect to play an adaquate amount of slow
tunes (more of them earlier for the older guests). Perhaps every 4th or 5th
song should be slow. Many times, slow songs will pull the older crowd onto the
floor. Use this opportunity and follow up a slow song with a good oldie to
keep them dancing.

Beatmixing: If you can do it, by all means, use this powerful tool.
Its a great way to keep the flow on the floor. Its also a good way for people
who are otherwise uncomfortable dancing to feel the beat and keep the same
beat for a few songs at a stretch. If you can't beatmix, try to arrange your
sets so the BPMs are similar to one another in a set. ie: if you're doing a
dance set that starts with a 120bpm song, keep the next track about the same
BPM. This will keep people from tripping over themselves. Surprisingly, this
applies to slow dances too.

Switching styles: While the floor may seem to be full with the disco
set, allowing it to last too long will likely make your crowd bored. Be ready
to switch styles after a handful of songs. When switching styles, open up the
next set with something energetic (unless of course its a slow set) to try and
pull some of the people who are sitting down back onto the floor.

People breakdown: You'll find that the older crowd will leave earlier
than the younger crowd. Watch for who is staying on the dance floor and who is
leaving. As the evening wears on, cater to the people who are on the floor
which most likely means more contemporary tunes. This is a great time to let
some of the odder (but dancable) requests through.

The Macarena: We all love to hate it. Including the guests. But play
it and watch the floor fill. Unless explicitly asked not to play it by the
bride and groom, play it! Same goes for other line dancing songs -- its
popular to dislike it, but you'll find more people on the floor dancing to it
than any other time. (including the so-called old people. =)


Below are some of the most common songs requested/needed for the
average wedding reception.

Note: This is by no means an authoritative list. Be aware of local trends and
interests as well as requests. This list is simply a guideline for those who
may not even know where to start.

If you find any errors in this list (wrong title or singer's name) please
send them to me for future inclusion:

Title Singer/Band
ABC Jackson-5
Ain't No Stopping Us Now McFadden & Whitehead
At The Hop Danny & the Juniors
Blue Suede Shoes Elvis
Boogie, Oogie, Oogie Taste of Honey
Born To Be Alive Patrick Hernandez
Brown Eyed-Girl Van Morrison
Burn Rubber On Me Gap Band
Can't Help Falling In Love Elvis
Celebration Kool & The Gang
Cecilia Simon & Garfunkel
Conga Miami Sound Machine
Cotton Eye Joe Rednex
December '63 The Four Seasons
Devil With the Blue Dress On &
Good Golly Miss Molly (medley) Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Disco Inferno Tramps
Dropped a Bomb On Me Gap Band
Electric Boogie Marcia Griffiths
Gonna Make You Sweat C & C Music Factory
Flashlight Parliament
Le Freak Chic
Funkytown Lipps, INC.
Get Down Tonight KC & Sunshine Band
Get Ready for This 2 Unlimited
Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis
Heaven Must Have Sent You Bonnie Pointer
Hey Mickey Tony Basil
Hot Hot Hot Buster Poindexter
I Got You (I Feel Good) James Brown
I Only Have Eyes For YouThe Flamingos
I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles
Jailhouse Rock Elvis
La Bamba Ritchie Valens
Legs ZZ Top
Let's Twist Again Chubby Checker
Love Shack B-52's
Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
My Sharona The Knack
Oh, Pretty Woman Roy Orbison
Old Time Rock & Roll Bob Seger
Only You Platters
Party Train Gap Band
Red, Red Wine UB40
Respect Aretha Franklin
Ring My Bell Anita Ward
Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley & Comets
Rockin' Robin Bobby Day
Runaround Sue Dion
Safety Dance Men Without Hats
Satisfaction (I Can't Get No) Rolling Stones
Shake Your Groove Thing Peaches & Herb
Shame Evelyn Champagne King
Shout Pts. 1 & 2 Isley Bros.
Stayin Alive Bee Gees
Summer Nights Grease Soundtrack
Tequila Champs
That's The Way I Like It KC & Sunshine Band
The Twist Chubby Checker
To Be Real Cheryl Lynn
Twist & Shout Beatles
Unchained Melody Righteous Brothers
Wanderer, The Dion
We Are Family Sister Sledge
What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
When A Man Loves a Woman Percy Sledge
Wolly Bully Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs
You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC
YMCA Village People

Some Closing Notes on Weddings:

Remember that a wedding is (in theory) a once in a lifetime event for
the bride in groom. You can either be the source of fond memories or evil ones
-- understand that responsibility before you take on the task. Its a lot of
work, but it's also very rewarding.

-- Legal Junk --
(Hey! Where did this come from?!)

The Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ is document released into the public
domain by Steve Shah. Although the editor (Steve Shah) has a tendency to float
around one or more networks at any given time, the Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ
is not affiliated with any network or online service.

The entire document is a compilation of notes and insights provided by
the editor, Steve Shah, along with people who have posted messages to the
Alt.Music.Makers.DJ Newsgroup on USENET. The editors and contributors will not
be held responsible for the use or misuse of the information contained in this

Any brands or products mentioned in the Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ are
trademarks of their respoective owners. The editor is not affiliated with any
group or organization.

The Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ may only be distributed in unaltered
form. Readers may produce hard copies of the Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ
or backup copies on diskette for their own personal use only. The
Alt.Music.Makers.DJ FAQ may not be distributed in combination with any
other publication or product without prior written permission.

A special thanks to my family who helped me buy gear, and my sweet who lets me
play loud thumping music at odd hours of the night. ;)

End of FAQ
"Always remember, it's a great big disco world..." -Information Society



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