Before we get started. Although I have been playing, performing and entertaining with records as my medium of choice for over 30 years I consider myself somewhat of a novice in the wonderful community of the 45 DJ of today.
A large part of me didn’t want to create this page as these niche scenes can often be quite intimidating and providing a resource like this considering my noviceness (if that’s even a work) lays myself wide open to abuse and constrasting opinion. The reason I have gone ahead is down to one major factor. I recently joined the Facebook group ‘The 45 Kings’, which was recommended to me by Mojaxx (who I’m sure you know of). The group has been welcoming and encouraging and seems to be void of the usual FB sniping. Anyway, on with the show. I am going to cram in as much info as I can and urge you guys to get involved with feedback and ideas.
A useful video
For the record
It’s all about the music! OK folks, time to prepare your wallets and purses! Yes, you can trawl through the charity shops and only Oxfam seem to have wised up (so far) to the potential value of certain sought after 7″ singles.
It is however quite hard to find build a half decent collection going down this route and involves huge digs to achieve any notable spoils. So that turns me onto where we all end up buying the core of our collections from. The likes of Juno, Dusty fingers, Rook Records, Discogs and even eBay all provide options which will have you covered for the genres you are likely to be interested in such as soul, funk, hip hop, breaks, jazz, latin etc., but at a cost. You’ll do well to find the odd £5 bargain but expect to pay upwards of £10 a piece for anything significant.
I’ll quickly mention dinked vs non dinked 45s. I believe dinked records (the ones with the big hole in the middle are predominantly and American thing and I can only think it maybe had something to do with juke boxes (I’ll correct this text as I learn more) whereas 7″ singles with the small standard holes a more of a European thing. Most however are dinked now in the scene.
In the mix
Basically you need two turntables and a mixer. Yes, you could pretty much use anything, but let’s be honest we all want the best kit! In terms of turntables, it was inevitable I was going to mention the mighty Technics 1200s of course but another cool option and one I spotted DJ Ace (love his knowledge, skills and energy) spinning on was the cool and cost effective Numark PT01 Scratch Turntable. There are many alternatives but these are kinda two ends of the spectrum but bothe cool options.
Now we move onto the mixer. This may not be such a clear cut (pardon the pun) choice. Youtube will be your go-to companion that can help guide you through the mixer minefield. In my opinion a good mixer if you are focussing on spinning the 45s will have the following attributes. A short-throw crossfader, some cool effects (to aide the mix transition) good eq and possibly a high pass/low pass filter. The big two on most 45 spinners lips are the Pioneer DJM S9 and the Rane 72 (or 62) but there are many great mixers available for less that do a similar job. My tip for amazing value with solid build and very good faders and a clever way that not many know about how to integrate software effects into a real vinyl mix is the amazing Native Instruments Z2 – a lot of mixer for a very reasonable price!
Time to accessorise
The first and most obvious one is the slipmat which allows you to cue up the record whilst the platter contiues to spin underneath the record so when you release the record it gets up to speed quickly. These come on a variety of designs but are essentially made from felt. There are clever variations on this theme with built in platter discs and all sorts but what I personally use and seem to give great control are Dr Suzuki’s ‘The Donuts’ 7 inch slipmats.
On the subject of stability I also (when required) use a record weight (AKA stabilizers). Sometimes the record may be dished or just doesn’t grip so therefor does now spin consistently, so adding a weight helps pin the record down a little. Now, the record weights I use have an integrated adapter for dinked records (retractable when not required). This leads us on to the subject of adapters. Mojaxx was so right when he said about working your way through quite a few different adapters until yoiu find a bunch that work for you. I say a bunch because irritatingly all dinked 45s aren’t a consistently standard diameter, so often a few different ones need to be on hand. You want a snug fit to reduce the possibility of your needle skipping or worse!
Then there are the vinyl care products. The same as with adapters finding the cleaning and care products you are happy with is a bit of a mission and can include items like microfibre cloths, homemade record cleaner fluid, anto static brushes, anti-static guns, record spin washers etc etc..