Dividing Quarter Notes With Stabs

The Stab

If you only practice one skratch, it should be Stabs.

Unicorn Stabs

Stabs are the skratch I hear QBert telling every single one of the 2,000+ students on QBert Skratch University to practice, from the complete beginner to the world class skratch virtuoso.

The stab needs constant practice to keep it “in the pocket”, and it always has room for improvement. If I could take away only one lesson from my almost 4 years on QSU, it would be the stab.

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The benefits of practicing stabs every day

  • it’s really fun
  • the Stab is super funky and will link all your other skratch techniques together
  • greatly improved hands-together coordination
  • it sounds so dope
  • the crowd always gets hype when you do awesome stabs
  • all your other skratches will become much cleaner and controlled
  • get the stab down and you will sound like a pro skratcher with really clean cuts
  • it will spice up all your DJ mixes
  • sharpened phrasing skratches
  • improved drum skratches
  • gain an advantage in battles
  • every one stabs differently, master the stab and your style will stand out.

In this stabs lesson you will learn:

  • Quarter Note Stabs

quarter note card

  • Five divisions of the quarter note, and how to stab them.
  • Eighth Note

eighth note card

  • Quarter Note Triplet

quarter note triplet card

  • Sixteenth Note

sixteenth note card

  • A Quarter Note Divided into 5

five sixteenths card

  • Eighth Note Triplets

eighth note triplet card

  • You will also be able to follow-along with me and improve your stab technique through a QnA style practice session.

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Video Transcription

Practice your stabs!

(Stab Freestyle Demo)

Wuzzup Skratch Crew! ZSonic Here!

Today I’m going to help you level up your stabs.

The stab is arguably the best skratch.  It sounds funky. It combos with everything. It’s really the one skratch that you can practice that’s gonna make all your other skratches sound better.  So today I’m going to help you level up your stab by teaching you to divide quarter notes. Alright, Let’s get Skratchin!

Ok we’ll start with the straight up quarter note. If you nod your head to a beat, everytime you nod your head it’s a quarter note. If you stab quarter notes, it sounds like this.

(Quarter Note Stabs Demo)

Now we’re gonna divide that quarter note into two.  That gives us eighth notes. When you stab eighth notes, it sounds like this.

(Eighth Note Stabs Demo)

Now we’re gonna divide a quarter note into three. When you divide a quarter note by three you get triplets, quarter note triplets. When you stab those, it sounds like this.

(Quarter Note Triplet Stabs Demo)

Alright now we’ll divide the quarter note into four.  That gives us sixteenth notes. When you stab sixteenth notes, it sounds like this.

(Sixteenth Note Stabs Demo)

Ok now we’re going to divide a quarter note by five. When you divide a quarter note by five I don’t technically know what that’s called. So if you know what that’s called, please comment below and you can teach me something. When you stab a quarter note divided into five, it sounds like this.

(Quarter note divided by five Stabs Demo)

Alright next up we’ll divide a quarter note into six. That’s gonna give us eighth note triplets. When you stab eighth note triplets, it sounds like this.

(Eighth note triplet Stabs Demo)

Now we’re gonna hear what those divisions sound like to a beat. It’s gonna be a follow-along. So I’ll skratch for a measure, then you try to do the same thing for a measure. I’ll start with quarter notes, then go on to eighth notes, triplets, and so on. For each one I’ll stab for a measure, then I’ll rest, then you stab the same division for a measure.  Test yourself and see what you can do.

If you have any questions you can feel free to contact me at ZSonic@ZSonicSound.com or you can comment below. Let’s get goin with this and let’s have some fun!

(QnA follow-along practice session)

Alright, I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson. I hope you learned something and I hope you had a lot of fun. If you like this lesson go to ZSonicSound.com for more free skratch lessons.

Sign up for that email list cus I’m gonna be comin out with a bunch of cool stuff, and exclusive stuff for all my email list subscribers, skratch tools, speedboosters, beats, all types of stuff. More Lessons. It’s gonna be awesome! 

So check out ZSonicSound.com. And I really wanna help get you excited and keep you motivated to practice your stabs! because they’re freakin awesome!  alright, so, Have fun! ZSonic Out.

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BAD Challenge Rules and Tips

Beat-a-Day (BAD) Challenge

The BAD challenge is a 30 day challenge. It tests your beat-making, your skratching, your videography and editing. The goal is to make a beat in 1 hour then film a freestyle skratch video to it and get it edited all in one day, for 30 days straight.

Click here to see my results with the BAD Challenge

BAD Challenge Rules

Set a timer for 1 hour and make a beat.

– Once the timer is up, bounce the beat down to a loop and record a freestyle skratch video using the beat loop you made

Edit the video

– *Optional* post the video to your website and/or social media

This is a really fun challenge that pushes your musical creativity.  It is a bit difficult and takes a lot of work, but well worth the benefit. Here are some tips if you decide to try this challenge yourself.

BAD Challenge Tips

Write your goal down – Before you start the challenge write your goal to complete the 30 days on a piece of paper and hang it on your wall somewhere you can see it every day.  Preferably somewhere you will see it when you first wake up, or when you first go into your studio.  You are automatically %40 more likely to complete your goal if you write it down.

Mental Contrasting – After you write your goal down, write down how you will feel if you complete it.  Write down how you will feel if you don’t complete it.  This is called “Mental Contrasting”.  It is a technique that will give you more control over your situation and help you achieve your goals.  You should also write down anything that might stop you from completing the daily goal.  Be honest with yourself.  Try to come up with solutions if you know something will be an obstacle for you. Do you have a weekend vacation in the next 30 days?  Bring your portable setup. Do you have long work shifts that will make you too tired?  Try to get up earlier and make your beat before work.  Sometimes it will be hard to work around your life, and that’s perfectly fine.  You don’t absolutely have to make a beat every day, and you can take longer than 30 days to complete the challenge.  The goal of this is not to stress you out. Just have fun being creative, and try to push yourself, but don’t stress yourself out.

Make a Completion Checklist – Write all 30 days down on a piece of paper like this




and so-on up until BAD D30.

You can also write them on a calendar. Every time you complete one of the daily goals, cross it off the completion list.  Crossing goals off a list will help keep you motivated to keep going. It makes it more fun!

Template – Before you start the challenge make a template in your DAW  with any drum kits, samplers, instruments, and/or effects you like to use.  Save your template as “BADChallengeTemplate”.  If you’re not sure how to make a template, just save it as a regular project file with name I suggested.

Save  templates for all the days – The day before you start the challenge open your “BADChallengeTemplate”.  Save the template as a new file and name it “BADChallenge Day1”.  Then save-as again and name it “BADChallenge Day2”.  Do this again for Day 3, and so on, up to Day 30.  This way each day you go to start the beat, you just open the template for that day.

Camera Set-up – Have your camera set-up and ready to record and just leave it in the same place for duration of the challenge.

Make a promise to post the videos – In the rules I put posting the videos online as optional. However, I do recommend this as it will hold you accountable to finish the challenge.  Plus, the support you get from the skratch community will help motivate you to keep going.  I encourage you to share your videos with me as well. I’d love to see them!

Get support – Surrounding yourself with a support network will really help you stay motivated in completing your goals. Posting the videos online and letting people know you are doing the challenge is a great way to do this.  You should also tell your family, especially the ones you live with, that you are doing this challenge. You can also sign up for my email list and I will give you encouragement and feedback.

Click here to check out my BAD Challenge Blog and watch the videos.

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