Emulate Turntable Scratching with This Free Ableton Live Pack
Let's start this discussion admitting that there is nothing that will replace scratching on a real turntable with a real record. You really need the right gear, a turntable you won't ruin attempting to scratch, and you need the skills. I have neither, and frankly, I have no plans to buy the gear and learn the skills. What I do have is a set of free Ableton Live Effect Racks that come pretty close, and I'd like to share those with you.
Ingredients: Pitch and Rhythm
So in constructing this effect rack I kept in mind what I think are the two desired results of record scratching: Rhythmic and Pitch changes. We can get the pitch effects by turning the feedback of Live's delay to 0% and right-clicking on its title bar and selecting "Repitch" mode. Repitch mode will emulate analog delays, which altered the pitch of the delays to change their speed. The Rhythmic element can be controlled with how we time our modulation of the delay's time parameter. I've set this up in the two devices you see below, on the Macro Control "Scratch!":
By moving the "Scratch!" knob, you are turning on the delay and changing the delay's Time. Since the feedback is at 0%, you will only get one repeat. My advice, and I demonstrated this in the video below, is to map the "Scratch!" Macro to a cross fader. I use the cross fader on my APC40. If you don't have a cross fader, a regular fader will work better than a knob because you can move a fader faster. By quickly moving the fader back and forth, you can create rhythmic pitch changes that sound a lot like record scratching.
*Edit: Ooops I Did It Again!
I guess after over 100 free Ableton Live Packs, it's inevitable I repeat myself. After posting this, I realized that I've already released a Vinyl Scratching effect. I decided to keep both, because they are different takes on the same concept. But in any case, here is the old post. Either way, I hope you enjoy this and find it useful in your music making :)