Turntablism is founded on the premise of messing around with stuff. Scratching was an accidental discovery, and it can be argued that most of the scene is essentially based around doing what you’re not supposed to do with records and gear. One such exponent of this principle is DJ Woody, who has done all manner of crazy stuff, including playing one record with two with two turntables. No really.
Another such idea of doing something that gear wasn’t designed to do is the fretless fader. Originally designed by John Beez 7 years ago, this idea set the scratch world on fire. There have notable variations on this theme, notably Machiel‘s MIDI hack, Mark Hallinan‘s voltage controlled version, the FonoFaders project, And RhYmEs’s rather splendid Mackie d.2 hack. And most recently Ritchie Ruftone has been showing off a fretless fader prototype too on Facebook too. So there are plenty of modders picking up John Beez’s original and having a go themselves.
Woody’s approach is a tad more ghetto than most, and is the most staggeringly simple take on the idea. While others have been turning mixers into what is effective a huge MIDI pitch fader, Woody has plonked a portable Raiden fader onto his Vestax PDX pitch fader. It’s a bit wobbly and about as low rent as you can get, but the idea is sound, and is proven by the performance. Got to love modding essentials like Lego and Blu Tack.
FRETLESS FADER FUTURE?
Given that there are 100 x Vestax Controller Ones in the market, I can probably count on my fingers the DJs who have done anything meaningful with it. But given that the fretless fader is definitely doable on a homebrew modding basis, I can only hope that DJs do get into it and produce some very creative sets. Not only that, innovation is sparked by such things, and perhaps those who get their hands dirty modding conventional gear can come up with some fresh ideas for new hardware too.