It is funny to think there are DJs now who have never touched a slipmat and may not even know what one is. So what is a slipmat for those that have never touched a vinyl deck before. A slipmat is a circular piece of slippery cloth or synthetic materials disk jockeys place on the turntable platter instead of the traditional rubber mat.
Unlike the rubber mat which is made to keep hold the record firmly in sync with the rotating platter, slipmats are designed to slip on the platter, allowing the DJ to manipulate a record on a turntable while the platter continues to rotate underneath. This is useful for holding a record still for slip-cueing, making minute adjustments during beatmatching and mixing and pulling the record back and forth for scratching.
They also make your turntable pretty or customised when not in use. Do not under estimate the importance of a slipmat, having the right slipmat can make all the difference when djing.
To setup a slipmap on your decks remove the rubber mat that came with your deck. Under this is your deck plate which may have a rubber coating, don’t remove that! On top of the deck plate place your slip mat and then your vinyl. Super easy.
What slipmats you use is up to personal preference, we prefer butter rugs as they feel like they are almost not there but each DJ has their own preference. Having an elaborate printed design looks nice but lower quality slipmats have been known to damage vinyl. Technics slipmats are always popular but check out hip-hop specific mats as they will have been designed for scratching in mind.
This is why we like butter rugs, they are thin, light and slippy.
Slipmats work differently depending on what type of turntable you have, belt drive or direct drive. If you stop a direct drive turntable with your hand it’ll instantly carry on at full speed once you remove your hand. A belt drive slowly ramps up the speed which can be used in dj sets but makes scratching very difficult.
Some DJs cut a sheet of wax paper to be like a slipmat, they then use these as a secondary slipmat to make for less friction. This is often needed on less powerful decks but some djs just want things as smooth as possible.