How to Cue a Song as a DJ

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Cue a Song as a DJ. If you dream of becoming a successful DJ, one of the most basic tasks you must master is successfully cueing a song. This means that you have a song ready and waiting to go; you picked a cue point and as soon as you press a button, the song begins playing exactly at that point. Here are a few tips about proper DJ equipment and cueing techniques.

Purchase the right equipment. At a minimum, you need a decent semi-professional disc jockey CD player; mixing equipment and/or software is nice, but optional for cueing. Denon dual-deck rack-mountable CD players are high-quality machines for such purposes.

Examine the main buttons and functions on the control deck. Look at the Cue button (used for stopping, starting and returning to the cue point). Locate the Play/Pause button and the jog wheel (used for adjusting the cue point). Find the pitch adjust slider (speeds up or slows down the music so you can beat mix from one song to another); the pitch adjust buttons (same function as the slider, but in smaller increments) and a single/continuous function (choose "continuous" if you want the next song to automatically play). More advanced CD players have computer touch screens on which you can drag and drop notes, frames and other musical components and mix songs in MP3 format.

Prepare to cue a song. Starting on the first beat of a measure (the downbeat) is an essential component of beat mixing. Some songs start right off with a downbeat; others have an instrumental lead-in. If this is the case, press "Pause" and scrub through the song using the jog wheel until you hear the first down beat. When you are ready to set a cue point, press the "Cue" button to set the spot. If you need to make adjustments, do so with the slider next to the "Play/Pause" button.

Use the pitch bend function. This speeds up or slows down the music and makes it sound "hazy." Some mixing stations have two pitch bend buttons ("fast" and "slow"); with others, you can just use the jog wheel.