Announcements

January 06, 2020

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Kicking 2020 off right with Kendama

Welcome to the new decade, dama players. Here's what the next decade looks like. New shapes, new tricks, new edits, new players, new pros, all wrapped up in the same amazing community.

Battle at the Border 2020

picture of the kendama event battle at the border 2020 located in nashville tennessee

On January 3rd and 4th, Sol continued to coordinate and operate the longest-standing event in the United States: Battle at the Border. Hosted annually at Rocketown in Nashville, TN, we choose to kick off every year in grand style with a fun, yet competitive event to help ensure that the kendama scene stays alive and well.

Here's a list of things that happen at BATB:

  • Freestyle competition
  • Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Open ladders (head-to-head)
  • Raffles for prizes
  • KendamaCares - accepting donations (food, jackets, blankets) to donate to those in need
  • Vendors of all your favorite brands (and discovering new ones)
  • Spending time with the amazing kendama players who make up our community

We left out one major bullet point....

Alex Mitchell is now a Sol Kendamas Pro!

picture of sol kendamas new pro kendama player Alex Mitchell

A lot of you will probably say: a long time coming. We agree completely. Alex has been honing in his skill, his community, and his pro model. It is modeled after the Tokyo subway system, and is going to be amazing. It is tentatively releasing and will be available in February 2020.

Starting the Year with Thanks

picture of sol kendamas co-owner shelton covington at battle at the border 2020

Shelton and Chad are so thankful to have the opportunity to serve the kendama community, whether it is hosting an event, creating new kendama designs, refining kendama shapes, or making a podcast.

picture of chad covington, owner of sol kendamas, kendama pro, kendama designer, genius

Here's to a huge next year, and a huge upcoming decade. Hang in there with us, we're ready to rock and roll.

July 05, 2018

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Types of Paints Used for Kendamas and Why It Matters

There are many different types of paint used for kendama, and each of them change the way you play kendama drastically. We are going to teach you about each of the different paint styles, and why choosing the right paint is crucial when playing kendama. There are many different paint styles used by a variety of different kendama brands, but the main paint types include natural (no paint), glossy, sticky, and rubber/silk paint.

Natural (no paint)

So you've chosen the wild side, eh? In the Kendama Community, kendamas with no paint are referred to as natural, or "natty" kendamas. Natural kendamas are classic, and a must have for any true kendama player. These kendamas come in a variety of wood types, and can even have a finish or a polish on them. Natural kendamas tend to be very "slick" when doing tama grip tricks, but can become very "grippy" after breaking them in well. In very humid areas, natty kendamas become much easier to use, because the wood absorbs the humidity and increases the traction between the ken and the tama. This same effect can be replicated with sweat absorbed in the wood from your hands, or by licking the bevel of the tama to make stall tricks much easier. Licking the bevel of the tama might sound crazy, but many professional kendama players can be found doing this in competition, or when chasing a very difficult trick for a kendama edit.

Walnut Halfsplit Flow

Glossy Paint

It is very rare that a kendama company produces glossy paint anymore, but there are many kendamas out there that have glossy paint, so we will still include it in our list of kendama paint types. Glossy paint was a standard in kendama for many years, until paint with more grip was introduced into the Kendama Community around late 2011. We do not produce kendamas with glossy paint anymore, but this style hasn't been completely fazed out just yet. Glossy paint is very slick right out of package, and takes many months of play to break in properly. Once broken in, this paint will have some grip, and will most likely look very beaten up by then. You might like glossy paint if your prefer a challenge, and don't mind putting in the work to make it play like a dream.

TK16 Master Kendama

Sticky Paint

If instant satisfaction is your name, then sticky paint is your game! The most popular paint style nowadays is sticky paint. Sticky painted kendamas allow you to learn tricks faster, progress in difficulty quicker, and innovate kendama tricks even further than ever before. Kendamas with sticky paint have the most grip directly out of package, and tend to keep that grip for their entire lifespan. Many tricks in tama grip become significantly more achievable with sticky paint, and that is why it is so popular. In some weather conditions, sticky paint may lose its grip, but this generally isn't the case. Sticky paint tends to be very durable, and while some paint chipping may occur, the tama will generally retain its grippy nature. Definitely get your hands on a sticky kendama if you want to progress your kendama game.

Lavender Sol Pastel

Rubber/Silk Paint

Smooth to the touch, but it comes in clutch. Rubber/Silk paint can be deceivingly grippy at times, despite its smooth silky feel. This paint type started to become popular around 2012, and many people actually considered rubber paint a form of cheating at the time! There was a stigma around making kendama tricks easier, but as kendama began to develop more, progression became necessary. Rubber painted kendamas began to inspire a new generation of kendama play, and kendama has progressed significantly since its introduction. This paint style looks and feels so nice, and it plays like a dream. Rubber/Silk paint can be best described as a happy medium between natty or glossy paint and sticky paint. It is grippy enough to increase the playability of the kendama, but allows enough slip for you to correct your mistakes while playing. This paint is very forgiving, and makes for a great addition to any kendama collection. As far as durability goes, rubber paint isn't the strongest, but again, retains its grippy nature through getting broken in. We have a nice variety of rubber painted kendamas available with several unique designs to choose from. 

Mahi Mahi Sol Vibe

 

July 05, 2018

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What Kendama Should I Buy?

Variety of Sol Kendamas

Where do I start?

So you're in the market for a kendama, and you have no idea where to begin. We are here to give you some advice on what to look for when buying a new kendama, and to help you make a more confident decision when purchasing your first kendama. As a beginner, it is hard to go wrong when buying a kendama, because most kendamas will be able to accomplish the same tricks at a beginner level. Different kendama models, wood types, paint types, paint designs, and tama patterns start to come into play when the difficulty of tricks progress further. Below are three lists of varieties of kendamas that we have available on our site. Click any of the selections to see what these kendama look like.

Wood Types (learn more)
Maple
Beech
Walnut
Ash
Oak
Mahogany

Paint Types (learn more)
Natural - No Paint
Rubber/Silk Paint - Grippy
Sticky Paint - Extra Grippy

Tama Designs
Natural Wood
Solid Colors
Horizontal Stripes
Half-Splits
Wood Laminations

What difference do these varieties make?

Each variety of kendama has its own benefits, so it is up to you to decide which model you prefer most. If you are looking for a kendama that will last you a long time, we suggest going with a wood type like maple, because it is very durable. All of our Sol Vibes are made of maple wood and feature several unique paint designs. If you are looking for a kendama that is simply beautiful, we would suggest going with one of our Natural Sol Flow Kendamas. These kendamas are made from a combination of wood types, and make a great addition to any shelf. If you want a kendama that is very simple, but is easy to learn tricks on, our Sol Pastels are the way to go. The Sol Pastels are made of beech wood, which is very traditional for kendamas, and they feature very sticky pastel colored paints. Sticky paint allows you to learn intermediate to advanced level tricks with ease, and helps you grip the ball when doing tama grip tricks. As we said in the beginning, it is hard to go wrong when buying a kendama, so don't get caught up in all of the details, and try to pick one that fits your style best. These products above are our baseline products, and often times, we will release limited edition kendamas on our site. If you think that your interest more aligns with our limited edition drops, make sure to stay tuned on our instagram account @solkendamas for when they release. We hope that this post has answered some questions for you, and has helped you make a good decision for your new kendama. If you have further questions, make sure to contact us, and we will get back with you shortly.

Ash Cups Flow

Black Friday 2018

You're googling, emailing, sliding into DM's, asking others, and going crazy trying to figure out what's on sale. I'll give it to you straight: 20% off. Everything. Guac included. 

Shipping? Forget about it. We're pretty much Amazon Priming it. Unless you're outside of the US. In that case, forget about like 30% of it. 

 Here's the meat:

Flows | $15.99

FLOW

Pastels | $18.99

Sol Pastels

Pro Models | $31.99

Pro Models

 Kenditioner | $11.99

Hittin' you with these thicc deals. 

March 13, 2017

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How to Make a Flyer For Your Kendama Event

How to Make a Flyer For Your Kendama Event

So you have planned your kendama event, and decided how, where, why, what, and many more details. We understand, you want to start getting the word out. Flyers are a great way to let anyone know about your event. They can be shared on Facebook, Instagram, text messages, and in other random places.  While they are easy to share, it is a little harder to gather peoples' interest. The better your flyer looks, the better your event will be. If your flyer isn't planned well, who is to say that the event won't be either?

Show the Right Information

Less is often more when it comes to design. You want people to know good, valid, and specific information about your event. Keep it clear, concise, and concrete. Your flyer needs to have at least this information:

  • Name of the event
  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Kendama sponsors/prizes

Anything else can usually be talked about in the captions below when sharing your flyer. Type of event is a popular one to be described in captions, but sometimes it can be useful to just sum up your event type by saying something like, "Jam Session," as it gets the point across and people know what to expect.

As for all of the other details, I would rank them in importance and decide by their importance how you will arrange them.

Make it Obvious

Once you've decided which information is important, and you've ranked them, you can arrange them in a way that makes the most sense. Typically, the name of the event goes at the top. It is the first thing people look at, and that can be used to make the idea stick. Once kendama players have read the details, when they talk about the event by name, others will know all of the other details associated with the name.

Next, everything else follows. The more important things are usually bigger, The size of the text conveys importance!

Kendama companies/sponsors are usually all at the bottom. Sponsors of the event are important, but there are often many of them which can clutter your flyer. The details are the most important for your sweet kendama event.

Spread It!

Share your flyer with as many people as you can. Then get them to share it as well. The more kendama players you can get to an event, the better.

If you've gotten this far, and you like the idea of hosting an event, check out our guide: How to Host a Kendama Event

 

March 06, 2017

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Shipping Kendamas in the USA

Shipping Kendamas in the USA

For anyone who hasn't purchased a kendama before, you might have a few questions about shipping. It's nothing too complicated, but if you've never experienced it, you might not know what to expect. If you are looking to buy, sell, trade, or ship kendamas to a buddy, you might be looking for advice as well.

When you purchase a kendama, unless its from Amazon, it typically won't arrive within 2 days. Typically, companies ship kendamas via the United States Postal Service, or USPS for short. There are usually two types of services: first class mail, and priority mail.

First Class

First class mail is by far the most cost effective way to ship kendamas. First class will usually arrive in 3-5 days, depending on the distance. You can use your own package, which usually is a bubble mailer or cardboard box. The only catch, however, is that you're only allowed up to 16 ounces. You may be able to pack two kendamas into a first-class package, but you want to make sure whatever you're sending is safe, otherwise, what's the point?

Priority Mail

Priority mail is the next option above first class mail. Priority is if you want to ship 2+ kendamas, or really anything at all. Priority mail is called that because these packages have priority over first class! They are delivered a little bit faster and usually arrive in 2-3 days, anywhere in the United States.

Flat Rate

If you don't really care about price, then flat rate boxes are very convenient. They are shipping priority mail, but you don't have to weigh what goes inside, because it will cost the same no matter what. This is usually more expensive, but if you just want to write on the box, tape it up, and send it, then it can be very convenient.

Something Arrived Broken

Unfortunately, sometimes things arrive broken. Before blaming anyone, think about what your package went through: in some cases, it may have traveled over 600 miles! It is passed through many hands, buildings, equipment, and vehicles. Given that kendamas are made of wood, these things happen.

If you are trading someone, then you are in a tough situation. That person may have no way to replace it, and if they did, it might be hard to believe that the package itself was broken before you even received the kendama. You kind of have to play the situation smart and be mature about it all.

If you ordered it from a company, then you're likely in luck. Many companies will be comfortable replacing your broken kendama if you have good photographic evidence. Take pictures of your destroyed package and the kendama, and email the company. Explain your situation and be patient. Patience goes a long way. If you are not angry, but understanding, you will get it fixed! 

February 27, 2017

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Why You Should Make a Kendama Edit

Why You Should Make a Kendama Edit

First of all, what is a kendama edit? The term edit originated within the skateboarding community, and means to edit series of videos of you landing tricks. Kendama edits usually integrate music to align with a theme or to set the mood. Sometimes music is selected just because the creator likes it. Edits have become increasingly popular, and for good reason! Let me tell you why:


Sol Kendama Pros (Queen City Kendama Open on March 12, 2016)

Community

Many different slayers do not have a local kendama community. Unfortunately this is the case for a lot of kendama players, and it isn't the most fun situation. One way to connect with other kendama players is over the internet. By sharing your edit, you are putting yourself out there and allowing others to know you exist and allowing them to comment on your stuff. Despite the occasional troll, you will receive mostly positive and encouraging comments. In addition, the more people see you, the more they feel like they know you. When you finally meet in person, it will be like you've been friends forever. Not everyone will be interested or know who you are outright, so you will need to watch edits and leave comments as well! It is a two way street.

Check Your Progress

Day to day, your skill may not seem like it has improved much. You may learn a new trick after a few weeks of practicing, or you may more consistently learn to land certain tricks. Over time, however, you will be making big progress towards being a good kendama player. When you make edits, you can compare from one to the next how difficult the tricks are getting. It is a really funny feeling to get to your fifth edit, only to look back to your first to see you landing tricks that are now extremely easy to land.

Show Off Your Skill

Bragging rights. I've heard people say, “If you haven't landed a trick on camera, you haven't landed a trick.” It is one thing to say you've landed a trick, but if you can back it up with evidence, you're a legend. Some people are interested in getting involved with a company. Every company puts out great content from their players. If you have a history of making really good and cool edits, companies may be interested in having you on their team.


Ash Cups & Walnut Stripe Sol Flow Kendamas

These are just a few reasons why you should start putting yourself out there and making edits. There is no downside. You will learn how to film, edit, and produce content which is a fantastic skill to have. If getting started sounds difficult, then keep in mind that you don't have to create, just document. If you're going to practice, just turn on the camera and let it whirl. Get started!

 

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