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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
Paint Types (learn more)
Natural - No Paint
Rubber/Silk Paint - Grippy
Sticky Paint - Extra Grippy
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.
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Here's the meat:
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