Which do you find to play better? They’re both advertised for their tacky paint.
I’ve got the Sweets White-out aTack and the KenUSA Pro and the Pro has a tackier paint even though it’s just the ball/tama that’s painted. It’s easier to land lighthouse etc. with the Pro for me.
Have you noticed any difference between softer and harder woods?
I really dislike the Tribute Ken, the cups are pushed up too far in my opinion, and it makes it hard to land birds etc. Sweets makes my favorite ken, so obviously I’m a bit biased, but I’d pick the Sweets every time. Sweets tamas get really stick when you wear them in, too.
I would say the Pro has a harder wood tama as the Sweets shows more marks with the same play. But I’m not sure as to their spec’s.
My Sweets cups don’t seat the tama completely flush, but the Pro does. The Sweets paint job was very spotty and it isn’t really any tackier than a normal painted tama/ken new or now (several weeks of play). So I’ve had a different experience with the Sweets but YMMV.
I found the Pros to be tackier than the aTacks. But with the ones I got, the aTack was much nicer, with a good paint job and no noticeable flaws. The paint on my Cherry Pro came with some (pretty serious/big) bubbling in the paint and it’s a chipping machine. So my advice is to get whatever you think looks the best.
To add onto this, Sweets has some serious quality control. I’m not speaking against other companies per se, but when Sweets does blowout deals like $15 kendamas because something didn’t turn out right or the paint wasn’t exactly what they wanted, it seems pretty clear to me that they care about their products. Actually, I ordered from them once and I was given expedited shipping on my next order just because I was slightly disappointed with the quality.
My first kendama was a matte marble from Sweets, and I’ve experienced only pinprick chipping on it so far. It’s been 9 months of on and off play (say 3 months of extensive use maybe).
And, if this is your first kendama, I would actually avoid such tacky tamas. That’s probably going against what most people say or tell you, but the difference in play from a tacky to a slick/standard is much more significant than one would think. Getting an unpainted tama would be cheaper and, if you had problems learning on it, you could use a balloon to temporarily make it tacky (found it on a forum somewhere, I could try and dig, but it’s a simple/safe mod).
Regardless, whatever you buy will do the same tricks, it’s all up in the air how long each one would take to learn depending on the kendama which I think is mainly preference.