Kendama USA

Zach Magnuson Pro Model Kendama Review

What’s good everyone! Jon here from Honed Media bringing you another kendama review. This time I want to especially thank Sharif from Kendama USA for allowing me to guest write for the KUSA blog. Without further ado, let’s talk about Zach Magnuson’s Pro Model  #MAGSMOD.

I’d like to frame my article around “what makes a pro model” – because the first impression I get when opening the box and feeling the kendama is that THIS IS A PRO MODEL. From a tama design that no one can come close to imitating to the custom stickers and even the orange string – everything about the experience screams unique.

People who have followed Zach Magnuson aka Mags on social know that he is a talented photographer from Detroit and I personally enjoyed how elements of his passion for photography are designed into his other passion. Passion-ception.

Even the box feels high quality. The material is hard with textured prints and would stand out on any shelf. But enough about the aesthetics, we’re here to talk about how the kendama plays.

Let’s start with the shape – we have a modified Shift introducing the Kaizen Base Cup Hole and let’s just say it’s what the doctor ordered. I’ve been a fan of Kaizen for many years and have played a range from 1.0, 2.0, Slim, and Shift. I will admit that lunars were a challenge with the Shift because the wider base cup results in an increased weight shifted there. It made the kendama a ken-flip machine, but the trade-off was lunars.

With the balance hole available on Mag’s mod, the lunar balance has improved significantly without much compromise to the ken-flip capability. It feels like one of the most complete kendamas that I’ve played out of the box. Complete in part as well because the spike comes glued – something that I do for all my kendamas. When it comes to the paint, I personally prefer jamming sticky tamas, but something about KUSA’s silk paint slaps different. It seems to be rougher out of the box and allows for a nice adjustment when playing your balance tricks.

To each his own, however, I’d say that both paints will not let you down and it’s really a matter of personal preference which paint to use. I had an easier time with landing lunars on the sticky paint, while catching and adjusting lighthouses felt better on the silk paint.

 What about durability?

Part of this review involved a 2-week test doing cup tricks, ken tricks, and tama tricks. Let me be upfront – I miss the spike a lot. Despite that, there were only minor chips after 2 weeks, mostly around the bevel making it a relatively durable kendama. This could be in part that the weight of the tama was heavier (80+) and therefore the wood would have been harder and denser.

What might be more important to note was that I did not feel the tackiness of the respective paints change much – something you do not see often.

In the playability section, I test the smoothness and ease of landing tricks in the 4 criteria, Lunar, Stalls, Slings, and Ken Flips.

A difficulty rating out of 10 (1 being easier than usual, 5 being no difference and 10 is much harder than usual) will be given to each category at discretion.

Lunar

Stall

Sling

Kenflip

Pull-up Bird

  3

Pull-up Sling

  4

Kenflip Spike

2

Lunar

3

Bird Over The V

  3

Pull-up Double-Sling Spike

  4

Double Whirlwind

3

Double Lunar Flip

4

Handlestall – Ring

  4

Pull-up Sling, Late Sling

  4

Kenflip-

ken flip Spike

4

 

 What does this compare to?

You know when you’re headed out of home for a short bit and want to grab a kendama off the shelf you can just walk and jam without worry? This is it. Despite being a pro mod with an extensive and complex aesthetic design, it still plays like a daily jammer – and that is one of my favorite things about it.

I play a lot of kendamas and found it easy to rotate in and out of the #MAGSMOD which makes it and really worthy investment.

At $40, this is one of the most value-for-money kendamas out there. The level of design on the tama, sticker pack, and packaging indicates that it must have been relatively expensive to produce – yet Kendama USA prices it comparable to other kendamas in the market with a less complex design.

As a plus point, each #MAGSMOD purchased goes to supporting Zach’s kendama journey – a win-win situation if I ever saw one.

Bonus: To show that this dama is for the everyday average player like me – I shot a three trick fix with different balance and stall tricks to show how player-friendly it was out-of-box. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply