Welcome! This is my complete beginners’ guide to begleri. This will cover the foundational basics, like what begleri is, how to pick a good starter set (or build your own!), how to find tutorials, and where to get in touch with other people to help motivate you on your slinging journey.
What is Begleri?
If you’re here, chances are you’ve seen the “Begleri is two beads on either end of a piece of string” bit, so I’ll leave that out. To put it simply, begleri is a skill toy or fidget toy that is just two weights connected to a joiner. You may also come across Komboloi, which the Greek older brother of begleri that were used more as worry beads/fidget device as opposed to skill play, although there was some of that as well. Read more about Komboloi here. For some of us, begleri is just a passing phase. For others, we’ve built relationships in the community and connections that will last forever. Regardless of why you’re here, everyone is welcome, no matter why you found begleri or what your goal is with it. 🙂 You like fidgeting? We can recommend sets that have a nice fidget factor. Like trying to learn slinging as a skill? We have recommendations based on any metric you can think of. Just want a cool accessory to add to an outfit? Tons of colors to choose from!
Choosing Your First Set
There are hundreds of different beads on the market nowadays, so which one should you pick for your first set? Before I dive into what I think makes a good beginner set, here are some recommendations, depending on what you’re looking for in a set:
- DIY Hex Nuts
- AroundSquare Titans (Aluminum or Titanium)
- Monkeyfinger Design Ape Grapes or Cherry Bombs
- TGP Delrin Skill Pills (or any model of Skill Pills)
- DIY Hex Nuts
- AroundSquare Hydras (Aluminum or Titanium)
If you’re someone who likes to only have a single set, and get the top of the line right off the bat, look for something in steel or titanium. Steel is on the heavier end, and Titanium usually comes with pretty anodization options for that aesthetic. Both metals will last you a lifetime and a half.
Now for what I think makes a good set for newer people:
25g-30g+ per bead.
The heavier the better. Heavier beads carry momentum better. Along with momentum, the weight allows some minor imperfection in your slinging, such as a slight misplacement of the fingers. On lighter sets, the beads bounce off of your fingers a lot more easily whereas heavier sets will power on through, ignoring slight hiccups. Heavier sets also move more slowly, allowing more time to think about tricks you’re practicing on, and time to make adjustments mid-trick. This is most apparent in the case of bead rolls.
19mm x 19mm (or around)
19 x 19 is the size of the original AroundSquare Titans (titanium) and it’s a pretty decent size. Mid size beads are recommended in part because larger and smaller beads are better for certain tricks, while mid size is a good all-round size. Larger beads in general make movement between the fingers more difficult (see Thumbchucks). Smaller beads are the opposite, but with that comes the need to actually hold onto the small beads, which can be more tricky than it sounds. Since smaller beads are better at movement between fingers, tech tricks are much easier than if you were to use, say, Wukongs for example. Skilled players can use just about any set for any trick, but for learning, mid size is recommended, at least until you figure out your preferences for size.
Round or Angled Top:
This is highly subjective and not by any means a requirement. Read a short breakdown of each of the three main different shapes here. The short of it is
- Round tops make the bead slide more easily between grips, but are easier to drop.
- Flat tops make the bead easier to hold onto during tricks like rolls, sometimes so much that it’s unwanted.
- Angled tops are a combination of both. Flat enough to stick during rolls, but not flat enough to stick to fingers more than necessary.
Most beads these days come with 550 paracord, but here are a few other possibilities. The reason most beads come with 550 today is because it’s the most widely preferred for its cushiony softness, but there are some exceptions as detailed in the blog post linked above. When comparing 550 to 275, think of it as writing with a medium point pen compared to a fine point. Fine point is good for details and people who write small. 275 is good for people who like to have more control over their beads and fine-tune their style. 550 is good all-round for people who don’t care as much about the feel of the cord, and in my opinion, is much easier to use. However, due to how inexpensive paracord is, we’d recommend getting a sample pack of each type (275, 325, 425, 550) to see if you end up liking one more than the others.
Something you like. Looks obviously have the least to do with performance of any begleri set. However, if you’re playing with something for hours on end, you want it to look nice. Sometimes that’s exactly what brings people into the fold in the first place. If you’re looking for your first set, find a design you like. If you have a choice that matches all of the criteria above, but you don’t like it, look for something else. The eternal begleri mantra when people ask for advice is “It’s up to your preference”. Many things about begleri can be explained objectively, but if you don’t like it, then you won’t want to use it. Pick something you like to start. There are always options to upgrade/trade/change your decision later.
There will be another blog post on popular tips and tricks on how to string up your begleri, which I will link here once posted. For the majority of beads, you just have to put the joiner in. For some older beads or other beads with smaller cord holes (Jimpy Designs USOs for example), there are some tricks to make it easier to fit 550 into them.
Where To Buy Paracord?
This question is asked a lot, and there has been a pretty clear consensus. The brand that is most recommended is Paracord Planet, or Bored Paracord. Both of these companies have shops online on their own website, and on Amazon and Ebay.
If you don’t want to wait for shipping, hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowes usually have some paracord. Hobby stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby also usually carry some paracord of various sizes.
How to Measure Your Set
This is hard to explain without pictures, but there are a few different ways that are popular to measure your beads. More info to come.
Quick instructions for an easy start: Place your hand palm down on a table. Spread your fingers out as far as you can. The cord should be the length of from your pinky to your index finger, going around the tips of your fingers.
By far, the most recommended tutorials are:
- TGP Begleri
- Soon to be this website!
Old school tutorials, mostly without voiceover to explain tricks. Newer tutorials are starting to include voice explanations and walkthroughs. High production value.
Voice walkthroughs of older tricks, but they haven’t covered many newer tricks in a long time. Great for having the foundational tricks explained, and all their advice still holds up today.
Tyrone covered a few short game tricks before there was widely-agreed upon trick names, so the names might not match what you’re used to seeing in discussion, but there aren’t a lot of other short game tutorials out there. Some have a good explanation, and his newer ones are focused on long game.
This site was created primarily to be an easy to use, pretty repository for all the trick tutorials that we can find. Browse the trick list if you want to learn individual tricks, or explore the Sling or Swipe game to learn new combos!
This guide should get you started on your journey. If you have any questions, or if anything is missing from this guide, leave a comment! If there are any other topics you’d like to see a blog post on, let me know!7