The shape of the top of the bead has a major impact on the slinging experience of the set as a whole. Along with size and weight, it is one of the most important parts of the bead that should be considered when looking to purchase a set. There is significant difference in feel and perception of “performance” when using different bead shapes, and this post will explore my opinion on each! Keep in mind, this is just an opinion, and by no means should prevent you from trying all types of beads. 🙂
There are three main shapes of the bead tops:
I’ll use AroundSquare beads for my example since they’re the most well-known, but the vast majority of beads from all makers fit into one of these three categories.
Round: (ex. AroundSquare Titans/Wukongs) Round bead tops make it easy to move the bead from grip to grip….Sometimes too easy. When I play with rounded tops, especially heavier beads, I have problems with them flying out of my hands early into a trick because I’m more used to flat. Bead rolls are buttery smooth, but I have to adjust the timing of my rolls so that the beads don’t fly off my fingers early. For faster slingers, pop aerials are really nice with round, but I wouldn’t recommend most other aerials with rounds (although completely possible, just more difficult compared to the other shapes in my opinion).
Flat: (ex. AroundSquare Hydras/Standards) Flat tops cling to your fingers a lot more than round, making rolls easier with timing. They also make certain aerials easier to time due to how long they stick to your finger. Round tops make these kinds of aerials challenging in comparison, since they’re more prone to fly off the fingers. The feel between round and flat is very different. The larger the flat top diameter is, the more significant the effect of the clinginess.
Angled: (ex. AroundSquare Everymans, Greys) Angled tops are the marriage of round and flat tops. You get a comfortable middle ground between the ease of use of round, with some of the clinginess of the flat. Great all around shape for both rolls and aerials, bead rolls and tech play. This is my preferred shape, though I usually play with a small-diameter flat (hex nut) set.
Of course there are a lot of other factors that should be considered when purchasing a new set of beads, such as weight, size, and overall bead shape, but don’t forget about the shape of the top of the bead when shopping around! The only recommendation I have for beginners is to explore DIY options so that you can try all of the shapes before committing money to a professionally machined set. There’s a big chance your opinion on which shape you like will differ from mine!
If you have any questions or more information you think I should add to the post, leave a comment below! What’s your favorite bead top shape?1