String/Joiner length is one of the very first questions slingers will run into when starting their journey, and if you’ve had anyone ask you, you know it’s not always the easiest question to answer. The answer, like most things begleri, is subjective, and your joiner length will almost certainly change as you grow into the hobby. Quick note: The length measurement is the distance between the beads (not including the beads themselves).
Quick history: There are two main styles of play, lovingly referred to as “short game” and “long game”. The style you’re probably most familiar with is long game, as there are hardly any players posting short game clips anymore. The line between (pun intended) the joiner length of short game and long game is kind of blurred, but there is a pretty distinct difference in the types of tricks that belong in each category. Short game style is visually and functionally more similar to the original flipping of komboloi prayer/worry beads. Long game evolved from that more recently in history and has exploded in popularity since around 2015-2016.
There are numerous ways that people commonly suggest for measuring your length and since everyone’s hands are different sizes, begleri enthusiasts have developed a few slightly different methods to measure based on your hand and how the joiner fits around it. Below are some of the most commonly-suggested methods I’ve seen in the past year or so.
A text-based explanation is arguably useless, so here are some pics submitted by community members (credits below) that are worth 1000 words. (pictures used with permission)
There are very, very few people who play short game in the modern skilltoy begleri world, so the resources for measuring your short game length are limited.
(Thank you to TGP for allowing me to use this screenshot from his video. It is well worth the watch, as he explains this in his own words.)
(Thank you to Pops from the Begleri Discord for the pics.)
Two-finger wrap method
(Thank you to Calidore from the Begleri Discord for the pic.)
(Thank you again to Calidore from the Begleri Discord for the pic.)
WH Labs method
(Thank you to Weston for allowing me to use this drawing from his begleri primer.)
At the end of the day, measuring your joiner length comes down to your personal preference. These methods are just starting points that get you to a usable length and I encourage you to adjust the length as you see fit, as you get more into the hobby and hone your preferences. Lately, in 2019 and 2020, the trend has been to lengthen your cord a bit as more technical, string-based tricks are discovered and become more popularized, but begleri is more about personal satisfaction, not conforming to the norm unless it’s something that you enjoy.
If there is anything missing from this guide, or if you find that there is any incorrect information, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to update the post. All images used with permission. Have any ideas for future topics? Let me know!1