Author Topic: Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin? (or: Is a Mugen just a kendama?)  (Read 2744 times)

Offline SamB

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An interesting podcast from NPR's Planet Money about the Stradivarius violins and whether the brand or myth of the instrument is greater than the violin itself (or at least has more value)

The word 'Stradivarius' can largely be reaplaced with 'Mugen' throughout, although Mugens are not old (yet)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/05/09/310447054/episode-538-is-a-stradivarius-just-a-violin

I thought about this when today I played a fresh Play kendama and then my old (ish) mugen, I think the difference is simultaneously subtle and huge. In a blind play test could I tell the difference? I'd like to think so, but I still wouldn't count on it. Does that diminish its value to me? No way. Am I selling it? Absolutely not!
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Offline The Void

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I'm not saying that Mugens aren't excellent kendamas, but I agree that there is a huge amount of hype/hoodoo/self psychology in their perceived perfection.
Not that I'm selling either, or would sell for less than the market rate if I was.
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Offline kendamatty

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Personal preference and Void's summing up of the psychology behind it are what I think.  It happens in lots of trick or performance orientated things - In rollerblading I always felt more confident to jump substantially higher with 10 grams lighter boot, almost as if slightly less lightweight skates would inhibit me from reaching my potential. Although in theory an element of truth behind it, I built up in my head that one skate would make me jump higher than the other.  Whereas if I didn't know the weight differences, the end result would have been neither here nor there.

The differences between kendamas are much more subtle, and if you trained two identical twins up one with a mugen and one with a tk 16 (neither having background knowledge of the prices/knowing the hype), there is no way you could guess who would become better.  I got my first and only mugen in 2008, and then decided that oozoras were much better as I learnt my "cooler" tricks on them at the time.  Do I regret my decision? No.  Although, it would be nice to have a few hunndred quids worth of toys to sell to magic believing children when times get tough..

Offline kendamatty

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A final thought is that you adapt to what you have. Albeit a more finely tuned or consistent kendama will help you attain a skill faster, you could always argue that as a mugen's craftsmanship was SO good, does it lessen an individual's ability to adapt, as  other kendama brands vary so much in the final product, forcing this ability?

 

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