Exploring (long) pip rubber designs

This article applies mostly to long & medium pip rubbers but you can extend the same concepts to short pip rubber. I would classify long & medium pip rubbers into two types :-1. Standard designs (cylindrical pips, nearly flat top).2. Gimmick designs :- Such as pip on top of a pip or slanted pips etc. (Not recommended; many may not be even be ITTF legal) but there are a few that have stood the test of time

Factors involved in understanding Long & medium pip rubbers :-(Assume all other parameters are same while evaluating one specific parameter) .

  1. Length of pips :- The longer the pips, the more the unpredictability and more the amplified spin (chop).
  2. Diameter of pips :- Wider the pips, faster it will play. Lesser the diameter, the more unpredictable the rubber
  3. Flexibility of pips :- The more flexible the pips, the more unpredictable and higher dwell time and higher spin amplification (chop). Stiffer pips are faster with lesser dwell time.
  4. Smoothness of top of pip :- Very smooth pip top is more unpredictable and reacts less to spin but will also produce less spin. Rough pip top produces more spin.
  5. Rubber base :- This is the base on which the pips sit on. If it is thick, it makes it faster.
  6. Pip density :- I have heard conflicting arguments. Let me hear it again
  7. Pip orientation :- How the pips are arranged that is, are they lined along the width of the blade & are diagonal along length or vice-versa. To me this does not seem to have much of an effect.
  8. Thickness of sponge :- Thicker sponge gives more speed. Thinner sponge gives more control .No sponge is generally more unpredictable ;
  9. Softness of sponge :- Softer sponge is slower but gives more spin (more dwell time). Harder sponge gives more speed and less spin.
  10. Regluing :- makes it more unpredictable, harder to control but also gives more spin as well as speed. Of course the overall behavior is a determined by combination of all factors. (Usually one factor dominates over other factors). In general you want to use maximum length thin pips, rough pip top, with no sponge or thin sponge if you want to chop

Examples :- Feint Long (Sorry this is the only rubber I can think of as good for chopping. P-1 Curl, Phantom 011, 012, 007, and 008 come close but are too gimmicky and I prefer a predictable rubber like Feint Long)

If you want to play close to the table block & hit style you want to use medium length pips with smooth top & thick sponge.

Examples :- Screw, 755

If you play an all around style that includes some chopping as well as blocking and even looping & lobbing you may want to use medium-pips but with rough pip top and in between thickness sponge.

Examples :- 638, Yung 639-A, magnitude, Feint (Regular), Juic Leggy

Short pip substitutes :-Following rubbers are not too useful but are better than short pips as secondary rubber

Examples :- PF4-C7, 563, P2 Curl. I have not tested any European brands such as Grass or Donic Zucco etc. Of course stuff like Bamboo slash is illegal I assume. The brands above are best in my opinion in their class. Others are either ineffective and /or are gimmick rubbers and must be avoided.