As my playing style revolves around long pips, I have tried almost all long pips rubbers available in the market during my nearly 20-year professional career.
I started with the classic Chinese rubber 755 and later experimented with other rubbers produced by Tibhar and Dr. Neubauer in Europe. However, I found that Dawei 388D-1 suits me the best.
Therefore, for the majority of my career, I have been using the 388D-1 in competitions. It provides me with stable performance during matches, and I have full confidence on how the rubber will react in any scenario.
In this article, I will provide a detailed analysis and review of the Dawei 388D-1 so you can understand if the rubber is right for you.
On the defensive side, the rubber’s softness and stability enable precise blocking near the table and effective chopping from a distance. Whether you’re attacking or defending, The Dawei 388D-1 caters to long pips users of all styles and preferences.
Beginners can use it to develop their basic skills and enhance their long pips techniques, while more advanced players can confidently use it in official competitions without any issues.
Whether it’s close-to-the-table pushing, mid to long-range chopping, or forehand and backhand attacks, this rubber meets the needs of its users perfectly.
Perfect for: Beginners to Advanced players looking for an all-round long pips rubber,
Xinyu brings 20+ years of playing experience, including as a professional. As an out-and-out Defender, he brings a unique perspective to reviews.
Blade Used: Stiga CLCR
Rubber Thickness: 0.5mm
Hours Tested: Countless
Design of the Dawei 388D-1
The Dawei 388D-1 long pips is the latest innovation in long pips rubber developed by Dawei Group’s research center, specifically tailored to suit the playing characteristics of a 40mm ball.
The rubber has a soft sponge and a distinctive texture that resembles large 2.2-2.5mm long pips, providing excellent elasticity and remarkable durability.
The spacing between the pips in 388D-1 is relatively sparse, and the pips themselves feel soft to the touch. This unique combination of characteristics makes Dawei 388D-1 a compelling choice for players looking to explore a versatile and effective long pips rubber.
The Dawei 388D-1 features horizontally arranged pips, and the packaging description labels them as medium-sized, but in reality, they are long pips with larger dimensions compared to typical long pips, placing them in the medium-sized category.
The pips have a height of approximately 1.8mm, and their aspect ratio is close to 1.1, which complies with the maximum limit specified by ITTF regulations.
- Speed: Medium
- Spin: Medium-High
- Control: High
- Tackiness: Medium Tacky
- ITTF Approved: Yes
- Sponge Thickness: 0mm - 1.2mm
Summary: Dawei’s 388d-1 is simply the best classic chinese long pimple rubber. Easy to control, and incredible at generating spin on chops/blocks, this rubber is perfect for anyone looking to build their game around a defensive playstyle. For the price, it can’t be beaten.
Playtesting the Dawei 388D-1
When playing offensively with the Dawei 388D-1, you need to close the racket angle and play shots similar to a loop with an inverted rubber, preferably contacting the ball early whilst it’s still rising.
If you can perfect this technique, there is a pronounced drop when the ball lands on your opponent’s side due to the spin generated. It’s an incredibly effective shot that makes it very difficult for your opponent to do anything except push the ball back.
Whilst the 388D-1 obviously isn’t an attacking rubber in a traditional sense, it will still allow you to win lots of points by forcing errors from your opponent with aggressive shots. I win a lot of points this way.
When paired with a pure wooden blade (avoid carbon/composite blades), the combination gives an incredible feel so you receive great feedback on your shots. It’s easy to tell if you times your shot effectively.
Ultimately, the long pips nature of Dawei 388D-1 dictates that offensive strokes must be executed close to the table to fully exploit its capabilities.
Serve and Receive
In professional matches, it is very rare for players to utilize long-pimple serves, especially following the service rule reforms by the ITTF that prohibit concealed serves. This can be attributed to the fact that the majority of returns from long-pimple serves lack spin, rendering them essentially dead balls.
Those experienced professional athletes, upon observing their opponents resorting to long-pimple serves, promptly seize the opportunity to launch an offensive. In essence, this means that you are giving points to your opponent directly!
However, in amateur matches or certain local leagues, using long-pimple serves remains a viable strategy.
The distinctive granular composition of the Dawei 388D-1 proves particularly effective for delivering low, high-speed serves. Directing the ball towards the opponent’s forehand short court or backhand back court often causes opponents to misread the spin, resulting in a missed or poor return.
Blocking and Chopping
In terms of defense, the Dawei 388D-1 is one of the more stable long pips rubbers. The rubber performs consistently in chopping and pushing backspin balls, as well as in blocking and counter-looping against topspin shots.
However, when facing opponents with medium-strength topspin shots, 388D-1 does struggle a bit in maintaining control. In this case, I find myself forced into chopping shots far away from the table.
Thankfully, this rubber performs excellently in chopping. The larger pips are adept at absorbing the opponent’s incoming shot’s power, and the rubber’s exceptional spin reversal generates strong backspin when chopping back powerful topspin shots. In most cases, the opponent finds it challenging to execute easy constant loops in response and is often forced to push as a transitional shot.
Overall, for the vast majority of long pips users, defensive play should be the primary focus. Dawei 388D-1 is an ideal rubber that combines both defensive and offensive capabilities. The soft and flexible pips of the rubber contribute to effective blocking and chopping, which is the primary reason why I have been using it for such a long time. It offers a well-rounded performance that suits various playing styles, making it a reliable choice for players seeking versatility in their game.
Alternatives to the Dawei 388D-1
The Dawei 388d-2 belongs to the same series as the 388D-1. It shares remarkably similar characteristics with the 388D-1, with both having relatively soft rubber pimples, making them suitable for defensive play and chopping. However, the offensive capability of the 388d-2 is slightly inferior to that of the 388D-1
The Saviga V is another classic long pimple rubber, known for its enhanced offensive capabilities compared to the two long pimple rubbers in the 388 series. The rubber granules are slightly firmer, yet it can still be employed for defensive play as well.
The Dr. Neubauer Desperado boasts an exceptionally strong spin reversal effect. It closely resembles the 388D-1 in various aspects, and even surpasses the 388D-1 in defensive and chopping capabilities. The pimple structure is also extremely soft, with a moderate size. The only drawback of this rubber is its slightly higher cost, but its performance in all aspects is impeccable.
Overall impressions of the Dawei 388D-1
The Dawei 388D-1 is a long-standing veteran among long pimple rubbers. However, compared to those more ordinary long pips rubbers lacking distinct characteristics, this particular rubber can be said to rival the DHS Hurricane 3 in the world of pimpled rubbers—a classic with no equal.
In China, almost every long pimple player has used this classic rubber in their career.
This rubber can fulfill almost any technical requirement for long pimple play, whether it’s close-to-the-table defense, offense, or far-from-the-table chopping, providing players with an effective all-round game.
In my teaching process, I introduce students who are new to long pimple play to this rubber. Generally, I recommend beginners start with the 0.5mm sponge thickness to comprehensively grasp the fundamental techniques of long pimple play. Only when a player’s skill level reaches a certain point do I suggest considering the use of the no-sponge (OX) version.
There is a notable difference in feel between the OX version and the sponge version of the Dawei 388D-1. The OX version features an extremely thin layer of rubber, with the ball making direct contact with the blade, demanding better control from the player. The sponge version offers a more conventional ball trajectory, making control easier. As such, I suggest beginners try the 0.5mm or 1mm sponge versions. Once their skills have significantly improved, they can consider using the OX version.
All in all, I believe this classic long pimple rubber is worth a try for every long pimple player.
Xinyu started playing table tennis when he was 8 years old in China and he's also the owner of popular table tennis blog ppongsuper . He has trained with the Chinese provincial team and now plays competitively in the Spanish national league. He's constantly striving to improve his skills and tactical abilities, as well as deepen his understanding of table tennis. He joined the Racket Insight team to share his passion and promote table tennis to more people!
Blade: Nexy Joo Sae Hyuk | Forehand:Butterfly Sriver FX | Backhand: Dawei 338d-1
Playstyle: The Defender