Custom keyboards: Meet esports weaponsmith Nathan ‘Taeha’ Kim

Any competitive player would appreciate a good mechanical keyboard. A major difference between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane one is that it allows for gentle touches and sensitivity unlike the rubber material of the membrane which only registers inputs when pressed hard. Like a surgeon's scalpel, mechanical keyboards allow both gentle strokes and hard pressing when needed.

A good mechanical keyboard must also be able to wake up anyone in the house from their sleep with its acoustics and become a punching bag for us gamers when it's necessary.

Keyboards are what’s known as peripherals when it comes to computers. They are one of the least changed designs for the last 30 years when it comes to computer equipment and the most overlooked.

Hattori Hanzo of keyboards

Image credit: Nathan 'Taeha' Kim

When you want a high-end mechanical keyboard for your gaming and aesthetic needs you seek out Nathan ‘Taeha’ Kim. Eports most sought after keyboard maker. Nathan Kim is a software engineer who quit his full-time job to become the Hattori Hanzo of mechanical keyboards. He thought that he was going to code with a computer for the rest of his life so why not make himself a custom one.

A keyboard made for his fingers and his refined taste. A keyboard for him and him only. His career essentially began as a side-gig to de-stress on weekends. Then he started to make ASMR type content for keyboard enthusiasts and evolved into a weaponsmith for streamers and competitive players after he started contacting them about his custom design work. Now he’s known for his custom-built keyboards for esports professionals such as Pengu and Tfue.

Why invest in a keyboard anyway?

Image credit: Nathan 'Taeha' Kim

For Kim, if you are someone who uses keyboards to type, edit, or gameplay for long periods of time, that may be when you should want to invest in a better keyboard. Not because it makes you type better your essays or play better. From a purely functional standpoint. A cheap or an expensive keyboard will serve the same purpose. You type in the same inputs with no difference whatsoever.

The real difference according to Hattori Hanzo of keyboards is that an investment in your keyboard will make you “enjoy” what you are doing, for longer. For him, this also means that you will do what you are doing with a better performance. Just like how we invest in better smartphones to use in our daily lives. A keyboard for a streamer, editor or coder is a tool that they spend at least 8 hours of their time using. Quality of the tool will eventually make a difference if the user is enjoying using it.

“If you ask keyboard community enthusiasts they all say the sound they strive for is called a ‘THOCK’. It’s a low pitched sound that’s essentially indescribable. You’ll know it when you hear it.” says Kim in his Taeha Tapes series on his youtube channel. Acoustics matter more to him than the feel.

Individuality and style

Image credit: Nathan 'Taeha' Kim

Different keycaps, stylish cables, keyboards are out of this world. Custom mechanical keyboards have unmatched style when it comes to design. It’s a slick way to show off and deeply enjoy your time in front of the computer. The Fortnite pro Tfue’s $3500 keyboard opening video with 7 million views on YouTube, catapulted Taeha from being a niche keyboard maker into a mainstream keyboard designer choice of professionals overnight. Becoming a showcase for how keyboards can change the way gamers can “feel” their game.

Competitive plays nowadays are on such a high level that even a 0,1% difference means breaking a world record. Thus it’s no surprise that high-end keyboards are becoming mainstream with every passing day. I’m sure soon we will see more custom keyboard makers getting into the mainstream scene and start becoming weaponsmiths of individual professionals and famous teams.

Do you think keyboards make a difference when it comes to competitive play? If the short answer is yes visit our esports matches page, support your favorite teams and make some predictions on Luckbox.