Any thoughts on what I'll need to do to make the transition? I assume that techniques for using less spinny short pips are a little bit closer to what you would do with grippy long pimples than they are to inverted.
The main problem is, I guess, that with inverted or spinny pips you tend to close your bat before or on impact, and contact the ball somewhere between the topside and the backside (a "topspin reflex"), whereas with less spinny pips you have to keep your bat neutral (80-90 degrees) and contact the ball more or less at the centre of the backside. I have tried to think of a training routine that might help anyone who wants to go from inverted to classic short pips to get rid of this topspin reflex and establish a basic feeling for the "pips-stroke". Maybe the following one will help.
Have someone or something looping pretty flat topspin balls a bit wide at your forehand; they shouldn't bounce higher than the net. Now think of hitting with inverted against backspin, so open your bat, swing pretty hard right at the ball, make solid contact with the back-centre of the ball and at contact swing right up to lift the ball. So your bat moves forward, then up; the total trajectory will be the mirror image of a high loop, that is it will be a hollow curve.
The result will be that at the solid contact your pips will stop most of the spin on the incoming ball; what is left of the spin will help to lift the ball over the net; the upward motion of the bat will do the same; the forward motion will make it land far on the table.
Hit like this, the ball will have a very flat trajectory and be almost dead, skidding off the table. If your opponent blocks it expecting topspin, his return will go into the net; looping it will also be difficult. So it's a good basic offensive stroke.
But as a training stroke it needs to be exaggerated at first. Going flat forward first, then right upward, breaks down the desired motion of the bat in its two components, which makes it easier to build the correct (new) reflexes a hitter must have. If it goes well, blend these two components into one single forward/upward stroke; to succeed you must make both of the components shorter, so go short forward, short upward, until you go forward and upward at the same time. Watch your bat contacting the ball: keep your bat open all the time.
It is easiest to practice this swing at some distance of your body, because with your arm almost stretched the forward motion is more clearly distinguishable from the upward motion: you can see it better and feel it better. As soon as you have got it right, you can take the ball closer to your body, wich will make it easier to blend the two components into one stroke.
At that stage it is also easier to produce the forward motion mainly with your body (turning your torso very fast, but not very far, so that your shoulder moves forward) and the upward motion mainly with your (under-)arm. You can hit with more force and more accuracy this way, using the quick turn of your body (legs, torso, shoulder - in that order) to produce force and your up-going underarm to direct it. Keep the motion of your body really fast and short; it must never be even remotely similar to the way you would move when looping, that is not like winding back and coming up again; remember you cannot catch the ball in your rubber, and you do not have to match its trajectory as you would have to when looping - hitting is just hitting, fast and short.
The final stroke can be used to hit any incoming topspin or no-spin ball, even very flat and low bouncing ones. Incoming backspin balls must be lifted more.
The stroke is hard to perform with SP on sponge thicker than 1.5 mm, or SP on soft sponge. You will produce too much topspin, or the effect of the incoming ball on your rubber will be to great, or both. The stroke is also hard to perform with SP that is very fast or with a very fast blade, because you will hit over the table (too much forward speed; you would have to compensate for this by hitting more upward than forward). The equipment most suited to this basic stroke (and to basic pips out play) is 1.3 or 1.5 mm conventional SP (speed 8 to 9 on a scale to 10, spin somewhere around 6 to 7) on an allround frame. This equipment will play in fact very fast, because you will hit very flat balls with it. Spinny pips, like inverted, will curve the trajectory of the ball, making it slower.
If you watch Jian Jialiang or Chen Longcan or any other Chinese pips player, to learn of their example, you have to focus your attention on the first part
of their swing, that is watch the bat going to the ball and making contact; because after that, during the follow-through, they will relax the arm and the bat will be closed as a result. So from that point on it may look like an ordinary looping stroke, while in fact it is quite different.
I hope this will help.