A yo-yo string is one long string, folded in half, and twisted. The end where the two string meets are tied together to make a loop, eventually used to make a slip knot for your finger (see 'Slip Knot' below). The other end, where the string is folded together is where the yo-yo sits. Untwist the folded end with your fingers in order to separate the two strings. Untwist it large enough that the yo-yo can be placed between the strings, so that a single string sits on the axle of the yo-yo, as shown below. Then simply let the yo-yo string re-twist together. The string is now installed on the yo-yo.
The drawing to the right shows a single looped string. This is used for sleeping fixed axle yo-yos, for most ball-bearing models and for non-responsive (bind) yo-yos. However, beginning players benefit greatly by using a non-spinning yo-yo while they are learning the initial throws and handling of the yo-yo. To make a fixed axle yo-yo into a non-spinning beginner yo-yo, the string should be attached with a double, rather than a single, loop around the axle. To do this, follow the instructions above for installing a yo-yo string, except that after the yo-yo is placed on the string, cross the 2 strings, and wrap the string around the axle a second time. This, in effect, acts like a knot in the bottom of the string, causing the yo-yo to bounce back up or return more easily to the beginner player. Once throwing proficiency has been gained, the second loop came be removed from the axle, returning the yo-yo into a "spinning" yo-yo. If using a ball-bearing yo-yo, you will need to quad-loop (4 times) the string around the axle.
NOTE: Non-Responsive yo-yo CANNOT be adjusted for beginner's play.
The loop at the end of every yo-yo is NOT the loop to put your finger in. This loop is too small or usually too large for your finger, which will cause the yo-yo to fall off your finger while playing. To make a slip knot, take some of the straight string that is hanging down from the tied loop, and put a section of that string into the tied loop. When you pull that section of string through the other side of the loop, you have a one-size-fits-all slip knot for your finger. That slip knot goes on your middle finger (tallest finger) between your first and second knuckle on your dominant hand (the hand that you write with). DO NOT put the string at the base of your finger (that is reserved for rings!). Although it initially feels funny, proper string placement will ensure tricks can be done most easily.
String Adjustment for beginning spinners. Every time a Yo-Yo is thrown, every time a Yo-Yo is wound by hand, the twist of the string is changed. A beginner needs to adjust the string for about every three or four times the Yo-Yo is wound up. If you are having trouble making the Yo-Yo sleep, drop it. If it won't sleep when dropped, it definitely won't sleep when thrown. The fastest, easiest and most accurate way for a beginner to adjust the string (advanced players use string adjustment tricks like the Flying Saucer) is to remove the string from the finger, hang on to the Yo-Yo and let go of the string. The string will quickly adjust itself to neutral. Then wind the string back into the Yo-Yo BEFORE putting it back on the finger. If it still won't sleep when dropped, there is a knot in the bottom of the string around the axle. If it sleeps when dropped but not when thrown, there is a problem with the throw, not the Yo-Yo. Usually the hand is moving as the Yo-Yo reaches the end of the string. The hand must be stopped and relaxed for the Yo-Yo to sleep when it reaches the end of the string.
With the exception of the Gravity Pull, a yo-yo is always thrown over the end of the fingers, the direction that the back of the hand is facing. This is very similar to the way a flying disc is thrown. The string must come from the finger to the top off the yo-yo, otherwise, the yo-yo to not roll off the end of the fingers properly. If the yo-yo is held and thrown with the yo-yo upside down in the hand, the yo-yo will turn on its side and demonstrate what is called a "Sick Helicopter," and won't come back up the string.
#s indicate the number of threads used in the finished string. The bigger the number, the thicker the string.
#8, 100% cotton. This is the most common string. For all fixed axle yo-yos this, or a #9 string, is a must. Cotton has a high resistance to wear with friction against the fixed axle.
#6, 50% cotton/50% polyester. Used for ball bearing yo-yos. Good mix of wearability and tensile strength.
#6, 100% poly. Popular for ball bearing yo-yos, particularly ‘Bind’ yo-yos.
#8, 50/50. Good string for looping with ball bearing and fixed axle yo-yos.
#9, 100% cotton. Beginners string. Good for fixed axle and auto return yo-yos for maximum wearability.
General difference between string:
50/50% cotton/polyester is best for Ball bearing, responsive yo-yos. Good balance between smoothness and strength.
Polyester is stronger than cotton but it frays easily on wood so 100% cotton is best for wood axle yo-yos.
100% polyester is best for bind yo-yos. Minimum response and maximum strength.
Be sure to replace or re-install the parts of the bearing assembly in the correct order. Also, the Bearing Seats MUST be placed in the proper direction for the ball-bearing to function properly. Note that the bearing rings go to the inside, next to the bearing, while the outside has a well that the o-ring sits into.
Every Yo-Yo player that has gotten into string tricks (Brain Twisters, Trapezes, Atom Smashers) knows what happens when you put the Yo-Yo on the string 'backwards'. It has a tendency to 'bite' i.e., catch the string and try to wind up. Some Yo-Yos will tolerate this if you are careful, other Yo-Yos will immediately 'bite' and freeze up. What does "on the string backwards" mean? The string is wound around itself (about 7 to 9 times per inch at neutral, depending on the type of string). That wind is directional (like a one way street). If you have a sensitive touch, you can feel that the string slides more easily through your fingers from top to bottom than from bottom to top. The Yo-Yo spinning at thousands of R.P.M. greatly multiplies that difference. When the Yo-Yo rides on the 'Sweet Side' of the string, i.e., with the direction of the string wind, it is smooth sailing. But when it is put on the string with the spin going against the grain of the string wind, you have a potential disaster. This function is actually used in the trick 'Thread the Needle' and 'The Shotgun'. Many yoers who were trying to learn Brain Twister' from written directions were continually frustrated by unwittingly putting the Yo-Yo on the string 'backwards'. What most players don't know is that the same scenario holds true for the single strand of string that goes around the axle. This 'single' string is actually 6, 7 or 8 individual threads twisted together to form the string. It is this unidirectional twist that causes the string to wind around itself those 7 to 9 times per inch. This unidirectional twist also creates the some type of 'grain' or 'sweet side' experienced with the doubled string. The Yo-Yo will actually spin easier and longer in one direction than the other. I have seen this phenomenon cause problems in every contest that I have ever witnessed. A contestant will 'test throw' their Yo-Yo until it sleeps and then try the trick only to have the Yo-Yo return to the hand without sleeping. They will take another test throw and the Yo-Yo sleeps easily. Back to try the trick again and once more the Yo-Yo doesn't sleep. The trick is to throw a sleeper on the test throw, then take another test throw to put the Yo-Yo back on the 'sweet side' of the string for the attempt that counts. When you are on the 'sweet side', the Yo-Yo not only sleeps easier and longer, but string tricks run smoother also. I actually use a bi-colored Yo-Yo and set it up so that I know which color needs to be on the right for the 'sweet side'. Remember, it's the string not the Yo-Yo so if you use this bi-color method, when you change a string and test it, you may have to remove the string and put it back on the other way to match the color you want to use as a key. It's best to always use the same color as the key so you don't have to stop and remember each time which is the 'sweet side'.
For transaxle players, the sweet side can have an effect too, but in reverse. One of the biggest problems in using a transaxle yo-yo is getting it up at times. The sweet side that makes a standard yo-yo work better will make a transaxle harder to get up....so.....if you are in a transaxle competition, better to try the trick on the sour side (particularly on tricks like around the corner) so it will be more responsive on the return. Also in this vein, most transaxles can be adjusted to be more responsive by varying the number of wraps around the axle. The more wraps, the more responsive. You'll also give up some smoothness at the same time but for some tricks, it can be worth it.
The question that I get most often from advanced players is "How do you do good consistent repetitive loops?" So see, you're not alone. I consider the 'simple' inside loop to be in the top five hardest tricks to master. OK, here we go;
#1. Practice only good loops. The instant they wander, stop and start over. When you get really good at them, then you can correct and recover, but until then, you need to train that hand and arm to do the same right thing over and over until it becomes automatic.
#2. The yo-yo should be tilted about 6% to the outside ( that's just about like this / ) . (For the left hand, like this \.). This is a control tilt which keeps the string in contact with the side of the yo-yo. If the yo-yo is straight up and down, it can roll to one side or the other too easily. Start your first throw with this tilt and continue it.
#3, The loop is not a throw, it is a pull. When you start, the yo-yo should go down toward the floor, then out and then return toward your hand. Try just letting go of the yo-yo behind you as you bring your hand forward. This pulls the yo-yo forward. Then just stop your hand and watch what happens. Depending on the speed of the pull, the yo-yo should whip past (over) your hand and take off on another orbit but not quite make it back to your hand the second time. The only power you need to put into the loop is what is needed to complete the trip back (not very much at all). This is best accomplished by doing an inside wrist roll that starts BEFORE the yo-yo returns to the hand which gently PULLS the yo-yo around the hand while imparting that little extra power to keep it in orbit. Precise consistency is the key.
#4. Yo practice, Yo practice, Yo practice.
#5. See # 1.
Good luck, it took me six months.
My nomination for the five hardest yo-yo tricks to master. Inside loops, Outside Loops, Hop the Fence, Reach for the Moon, and Punching Bag. "Hey!", you say. "Everyone can do Loops and Hop the Fence." Mastery is the key word. Mastery means you can do about as many as you want to every time you pick up the yo-yo and you can do them while reciting the Gettysburg Address and scratching your head with the other hand.
Multiple Reach for the Moon is the only trick I can think of that I'm afraid to try with a blindfold on. You must follow it and make corrections. It doesn't follow you. That's why it is so difficult for most players to do more than 10 of them with two hands. Dale Myrberg has done over 300 of them. I can't hold both hands over my head that long. Forget doing Reach for the Moons that long.
OK...on with the trick. First problem is to get the yo-yo going the right direction around your hand. Start with this preliminary trick. Do a Hop the Fence, but when it returns, go into a reverse or backwards Hop the Fence, then forward again, then backwards again...hey!...you're doing Reach for the Moon (when it's over China). Actually, this trick is now known as Planet Hop. Now for this side of the world. Notice how the yo-yo passes your hand when you do Hop the Fence. The first pass of Reach for the Moon is the same direction. You throw the yo-yo up at a 45 degree angle, but when it comes back, the yo-yo must pass below your hand (try for about 6" below). Act as though you are going to do Hop the Fence straight up. That is, in fact, what you do and when (if) it comes back down, you loop it back out. you would think that if it has to go up, you would need to throw it hard...NOT! A very gentle, slow touch is by far more effective. If correctly thrown at the beginning, the yo-yo will swing past your hand and go up by itself without any added power (If sometimes helps in learning the trick to push your hand straight up the way you want the yo-yo to go as it is coming past your hand.) and then you add just a bit of power on the outward bound pass to repeat the trick. I don't use my wrist at all on the upward part of the trick. In fact, I find it helpful to hold my cupped fingers together and brace my yo-yo finger with my thumb just behind the string. That freezes the yo-yo finger and makes a solid pivot point for the yo-yo to swing around. Once you actually FEEL the way the yo-yo acts when this tricks is done correctly, you'll know what the term "in the groove" really means. It flows almost effortlessly. But it takes A LOT of practice effort to get there.