It may be more beneficial to keep this conversation public in order to make the information available to the entire community.
I just got a pair of Unleashed yoyos for when I venture into 2A. Out of the package, they are too response and simply won’t sleep. I had to loosen them up a tiny bit to get them to sleep. As I can’t do looping yet, I’m not really concerned about further progress.
However, my main point would be that, just as we spend a lot of time and/or money trying to either find the perfect throw, or an acceptable throw, or modifying something into compliance with our target “ideal”, I can’t see looping being any different. There doesn’t seem to be quite the variety of loopers due to models being discontinued, but even so there’s plenty of good stuff available. The issue is that it might be a bit of a chunk to take a risk on a pair. $36(approximately) for a pair of Unleashed isn’t too bad considering most decent 1A throws start at around $35 and up. YYF’s Loop900 is going to run you $50 or so for a pair, which again isn’t too bad considering some great 1A throws start in the $40 range for a single yoyo.
For me, I chose the Unleashed because I like YYJ and locally, the Raider is about the same price, if not a bit more, so there’s no motivation to buy in. I didn’t feel the Loop900 is worth the price for my skill level. But I also didn’t want to get the Shinwoo Loop for myself either, at $10 a yoyo.
I’d say the idea of getting their hands on someone’s set of loopers would be a good idea, along with getting some help and tutorial knowledge from the individual. If anything, it will establish a starting point or base level. But after that, it’s really up to the individual to figure out what works best. That takes time and money to get done. Also, keep in mind bearing lubrication can affect play just as much as well.
At the same time, many people love the Raider, and the modified Raiders. You can often buy modified Raiders in BST. If you’re not happy with what you’re throwing, it’s a good way to get some items you can’t otherwise obtain, and get rid of stuff you don’t want for whatever reason. Don’t cut your options short. But I am in favor of trying off the shelf stuff first. I tend to do well that way… You know, “as is from the factory” kind of thing. I’m not saying “mods are bad”, because I don’t believe mods are bad. For now, for me, as the yoyo comes is fine. Typical stuff is acceptable, you know, like lubing bearings, changing response pads(or even siliconing). I’m talking about physical modifications.
Another idea is to stick with what you’ve got and put way more time in. We all have to learn the basics. Once you got a lot of stuff down solid, that’s really the time to think about trying other stuff.