YYE member crococorey has been making his own line of strings, currently with 4 different variations. I contacted Corey with my interest in testing them out and he sent along a sample of the variations. Here are my thoughts:
There are 4 types of strings, with 3 being distinct. The other is a variation on a theme:
Cat o’ nine tails: whippy, has that plasticky “trilobal” feel like original Toxic or BYYS Panthers
Fat Cat o’none tails: as above, but even thicker
Fantasy chords: smooth, soft, and thin. Not sure what kind of threads were used here!
Marshmallow: variation on the 100% poly we all know and love.
Here’s his BST if you want to hit him up: http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php/topic,70691.0.html
Let me get this out of the way first: I do not enjoy super-whippy strings. If anything, I tend to go the opposite way, enjoying a string that is on the slow side. Consequently, I have no real opinion on the 2 Cat o’ Nine strings. I can say this: they deliver on the promise of whippiness. These things are FAST, and I have every reason to believe they will also have incredibly long life.
Marshmallow: when you’re looking at small-run strings (or “boutique” strings), you are generally not looking for a direct replacement for bulk poly. Small string makers can’t produce the volume that factories can, so they need to differentiate. These strings definitely offer something different. They have a slightly looser wind, designed to help maintain tension. My experience with the marshmallow strings was that they indeed kept tension better than bulk poly. The trade-off is that you can “feel” the texture of the string more. This is neither a good nor a bad thing, just something to note. The Marshmallow format kept nice flowy slack as well. Overall, they live up to the expectation of “familiar but with a bit extra”.
Fantasy Chords: These turned out to be the sleeper hit for me. When I first strung it up, it had a delightful bounce. Not everybody loves bounce, but I do… and it gave a very lively energy to play. Over a few hours, the bounce lessened but didn’t completely go away. Perhaps after a week of play the bounce might be dead, but I didn’t hit that wall. That said, it was a “sleeper” hit because I initially found them a bit too thin and slick. It seemed like I was missing binds I normally hit, which caused me some forehead-furrowing and raised eyebrows.
Persistence paid off. After adjusting my expectations and giving a bit more loop or a more aggressive entry into the gap for binds, I wasn’t missing nearly as many. And along the way, I also discovered that the smooth-feeling string really fights off unintentional binds. For example, over-under boingy boing is a trick known to snarl up and accidentally bind without really good technique. With the Fantasy Chords, I could hit that trick hard with no fear of accidental bind. The string feels good sliding against itself, but it ALSO feels good sliding through your fingers. Very low risk of friction burn compared to many poly strings out there.
Whips were actually quite fast for the relative thinness of the string. I could easily hit Brent Stoles without throwing my shoulder out. And when I wanted slower gentle whips (I love the slowest possible slack whip for Jade Whips, for example) it pulled those off as well.
I’m not in absolute command of suicides yet, but when I figured I’d give them a go. I was half expecting them to not be good, but I was quite wrong. From the first suicide, I found they opened up in ways I wasn’t prepared for, with huge open “O”-shaped loops.
Tension management for the Fantasy Chord seemed normal. It didn’t strike me as “tension free nirvana,” but nor did I ever feel “put out” by them. Standard adjustments here and there, and the Fantasy Chord continued to deliver an exceptional experience.
As you can guess from my rambling, the big surprise for me was the Fantasy Chord. There was nothing wrong with the Marshmallow (it was above average) but it’s the Fantasy Chord that I enjoyed. The smooth, slick feeling and slipperier binds are going to be a put-off for some people at first, but with minor adjustments to play style, you will be rewarded with a unique-playing (and WELL-playing) string. Which is something all small-run string makers should strive for.