YoYoStringLab Comprehensive Review
(If you’re not going to read all the text here, just look for anything in bold. That’ll be plenty to tell the story just fine.)
Hello! I’m sure many of you have at least heard of YoYoStringLab strings by now. I have been throwing it exclusively for over a year now and, after all this time, have formed several strong opinions about it’s qualities. I will detail them below in the most concise way I can manage (and I’ll try not to gush too much).
As a preface, I’d like to say that I’ve tried almost every string currently on the market and many that are no longer easily available. To list them would be a serious undertaking, so I’ll keep it to the major brands, being: Ham String (all types), Toxic String (all types), G-String (all types including the originals), Kitty String (all types), Kevlar, Nylon (including Angel Hair and Chaos), Blended strings (including Chaos, G-String, and plenty of others), and most of the smaller home-brewed brands that have popped up over the years. I mean no disrespect to any of these manufacturers and I’m sure the content of this review will read as such.
To avoid being completely incomprehensible, I’m going to rate each type on a scale of 1-10 in several different categories. They are:
Feel/Tension/Slack/Suicides/Whipping Speed/Longevity/Binding Properties
The highest score possible will be 70.0/70.0.
To clarify a bit, a 0 means said element is truly horrible with the given string. A 5 is on-par with standard polyester string. A 10 means it performs said element better than any string I’ve ever tried. A standard polyester string would score a total of 35.0/70.0.
All YYSL strings ship at a length of 47.5". They will eventually stretch to around 51" including the finger-loop once played for an hour or so.
YoYoStringLab’s first offering was simply titled “Type 1”. It was shipped to testers in early September, 2011. Since then I’ve been throwing Type 1 on at least 3 of my yoyos at a time. My impressions on the string are as follows:
Feel: This string still amazes me with it’s uncanny resemblance to standard, bulk, discount polyester string. It has the same soft, simple feel of a standard poly string and a very similar thickness. When you actually strap one to a yoyo, though, you’ll immediately be able to tell that Type 1 plays miles above the level of a regular poly string. Because Type 1 feels so familiar and comfortable right off the bat, I find it provides a great introduction for anyone into the world of specialty strings. The overall feel of a Type 1 string is very soft, slightly bouncy, and extremely comfortable throughout it’s life-span. I’d give it a solid 8.0/10.0
Tension: Type 1 holds amazing tension. I try to calculate a string’s ability to hold tension by taking a brand new string, stretching it out 10 times with the most consistent force I can muster, then strapping it to a yoyo and letting it’s tension zero-out. Then I twist the yoyo 5 full rotations and try to get a slacked loop to twist itself up into a mess. Type 1 can last 25 full rotations before twisting upon itself 2 times. That’s the best tension-holding ability I’ve found in a yoyo string (stipulation to follow in Type X section). I give it a perfect 10.0/10.0
Slack: Type 1 holds slack just as well as it holds tension (they are linked equally, after all). I’d say it slacks very well, but it suffers from a lack of speed. The string isn’t very thick, so slack speed is lessened although slack consistency is not. I give it a 6.0/10.0
Suicides: Type 1 is the best string I’ve ever used for doing suicides. I’ve tried almost every single string on the market (including things like Angel Hair and the early Chaos blends that are quite hard to find now) and none of them has ever come close to performing suicides as well as Type 1. It does something I’ve never, ever seen before: it opens up in a perfect circle, not an oval or rounded rectangle like most strings. If you need proof of that, check out some of the videos Kyle has made using YYSL Type 1. The suicides are all perfect circles. I give it a perfect 10.0/10.0
Whipping Speed: Type 1 is not the string for you if you’ve got a whippy style and are looking for speed. It isn’t very heavy and doesn’t have any “snap” to it. It can, of course, be made to do any whip trick you can imagine much faster than a standard polyester string, but compared to the other YYSL types and all the nylon strings on the market Type 1 doesn’t hold a candle. I give it a 5.0/5.0
Longevity: There isn’t much to say here except that I get an average life of 10 hours per string. Type 1 doesn’t get all fuzzy or lose it’s brilliant bright color, but it does eventually lose it’s tension-holding magic and the suicides will eventually be affected by that. I usually kill a standard polyester string in a little over an hour, so getting 10 hours out of a string is still fantastic. I give it a 7.0/10.0
Binding Properties: Thinner strings have fallen out of fashion because they don’t do very well in the extremely large gaps we’re seeing these days. Type 1, despite being rather thin, doesn’t suffer from this problem at all. It binds just fine at low spin with worn-out silicone, even with a string-centering bearing installed. I give it a nice, solid 8.0/10.0
Here is a picture of a Type 1 string strapped to by One Drop DANG. This string has been played for about 10 hours and I’ll be changing it later tonight. As you can see, it doesn’t look dirty, grimy, fuzzy, or worn-out.
Here is a picture of another Type 1 string strapped to my One Drop CODE1. It has been played for closer to 20 hours and is long overdue for a change. Even though it isn’t performing at it’s best, I’ve been able to throw it daily for the past week and have had no problems throwing it after it’s “lifespan” was over. As you can see, even after 20 hours of play, it still looks just fine.
So, in total, Type 1 gets a 54.0/70.0. That seems like a low score, but consider this: if you like suicides, are a newly converted bulk-poly user, or have a slow, smooth style, Type 1 is undoubtedly the best YYSL string for you. It really is fantastic, but don’t take my word for it. PM me and I’ll do my best to ship you a small sample.
Type 2 was also shipped out with the initial tester packs. It received more praise overall than Type 1 initially, but Matt wisely decided to keep on making both for those who enjoy it. Type 2 has much different qualities than Type 1, but they both share similar characteristics. I’ve performed the same regimen with Type 2 as I have with Type 1. It is currently (and has been for over a year) strapped to 3 of my yoyos and I throw it daily without fail.
Feel: Type 2, just like Type 1, feels very similar to standard polyester string. It is notably thicker and slightly slicker, but retains the simple, comfortable feel that we’ve all gotten used to from standard poly. I’ve found that Type 2 flows over my fingers more easily than Type 1 due to it’s slick nature, but it is by no means slick like nylon or stiff poly. Think of it as “soft, but tightly twisted”. I give it’s feel a nice, solid 9.0/10.0
Tension: Type 2 doesn’t hold tension as well as Type 1. That’s a sad fact, but it by no means detracts from the string’s performance. In the same test I performed on Type 1, Type 2 was able to withstand roughly 20 full rotations before doubling up. That’s fantastic on it’s own, but if you simply hate adjusting tension, Type 1 may be a better fit for you. I give Type 2 an 8.0/10.0
Slack: Type 2 excels in slack tricks. It’s slight stiffness and thicker-than-Type1 quality allows it to hold slack perfectly. Even with high tension on the string, I’ve been able to consistently do every slack trick I know without frustration or problems. The soft feel of Type 2, surprisingly, lends itself to quick, technical slack tricks and, in my experience, makes me want to do more slack than I usually would. My style is much less technical than most and I rarely use slack, but I’ve got my Burnside, Trident, and Fury strung up with Type 2 specifically for slack tricks. I give it a nearly-perfect 9.0/10.0
Suicides: Type 2 is pretty good for suicides, but is completely overshadowed by Type 1. I find that is performs suicides a good bit better than standard polyester, but they’re nothing to write home about. It’s tension-holding abilities help quite a bit, but nothing will beat the amazing circular suicides of Type 1 for me. I give it a 6.0/10.0
Whipping Speed: Wow. Type 2 whips very quickly. Before writing each of these sections I’ve been spending about 15 minutes actually throwing the string to get an accurate, up-to-date feel for what I’m talking about. These past 15 minutes have seen me land at least 10 triple Brent Stoles and one quadruple. I’m not one to just add extra whips to tricks so I can use words like “quadruple”, but it sure it a good way to judge the whipping speed of a string. Given the facts that this string has no nylon in it, isn’t extra-thick, isn’t extra-stiff, and doesn’t feel like a rope on your fingers, I find it’s properties just fantastic. I give Type 2 a 9.0/10.0
Longevity: Type 2 lasts slightly longer than Type 1 at 12-15 hours of play. Something I’ve been consistently impressed by is YYSL’s tendency to wear well. Most strings get all fuzzy for a time, then just get dirty and stop holding tension after a few hours. YYSL strings (all of them, not just Type 2) don’t get fuzzy, barely get dirty, and keep their feel until they eventually just quit after an average of 15 hours. Type 2 holds firm to that standard and keeps all it’s properties until it just stops holding tension after around 15 hours. I give it a 9.0/10.0
Binding Properties: Type 2, being a bit thicker than Type 1, binds just fine. There aren’t really any strings that specialize in binding well, but I’d happily recommend Type 2 to someone just breaking into unresponsive play. It’s thickness allows it to work well with string-centering bearings and worn-out response at the same time. To test this, I popped a Crucial V2 bearing in my Magnum with worn-out thin General-Yo pads. Even at extremely low RPMs, I was able to get a nice, tight bind every time. I give Type 2 an 8.0/10.0
Here is a picture of Type 2 strapped to my girlfriend’s CLYW Gnarwhal. This string has been played for more hours than I know by multiple people. Matt actually made this particular color-combination specifically for my girlfriend when she asked him for something “bright and pink” to match her Gnarwhal. He did this out of the kindness of his heart and we’re both quite grateful. It meets both of those specifications and, after much play, still looks brilliant. As you can see, it isn’t fuzzy, grimy, or gross.
So, in total, Type 2 gets a 58.0/70.0. If your style involves whips, slacks, speed, or tech, I’d happily recommend Type 2. It performs all elements quite well, but just like everything else, it has it’s high points. My offer from above applies here as well. PM me and I’ll do what I can.
Type X is, as far as I’m concerned, the best all-around string you can possibly find. Matt made it for those that wanted the feel of Type 1 with the whipping speed of Type 2, but wound up making a string that improves on both Type 1 and Type 2’s qualities while adding some of it’s own. I’ll go over all of it in the section that follows.
Feel: This string feels incredibly soft, but as some texture to it. When you first start playing one it feels like a brand new standard polyester string with a bit more thickness and bounce. That bounce quickly lessens, but remains in the string until the end of it’s life. Type X is thicker than Type 1, but slightly thinner than Type 2. The softness only increases as you wear the string in and, after about 5 hours, it feels like silk flowing over your fingers. I can’t praise the feel of this string enough, but I’ll restrain myself to giving it a 10.0/10.0
Tension: Type X holds tension very well. Where Type 1 can withstand 25 rotations of a yoyo before twisting onto itself, Type X can withstand closer to 30. That tension-holding ability only gets better as you break the string in. Initially tension builds rather quickly (15 rotations or so), but after 20 or 30 solid throws the string reaches it’s prime. I’ve never played a string that holds tension better than Type X and I’ll be truly amazed if one comes along. I give Type X a 10.0/10.0
Slack: Type X is designed specifically to bring the qualities of Type 2 to the table in a Type 1-like string, but Matt wound up creating something much better. Type X holds slack very well and can fly through tech as if it were nylon. The quality of slack produced by Type X directly rivals that of much thicker, stiffer strings, but you’d never guess it by first impressions alone. I feel I’ve been repeating the phrase “I’m truly amazed” too often in this review, so I’ll go ahead and say that I was stunned, not amazed, at Type X’s slack quality. I give it a 9.0/10.0, but only because a particular brand of stiff strings designed for holding quality slack does so very slightly better.
Suicides: Type 1 is still the King of suicides, but Type X does exactly what Matt wanted it to do in this arena. Instead of being rather average like Type 2, Type X excels as suicides and opens up nice and wide every time. The tension-holding properties of Type X help with this, but the string’s thickness and resilience make the difference. Combining wide loops with fast whipping speed inevitably leads to fantastic suicides, especially doubles and technical suicides. I give it an 8.0/10.0 when compared to Type 1.
Whipping Speed: Type X whips fast! It’s whipping speed is equivalent to that of a nylon string, but it doesn’t suffer from the poor tension-holding ability nylon strings often do. Something I’ve always enjoyed is the “whoosh” sound made by a fast whip. Type X provides plenty of that while still being very soft. As I said about Type 2, before I wrote this I spent about 15 minutes throwing my General-Yo Torrent II with a 10-hour-old Type X string on it. I was able to land a double Multifarious Whip consistently and plenty of triple and quadruple Brent Stoles. This string whips fast. I give it a 10.0/10.0
Longevity: Type 1 lasts for about 10 hours, Type 2 lasts for about 15 hours, and Type X beats them both. I haven’t gone through the necessary steps to determine an actual lifespan (I have a process involving some pretty careful yoyoing over the course of two weeks, both in summer and winter, to figure these things out), but Type X lasts longer than Types 1 and 2. For that alone I’m giving Type X a 9.0/10.0. The only reason it isn’t a perfect 10.0 is because I’ve had Angel Hair string last 6 months and Grao String last from last December of 2011 until today. Still, over 15 hours of life is amazing for a soft polyester string no matter what you compare it to.
Binding Properties: Type X, just like both Types 1 and 2, binds just fine. It’s very average thickness makes it instantly comfortable for anyone to use and provides a great starting point for new throwers. I performed the same General-Yo Magnum+worn out pads+Crucial V2 bearing test and received the exact same results at the end of a spin. I give Type X the same score of 8.0/10.0
Here’s a picture of Type X strapped to my General-Yo Torrent II. This string has been played for more than 15 hours and, just like the rest, isn’t fuzzy, grimy, gross, or suffering from loss of performance.
So, in total, Type X gets a 64.0/70.0. In my eyes, it is the best string Matt currently offers and should provide a great, reliable string for anyone and everyone looking for a premium string. There’s too much praise to give this string for one review, even one this ridiculously long. I’ll cut myself off here before I start gushing (I promised I wouldn’t gush).
All-in-all, I believe that YoYoStringLab makes the finest yoyo string currently available. I’ve tried all of it (except his new AMMO string, but that’s soon to come) and love all of it. As I said much earlier, I’ve been throwing his string exclusively for over a year now and have only touched other strings for comparison purposes. This stuff has proven to be the perfect string for me and I think it’ll likely be that way for you too. If you’d like to try some YYSL string, PM me or just go ahead and spend the $5.50 to get a pack of your own! I promise it’ll be worth it. On top of the value, quality, and all-around awesomeness of this string, Matt is a fantastic guy who has a serious passion for yoyo string. I sincerely hope he keeps making string until he stops having fun with it.
Well, that’s all. If you took the time to read all of this, I applaud you and hope I’ve at least made you curious about YYSL. If that’s the case, I urge you to try some of this string. As I said before, PM me and I’ll do what I can to make that a reality. Also, you could just buy some for yourself! I promise you’ll enjoy it.
I have no affiliation with YoYoStringLab other than being a fan of Matt’s products. I have not received any compensation for this review or any of my positive comments about YYSL string. I purchased all the string I’ve used (other than the initial tester pack of 10 strings over a year ago) and will continue to do so as long as Matt keeps making it!