New No-Jive yo-yo is making me mad.


I just got a wooden no-jive yoyo and I’m having a real difficult time getting it to work properly. I can barely wind it up or throw it correctly because every time I pull it back it doesn’t grip the string, so it just loses its spin and falls. I can get about 2 loops in before it just dies.

Am I doing something wrong? I’ve tried tying the string on the axel with 1 and 2 loops. It doesn’t sleep with 3 and that doesn’t even seem to fix the problem. I can’t imagine this is how wooden yo-yos are supposed to act.

(⛷ Noisy Lurker) #2

String tension: It’s different with fixed wooden axles, you don’t always want neutral. Try increasing your string tension a bit.


That seemed to help a little but i’m still not getting much out of it. Sometimes when I toss it, usually after a few loops, it doesn’t unwind with a spin. It just lets all the string go until the yo-yo is at the end of it, not spinning. The string tension isn’t helping that much for this.


i had the same trouble with my fixed axles, although they were duncan imperials and butterflies.
im getting a no jive for christmas though, and after creeping ed h’s blog/ the old wood/ TK threads on yyn, i read he recommends using one duncan friction sticker. i havent played my no jive yet but adding the sticker to my plastic duncans made ALL the difference in the world. i would speculate that a good fixed player could skip the response but im convinced this is the way to go.


If you are looping right handed, you loosen the tension on every loop. You need to readjust the tension periodically. Look at learning the UFO. (Conversely, a left handed looper will tighten the string.)

A Duncan sticker on a no-jive would be overkill (imo). A TK sticker is the most you should need and even that is not needed. It’s all string tension.


^^ Indeed. A friction sticker is overkill unless you have the axle shimmed with an o-ring to widen the gap.

New cotton string is often loose when you first put it on. As others have noted, string tension should solve the problem. I also often put a very small bit of Burt’s Bees hand salve on the ends of my cotton string if I want a wood axle yoyo to be extra responsive, like for looping No Jives - but then they play very responsive. Vaseline will work as well.


Yes - Early on I thought waxing the string/axle would make them spin better. To my amazement it’s just the opposite, though used sparingly a bit of wax will make a wooden axle a bit less responsive. I’ve used bee’s wax and paraffin with good results.


Sparingly is, indeed, the key with wax. The first time I used bees wax I overdid it and couldn’t get the yoyo to respond without a bind.


no on the sticker but yes on the beeswax!!?? questionable.

and the point is to have a worn duncan sticker, which doesn’t take long…


You should be able to get pretty good response and a good sleeper with the right string tension. You may have to do a couple of UFO’s and Loops.


Yes, you are…

(⛷ Noisy Lurker) #12

Experimentation is good. Make your string tension to tight and then to loose. Then when you get it just right if you want to keep the looping going, alternate inside and outside loops to keep the tension where you want it.

The fact that it is making you mad is the challenge of fixed axle play. You have to accept that tricks are going to take a different level of commitment, skill development, and are often more challenging to learn, master and explore. You’re going to learn to see yo-yoing differently. It’s more about working with the yoyo, getting a feel for it, understanding how the response changes during play, and enjoying the road less traveled. It’s discovering limitations, yours and the yoyos, as well as the unique opportunities and characteristics of fixed axle play. In the end, like unresponsive play, it’s a preference, it can be rewarding, extremely frustrating, and can be learned with persistence and dedication. Enjoy the journey.

(ed) #13

no jives can be super frustrating, no doubt. but if you’re scientific about it, you can come to understand it. there are only so many things you can adjust.

string tension - like everyone suggested, this is #1. remember also that you can actually adjust the tension close to the gap to make a bigger difference on response but not cause the string to kink up too much all over.

string type - cotton will start up pretty loose if you don’t set #1 diligently from the start. once it gets used to the axle though, that loose feeling typically goes away. don’t use type 6 string with a no jive. it’s too thin. type 8 50/50 also works well, and is often quicker to break in than cotton. poly can actually be the MOST responsive (esp stuff like fat kitty) but it wears quickly and has a shorter window of best use.

response - no jives don’t need response, but a sticker can help make it more consistent and less frustrating. i use DEAD duncan stickers from the mid-2000’s (i scrape all of the tacky stuff off, leaving only the linen) or tom kuhn turbo discs, which don’t need to be pre-scratched. it’s not really overkill. tk discs have more of an effect than duncans, just because their inner diameter is smaller and the friction happens closer to the axle. they also wear more quickly. unfortunately, that type of duncan sticker is getting pretty had to find. i see almost no increased snag from these stickers during string tricks; it just gives me a tighter wind. it’s most useful when shimming for a slightly wider gap, but i’ve used it in a few stock no jive setups too. i’ve never had a no jive where it was a necessity, but i’ve had several where it made things more convenient.

gap - again, i’ve never had a no jive that wouldn’t play properly without a gap adjustment, but who knows? can you fit two pennies into the gap side by side together all the way down to the axle? if so, that’s on the wide side. you can reduce the gap by sanding down one or both sides of the axle, but obviously that can’t be reversed once you’ve done it, except by adding shims. i’ve never preferred the use of wax either on axles or strings, but some guys swear by it.

if you try all that stuff and it’s still ticking you off, send it to me. i’ll set it up the way i’d set it up for myself and mail it right back to you. i’ve never met a no jive i couldn’t convince into behaving. at the same time, a no jive is a different beast than an unresponsive metal, and a big part of playing wood is learning how to get your stuff dialed in.


As an alternative to worn out old-style friction stickers, which are really hard to find, I have had good results using one new 12mm Duncan silicone sticker.


Something (surprisingly) that hasn’t been mentioned yet is switching out the axle. I was having the same problem you are having and I just switched out the axle for a new one and now it plays fine


Thanks a lot guys. I actually messed with it with higher string tension and I’m starting to get comfortable with it. It’s interesting but a lot more difficult to use than my other modern yo-yos. I’m kind of just having to relearn how I do tricks with it. Thanks everyone!

(rizkiyoist) #17

Humidity plays a role too, when my custom wooden yoyo is too unresponsive, I purposely wet the axle just a little. Even a small drop of water can change the responsiveness dramatically.


Varying responsiveness is kinda mysterious to me on the glossy wood No Jives (and family) I have with no “response holes” like other fancy wooden yo-yos … maybe string tension is why?

I also observe this phenomenon big time (and much more) on my SB-1 which has no response stickers out of the box. Sometimes it’s perfectly responsive (which blows my mind, as the aluminum is obviously suuuper smooth, way smoother than wood, what the heck is it grabbing on to??), other times it’s completely unresponsive, seemingly at random.

So maybe as you said string tension is the key I’m not understanding here – in the absence of cuts in the wood to add friction, or friction stickers, especially when the wood surface is quite glossy and smooth? The string just has to grab on to and coil up on itself to respond properly, and it can’t do that when there’s not enough (or too much?) string tension from the twist in the string?

(ed) #19

Yeah just because something appears shiny/smooth, it doesn’t mean that at the spot where the axle meets the wooden/metal half there’s nowhere for the string to hold, especially at a microscopic level and high speed as it comes under tension. No yo-yo’s had “response systems” before Duncan’s proliferation of cheap, moldable plastic and steel axles.

On another level, figuring this out - not HOW it works, but how it works for you - is a huge part of playing fixed. There are a million tiny secrets which you only unlock with time (and if you never do, hey, bearings are fun anyway). I remember when Bob Rule told me that string is not symmetrical, but “sided” based on how it’s wound and how it interacts with the axle, and you can use the sides differently when you’re aware of them. Blew my mind. The generations before us had decades to understand the nuances of wood because what else were they gonna throw? Some of the art is meant to be passed on, but most of it is a path which can only be walked. Sometimes the path is a garden, sometimes it’s a gate, sometimes it’s a tunnel.

(Spinworthy Glen) #20

Can you explain this further?