This is another reason why I advocate for spinning your own. I don’t have to buy strings, because I have my personal favorite recipe dialed in and it is consistent enough; I’m pleased with it.
Dragon string all the way
Oh, I think you’re totally right in terms of a string’s competitive performance. However, I recently discovered the difference string thickness can make in getting an unresponsive yoyo with a wide-ish gap to bind (from a side undermount in particular). So a string that doesn’t offer consistent thickness is going to present problems for me. Maybe someday that will no longer be an issue and I’ll be able to bind like a pro no matter what string I’m using, but right now that’s not the case. And maybe consistency is never a problem when it comes to thickness, I wouldn’t know, but just speaking in general terms, I (now) know there are characteristics that I need to count on to be a certain way or I could be in for a lot of frustration.
I think all of the good bulk options are consistent within their own brand, at least. You’d only get into trouble if you had a pile of various strings from different manufacturers, or different thicknesses from the same brand. I know a lot of competitive players simply use Kitty Fat or whatever their bulk of choice is.
This is why I said…
One of the negatives, for me, of the artisanal, hand-made strings… consistency goes completely out the window. Some of the artisanal brands aren’t even around any more, so their “secret formula” is lost.
That said, certainly nobody wants to eat every single meal at McDonalds, right?
Also lots of compliments for the Buddha XL strings, at $15 per 100:
So kitty is softer out of the box than buddha is. Buddha actually feels a little rough at first. It does get softer after break in but not quite as soft as kitty. I feel like buddha lasts longer and holds tension better though.
I prefer Cat Strings. Each string is nurtured for a minimum of five years before they’re released to the public.
This is another reason I advocate for spinning your own, you get the ultimate control of consistency if you care enough to hone your recipe. It took me about 6 months of experimenting before I finally found what I consider my base recipe. I will make tweaks to it occasionally because that’s another fun aspect of spinning your own, you can do that. But I usually always come back to my base recipe.
As one who spins my own, I have the luxury of using exactly what I like to use. The only fear of my recipe disappearing or becoming unavailable, is if I decide to stop spinning my own, or by the off chance that the companies that manufacture the thread I used go out of business.
As far as consistency goes, each string that I make is made by hand, and for that reason, they are liable to vary slightly from batch to batch. Not so much that I feel like I’m using a completely different string, though. They’re usually the same thickness, same colors, same torsion, etc. For all intents and purposes, they usually come out pretty identical. But I am not a machine, so I can’t offer the level of accuracy that a machine would.
And in an attempt to bring this full circle, my current recipe makes the most logical sense for me for many reasons. One, is that I thoroughly enjoy using my strings. And one of the biggest reasons is durability. If I enjoyed using string similar to Kitty fat, it would not make sense for me logically to spin string that was identical or similar; because it does not last very long, and I would basically have to make a batch every other day or so. By the way, I know this because this is what I spun when I first started, full poly fat string. Purchasing a pack of hundred for 20 bucks is way more logical than trying to spin a hundred of my on. There’s no way that I could do that for twenty bucks with my current setup lol. If I liked bulk string, I would just buy bulk string. I’m sure that there are recipes similar to mine that are available through little boutique brands here and there, but why would I pay money for someone else’s product, when I can make the same or similar product for pennies on the dollar? My current recipe, I can make a batch of six strings, and that batch as a whole typically last for 3 weeks to a month. Durability is a feature of string that has become really important to me. And the only person that I have to hold any kind of a standard is myself.
When I started out, I realized that smaller string makers had a reputation for less consistency than bulk manufacturers. So, I made that a focus of my process and designed accordingly. It’s possible to be super consistent if you are dedicated to it in every aspect of your process and setup. That’s one of the reasons I came up with the Lab part of the name. I felt like I was setting everything up in terms of process, formulas and clean environment to make lab grade string.
I would expect every macro and micro string company to assert this level of consistency over their work. If you’re going to be selling your products, they need to be guaranteed and quality controlled.
I don’t sell my strings, and don’t intend to. The minor inconsistencies of my batches don’t bother me enough to scale up my rig. Right now anyway… In the future I might invest more into my current setup, but for now what I’ve got works just fine for what I need.
Now that’s the kind of quality I’m talking about.
At this stage in my development, I regard spinning my own strings the same way I do making my own oboe reeds. It is a skill/process I’m simply not going to devote time to right now. I’m perfectly willing to spend money to have it done for me. Maybe when I get to the point where I’m in desperate need to have such personal control over the precise composition of my strings I’ll spin my own. Until then, I will just try to find/buy/use strings that strike the best balance between performance, consistency, and price.
At the moment, I’m pretty well stocked up on YYSL Type X strings in several colors. I also have one tube of orange Plutonium strings, which I am reserving for use in my “wide gap” yoyos like the Replay Pro and the Shutter. Aside from price, can anything think of a reason to use Kitty over YYSL?
Good on ya. And nope
I really like Type X, Plutonium and Long Cuts. I’d probably use Type X and Plutonium’s more if they were made longer, similar to a Kitty Tall. I loved the Toxic Dragon’s, still have some stashed and use them quite a bit still.
Main go- o is Kitty Fat Tall. Length and thickness work great for me.
Personally I feel time spent spinning strings, is better spent spinning the yo-yo. That’s just me though
Some people make their own yo-yos too… I’m wondering when you’ll get into that next
I’ve definitely considered it, not for this season of life though. Planning on moving back to Humboldt sometime in the not-too-distant future, and when I get there I plan on establishing a rock-solid yoyo community. Part of that will be experimenting with a lathe to see if I can actually produce anything worth selling. I feel like the culture there would be more in to it than the culture here in this part of Texas. People are so weird here, lol
Did you… mess with Texas? I’ve been told repeatedly not to do that.
I have always been happy with what yoyos are being made and are available. Ive never felt lacking or wanting in the yoyo design dept.
Strings on the other hand are so personable and varied, i kept getting close here and there with some brands or makers but never quite hit the mark.
I only started making my own string because I found something close to what I was looking for but not quite, enough times to tease me into it. And after working with a few makers to try to dial down that “just right” it just never came together, and was a LOT of work to try to convey and hammer down.
I ended up falling face first into stringmaking out of necessity, almost, and honestly it was love at first twist.
I know its not for everyone, but it is pretty simple, addictive, inexpensive, and VERY gratifying if not downright spoiling.
as far as ones I liked alot before making my own,
Angel Hair, Dragon, Yellow Jacket BG1s, and Cloud (V1)'s.
Ok, I’ve gotta ask what area you’re in…
Snyder. Aka, oil field hell.