Swagger String Review
The day they came I was waiting for one of my son Eli’s therapists to show for his session. I happened to be looking out the window for her car when I saw the mailman bringing a small white parcel down the street. I refrained from tackling him halfway up the street and just waited for him to come to my house. I practically skipped my way to the mailbox in anticipation.
I eagerly tore open the white bubblewrap envelope like a kid at Christmas and pulled out the bundle of 5 tri-color strings. They looked just as I thought they would and my fiance laughed at me when I giggled.
I decided to use a different throw each day of the review to see how the Swagger String™ worked on different yo-yos. I figured that would give me a wider range of experience to write my review from.
Day one - YoyoJam Dark Magic 1
The first throw on my DM was actually in my basement after folding the laundry. I only tossed for about 35 seconds but it left a lasting impression.
The DM spun longer and faster on the SS than on any of the mass produced strings I have been using in the past. They are also about an inch and a quarter longer than what I’m used to but it was a welcome addition. I have thick hands and I tend to use up the string faster than some of my slimmer palmed comrades. For the first time it didn’t feel like I was an oaf trying to thread a needle blindfolded. I kept my DM on me all day, throwing when ever I had a moment to spare, which turned out to be quite a bit. (Foreshadow!)
As I played throughout the day I tried to pick out the quirks of the string. To be honest with you I found very little. In fact I had less trouble with the hand made string than I do with the tested, mass produced string. It definately knots less. I do notice that when my old string would have knotted, the SS would plow through it with an audible “pop”. It did kill the spin but I for one would rather have a dead spin than a hairy knot.
I did notice that when I did manage to knot the SS and I had to undo it and put it back on the string itself would take quite a bit of coaxing to get the string to settle correctly. Once it did find its “groove” it would stay put until the next rare knot.
As I said earlier I ended up with a lot of spare time on day one, and boy did I ever. Long story short I had to wait for a tow truck to come and jump my old rattletrap of a car. I was very glad to have my DM in my pocket then! It was a warm 35°F out, well warm for New England in the winter, so I stood out behind my car and tossed while I waited.
The first throw surprised me. I went to toss a simple double or nothing and found myself watching my DM fly across the street at a million miles an hour. Turns out when the SS gets cold, its a tad less pliable. I didn’t even feel it when the slipknot let loose. So I had to adapt my play style a bit, and after a few flying concussions I got the hang of it and was wowing the wandering souls moving from bar to bar downtown.
So first days impressions; I love the way the SS makes the DM play and I’m looking forward to tomorrow!
Day 2 - Yomega Maverick
Today I carried around my Mav’ around with the Swagger String on it. I just pulled the same string I was using on the DM on day one. I know that its not fair to put a “used” string on a different throw for a review, but I want to also test the durability of the hand made string.
The slightly longer string than I’m used to seemed even longer with the undersized Mav on it. At first it felt less like I was yo-yoing and more like I was trying to do Chinese rope dart Kung Fu.
That was at first.
Once I got used to the length, again it felt as if I had a few new doors opened up for me. For those of you who haven’t tried a Yomega Maverick its actually a fast little throw once you hit the “sweet spot” on the rubber response. Out of the box it’s slap you in the face responsive. A lot of play will wear down the response turning it into an undersized powerhouse worth the thirty dollar tag any day. But I digress…
Like the DM, the Mav’ spun longer and harder than before and it definitely was smooth on the fingers. However it did not want to bind. It felt like I needed to beg it to bind. Other than that I am still very impressed by this hand made string. I am definitely able to pull tricks with ease that I struggled to land before just because of the added spin time. So day two gets a big Woot and as day three pokes its head at me from a distance I find myself impatient to get to bed. That way I am sooner to day three!
Day 3 - Duncan Freehand 2 (first run edition)
The Freehand two is the Freehand that Duncan produced after the original freehand mold broke. This first run model of the Freehand 2 does not have the recessed response stickers. They sit pretty much on top of a flush surface. Normally I play it beefcaked (two bearings instead of one) and one side only has a silicone friction sticker instead of the two stock non-silicone pads it comes with. For the review, however, I am removing the second bearing but leaving it in a single silicone sticker formation. I felts that this would be a real test of the string. I cut my 1a teeth on this yo-yo and I have a ton of history with it, but lets face it, it doesn’t sleep very long. So on goes the Swagger Strings!
Oh ouch. In the first 5 minutes of throwing on a responsive throw I busted the side of my first knuckle on my index finger of my throw hand and was bleeding everywhere. So one bandage later I decided to re-learn how to throw responsive.
Or not… it wasn’t happening for me. I decided to beefcake it back up. Even with a full double bearing and only one silicone response pad in it was STILL tug responsive.
However it did sleep noticeably longer and with it beefed up I was able to do short runs of 1a comfortably. A lot less knotting and much smoother play were a nice reward after bleeding all over the place.
Day 4 - Duncan Drifter
First of all I will say my DD is NOT stock. Like my FH2 it is beefcaked and using one silicone friction pad. Difference being the weight distribution is MUCH nicer on the DD and the pads are recessed making for a nice spinner.
Learning from my FH2 bleed, I decided to leave it with the two bearings and play it the way I like it with the Swagger. Unless you have one, you probably don’t know that even though its a twenty dollar metal, the Drifter is a major player when you set it up for your preferences. It out sleeps all but one of my metals and it plays just as its name implies. It drifts easily in and out of string formations with a floaty almost dreamlike ease. It’s a keeper. When I tossed the SS on it all the same benefits the other throws gained showed themselves two-fold. The SS seemed to just make it easier to do everything. I even managed a few combinations that I had previously been unable to accomplish.
Now day four, fourth yo-yo on the same string, it’s showing a tad of wear. One single neon green thread in the string broke, and I’m pretty sure it was my fault as to why it snapped about half way up the string.
There is also an small unwinding issue at the bottom loop of the string. I find that I need to tighten it up down there because its coming naturally untwisted. Am I complaining? No sir I am not. Every single string I have EVER used from cotton to full poly has done this to me. Its the way I handle the yo-yo and wind it. So I’m good there. The single broken thread doesn’t effect the play one bit. To he honest, this string, despite the beatings I have been giving it these past few days, stills plays like it did the day it was delivered.
Final thoughts; I am a convert. Throwing “with a Swagger” is the way I plan on throwing for as long as they still make these things. I love the fact that I can have them custom made any way I choose and they play like a dream. The few drawbacks of having to wait for them to be made and being significantly more expenssive than the machine made bundles are not enough to keep me from switching. Good job, Swagger Strings™!
Plus the name is just cool.