String Twist

Of course, you can’t have a yo-yo without a string, but there’s another important element we mustn’t forget: the twist in the string. This tutorial is for both right and left-handed players, as the string always twists the same way.


So what do you mean by “twist”?

Yo-Yo string is made by twisting fibers together. As you play, the string will twist and untwist to a certain extent. If the twist gets too tight or loose, it could have a major effect on how the yo-yo plays.

So what happens when the twist gets too tight or loose?

When the twist gets too tight, it makes the yo-yo much harder to handle. How? How about tangling the yo-yo when it’s halfway down the string? When it’s too loose, it may cause it to tangle in the same way, or even cause the yo-yo to fly free off the string!

Fixed axle yo-yos are especially sensitive to string twist

Generally, a looser twist makes string tricks easier, and a tighter twist will make the yo-yo more responsive, which is good for looping tricks. This is particularly true for fixed axle yo-yos, such as the Duncan Imperial and Butterfly. By controlling the twist in your string, you can have great control over what your yo-yo is capable of, and broaden the range of tricks you can perform.

Adjusting the twist

Just like the photo below, if you hold up the yo-yo and the other end of the string and hold them closely, the string should drape below. This is what it looks like when the twist is neutral. You can test the twist in this way even while the yo-yo is spinning.

This string has a tight twist in it, but is still useable.

This string has a far too tight twist, and will cause the yo-yo to tangle much more easily.

So, to fix this, there are a few different methods. You could take the yo-yo off your hand and straighten out the string by hand, or you can use the spin of the yo-yo itself to unwind the string.

You can also use techniques to tighten or loosen the twist. Especially Monster Shell users will benefit from the following video:

There are other tricks that can be used to deliberately fix the twist in the string, such as the UFO and Sidewinder:

There are small techniques for adjusting the twist with the yo-yo’s motion, such as the mini sidewinder and the binding sidewinder:

Sidewinders to the right will twist the string to the left. Sidewinders to the left will twist the string to the right.

So, what’s the best setting to use?

Right in the middle is probably best. Keep your twist close to neutral, and you won’t have any trouble with your string. If you’re going to do tricks that loosen the twist, you may want to start with a tighter setting, and vice versa.