Frequently Asked Questions
1) My yo-yo doesn’t spin straight. When I throw it down it spins for a bit and then flops over on its side. Is it broken?
A: No your yo-yo isn’t broken. The key to a straight throw is making sure that the yo-yo is perfectly straight right as it leaves your hand. If the yo-yo flops on its side it because you released it a little crooked. People often throw the yo-yo crooked without even realizing that they threw it that way, and then they think the yo-yo is broken. Just keep practicing and you’ll get it.
2) My yo-yo won’t come back up. It just spins at the end of the string until it stops. Is it broken?
A: No your yo-yo isn’t broken. The first thing you should try is just giving your yo-yo a sharp tug when it spins at the bottom. If you have thrown it hard enough that may be all it needs to come back up. If that doesn’t work, figure out whether you have a fixed-axle yo-yo (where the axle is firmly attached to the body of the yo-yo) or a trans-axle yo-yo (where the axle spins freely from the yo-yo body, like a ball-bearing). Next, go to the Yo-yo Maintenance page. If you have a fixed axle yo-yo, read the String Adjustment paragraph, and if you have a transaxle read the Bearings paragraph.
3) My yo-yo won’t wind at all. Is it broken?
A: No your yo-yo isn’t broken. Try holding the string really loosely as you wind and see if it will catch. If not, the finger wind will solve your problems: The Finger Wind
4) What’s the difference between the various yo-yo shapes?
A: Standard (puck) shaped yo-yos are good for looping, but most of the tricks that people are doing these days are easier to do with a flared shape. If you are doing looping tricks a flared yo-yo probably won’t work at all, but for all of the string tricks (including styles like slack, off-string, counterweight and so on) you will be much happier with a flared yo-yo.
5) Which yo-yo should I buy?
A: Check out our recommendations on our Getting Started page.
6) What’s the deal with all the different kinds of yo-yo strings? Can’t I just use regular string from the hardware store?
A: Although you could use regular string from the hardware store it is not recommended. You would first have to take the strands apart, chose the correct number of them, retwist them and make sure it is the right length AND thickness. You will be better off just buying yo-yo strings. They’re not that expensive if you buy a bunch of them at once.
There are three sizes of string, and several different fiber contents. The “normal” kind, and the one that has been used on yo-yos since the beginning, is Type 8 White Cotton string. If you don’t want to deal with subtleties, just buy a big wad of that and be done with it.
If you want to get more into it, you can get Type 6, Type 9, Slick 6, or Slick 8 which are all a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend. The polyester makes the strings stronger, and some say “slicker”, but has the down side for some players of being more likely to burn your fingers when you slide it across them quickly.
You can also get 100% Polyester string. It is perhaps a bit stronger, but has a different feel to it.
The number refers to the number of strands in the string, so Type 6 is thinner (with only 6 strands) than Type 8 (with 8 strands). The significance of the size of the string is that it affects responsiveness (how readily your yo-yo comes back up). The thinner strings are generally less responsive and can make the yo-yo spin a little longer. This happens because they are thinner and won’t rub on the inside walls of the yo-yo as much as a thicker string. In general, people like Type 8 for looping, and Type 6 for string tricks, but some people just use one kind for everything. The best thing to do is to try out different types of string on your favorite yo-yos and see what you like best.
Don’t forget to change your string when it starts to get all dirty and nasty, when it starts to fray, or when it just doesn’t work as well anymore. Strings are cheaper than paying for whatever you break, so change them often.
7) I can’t get my yo-yo to sleep. What’s the secret to a really long Sleeper?
A) First check out the String Adjustment paragraph on our Yo-yo Maintenance page.
It would probably be a good idea to replace your string as well, but read the whole Maintenance page and then you can decide if it’s time for that.
Also check out the instructions for the Sleeper.
It’s very difficult to fix any problem without seeing the yo-yo in person, but here are some things you can try:
- Make sure you have all the parts, they are assembled correctly, and are in good condition (not broken).
- Check that there is nothing caught in the axle keeping it from spinning (like hair or a tapeworm).
- Put on a new string if the old one is worn out or tangled.
Unfortunately, that’s the best we can do without seeing the yo-yo in person. Other than that, you will just need to practice.
You can get it. Good luck.