String: You should always use a string that is in good shape. It will help the yo-yo play better, and will again reduce the risk of the yo-yo flying off and killing someone. Besides, strings are way cheaper to replace than a broken yo-yo. It’s time 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.
String Adjustment: If you are using a fixed-axle yo-yo (not a ball-bearing or transaxle yo-yo) you will need to pay special attention to string adjustment. If you look at a yo-yo string you can see that it is twisted. As you play with your yo-yo the amount of twist in the string will change. If the string is too twisted up you will have trouble getting the yo-yo to sleep at the end of the string. If the string is not twisted enough you will have trouble getting the yo-yo to come back up. No matter who you are, your string will get all twisted up at some point.
To get rid of that twistiness, sometimes called “Spaghetti String”, you can do one of two things:
- hold on to the yo-yo, take the string off of your finger and let it dangle and fix itself, or
- you can let the yo-yo hang and turn sideways until it stops and the string is put back in the right adjustment.
Response System: Some yo-yos (like the Duncan Freehand, or the Duncan Ignite, and most machined aluminum yo-yos) have a replaceable pad or sticker that will eventually wear out. Each is different, but you should be able to tell when it’s time to replace them by opening up your yo-yo and looking at the pad or sticker, and because your yo-yo will probably stop working the way you like.
Bearings: If you have a bearing yo-yo you may want to do some maintenance on the bearing itself. For maximum spin-time you should take the bearing off of your yo-yo and soak it in lighter fluid. It seems illogical, but the grease that comes in the bearing actually slows the yo-yo down by creating drag inside the bearing.
On the other hand, if you want the yo-yo to come back to your hand a little easier, that is you want it to be more responsive, you can add some lube to the bearing. Any of the lubes from the yo-yo companies will work, as well as Tri-Flow Grease, or even Vaseline Lip Therapy. You have to figure out what you like best. Some people who work on “Double A” tricks (two yo-yos at once, one in each hand) use a bearing yo-yo that has a thick grease in the bearing so that it will spin well, but will still come back when they do looping tricks.