#1 Ham String Classic Type 12
#2 Chaos 122
#2.5 The pink string
#3 G-String SSE2 / snacktime (shorter)
#4 Kevlar String (#82)
#5 Caterpillar Afro
#6 Chaos 422
#7 G-String Intentus, Soft Core,
#8 YYN Highlights
1. Snacktime (done)
2. Kitty String
3. Doc Pop recommended mystery string (dubbed caterpillar afro, done)
4. Gator floss
5. hog whips
6. YYF poly
Keep in mind, the difference between #1 and #7 isn't the size of the planet. The biggest difference is in string length (highlights are much shorter than I'd personally like).
I'll try to go through this fast; I have to get to bed soon. If you have a string I don't and you'd like me to give a comparison, please PM me and I'll give you an address. I'd like to try gator floss, kitty string, and whatever else I've missed here.
I've been playing with several different string types for about a week, and I wanted to give my thoughts on them. I've put them on different yo-yos, so the test isn't exactly controlled in that way, but all of the yo-yos are high quality and known to perform well comparatively.
1. Third gen Peak w/ SSE2
2. 3Yo3 Bassline w/ #82 Kevlar String
3. Sovereign w/ Ham String (classic type 12)
4. Nickel 54 w/ Chaos 422 String
5. Avalanche w/ G-String Soft Core
6. Ti-Walker w/ Twisted Highlight (I'm pretty sure all the stores source to the same Mexican company)
7. Intentus on General Yo Essence
8. G-String TieDye
9. Chaos 122
Let's cut to the chase. In my mind, ham string is the winner.
All right, now let's get some background. I'm 6'1. I've been yo-yoing for about 13 years. I'm not a world champion but I can consistently hit eli hops, suicides, boingy boing, forward whip, some bucket thing, and a bunch of other tricks I don't care to remember the names of. Right now I'm working on follow, and what I figured out after about a month of trying it w/ the twisted highlights is that the strings are too short. Maybe for some people with better muscles and smaller everything, the short string is fine. But for me, I need a longer string, which is what inspired me to test all this stuff in the first place.
The ideal string length for me is something like the default of the #82 Kevlar string, a length where when the yo-yo rests on the floor, the end of the string comes past my belly button up to my solar plexus. I read somewhere a while ago that the belly button was the best length, but I think that's too short now w/ these new tricks. The G-String is about 4 inches shorter than this -- 2 inches above the belly button. The Highlights are 1 inch below the belly button.
Ham string comes in some ungodly long length. I had to take maybe 4 inches off it. At first, I tried to play it at the maximum length, but it was just too long, and I put 2 good scuffs on my bassline for my arrogance -- "You thought you could play with a string *that* long? Well!" So I cut it down to be the same size as the #82 kevlar, and everything was great.
There's a lot to say about string. A lot of variables to describe the string. You can say that each string has a stiffness about its axis. Some strings, you twist around once, and they don't care. Others, you twist around once and they desperately want to twist back to their original position, so that if you form a loop with the string, the loop twists up as the string applies force against itself.
There's also a concept of string where the string can either be more like fluffy cotton or more like plastic fishing line. Duncan cotton string vs. angel hair is probably a good example of this. Plasticy stringis often more durable, but it's also more likely to give you a bad string burn.
2. Plasticity / Durability
3. Force on itself
4. Smoothness against the hand
5. Color (how vibrant is it)
6. Width (mighty flea width or "as big as my wrist")
This is probably a terrible way to describe string, but whatever. It's what I've come up with. I'll go through the reasons why I think the others fail to beat hamstring.
1. "The pink string" -- The more I play with string that is definitely SSE2, the more I am convinced this pink string I originally reviewed as SSE2 is not, in fact, SSE2 -- A very pleasant string. It's probably my second favorite. It's easy on the hands. It doesn't twist up terribly when I practice follow. It almost feels like its made wit the same thread used in friendship bracelets or something. I liked its character before I even threw it. If I had to make clothing out of yo-yo string, I'd make it out of SSE2. It loses to ham string in length, color vibrancy, and width. I have a neon hamstring and the SSE2 I tried is white and red. The red seems average. The neon yellow of the hamstring is definitely the most vibrant neon yellow I've seen, and I'm comparing it against several others (Chaos 122, Highlights). It's not even a contest. The Hamstring color is really excellent. The hamstring is also thicker than the SSE2. You can argue that this might be a disadvantage, but I haven't felt that so far in play, and it makes it easier on the hands. For these reasons, SSE2 must remain my second pick.
UPDATE: I got a bunch of SSE2 in the mail, and I'm not entirely convinced these new strings are the same as the first I reviewed. The first I reviewed came in a tester pack, and I'm beginning to be suspicious that while it is probably G-String, the name may not be SSE2. But the difference of the confirmed SSE2 string and this one isn't so great, so I'll gather more evidence.
2. #82 Kevlar -- I really wanted to like this string the best. Why? Because I want to walk around with a titanium yo-yo, a ceramic ball bearing, and a kevlar string. How cool would that be? If SkyNet built a yo-yo to dominate the world, it would be constructed with something like that. Fortunately for humanity, though, the kevlar string has some issues. The length is great. The durability is great. The color is nothing particularly bad. The width is fine. The kevlar is not awful on the hands , but it's also not as nice as the hamstring. Hamstring color is better. When the kevlar string is played for a week, yes, it shows no signs of breaking, but the polyester component of it starts to fuzz, and I find it twisting up on itself too often as I'm practicing "follow". This makes the trick very challenging, and the Ham string performs much better. Hamstring doesn't twist up on itself as much. So I have to give it to the hamstring. Having said that, I still think the kevlar string is hella cool, and I think it's my 3rd favorite out of the bunch. It's surprisingly less plasticy than the chaos 422.
3. Chaos 422. I remember not liking this string very much the first time I tried it. I think it was included w/ some yo-yo I bought. The string has a narrow width and seems to be tightly wound. Of all of the strings, it is the most plasticy. I'm not sure it's more durable than the kevlar, but if I had to kill a man and it was between Chaos 422 and Hamstring, I'd pick the Chaos 422. Color is okay, but nothing to write home about. During follow, it twists up on itself more than the hamstring. the length is fine -- up to my solar plexus. It's not as nice to the hands as ham string, but it's not terrible. I should not that none of these strings are straight up bad -- they just have different properties. I have preferences about what I want out of a string, and other people have different preferences. The chaos 422 just doesn't stand out to me as anything special, even if I feel like it lasts longer than a highlight.
4. Highlights. Too short. That's the main problem. They're less durable, less vibrant color, smaller width. They're not bad strings, they just seem like a shadow of what all-poly string can be when you put them next to ham string. They are about 5X cheaper than ham string, and that counts for something to many
5. G-String softcore & Intentus. I won't say much about this, because I really don't know what to say. All the G-Strings are shorter than I'd like. I like these less than the SSE2. They seem more "plasticy." They are nothing special to me. They're not bad, they're just not that good.
6. G-String Tie Dye. Colors are tiedye -- so string is multi colored. Shorter than I'd like, like the other G-String. Slightly less comfortable than the Chaos 122. Less thick than ham string. A better than average poly string, but not the best. It's big advertising claim is that it lasts 5X longer. That's yet to be seen, and I'm not sure yet how to define when a string "expires." Whenever I get annoyed with it, I guess. My personal point of view isn't that a string that doesn't break for 6 months is the best. I just want a string that's nice to use and doesn't expire too quickly, and has an okay price point. I don't need the best value per money in terms of time before string breaks. I just need to overall cost of string per year to be acceptable, and the string to be pleasant while it is in use.
7. Ham String. These are the longest of all the strings. Recent measurement says they are 54 inches before making a loop, and my preference is for a string about 52 I inches I believe (probably more like 49-50 after making a loop). They are the brightest. No, they aren't made from some freaky space age material, but if you close your eyes you can certainly pretend. Solid loops on suicide and whips. Nice width and pleasant feeling when moving across the hand. Durability is good so far. If you want to try some of the more expensive string, get the hamstring first.
8. Chaos 122. I like this better than Chaos 422. Thinner than ham string. Color pops less than ham string, but ham string loses its edge after some play since the oil / dirt from hands mutes the color a bit. Nice on the hands. Nice length, just like the Chaos 422. Substantially cheaper than other strings (I think 30 cents a string vs. 50 cents for many others?). A great value for a hand made poly string, especially if you want a thinner string that might snag less on thinner gap yo-yos.
9. Caterpillar Afro. This strong probably has another name. It is a thick string with a huge amount of give / bounce to it. It is amazing at eli hops because of it's wonderfully soft feel on the hand. However, it is horrible at suicides because when you let go of the loop, the longitudinal tension in the string messes things up. Think about playing with a long, thing rubber band. Not as bad as that extreme example, but it displays the same effect. The string I had was short. I'd love to see it in a longer version. It's the softest string I've tried. Caterpillar because it's so thick when not under tension. Afro because the bit of string cut off near the finger loop fuzzes out like an afro instead of orderly discrete threads. I give it a thumbs up for what it does really well (softness, not generating heat when rubbed against skin), but the springiness is a bit too much. I wonder if it could be "relaxed" (steam?) like girls do to their hair, or pre-stretched. That might be the ticket.
10. Snacktime. A quality string. After playing with SnackTime and SSE2 for a day, I couldn't pick a clear winner except that the SSE2 was a long string, so more options. Snacktime is a solid string, but I still like hamstring more. I wish snacktime was longer. Snacktime and SSE2 feel very similar to play with.
Hope this was helpful. I look forward to the comments to tell me how wrong I am, or point out something I missed.