Yo-yos: which Yoyo for beginners?

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Hi everyone,

I am often asked which yoyo I would recommend for a beginner with a limited budget. Perhaps you have asked me this and I have referred you here! Choosing a yoyo is a very personal thing; everyone has their favourites and preferences. The main factor you need to consider is the shape of the yoyo. This will largely determine the type of tricks you can learn with that yoyo. A butterfly or flared yoyo shape is designed to be easy to catch on the string (like trapeze tricks) and typically looks like this:

 Pictured is the YoyoJam Lyn Fury

Yo-yos with a modified shape are designed for looping tricks. They tend to be more responsive and the gap between the yoyo halves is quite narrow,  making it well-balanced for looping (around the worlds, hop the fence etc) but very hard to catch the yoyo on the string if you try to do a trapeze. This is a typical modified imperial profile:

 Pictured is the Yomega RB2

Now, should you choose a butterfly or a modified imperial shape? As yoyo players become more specialised they tend to build up a collection of yoyos and so most will have both shaped yoyos. If you are just starting I personally would get a butterfly yoyo since this gives you greater scope for learning tricks. You can do looping tricks with a butterfly yoyo but not very well. Conversley, it is nigh-on impossible to learn to do string tricks with a modified imperial yoyo! Also, personally I find the string tricks more interesting.

So my personal recommendations are (in no particular order):

1. YoyoJam Lyn Fury - butterfly shape for stringtricks
2. Henrys Viper Classic - - butterfly shape for stringtricks with rubber rims ideal for younger players
3. PowerYo FX7 Black Widow - butterfly shape for stringtricks, great value
4. Duncan Bumblebee - modified shape for looping tricks, a classic yoyo.
5. Yomega Raider - modified shape for looping tricks, a best seller.
6. Yomega X-Brain- modified shape for looping tricks, clutch mechanism is very good for the total novice to learn how to yoyo, good all-rounder.

How much should you spend? Well, there really is no point in spending  much on your first yo-yo. These days yoyos are very good value with good build quality and excellent bearings. £5 will get a good starter yoyo, for £10 you can get a more robust yoyo with some extras like strings and a yoyo book, while £15 will buy you a very fine first yoyo with some change for a spare set of strings!

The more expensive yoyos (£20 plus) are generally designed for more advanced players and can require considerable experience to play. They are often designed to be very unresponsive (that means they spin very freely and 'sleep' a long time). They are therefore very difficult to get to return to the hand. They may also be more fragile than the more robust beginner's yoyo. Plus the more expensive yoyos often include metal rims or are all-metal and these can give you or your home quite a knock! If you are new to yoyos do not waste your money on an expensive first yoyo - you will just find it frustrating to play, harder to learn with and much less fun.  

I get a few beginners buying advanced yoyos and they can be quite disappointed to discover that their new 'advanced' yoyo is in fact much more difficult to use than their cheaper yoyo.  The 'pro' yoyos are really not suited to beginners, please don't buy them until you are ready. For now, save your money for your next yoyo (you are bound to catch the yoyo bug!) by which time you will have a much better idea of what type of yoyo suits you. Your money will then be better spent  :)

There are LOADS of other yoyos that I simply have not tried yet and new models are coming on the market all the time.

LATE ADDITION:  A customer asked me a question and it was a good one, so I thought I would post my reply here:

Hi, I was reading your guide on which Yo Yo to purchase. Could you please explain what looping tricks are and what string tricks are please. Probably obvious...my guess would be looping tricks is when you throw the Yo Yo about and string tricks are, well ones with the string. Could you name some examples of both types of tricks please and I will look them up.

A. Good question! String tricks are exactly as you say: tricks where the yoyo is bounced on and off the string etc. Look up splitting the atom, trapeze and Eli Hops as examples of string tricks. You could also search for New School Yoyo tricks which are string tricks performed with very unresponsive yo-yos (an unresponsive yoyo is one that does not return without using a bind, which is a trick in itself; these are for advanced players only  but are quite amazing!) . Looping tricks are everything else like walking the dog, around the world, pinwheels, Rock the Baby etc. More traditional (sometimes called old school play).

I think string tricks are where it is at these days. If you cannot decide between the two, personally I would opt for a string trick yoyo (a yoyo with a butterfly wing or V shape profile). You can still try looping tricks with that although they will be harder. Most players who get the yoyo bug end up with several yo-yos, for different tricks and styles of play.

But then perhaps you are a born looper who wants to do two-handed yoyoing (2 yoyos at once) :-)

Hope this helps!

Pete, euro-yo.com

PS. I only sell a small selection of yoyos through eBay. Some manufacturers (including YoyoJam and Dif-e-Yo) will not let me sell their products through eBay, and I respect this. To view my full range please visit my web site euro-yo.com on the World Wide Web (now the largest yo-online yo-yo store in Europe!).

This is taken from an article I have posted on my web shop forum at http://www.letshavefun.biz/phpBB2/ where there are other yoyo articles and reviews.

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