Name of Company: yoyoGstring
Year Established (as a company): February-ish 2006
Based out of: The basement of my house in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Team members: Bryn Herrera, Stefan Benjamin and Páll Valdimar Guðmundsson Kolka. Together they represent the United States, England and Iceland.
Number of string types to date: 6 different formats and over 85 unique designs.
G-String featured in:
Grapes by Páll (Whiteout PX / Green Apple SSE)
Intentus by Bryn (Neon Yellow Intentus)
SRC – 3rd Place Freestyle by Stefan (Leetolicious Intentus)
Yin: So, here we are. Me in my apartment in California typing to you and asking you questions from my Mac, clutter by yo-yo string and yo-yos. Then, there is you in your basement in Canada, on your Mac, cluttered by...well...yo-yo string, and yo-yos. The myth is you came out of the womb with the ability to make string with just your mind. Yet, the truth is you started out like all of us. Just yo-yoing as a hobby until you found your place in the community to help, assist, and grow it in a sense. Before we even talk about who you are now and what you make. We need to know it from the beginning. When did you first get into yo-yoing, and how?
Paul: I started because of my kids. We all have that story of "I had an old wooden yoyo in a box for years" story. In my case, it's true. I used to juggle in the living room upstairs. When I was staying home with our second kid if I dropped a juggling ball my 2 yr old would grab it, giggle, and run away. I quickly switched to clubs after running out of balls. Then she took those. Also 'spatial awareness' was an issue with kids under my feet and risky nasty club headshots. So, I knew I had a yoyo in my storage space, so I dug it out. It was a black Canada games yoyo, which I still have. I loved yo-yoing because if a kid came near I could simply yank the string and they could escape unscathed. Also, if I dropped a trick it wouldn't roll across the floor and risk being hidden by my older child.
Yin: So at that point after learning a few tricks what was the next step you addiction took you? Into the land of expensive yo-yos and modified valley?
Paul: I went heavy, hard and fast into buying every type/brand of yoyo I could get my hands on. My first all metal was a GE2 poison, then an YYJ Hitman. Then I moved onto Buzz-on and every Duncan possible. I remember sanding my first Lyn Fury and thinking, "Oh yeah, now THIS will grind KILLER!" Then I went into modified yoyos. Sticker recess, sili-modding my own, satin finish. It was insane. I've owned over 100 yoyos. I finally hit the mental point where I realized...I could do all my tricks on a sticker recessed Freehand Zero. Why do I have ALL these yoyos?
Yin: Yo-yoing becomes an addiction before it goes back to being a hobby. Slightly ironic question, but back in those days. What string did you use?
Paul: What everyone else used, slick 6. A few brave souls, with fingers of steel, used white 100% poly. The mass of us used slick 6. It seems to have shifted to 100% poly since you can get it in neon tones now, but slick 6 still rules.
Yin: So than one night you woke up with a cold sweat. Or maybe you were in the bathroom and hit your head and thought of a flux capacitor. However it happened. When and how did you finally realize you wanted to make string Doc?
Paul: It was initially a financial decision. I used to order primarily from YYN and shipping was 10US regardless of how little I wanted to buy. I wanted to find a better way, so I chatted with people online about any methods they had heard of. I dug through all the forums, doing research on string making tutorials. Once I had the basic method figured out I then went out and spent $$ on horrible thread, took it home to a crappy old drill and a bent nail. Then I started learning how to make my own.
Yin: So then the first format was bootleg thread? Dang won't find that one for sale on yoyoGstring.com. So which format did you start with? How did it come to be?
Paul: Regular was quite simply the first string I made that wasn't horrid. It was playable. People I knew, to which I sent a few (my treat of course), replied with enthusiasm.
Yin: Then, naturally the second format of string you made was...?
Paul: SSE, the Slack/Suicide Edition. It came as a direct result of player feedback. I was hearing from players that they had trouble getting knots out of my string, as it was too soft. They wanted a bit more tension as well. So I hit the rig. I was trying different types/weights of thread now and had a spool collection worth about 75$. After a month or so, and several more friends testing it for me I released SSE.
Yin: Now, this may be because I asked you prior to this question, but if I'm not mistaken the next one was.... Intentus. Right? Why don't you tell me a little bit about how that one came to be, and of course...the name. Where did that come from?
Paul: Intentus came again, from player feedback. I've always kept an open door communication policy in terms of feedback. I want to hear ANYTHING you have to say. If you hate something, tell me WHY. If you love it, tell me what would make it even BETTER. Intentus was made for some players who wanted a tighter core on their string. Regular was great for some and SSE still fits others preferences but some wanted more. Intentus is Latin for tension. To make Intentus I went back to square one in terms of materials and process. I sourced out several new thread types, none of which I'd never used before, and had to build an entirely new rig to accommodate its special construction process. The result is my BEST selling format. Intentus is shipped all over the world on a weekly basis. For the longest time it was my personal favorite. It is still a favorite for several of the yoyoGstring Team member.
Yin: Paul, it's very X-tra awesome on how you came up with these names. Yet, this one in Particular one that is a great X-ample of your string making. Of course I speak of PX. Tell us about that one.
Paul: PX (Poly TEN) is one hell of a fun string. Again, based on player feedback. Some people in irc chat were talking about some EU players and a fat string they were using at Worlds (WYYC). I received several request to see what I could 'mix up' that might be similar. It should be mentioned that I had never even seen one of these fat strings, and still haven't. I went back to the drawing board and undertook even more thread research. It was a real challenge to find a thread that was thicker, but not too thick that it fought against holding any amount of tension. I tried REALLY heavy thread but it made terrible string. I finally discovered a mix of weights and thread types that first, would HOLD tension. Second, was available in a range of colors to match up with my growing design catalog. Third, testers liked. PX took everything they threw at it and asked for more. The average PX G-String has up to 6 thread weights/types mixed into its creation. All told it took about 3 months to finalize PX for release.
Yin: So after PX, There had to be something either you didn't think of or refused to do. Maybe, once again it was just player feedback. What was the next string that dared to leave your factory?
Paul: THin aka TH. This one came from my earlier days of yoyoing and a love that still exists for smaller gapped yoyos. Specifically, stock yyjs. I developed TH to have all the benefits and playability of SSE but be 25-30% smaller in core size. Very fun stuff to whip around and has tonnes of positive player feedback
Yin: Then we come to our last one. Which surprisingly enough, was yours last excursion even though most players still use and start off with Cotton string. Tell us about CC...not the guitarist from Poison.
Paul: CC stands for Cotton Core. It is my attempt to bring the spirit of slick 6 back into the yoyo forefront. CC took me over 2 years of testing, trying different materials and another completely new rig to make it. It's the first and only G-string that has a 'setting period" during its construction. At one point in this process I actually walk away from the rig, while the thread is 'under tension' for about 2 minutes. During this time the Cotton and Polyester elements become ‘better acquainted’. It makes the string play 200% better afterwards...weird, but a wonderful discovery. I discovered this by total accident. During R&D I had some CC up on its rig and the kids called me away at a certain point that I normally do not pause at. I was away for about 2 minutes and I finished off the CC after I returned. It actually played better than previous tests. I puzzled out why this may be and did further testing with this 'setting period' at different time periods. I found 2 minutes to be ideal. I sent off samples to players worldwide to get feedback. They gave me their highs and lows and I continued to tinker. When we were all finally satisfied I released CC to the world. I am hard-pressed to keep it in stock and email requests for me to stock CC in certain designs are continuous now. It does have a higher price tag due to its high material costs and increased production time but with its playability, aesthetic possibilities and durability I truly feel it is worth every penny. Over two years of R&D by a self-proclaimed string-making addict can't be bad.
Yin: At this point you became larger than life. Well not really. BUT big enough to have some players rocking your string. Tell us about your team. How did they end up representing you?
Paul: I asked them. I'm nothing special, I just like making yoyo string and they like using yoyo string. Each Team member has a unique style that I find appealing for different reasons and each of them has a preference in terms of format and design. They each have their own custom design, of course, and I give them stuff for free. I only have ONE rule for my Team members. 'Have Fun'. There are no rules about using my string in videos or on stage, or video shout-outs or any of that garbage. This is all about fun. If they are having fun with my string then that makes me happy. They are good kids and I respect their talents immensely.
YIN: So acronyms are not a stranger to yo-yoing. Your string especially loves them. The most recent one is TD. Tell us about it.
Paul: As I stated before, I’m quite fond of slick-6 string. It has almost everything a yoyo needs. What I felt it was missing was longevity and improved aesthetics. So I developed TD (tye-dye). By applying this special dye (Special Ordered from the UK I might add) I was able to create an assortment of wonderful colour combinations. But the REAL aim was to make it last longer during play. Even with my level of yoyo skills I can kill a slick 6 in 20 minutes. With this dye applied and heat dryed vs air dryed I have managed to extend the standard slick 6 lifespan over 3x , and in many cases even longer. I consider TD a success in both of my intended goals. To add even further to the aesthetic I even lay out and hand dye ALL of the packaging. It’s not easy being a perfectionist.
YIN: You have also released special LE string with certain yo-yos. Which yo-yos have you contributed or are contributing string to for a launch?
Paul: I have been lucky enough to be approached by several different companies over the past few years. We all know that the visual aesthetic of a yoyo is an important part of the purchaser’s initial decision. So why not take that one step further and match the string as well? Why not ask a self-confessed string making obsessive perfectionist workaholic to see what he can do? I am very grateful to have been involved in creating string designs, and in the case of the Mighty Flea – a format, for 14 yoyo releases…so far.
Peak, Painted 1st run
Ocho Ocho Ocho
Augie Fash 888
Blue Steel Fade M1
One Drop Yoyos
Blue Grass Fade m1
One Drop Yoyos
One Drop Yoyos
One Drop Yoyos
Yin: So now you have a Team. An established company. Also as far as new things I believe your website has recently gotten a face lift. What's new on it?
Paul: In mid-January I made the move to a true “shopping cart” based store layout. Previously people would view a design in the catalog and send me a PayPal payment with their options of design and format. I would then twist it and ship it out within 2 weeks. But with my personality whenever I got an order I HAD to make it RIGHT NOW! I was twisting 2-3 hours every night and several hours on the weekends as well. I was burning out and had to close the website for a few weeks more than three times in 2008. I finally realized that I was being re-active VS pro-active in terms of supply and demand. The fine folks at http://www.ajaxwebcart.com have a fantastically simple web-cart that works great with PayPal so I went with them. I initially had some angry feedback like “How come I can’t order whatever I want whenever I want?”. I replied, “ Because my brain is MELTING!” and they understood. By keeping my open communication policy in place people now email me with what they’d like to see in the webstore and I add that to my own production list. This way everyone wins. I also try to keep a strong assortment of designs available in each format to maximize customers shopping satisfaction.
YIN: Among other things that you have done as far as just making strings. You have done a number of other things for the community such as just donating to random internet contests. What else have you contributed to?
Paul: Well, being located in Canada and not possessing an extensive “travel budget” I still want to help support contests whenever and wherever I can. In 2009 alone I have provided either cash or prize items to GS States, GCC, VHYC, Polish Nats, UK Nats, NC States and more. If any of you readers out there are organizing a contest please do not hesitate to ask yoyoGstring for sponsorship. It would be my pleasure to help out in any way I can.
Yin: Now, the history of the string was very interesting but one thing we totally skipped over. How did you even think of the name G-String? I'm not sure if a lot of people know this. Yet another hobby you had was like Comedy/spoken word Henry Rollins type-ish stuff. So was it mainly a joke? Or did it totally come from a different place?
Paul: Heh, it’s a simple story. I made some Salmon toned string for Chris (c-foam from CLYW) while we were working together on the creation of the Peak. He liked it and called it “G-String” after my forum username “gsimian”. It stuck. Everyone else started calling it G-String as well and I found it amusing, so I never argued. It’s still going.
Yin: What do you think would be the worst type of material to make string out of and why? Kevlar? Nylon? Baby hairs?
Paul: I’ve played with lots of different materials. Some I love, most I hate. That being said we all know that 100% of yo-yoing is about preference. I use the materials that I personally feel make the best yoyo string I can make. Others do the same. Party on. If you prefer to make/use a yoyo string that is 40% Nylon, 50% Kevlar and 36% tinted baby hair (for effect) that can light your yoyos on fire, cries all night and cures Cancer, then fine. Just keep it the HELL AWAY FROM ME!
Yin: Normally I ask every person I interview if they have wooed the opposite sex with their yo-yo skills. When you got into yo-yoing though you were married I believe. So um...ever woo your wife with amazing tricks?
Paul: When I initially met my wife I was wearing green tattered corduroy pants, a blue Hawaiian theme shirt and I had purple spiked hair. She is hard to surprise. I’m also a professional juggler, so for me to be somewhere in the house juggling knives or children is rather commonplace.
Yin: If you could instantly overnight posses world champion skills. Which division would you love to succeed in?
Paul: 4a is my first choice. I fiddle around with OS using a stock YYJ Projam and PX. Then 2a, that stuff is insane.
Yin: What is a little known fun thing to do with used yo-yo string that you might do with string you don't use? Some people have been known to make one giant yo-yo ball. Another made the CW called Wasp Nests which are super awesome. Any ideas? Nooses for ants?
Paul: Heh, actually I use any rejects and leftover ends from the construction process as filler for pillows. Well, the wife does. I just save it for her to use. My used string I throw away as I have fairly oily hands. The dead thread spools go to
Yin: Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Paul: I do this for fun, in my basement, part time. I consider yoyoGstring as a fun hobby. I am never going to retire from making yoyoGstring. I also work a PT “joe job” while my performing (www.paulwallace.com) is my main income stream. I simply hope to keep enjoying the time and energy I spend keeping this little string project rolling along and see what the future brings my way.
Yin: Is there any new things coming up without revealing to much that you could tell us about? New string? New yo-yos? New ROBOTS?!
Paul: I just released the CC format we talked about earlier. I’m working on a string for 2a…ask me again in 2 years on that one. ;) Oh, and a metal yoyo, but I’m not rushing anything.
Yin: If you had the whole yo-yoing community in front of you right now what would you say to them?
Paul: Without all of your honest feedback, your excitement and your support, none of this would have been possible for me. I would simply be a dude in his basement in Canada making yoyo string for no-one. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for this truly enjoyable experience. Always remember that yoyos are a fun toy. Treat them as such and have fun!
Yin: Thank you for your time Paul, you are awesome and definitely set a great standard for yo-yoers who want to do more than just yo-yo and help the community.
Paul: Thank YOU Yin. This has taken a great deal of effort on your part and that should be recognized.
Thanks theyo.com for supporting me and giving me a home. This is my last interview here. For more info on what i'm going to be up to as far as interview check out twitter.com/chrismus
You guys all rock. there would be no me without you!
Thread: *new interview* yoyoGstring
Results 1 to 8 of 8
05-02-2009 01:32 AM
Brought to you by Pepsi (Don't Spill)
05-02-2009 04:30 AM
Good review, I LOVE G-Strings!! It's the only string I use!Feedback
R.I.P. Yomike - You will always be remembered
05-02-2009 09:59 AM
Awesome interview! G-String is amazing...
Stop worrying about what yoyo you should be playing, and just play yoyo. (pssst I am not Landon)
05-02-2009 11:31 AM
Wasp Nests! XDTeam Weenieyo
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- near Iowa City, IA Posts: look in my profile, lazy.
05-04-2009 03:31 PM
- Rep Power
great read, thanks!
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
- Kaneohe, Hawaii
05-04-2009 04:49 PM
- Rep Power
Thanks Yin Great read.
05-04-2009 10:27 PM
great interview, yin...thx. for gettin' it all together.
dif-e-yo = no regrets. undoubtedly...dif-e-yo.
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