General Yo Amplitude
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
June 15, 2014
When people think of General Yo they think of a smaller, boutique manufacturer that specializes in super smooth and stable yo-yos. Many also consider it to be one of THE American brands in the yo-yo community; something that Ernie has cemented with his USA themed ano colorways. The thing is, most of that is correct but I would not necessarily consider General Yo “small”. Yes it is an independent company run by one man who is aided by his player team from time to time, but this is also a company that has released, as of this week with the Amplitude, 15 unique yo-yo designs. In my opinion that puts them square in the “Medium Size” yo-yo company category, if not a little larger. Today I am looking at that 15th release, The Amplitude, which is taking a little bit of a detour from Ernie’s more organic designs.
• Diameter: 53.85 mm
• Width: 42.27 mm
• Gap: 4.3 mm
• Weight: 63.4 grams
• Bearing: General Yo Large AIGR Bearing
• Response: General Yo Smooth HatPads
When I took the yo-yo from the box I was greeted with something that I was not expecting, a pure V-Shape design. Most General Yo designs incorporate some sort of curve to them giving them that organic feel I talked about in the introduction. For me, this is a welcome change. I am a huge fan of V-Shape designs, the weight distribution and the way the string travels down the catch zone to the gap gives V-Shape designs a feel that just appeals to me. The Amplitudes profile is just about the textbook definition of V-Shape. There is a small rim to it so that it does not bang up and bruise your hand during play and there is a small step out in the gap to keep the string farther away from the walls. Other than those two design implements, there is absolutely nothing else in the gap but a smooth wall to guide the string with absolutely nothing obstructing its travel. The cup is a similarly simple, yet elegant, design. The step down rim design took a back seat to a standard rim design, placing all the weight at the edges of the yo-yo. There is no IGR but the underside of the rims is deep enough that you should be able to pull of a thumb grind with little to no issues. The floor of the cup is almost completely flat with just the smallest of pointed hubs at the center. The finish on the one I received is quite shiny but still feels like it has some sort of blast to it. It does not feel sticky in the hand at all. Overall, I am a huge fan of this design.
This is one light and speedy yo-yo. The last time Ernie released a yo-yo under 64 grams it was the pocket sized Ministar. While it may be light and zippy on the string it does not suffer from stability issues at all. I am quite pleased with the feel on the string, not to mention the extreme spin times.
Response and Bearing
Ernie’s HatPad response and AIGR bearings are high on my list of response bearing combos. The pads do take a little amount of time to break in properly, a fresh set can be a little grippy at first but once they are broken in they last forever. If you want to bypass the break-in period I recommend the half height grey HatPads that General Yo offers. They play super unresponsive from the start. The AIGR bearing is in my top three choices for bearings. It is a hair louder than a 10-Ball but smooth as butter during spins and extremely low maintenance.
This is a yo-yo that likes to zoom. It can be slowed down to a certain extent but feels best when it is hopping from trick to trick like a rabid ferret snorting Red Bull. While some may see that as a minus, I had no problem with the speed… and I am one who usually plays at a chilled out pace. The design lends itself to faster movements and is easier to catch thanks to the wide open catch zone. That smooth string travel I talked about above comes into play here; it guides the string during high speed play without having to worry about knocking the Amplitude off axis. Grinds were an area of concern for me. The finish just did not look like it would be able to hold up; it was too shiny. Well, thankfully, I was wrong in my assumptions. It has been a tad muggy in Ohio lately and the Amplitude was able to grind in humid weather that normally causes a shiny finish to turn into a sticky mess. Overall the play is fantastic, especially for a yo-yo that, speed wise, is out of my comfort zone.
What can I say, 15 designs later and General Yo is still making great products. I would high recommend the Amplitude to anyone looking for a new competition throw, something that is fun, or something that will help him or her up the speed of his or her game.