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View Full Version : Has anyone gone to drastically lower tensions?


TonyB
01-10-2007, 01:29 PM
When I was younger and played tennis constantly, I always used low string tensions because I wanted to be like my idol, Johnny Mac. I suppose I just got used to the lower tensions because I never really noticed anything "wrong" with my racquet setup and played for years at a pretty high level.

But now that I'm getting back into the game after a long (14 year) layoff, I started using multis at higher tensions in some new racquets. I'm trying to stay within the recommended tension range on the racquet, if not towards the high end, the thought being that I can maintain a bit more control while I "re-learn" my strokes. I've been playing like this for the past 3 months and haven't really had any major issues. My current setup is the TF335 (16x20) strung with Klip Venom (or X-1 Biphase sometimes) at 62M/60C, offering some decent power with good control and a lot of comfort.

However, I just strung up my racquet last night with some plain old synthetic gut (Ashaway Liberty) at 48 lb. in the mains and 46 lb. in the crosses just to see what would happen. I fully expected to actually HATE the racquet during this experiment and expected to overhit balls left and right, sailing them over the back fence. But the exact opposite happened. To be honest, the racquet played like a dream. I had absolutely no issues with control, power, or spin. In fact, I might go so far as to say I was getting BETTER action on the ball and hitting more consistent strokes overall. I wasn't at all conscious of the strings while I was hitting, so I'm pretty sure my perception wasn't due to some hidden bias or expectations for the new strings.

I guess I'm thinking that the lower tension might be taking advantage of my old muscle memory and allowing me to hit shots like I used to years ago.

Has anyone else changed tension this dramatically (from the 60's to the 40's) with their racquet and found that it actually plays BETTER without making ANY stroke adjustments? Because that's pretty much what happened to me. As I said, I'm 100% certain it's not some sort of honeymoon effect because I really made it a point to just go out and hit without thinking about the racquet at all. But at the end of the practice session, I sat back and reviewed the various points and realized that I was most definitely playing better and with more control.

Mr Harharwood
01-10-2007, 01:44 PM
I used to string my Ncode 18x20 with a lux/syn hybrid at 54/56 and then tried 48/50 and holy cow is it awesome. No loss in control, more power, better feel, less string tension loss, better pop, etc. I'm lovin' too. I tried the 48/50 tension on my Ncode 16x18 but I think the string pattern was too open for this low a tension. I think if your going to go with the lower tensions, it is better off on the 16x20 or 18x20 string patterns and with a poly-based string for the mains.

Kevo
01-10-2007, 01:44 PM
I played with Ashaway liberty as low as 40lbs. It did play really well actually. The only problems I had were when I would get amped up and start really trying to crush the ball. Hard to keep it in the court. As long as I played relaxed and didn't go for too much I had plenty of pace and control. Liberty is a better than average cheap string IMO. It tends to maintain tension very well and plays very consistent. With many multis you get a certain level of inconsistency in the string that goes along with the added softness.

aroddick
01-10-2007, 02:52 PM
you can string as low as 45, thats what i know. Lower than that, i say the strings will be soooo lose they will just move so much.

meh
01-10-2007, 03:03 PM
I took an eight month lay-off earlier this year. I used to string at excess of 65 lbs, depending on the racquet and string. After, however, I'm down to about 50-54. My equipment tastes, including racquet, completely changed.

jasonbourne
01-10-2007, 03:11 PM
I used to string my Ncode 18x20 with a lux/syn hybrid at 54/56 and then tried 48/50 and holy cow is it awesome. No loss in control, more power, better feel, less string tension loss, better pop, etc. I'm lovin' too. I tried the 48/50 tension on my Ncode 16x18 but I think the string pattern was too open for this low a tension. I think if your going to go with the lower tensions, it is better off on the 16x20 or 18x20 string patterns and with a poly-based string for the mains.

I also have the ncode 18x20. You should try to string the poly-based string in the crosses and use a syngut or multi or natgut in the mains. You may love it more.

fastdunn
01-10-2007, 04:23 PM
I accidentally went this low in tension when I strung my racquet by
myself for the 1st time. I used a drop weight and I aligned the weight
with a wrong end. So I set it to ~60lbs but actually it was around 40 lbs.

It somehow felt dead. I felt like I was hitting with a rotten wood.
Oh well, maybe it was my lousy 1st stringing job....

StunLock
01-10-2007, 04:46 PM
im thinking of doing 50-52 lb on an 18*20 k or n 6.1 95 using nxt tour 16, wonder how that would play like .... will it be too soft without a poly string?

TonyB
01-10-2007, 04:51 PM
I don't see why it would be "too soft." Try it and find out. 52 lb. isn't all that low for that frame.

What's your normal tension?

onehandbh
01-10-2007, 05:00 PM
i've gone down a lot in tension lately as well. used to string about 67lbs
and now at 57 (main), 54 (cross)

StunLock
01-10-2007, 05:38 PM
By 'too soft' I meant considerable loss of control. Usually I play at mid tension.

BTW, I never did hybrid before but how does hybrid (e.g. ploy+multi) string move compare to all poly or all multi?

dpfrazier
01-10-2007, 05:57 PM
Has anyone else changed tension this dramatically (from the 60's to the 40's) with their racquet and found that it actually plays BETTER without making ANY stroke adjustments?
I use an Ncode 6.1 16x18, and have been experimenting with lower tensions lately. Earlier last year, I had the tension as high as 65 lbs with a variety of strings (Tonic+ 16g, Hurricane 18g).

Now I've got one of my sticks strung with Cyber Flash 17g at 40 lbs, and I like it! The sweet spot feels huge; groundies stay deep on nice controlled strokes, but they also come down in the court when I take a bigger rip due to the greater topspin. Volleys aren't as crisp, so I might try a little higher tension. But I'm definitely sticking with lower tension...

dowjones
01-10-2007, 06:05 PM
I've gone down in tension recently because of TE and like it. I was old school, higher tension = more control. I've never had a problem with power but the difference with 5lbs less tension and control has been insignificant to me.

I say experiment.

ssjkyle31
01-10-2007, 06:12 PM
I start string my rackets in the middle range verse the recommended maximum. I find that I can swing more evenly verse trying quickly accelerate the racket face which creates inconsistent swing force. With the lower tension the racket tends to pocket the ball more creating more opportunity for spins.

TonyB
01-10-2007, 06:32 PM
I have to agree. I'm not sure why or how, or even if it makes technical sense, but the lower tensions seem to apply more spin to the ball than higher tensions. I'm sure someone will post something about the ball being held for .00000001 seconds longer for each 10 lb. of tension or something like that, but the bottom line is that when I swing the racquet strung at lower tensions, the spin that results is much greater than the same racquet strung at a higher tension.

And I have to say, control (for me) was unaffected, if not slightly improved. Who knows, maybe there is something in the back of my mind when I play with the lower-tension racquet that prevents me from really lashing out at the ball, because I know that the power will be there, even if I don't take wild swings. But somehow I doubt it. I did take some wild swings and didn't really notice the balls flying on me at all.

welcome2petrkordaland
01-10-2007, 06:35 PM
i used to use lux bb alu rough at 60(on mains or in hybrid). when my stringer didn't have any available and i was broke, i got basic synth. gut and now love the feel it gives. my tension is now at 57 lbs., slighter lower and i haven't had any control issues. i may even go to about 55 or 54 just to experiment.

Chauvalito
01-10-2007, 08:25 PM
in high school i would string my volkls at above 60, but never higher than 65...nowadays my C7 is 55 in the mains (sppp) and 57 in the crossed(gosen).

So far I am having no trouble with control...I think at some point I will go as low as 50, but no lower.

When I was younger I would never have beleived that I would ever string lower than 58.

psamp14
01-10-2007, 08:29 PM
i originally strung my ncode 90's at 60lbs, but then dropped to 50, and once at 48lbs

right now its at 48 lbs...so not as drastic as a 60s to 40s drop...but a 10lb drop ...not small at all...

Indy Tennis
01-10-2007, 08:40 PM
I used to string my racquets (Wilson Pro Staff Classic 6.1) in the mid-60s and everything felt fine.

Due to recommendations from my stringer I've gone lower and lower over the last two or three years.

I now use a Volkl Tour 10 V-Engine Mid and string them with a Volkl 17G multi at 53 lbs. and they feel great. Plus, no arm issues.

Voltron
01-10-2007, 08:43 PM
I went from 70 lbs to 54 lbs, now THATS a change. Also if you graphed power, it would be a parabala, opening down.

s.sharm01
01-10-2007, 11:36 PM
i wonder what would happen if i strug hurricane tour into the pure drive + in the low 40s...or i have sppp lying around...wat about that.
wat do u guys think would happen

Pusher
01-11-2007, 01:25 AM
However, I just strung up my racquet last night with some plain old synthetic gut (Ashaway Liberty) at 48 lb. in the mains and 46 lb. in the crosses just to see what would happen. I fully expected to actually HATE the racquet during this experiment and expected to overhit balls left and right, sailing them over the back fence. But the exact opposite happened. To be honest, the racquet played like a dream. I had absolutely no issues with control, power, or spin. In fact, I might go so far as to say I was getting BETTER action on the ball and hitting more consistent strokes overall. I wasn't at all conscious of the strings while I was hitting, so I'm pretty sure my perception wasn't due to some hidden bias or expectations for the new strings.

My son (16) hits the Nblade98 and I have gradually been lowering tension. I started at about 62lbs and I currently have it at 57lbs. I will keep lowering it until he loses control on shot depth (particuarly on volleys). I'm also using a relatively cheap synthetic gut, either Ashaway synthetic 17 or I sometimes use Gosen micro 17 or Babolat Conquest 17. I have also experimented with an 18 gauge synthetic cross. The power level increases with each drop in tension and/or drop in string diameter.

My son is strong and hits hard and it seems like the modern forehand strokes today do not finish as high as the more classic stroke we are used to seeing (there are exceptions). That translates to a forehand with a lot of wrist action, a lower angle and high topsin which allows for lower string tension and thinner gauges.

I don't care about pinching pennies on string and I have used gut extensively. I have participated in the poly craze and tried multifilaments. I keep coming back to basic solid core synthetics. The solid core synthetics (pick your brand) are hard to beat for 4-5 hours and then they either break or I cut them out. I have come to embrace the philosophy of "string cheap and string often".

DrewRafter8
01-11-2007, 09:35 AM
I dropped to the 50's in my return to tennis last year. When I used to play, it was with a C10 pro in the 70's and Dunlop MW 200G strung in the 60's. I've got full ALU in my MSpeed right now @54 and love it. I'm on my 2nd week with the string and have not really noticed any tension loss. It was prestretched before stringing, don't know if that has made the difference.

Burt Turkoglu
01-13-2007, 05:54 PM
Strung my rackets loose before Mac came onto the scene when tight strings were the rage (1970's). Now with polys am stringing even looser. Dunlop Maxply McEnroe: Timo mains @40lbs./TNT crosses @39lbs. 12.4 ounces slightly head light balance. 4.5-5.0 Florida

DADYO
01-14-2007, 03:49 AM
I used to string my nsix-one 95 18x20 at 26 kg, but then I had a few shoulder problems. I DRASTICALLY dropped the tension down to 20kg (about 50lbs) and I'm loving it, might try going a little lower as well ;)

bruce nissenbaum
01-14-2007, 08:59 AM
Experimented with decreasing tension using Prince OSG w/o DF 17g in PSC 6.1 95: decreased tension 2# increments from 60 to 44. Found increasing stringbed liveliness and trampoline affect with decreasing tension until about 50#; between 50 and 44 stringbed liveliness and trampoline affect seemed to decrease. A 46/48 set up seemed to provide a very soft, comfortable and controlled response, much better than tensions in the 50's. By the time I got to 44# I noticed the differences in post-strung tension per 2# change was statistically irrelevant so I stopped there. I also tried 48# with LF Supreme 17 without going through the incremental process and did not like the results. So, for my little narrowly framed experiment, LF Supreme plays optimally at 60/62 (much better than POSG); POSG plays better at much lower tension.

Possible hypothesis for consideration: Multifilaments are more playable at higher tension (upper end of racquet suggested range); monofilaments are more playable at very low tension (well below lower end of racquet range).

jasonbourne
01-14-2007, 10:56 AM
bruce, what did you not like about LF Supreme 17g at 48#?

I used klipper zyex (a multi) in upper range of my psc 6.1 and liked it. However, I'm currently using n90 with zyex at 54#. It is not bad.

bruce nissenbaum
01-14-2007, 02:16 PM
what did you not like about LF Supreme 17g at 48#?.

The major problem for me at 48# was lack of crispness and placement, especially on first serve. Optimum serve for me occurs at 60/62. Also, at 48#, Supreme response was very erratic against pace, so control was an issue in a faster paced match. And there was a trampoline affect that was very noticeable on rapid-fire volley points and volley responses to hard groundstrokes, whereas volleys can be 'stuck' at 60/62. Will say, however, that Supreme at 48# is a marvelous weapon in 'soft' exchanges and slow pace situations.

travlerajm
01-14-2007, 02:19 PM
Experimented with decreasing tension using Prince OSG w/o DF 17g in PSC 6.1 95: decreased tension 2# increments from 60 to 44. Found increasing stringbed liveliness and trampoline affect with decreasing tension until about 50#; between 50 and 44 stringbed liveliness and trampoline affect seemed to decrease. A 46/48 set up seemed to provide a very soft, comfortable and controlled response, much better than tensions in the 50's. By the time I got to 44# I noticed the differences in post-strung tension per 2# change was statistically irrelevant so I stopped there. I also tried 48# with LF Supreme 17 without going through the incremental process and did not like the results. So, for my little narrowly framed experiment, LF Supreme plays optimally at 60/62 (much better than POSG); POSG plays better at much lower tension.

Possible hypothesis for consideration: Multifilaments are more playable at higher tension (upper end of racquet suggested range); monofilaments are more playable at very low tension (well below lower end of racquet range).


Thanks for sharing this. It more or less agrees with what I believed but hadn't gotten around to testing for myself.

tennis-skater
01-14-2007, 02:31 PM
If I have to play right away I'll string my racket low so when I start hitting with it it feels good

tennis939
05-29-2007, 04:52 PM
currently my string tension on fxp prestige is 63

im thinking of decreasing under 60 but im kinda afraid lol
i wanna try it at 56 main 58 crosses

do you guys think im gonna get any benefits or none?

LttlElvis
05-29-2007, 05:36 PM
Years ago, believe it or not, I used to play with a Prince Pro and a POG strung at 80 lbs. Recommended tension at the time was 72 lbs. I can't imagine doing that now. Now I play with a hybrid Shark @ 48 lbs. I have tried a POG @ 48 lbs. too and I love the feel.

Purostaff
05-29-2007, 09:01 PM
I have yet to try stringing in the 40's range. However, I do know that I play better at high 50's than low 50's. I'm going to give 40's a try on my next string job.

Wldarsp
05-31-2007, 06:53 AM
I string my FP Team Instinct with Cyber Flash at 40-45 lbs. It's awesome!
Normally I would string Syn Gut at 65lbs, but CF has great control and huge power at 45lbs.

onkystomper
05-31-2007, 07:17 AM
i strung my pure drive cortex at 50 lb with gamma synth gut. was awesome for recovery shots and when i had time to setup

Pusher
05-31-2007, 07:27 AM
I think lower tensions are much more comfortable-especially for regular club players. As the level of play increases I believe it becomes difficult to handle pace, particuarly service returns. I have also noticed that lower tensions seem to make it more difficult to bring a hard, flat serve down into the service box.
My son is a ranked jr (17) and I have usually strung his racquets at the lower end of the tension range. Lately I noticed that he is constantly attempting to increase topspin just to keep the ball from going long. On his serves he was having to throw the ball more out in front and get more leg elevation to bring the flat serve in. Recently I increased tension about 6 lbs and he hits better ground strokes and his serving is more consistent.
He hits an N6.1 16x18 and I suspect more dense string beds can handle lower tensions much better. Just my opinion.

superstition
05-31-2007, 05:08 PM
I have tried tensions lower than 60 lbs with 17 gauge Babolat gut in my PS 85, but I play the best with a freshly strung 60 lb racquet. I've not used a synthetic string that I like. The closest I've come is what is probably a polyester string, but I don't know what it was. It was in the Ultra 2 I got from ****. It hurt my elbow, though, so I switched to gut.

The lowest tension I have tried was 45 and that was in an Rossignol with Prince DuraThin 18 string. It was horrible. I couldn't control the ball at all. I wasn't as good at tennis then, though, so perhaps I could control it if I had it today.

Voltron
05-31-2007, 05:11 PM
^^^^^

Could it have been Polyfibre TCS, that's a really soft polyester, it's bright yellow.