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View Full Version : Anyone ever string racquetball racquets?


jamauss
10-17-2007, 07:21 PM
Since I string for a "tennis center and racquet complex" we happen to have a couple of racquetball courts and thus, racquetball racquets to be strung.

Problem is, I've never strung one before and I need to. I have a USRSA stringers digest but I didn't realize the strings go down into the bottom of the handle.

How do you string these? Can you just pull the string through the bottom of the handle? When I pull these "handle" strings do I string them over-under or under-over? Should I be able to string it no problem on my Silent Partner Aria?

I have some string and a racquetball racquet of my own I'm going to practice on first.

Thanks for any answers anyone can provide.

Diver
10-17-2007, 07:47 PM
I read somewhere that on a racquetball racquet, its preferable ot do it over-under. As I am not a stringer and just an avid tennis and racquetball player I don't know. I would think that the USRSA site has more info on it, and as a
certified stringer you should be able to find something...hope that helps, on your
personal racquet tryouts

mpenders
10-17-2007, 11:45 PM
I'm an avid rball player, and string as well - most all the frames I string now are for rball.

That being said - there are numerous versions of rball stringing patterns. Each of the major manufacturers has their own method - some with rings, some have string thru the handle, some have string wrapped around the handle, some with internal gromments (fun!!).

Based on the description of the string going over/under, I'm guessing you've got a Wilson racquet needing to be strung. With the mains that wrap over/under the handle, you're forced to pull two mains at the same time from the head of the racquet. As far as the over/under pattern - just make sure that they alternate properly. In order to do this, you will have to string over/under moving one way (let's say to the right), then string under/over moving the other (to the left). It's the same process as stringing one of the Ektelon Power Ring-type frames.

If you only have access to an older USRSA manual that doesn't have details on the frame you're working on, look up instructions on the Ektelon frame I've mentioned above (it's several years old) for the over/under concept.

Now if you don't have a Wilson frame - please let me know what make/model you're working on and I'll see if I can offer any insight.

If it's an Eforce frame - we'll need to go into more detail....

Good luck!

jamauss
10-18-2007, 06:24 PM
mpenders - it is an E-Force Bedlam 195g - my stringers digest has the information but feel free to share any advice you might have. :)

mpenders
10-19-2007, 04:56 PM
Okay, Eforce sticks can be a total pain in the backside if you've never done one before. Once you've done a couple they're no big deal.

I don't believe the Bedlam 195 has the "powertubes" - which help with the stringing thru the handle. In this case, you need a special tool - a thin diameter long drinking straw, the kind your local Starbucks barrista might put in your latte. Pocket a few of them to last you awhile.

You use the straw to guide the strings around the correct side of the post in the handle, and to make sure they don't wrap around themselves inside the handle (a definite rookie move that your player will notice).

The USRSA manual should give you decent guidelines as far as the pattern. What kind of machine are you stringing on? It could make a difference on how difficult this frame can be. Having fixed swivel clamps is the ideal. I work on a Neos and the glide bars make it more challenging, but still doable (I also have the Prince flying clamps which help).

If you are using a 40ft set instead of taking string off a reel - make sure you don't have too much tag to cut off after tying off the short side. This racquet uses a lot of string and anything wasted might be needed at the other end. If you have too much left over on the short side, it would be wise to unclamp and readjust your lengths and retension the mains.

Once you have the mains done, make sure you follow the instructions for starting the crosses - they will start at the throat and work towards the head.

The first cross you will weave is actually the SECOND lowest cross - tension and clamp it. Then move towards the throat and weave the FIRST lowest cross - DO NOT tension it yet. Move toward the head and weave the third lowest cross, then tension both the first and third crosses at the same time - then clamp.

Continue with the rest of the crosses. Here's an issue I have with my NEOS, which also happened with my old Ektelon Model H - it's impossible to clamp the last cross. It's too close to the top of the frame and there's not enough room. I end up doing a similar process that is done when starting the crosses:

Weave the third to last cross as normal, tension it and clamp. The weave the LAST cross (make sure to follow the same over/under pattern of the 3rd to last cross) - do not clamp it. Then weave the SECOND TO LAST cross, tension both of the final crosses at the same time then clamp. You now can tie it off as instructed.

Congrats - you're done.

jamauss
10-19-2007, 05:30 PM
I saw that the stringers digest says 8 1/2 ft. of string for the short side - so I'm trying to stick close to that measurement.

The USRSA manual says it's a 14x22 string pattern, and I think I've figured out which holes are mains only, crosses only, and then there are a couple of shared holes at the top.

I have a Silent Partner Aria stringer, which has fixed swivel clamps. I also have a starting/flying clamp.

I will have to head down to Starbucks and get some long straws to help guide the strings around the handle post. I hadn't thought of that but it sounds handy.

When I start the crosses with the second lowest cross - I assume that cross (and the lowest one) are done using the short side string?

I guess so far, the toughest thing to figure out has been how the mains that go down through the handle get strung. It's a lot different than a tennis racquet in the sense that the short side/long side each stay on their own "side" of the racquet while you're doing the mains. With this RB racquet, the short side goes around the handle post and over to the long side a couple of times (right?).

mpenders
10-19-2007, 10:05 PM
I saw that the stringers digest says 8 1/2 ft. of string for the short side - so I'm trying to stick close to that measurement.

The USRSA manual says it's a 14x22 string pattern, and I think I've figured out which holes are mains only, crosses only, and then there are a couple of shared holes at the top.

Yep, there should be 3 shared holes at the head, and 1 at the throat (see comment below).



I have a Silent Partner Aria stringer, which has fixed swivel clamps. I also have a starting/flying clamp.

Perfect - you've got it easy - trying this on a klippermate would require a whole new approach. My most frequest customer plays with an Eforce stick that has this same pattern. His former stringer (a good friend of mine - actually my doubles partner) had a klippermate - and eventually told him he wasn't very interested in continuing to string up his sticks.



When I start the crosses with the second lowest cross - I assume that cross (and the lowest one) are done using the short side string?

NO!!! The short side ties off after stringing it's last main. The long side string will finish the last main, then goes directly to the SECOND cross...as described previously...then continues for the rest of the crosses. You'll understand why this happens when you examine the frame. The last main exits via 3T. 3T is also the where the first cross starts. So... this is why you must take it to 4T to begin the crosses, then come back to string the cross at 3T.

It sounds confusing, but once you're doing it - it'll make sense.



I guess so far, the toughest thing to figure out has been how the mains that go down through the handle get strung. It's a lot different than a tennis racquet in the sense that the short side/long side each stay on their own "side" of the racquet while you're doing the mains. With this RB racquet, the short side goes around the handle post and over to the long side a couple of times (right?).

Exactly. I don't think I've ever string an Eforce stick that had a standard pattern you would find on a tennis frame.

The USRSA manual should direct you to follow the stringing pattern described in detail under the Eforce Ambush frame. Make sure you follow these details, they are important if you want to do this right. If you don't have these instructions, let me know before you start.

jamauss
10-20-2007, 01:43 AM
wow, what an experience. :) I made it.

The description in the USRSA Manual for the Ambush racquet fit perfect for the Bedlam so I used that. I had no idea the mains didn't just start at 1TL and 1TR like tennis racquets do (or 1HL and 1HR, in some cases).

Anyway, I see what you meant about starting the crosses on 3T since the mains finish there. Going up to 4, down to 3, then up to 5 made perfect sense when I got to that point.

Putting the strings down through the handle with the straw was a learning experience too. Once I figured out that you just basically need to make sure you don't go under any of the previous strings/grooves (since you start at the bottom and go up) I was OK.

Thanks so much for your help mpenders - I would've been much more lost without your tips. Now I finally have a RB racquet stringing under my belt. :)

mpenders
10-20-2007, 11:34 AM
Congrats! Glad I could help. Just curious, how long did it take once you had it mounted up to the machine?

I'm not sure if it's widely known, but rball players don't always trust their racquets to stringers that rarely string up rball frames. There is a learning curve to figuring them out, and many times they end up with subpar jobs.

I was searching for someone to string up one of my frames (before I picked up a machine and started stringing again), and found a tennis specialty shop. They knew their stuff, and had invested several $1000's in very good equipment. When I inquired about having them string my rball frame, they asked, "It isn't one of those Eforce racquets, is it? We won't do those." It took them too long to do, compared with the dozens of tennis frames they worked on each day.

Don't be afraid of the rball sticks, but definitely follow the USRSA advice when you encounter a unique pattern. It'll save you time and the heavy doses of aspirin.

Now I've got to go string up a pair of Eforce frames myself...

jamauss
10-20-2007, 11:54 AM
It took me about 45-50 minutes once I had the frame mounted on the machine (tennis frames usually take me 35-40). The most time consuming part was definitely the mains, since they had to wrap around down in the handle properly. I got the first ones twisted too, (but didn't notice until I had done about 6 mains) so I had to pull them out and re-do them. The mains probably took 30 minutes (which is ironic because on tennis racquets the mains are the easiest part and I can do them in about 10 minutes). I also kept looking over the stringing instructions in the manual since I wanted to be cautious and make sure I got things right.

Once I just had the crosses left to do I breezed through those. My throat and head clamps on my machine aren't really made to do rb racquets so when I tensioned the last cross at the head (5H), the string bent around the head mount clamp just slightly. No big deal though, I just straightened it out after taking it off the machine.

I guess I definitely got a challenging frame as my first rb string job but, hopefully the guy likes the string job and recommends me to the other rb players at the club. It's mostly a tennis club here (25 courts) but they do have some really nice racquetball courts too and get a good number of rb players coming in since they're the only public rb courts in the city.

I think the USRSA manual just paid for itself too....INVALUABLE! :)

mpenders
10-20-2007, 12:57 PM
Okay - next step in making happy rball customers is knowing what to (or better yet what NOT to) recommend as far as string.

Rball frames use much less tension, and some of the preferred tennis strings just don't work as well. I would stay away from kevlar (or kevlar by another name). It can play like a 2x4 in a rball frame. Poly is also not used much. I've heard of few players that use it, but they are definitely in the minority (and not really reliable as "testers", IMO).

Also, a rball swing is very flat - putting spin on the ball is not done or even recommended. Structured tennis string used to "grab" the ball is not needed. Also, power is the name of the game in rball. We don't have to worry about keeping the ball "in", so high resiliency is good.

I've only heard of a few people that have tried natural gut. I've never had anyone request it, nor have I used it.

The mainstay of rball is syn gut, 16 and 17g predominantly. If you find a player that has never broken a string, you might recommend 18g. My main stock has been the Gosen OG Sheep Micro. However, Prince Syn Gut with Duraflex is also popular. I don't know of any rball players who want 15g - it also plays like a 2x4 at the lower tensions.

The next level are the multi's. Prince Premiere is good. Ashaway has a couple rball specific strings, Powerkill, Superkill and Killfire. Eforce and Gearbox also have multi's.

The Cadillac of rball string these days seems to be Technifibre. 505HPR, 505 Bi-phase are rball specific. X-One Bi-Phase seems to be the cream of the crop, and is the string choice of many professionals.

Make sure you pre-stretch any multi...agressively. I tend to pre-stretch everything anyway.

jamauss
10-20-2007, 02:19 PM
As far as string selection goes, I'm at the mercy of the club and what they sell. This string job I used Ektelon Lightning XX w/ Powerfoil. I think they only carry one or two type of rball string there so there's not much to choose from.

What property of rball string is most important?

mpenders
10-20-2007, 04:19 PM
Ektelon Lightning XX is fine. It's also the same as Prince Lightning XX (Ektelon is a subsidiary of Prince). All of the top end Ektelon racquets come pre-strung with this string.

Resiliency is important. Due to the lower tensions, you need a string that will flex easier. Also, racquetballs are much lighter than tennis balls. The heavier balls can still flex the stiffer string and tighter tensions. The lighter racquetballs just can't do it. Some tennis strings really won't perform well until you get up to the 50lb tensions.

I've never heard a rball player say that his racquet is too powerful and hits too hard. Never.

When talking to a new customer (especially one that doesn't have much knowledge of what was in his racquet, or why), I ask if he's wanting a string with more performance, or more durability (17g or 16g).

Next I inquire whether he/she is wanting to tune the racquet for more power, or for more precision/control (looser/tighter tension in the recommended range).

If they have elbow problems, we start looking at the multi's.

The multi's offer good resiliency, and once you get a customer to spend a little more and try them, they ususally like them.

jamauss
10-20-2007, 07:19 PM
How often do rball players break strings on average, would you say? With the type of ball being hit, I wouldn't think it happens very often, or even as often as with tennis.

I have a rball racquet that has the same strings in it when I bought it about 7-8 years ago. I've played with it probably about 50 times during those years and the strings don't look damaged at all.

gotwheels
10-21-2007, 09:07 AM
Out of curiosity, What do you charge for string and stringing labor for R-ball frames - the same as tennis? Good info in this thread. Thanks

tennisguy2121
10-21-2007, 09:22 AM
mpenders is right, the soft technifibe stuff is really popular with the racquetball players. I have strung ALOT of racquetball racquets, and the majority use technifibre nrg or simply use prince synthetic gut duraflex. They all seemed to like it strung tight too.

jamauss
10-21-2007, 10:37 AM
Out of curiosity, What do you charge for string and stringing labor for R-ball frames - the same as tennis? Good info in this thread. ThanksThe tennis center I string for charges $15 per string job (tennis or rb), of which I get $10. For my hitting partners I do their racquets for $5, and they provide the string.

mpenders
10-21-2007, 10:38 AM
It can vary with the player, and the string. I have one big hitter that plays with 16g syn gut and breaks about once a week or two. However, he does slice the ball a lot (I know I said we don't do it earlier, but a very few do).

I play with 17g, and expect my strings to last about a month. I average 1 tournament a month, and they usually are done by the time the next one rolls around. 16g will usually last me 6-8wks.

General rule of thumb is to get your racquet restrung as many times per year as you play per week. I would say every 3 or 4 months for someone that's a regular player. The string just gets old and doesn't have the pop anymore. String is like a rubber band, stretch it out around something, leave it sit for a few months and come back - and it will be stretched out and not "recover" as well as it did when it was new. It just get's old and tired and loses resiliency.

I've been out with an injury for a couple months now. I play for Ektelon, and received my new gear in August, just before foot surgery. By the time I'm ready to play, the string in my racquets (lightning XX) will still be unused, but likely over 6 months old. I will definitely cut them out and put in fresh strings if they've been sitting in the frame that long. It makes a difference for me.

Even if you had your racquet strung up with the best avail rball string 7-8 years ago, I'd bet that it'd play better if you strung up with 15g nylon. They may not "look" damaged, but cut them out and compare them to new strings. The old string will be stiff like uncooked spaghetti noodles.

Considering you haven't broken them, string it up with some 17g syn gut and go see the difference. You might even come over to the "dark side" and start playing rball more often!;)

keviinxk
09-20-2009, 03:59 PM
if youve been stringing for a while you should know that e forces web site has step by step instrructions for all their racquets.
ive self taught myself on a klippermate then up graded to a better machine all stringing racquetball raquets.
you couldve had it done by the time you finish this thread.

Mansewerz
09-20-2009, 11:01 PM
E force provides full instructions online. Racquetball racquets are a pain.