View Full Version : Lowering string tension instead of adding lead tape?

04-02-2005, 02:02 PM
Has anyone tried lowering string tension as a substitute for adding lead tape? What are the pros and cons?

I love the way lead tape makes my racquet plow through the ball with incredible stability, but lead tape + extended length = rough on the shoulder. I always string a few lbs over the midpoint of suggested tension because it gives me more control and keeps the strings from moving around too much (I hit with lots of topspin). However, I might be able to control that extra power with some practice, and I think it might be easier on my shoulder.

Any thoughts on how lower tension effects serves, volleys, and groundstrokes?

04-02-2005, 02:30 PM
The difference is hard to quantify. It depends on the frame, and how much lower you go on the tension. I have played as low as 45 on my Yonex RDX 500 mid, and as high as 57. With added weight I think it will play better even a bit higher.

I also found that adding weight actually helped with shoulder discomfort when serving. I was able to get the racquet moving and let if finish the ball off by itself. :-)

I took the weight off to see how I like it in factory condition, but I think I will add the weight back on in a more permanent fashion next time I restring. I really like the little bit extra it provides, and I think about 12.5 oz is just right.

And of course, the only way to know for sure is to try it out for yourself. Everyone has slightly different mechanics and plays a little (or a lot) different than anyone else. Good Luck.

04-02-2005, 02:57 PM
I don't think it is necessarily a legitimate question to compare lowering tension to adding lead tape - they do completely different things, though adding power may be a commonality. The type of power they add, though, is different. Lowering tension adds more of a softer trampoline effect and more propells the ball off the strings, where weight just drives through the ball more and so imparts more energy to the ball. Weight actually tends to add control too because it allows you to swing slower and still get power. If you simply want power and a softer feel, but don't mind losing some control, then lower tension. Lower tensions tend to be good for serves because they increase dwell time, allowing you to hit with more spin and power.

04-28-2005, 09:04 AM
I was thinking about the same thing by lowering the tension to get more plow through feel from the racquet, but after reading this post. I might think otherwise. So ....

Can we conclude that in order to get the that plow through feel, you will need to add weight on the face of teh racquet? And lowering tension would not get that the plow through feel?

04-28-2005, 09:13 AM
Just as a follow up. I have discovered that there is a balance that needs to be met for each player. For me the extra weight on the racquet helped with serving up to a certain speed. Then the extra weight becomes a detriment.

To serve my best, I need a lighter racquet that allows me to generate faster swing speed. Of course, that also means I have to be more careful about my technique when I swing really fast. If I mishit the ball when trying to hit a super sonic serve, my shoulder really feels it.

04-28-2005, 09:28 AM
This is a good question. I've tried both methods with the RDXmid, stringing looser with little or no lead tape, and stringing higher with quite alot of lead tape.

For myself, the best combination was a moderate amount of lead tape (4-6 grams) and medium tension in the low 50s. With large amounts of lead tape (8-10grams) the RDX started feeling bulky and lost maneuverability. At really low tensions (45lbs), control suffered and balls were spraying.

Although some rackets really benefit from quite alot of lead tape (Ti80) or really low tensions (IPrestige Mid), I think for most rackets, the best solution is a middle of the road approach.

04-28-2005, 10:02 AM
more weight almostly always results in less control not more control. it results in more power provided you can swing your racquet as fast as you could before the weight was added. adding weight also often results in less control because many people get less spin with the additional weight because racquethead speed is what is needed for spin, and spin is what you need for control, and heavier frames are harder to spin. there really is no real reason for most people to add lead to a frame...plenty of great racquet choices out there in all swingweights, stiffnesses, etc. best to just pick something that works for you and learn how to use it rather than screwing around w. lead, tensions, string types, grip sizes, grip shapes, etc etc. the realty is the pros use lead mostly because they cant find frames heavy enough for them in stock form..we dont have this prob altho some of us seem to think we do. their technique is honed and they hit bazillion balls a day and they are really fit...ours isnt, we dont, and most of us arent, not to mention not all of us are in our 20's anymore

04-28-2005, 11:38 AM
Try both. If you can deal with a little weight add it say 5g a week (3,9 or 10,2). You will defiitely feel a difference going to 10g but that's probably too much to change at a time. Weight (haha) a week or two or more apart and maybe things will come together. Your timing and depth will change quite a bit with a drastic change. That's what I do anyway. I wouldn't change your string tension by more than a few pounds at a time either.

04-28-2005, 04:43 PM
I rather like to "play" with the lead tape....try always @3&9. NOw with my LM, no lead tape anymore...the sweetest spot ever on a racquet....

04-28-2005, 08:00 PM
I took the tape off and dropped the tension a tad, and I think it was a good way to get almost the same power/control with less weight. It's a spiral I don't recommend. You increase tension to get more control, but you lose depth and shrink the sweet spot. So you add tape to increase depth and plow-through. Before you know it, your arm hurts because your racquet plays great, but it's too heavy and the strings are too tight.