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View Full Version : Distribution of lead tape on a frame


andirez
04-14-2004, 06:20 AM
I hear a lot about adding lead tape to customize the balance of racquets, something which I have been experimenting with the last couple of months. I know the general rules, but I still wonder if it is important to spread out the weight as much as possible.

What I mean: suppose I want to significantly increase swing weight and stability on off-centre shots. Normally I would say add lead to 2 and 10 o'clock (evenly distributed). But I could accomplish the same thing by adding lead at 3 and 9 o'clock and also at 12 o'clock (so the weight is distributed over three locations instead of two). Or you can even add weight continuously to the entire upper hoop.

Which of the above scenarios is preferable? Will the frame feel more solid in one of both cases? Does it all make a lot of difference?

Ash Doyle
04-14-2004, 08:22 AM
I believe balance would be effected differently in each situation, although static weight would be the same (as long as the same quantity of tape was used in each situation). The further the tape is away from balance point, the more pronounced the change will be in balance. I could be wrong, but I think charting the change would show it to be a curve and not linear.

andirez
04-14-2004, 10:02 AM
Ash, I do mean weighting the racket so that the balance and the static weight is the same in both cases. By adjusting the weight you apply in each area, this should be possible.
1. Add weight at 2 and 10 o'clock
2. Add weight at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock

So my question is that given the same balance and static weight, is it best to go for 1. or 2. ?

Ash Doyle
04-14-2004, 10:44 AM
What I was saying is that if you take a certain ammount of lead tape and divide it by two, and use that at 2 and 10; and then take another identical racquet with the same amount of tape divided in 3 and that used at 3, 9 and 12 then the static weight of those two racquets would be the same but the balance would be different. That's probably not what you were getting at anyway.

"So my question is that given the same balance and static weight, is it best to go for 1. or 2. ?"

To answer this question, I would say that: yes, it probably would feel different. I don't know how noticeable the difference would be, but I think there would be differences there. Which one is better? There is no correct answer, whichever FEELS better to you. I think I would prefer 2 though, just because when it comes to stability 3 and 9 get you the best results.

Datacipher
04-14-2004, 12:59 PM
Ash, I do mean weighting the racket so that the balance and the static weight is the same in both cases. By adjusting the weight you apply in each area, this should be possible.
1. Add weight at 2 and 10 o'clock
2. Add weight at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock

So my question is that given the same balance and static weight, is it best to go for 1. or 2. ?

In all my years in tennis have not seen this addressed. But I can tell you this, it DOES feel different, though it is not huge. To describe it is difficult however. To me, with #2, I get a bit more string bed feel, more vibration....personally I like this, however, many do not! With #1, the racquet feels deader to me, however, it does feel more solid. I can only suggest you try both....

Dranguyengon
04-14-2004, 03:50 PM
I think two would be the best. You have weight on the 3 and the 9 then you have more stability. But since you also have weight on the 12 you will get much more power.

1) sounds good because it's similar to the triple threat tech. If you like the triple threats, then do #1.

andirez
04-15-2004, 12:16 AM
What I was saying is that if you take a certain ammount of lead tape and divide it by two, and use that at 2 and 10; and then take another identical racquet with the same amount of tape divided in 3 and that used at 3, 9 and 12 then the static weight of those two racquets would be the same but the balance would be different. That's probably not what you were getting at anyway.


I see now what you meant with your first post. For scenario 2, it will indeed be unlikely that you have to apply the same weight at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock, but the the added weight of 3, 9 and 12 should be equal to that applied weight in scenario 1 (2 and 10 o'clock). How you need to distribute between 3 + 9 (they will have the same amount of lead tape applied) and 12 o'clock will depend the balance (so that it is equal to scenario 1).

My intuition tells me that scenario 2 would be better because you have lead tape in 3 places compared to 2, which I would believe to be make the upper hope of the racquet more solid in overall. But Datacipher is actually saying the exact opposite...

Datacipher
04-15-2004, 12:53 AM
I think two would be the best. You have weight on the 3 and the 9 then you have more stability. But since you also have weight on the 12 you will get much more power.

1) sounds good because it's similar to the triple threat tech. If you like the triple threats, then do #1.

Actually I think it is the opposite, the triple threats load weight at 10 and 2....

Datacipher
04-15-2004, 01:08 AM
[quote="andirezMy intuition tells me that scenario 2 would be better because you have lead tape in 3 places compared to 2, which I would believe to be make the upper hope of the racquet more solid in overall. But Datacipher is actually saying the exact opposite...[/quote]

I can only report my experience. Again, I have never read a formal investigation of this.

I thought that 10 and 2 would be better for me as the majority of my off center hits come at an angle approaching these points, but when I switched to these points and added lead tape but kept the balance point the same (NOTE: I have tailweighting as well and I'm not sure if the static weight was the same, I just tried to keep the same balance).....I found the racquet to have a more solid, quieter feel. Again these are subjective impressions, but it felt more like a baseliners stick....in fact it felt good on groundstrokes. But I preferred the sensation I got with the 3 point system particularly for volleys and touch shots.

As it turns out, because I have an extremely fast swing, and got tired of really high string tensions, I took the 12 o clock weight off, and added even more to 3 and 9. I didn't want any unnecessary depth, but maximum stability to play agains the open players.

Like I said, in the end, I can only report my impressions and recommend if you're curious, try both. You'll probably notice a difference and prefer one. Who knows, perhaps what I describe as more "solid" or "stable" is not what you will feel and describe as such....plus our strokes and swing speeds are undoubtedly different. Most of the customization i'm talking about was done on the TI Radicals I play with, though I have done the same thing for PS 6.1, TI LASER, Head Prestige etc. for people I string for and basically found the same thing....

andirez
04-15-2004, 01:30 AM
Datacipher, I am curious how much weight you currently apply at 3 and 9 o'clock.

The racquet I am currently experimenting with is a ProKennex 5g, it is a L3 modified to L4 adding a lot of extra weight in the handle (without any lead tape applied it weights 367g or 12.2 oz). The balance however by doing this has shifted from 9 points HL to 12 points HL which really is too much (you can feel that the racquet is not very "stable", I have put stable in between quotes since, like you said, this is all very subjective).

So yesterday I applied 3 grams of lead (0,1 oz) at both 3 and 9 o'clock (6 grams or 0,2 oz in total) and the racquet felt much better already. Why I am asking all these questions instead of just go out and test every possible option? Lead tape is hard to get where I live so I want to make more or less logical choices. I don't have the lead tape resources to try every possible option sadly. My goal is to restore the original 9 points HL balance.

Datacipher
04-15-2004, 01:22 PM
Datacipher, I am curious how much weight you currently apply at 3 and 9 o'clock.

So yesterday I applied 3 grams of lead (0,1 oz) at both 3 and 9 o'clock (6 grams or 0,2 oz in total) and the racquet felt much better already. Why I am asking all these questions instead of just go out and test every possible option? Lead tape is hard to get where I live so I want to make more or less logical choices. I don't have the lead tape resources to try every possible option sadly. My goal is to restore the original 9 points HL balance.

That's exactly how I started with 3 grams strips. I orginally just put 3 grams at 3,9,12 and was shocked to find how much the feel changed immediately. After that, I began to add an extra 3 gram strip at those points every couple weeks once I adjusted to the extra weight(if you add a lot in one jump, it's frustrating for a while) while simultaneously tailweighting(I did not keep track of how much on the butt) to maintain balance(which I was happy with). Eventually I stopped adding at 12 and only added extra to 3,9. After some time of this, I one day checked the weight on a radical and found it was just over 14 oz! At that point I realized I had gone a bit too far! While I loved the stability, suddenly it made sense why indeed I was a bit later on returns and on the rise shots than before!(in my mind I had assumed it was still lighter than the pros racquets, and I am a very strong guy) I saw other drawbacks in my game as well. So I came back down to a moderate weight, though I havent' even checked lately as I go by feel now(which in the end is the most important thing...do you feel good with it...)

Currently I am using 12 grams on each side, in a single huge long strip, as a result it extends pretty much right through 2 and 10. I have no particular reason to favor this over numerous small strips at 3, and 9, other than I felt lazy and intuitively I thought it might be good to spread it out with that much weight....I may soon add more as it's still a bit light for me...I'll probably try adding a smaller strip at 3 and 9 on top...

I dont' know how much that helps...but by the sounds of it, you want stability and not power....if this is true... I think you will like 3, and 9 better than the 2,10,12 areas. I think this is the way most pros tend to weight, I think they have stability in mind, not power/depth. My friend who was Jim Couriers practice partner for a week, adds enormous weight to his ps on the sides and on the throat, butt, but he doesn't add any to the tip as it gives him to much depth and he doesn't like it.

So if you want the original balance, it's just a matter of where you put the weight. Again, if stability is your prime goal...I'd go with 3 and 9. The only catch might be, if you add it all to 3 and 9, and then find the static weight is more than you like(although I think you'd adjust soon enough). If this was the case, you might consider, taking some off 3 and 9 and adding a lesser amount to 12. As a much lesser amount at 12 will "equal" the 3 and 9 net balance effect...

Or of course if you are interested in more depth and a higher sweet spot then you might add some at 12. I never added a whole lot at 12...thinking about it...I never had more than 9(usually less) grams there...as a little goes a long way at that location and I dont' like head heavy...

PS. also, as I mentioned the more weight I added ESPECIALLY at 12, the more I felt the need to string tighter as the ball tended to have more depth....

andirez
04-16-2004, 12:41 AM
Datacipher, your last reply has helped me tons. Thank you!

My previous racquet was around 13 oz, so that is more or less the static weight I want to end up with. I am indeed mainly looking for added stability, I find the frame powerful enough. The reason why I wanted to add a bit of weight higher up is to restore the balance with less weight than I would need to apply when I add everything at 3 and 9 o'clock. But now that I know that it is "normal" to add up to 12 grams at one position, I should be able to achieve my goal solely with 3 and 9 o'clock (will have to order some extra lead strips though). I am going to take your advise and slowly build up. Went out tennissing again yesterday evening and the racket felt too light so I'm gonna add an extra 3 grams at 3 and 9 o'clock and slowly increasing this when I feel comfortable with the new weight. Thanks agains for your reply, like I said, it was extremely helpful!

Datacipher
04-16-2004, 11:25 AM
glad it helped.

I think it's definitely more pleasant to go up a bit at a time. Usually after a tiny jump, you notice the extra stability, and mobility is only hampered a tiny amount, which if you don't dwell on it, usually after a hitting session or 2 is not an issue. Eventually you'll reach your original balance and/or weight, or you might just hit a point where the new extra bit of weight just seems like a bit too much even after a couple sessions...the good thing is then you'll know almost exactly how much you like.

In the past when I tried drastic jumps, when I hadn't built up to the heavy weights, I would go out and say, wow, on the 1st hits what a difference, but then you're timing is off, everything is going all over the place, your arm tired after 30 min. And you're late a lot! That sucks! lol So I end up ripping it all off by the end of the hit...lol. Even worse if it's a competitive match.

Well good luck. The experimenting can be quite fun, like trying a new racquet.