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kengan
04-18-2012, 09:04 PM
Planning to purchase a entry level machine, probably the Gamma X-2. Do you guys have any recommended purchases that I should buy along side the machine? I've heard the clamps are horrid on the X-2, and I'm looking to purchase a cheap, yet playable reel to learn stringing with. Right now I'm thinking Forten 16 nylons and a reel of Gosen strings. The poly seems to be cheap but heard some bad things about it in other threads.

Thanks in advance.

loosegroove
04-19-2012, 12:03 AM
I think the X-2 is a great stringer for the beginner. That's what I continue to use for my own personal use. I've considered upgrading, but I realize I don't really have the need to. The floating clamps aren't all that bad, and are definitely good enough to start with. I even strung my buddy's racket at 70lbs+ with the stock flying clamps. I had to tighten them up a bit, but they worked just fine. The only issue is the back edges of the handles can be a little sharp, and people have claimed to have cut themselves. Mine weren't bad, though I can see how it could be problematic. And it's nothing that some duct tape wrapped around the handles, or 2 minutes with some sandpaper to dull the edges couldn't fix. I suggest saving the money for new flying clamps, and using it to buy a decent starting clamp. Not the Gamma one, the Alpha starting clamp is good for the money.

I really like Gosen OG Sheep Micro, and think it's a great value in reel form. Never tried the Forten Nylon, but it is cheap. I really dislike the Gosen Polylon, and personally wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If you want an inexpensive reel of poly you could try the Isospeed Baseline Spin or check out strings from Mamba Tennis. They aren't sold here on TW, but have a direct website. Awesome strings, very reasonable prices, free shipping, and great customer service.

Good luck! Stringing your first racket will be a bit tedious, but you'll only get better and faster. I find it quite therapeutic, not to mention it saves me money. And there are a ton of great resources here, and plenty of videos to help the newbie learn the ins and outs.

mmk
04-19-2012, 03:03 AM
I have an X-2, and it works just fine including the clamps, but I also recently purchased a used fixed-clamp crank machine, and stringing with it is definitely easier.

A starting clamp isn't necessary, but is really helpful. Also, make sure you work in a well lit area.

OGSM is good stuff, and cheap. It also works well as a cross string for poly mains.

I string in an unfinished basement, so I put some markings down on the floor at 17', 18', 19' and 20' for when I'm using a reel.

Ramon
04-19-2012, 04:08 AM
Personally, I would wait till you get the machine and string a few racquets before getting a reel, unless you already know you'll be using it for something other than practice. My Alpha already came with a bunch of strings, and I think the Gamma does also. 3 racquets was enough practice for me to be comfortable with it. A starting clamp for you would be a good tool to get with the machine since you have flying clamps. I use a yard stick to measure string length.

Irvin
04-19-2012, 04:13 AM
It is only going to take a few rackets (maybe one) to get the hang of how to string a racket. If you buy a reel of string you will be able to string about 16 or more rackets depending on how much you use. When you get comfortable with stringing you will then have enough string left over to string a lot of rackets. What if you don't like Gosen OG Micro? $40 is a lot to spend just to find out you don't like it.

Don't buy a reel of a string when you have no idea of what it is like.

I would suggest you buy the string you like now or maybe a few sets of a string you would like to try out. I like the Gosen reels for a beginner but I would not say the same for the Forten. Gosen you can get in 16 or 17 gauge but the Forten is 15L. The thicker string makes it harder to string and that is the only reason I would not suggest it. If you like an 18 gauge string and have your racket strung with 15L the grommets will be stretched out. When you go back to the 18 gauge you may have to replace your grommets.

vChRiSv
04-19-2012, 04:39 AM
I would definitely recommend the Gamma X-2 as well.

I bought mine last week and it arrived on Monday. Very simple and well-built. Did my first stringing that night, took me a little over an hour for the actual stringing part (once I had figured out the basics). There is some minor set up, but that is very simple as well.

First stringing was with one of the sample strings they gave me (synthetic gut, I'm not a fan :-P)... so either tonight or tomorrow night, I will be restringing with my standard poly. I doubt it'll take me very long, probably under an hour. The first attempt is really the only annoying part, but once you figure out every step, the task seems very easy.

Irvin
04-19-2012, 05:55 AM
...First stringing was with one of the sample strings they gave me (synthetic gut, I'm not a fan :-P)... so either tonight or tomorrow night, I will be restringing with my standard poly. I doubt it'll take me very long, probably under an hour...

Do you think you will be able to string poly as fast as you did synthetic gut? Good luck.

vChRiSv
04-19-2012, 06:40 AM
Do you think you will be able to string poly as fast as you did synthetic gut? Good luck.

Lol, yeah I know. I thought of that, but a lot of the time I spent stringing the synthetic gut was replaying parts of a video or rechecking certain parts. I spent a lot of time just circling around, which added up to a lot of wasted time. But I get your point, I'll tell you how it goes. :-P

yem
04-19-2012, 07:49 AM
Like many other have said, get a starting clamp. I wish I would have ordered one when I ordered my Gamma X-2. In my opinion, there is no other way to safely tie a knot. Using the tensioner is a no-no, and you can seriously injure yourself(string breaks and pliers hit you in the face) trying to tie a knot with standard pliers.I have a gamma starting clamp and it works great for me.

The Gamma composite clamps are fine. I haven't had any problems. I also recommend taping the handles/levers to protect your hands. I used sporting tape. Also, use some wax to lubricate the handle where it meets the clamp, this will make it much easier to open/close.

The X-2 comes with more than enough string to practice with. I would wait to get a reel of something you know you will use.

Enjoy stringing your own rackets, it is very rewarding.

KerryR
04-19-2012, 08:01 AM
Nothing wrong, I'm sure, with the X-2, but there's also nothing wrong with the Klippermate, either. There may be some added perks, too: The included starting pin negates the 'need' for a starting clamp (though they're infinitely useful) while avoiding a double-pull, the flying clamps are extremely rugged and functional if not ugly, can be used one-handed, and will never wear out, the printed directions are excellent, the printed catalogue of stringing patterns is quite exhaustive and useful, and the 800 number printed on the machine base puts you in immediate contact with very helpful and interested folks should you have questions or difficulties.

Worth a thought IMO.

Ramon
04-19-2012, 08:12 AM
Nothing wrong, I'm sure, with the X-2, but there's also nothing wrong with the Klippermate, either. There may be some added perks, too: The included starting pin negates the 'need' for a starting clamp (though they're infinitely useful) while avoiding a double-pull, the flying clamps are extremely rugged and functional if not ugly, can be used one-handed, and will never wear out, the printed directions are excellent, the printed catalogue of stringing patterns is quite exhaustive and useful, and the 800 number printed on the machine base puts you in immediate contact with very helpful and interested folks should you have questions or difficulties.

Worth a thought IMO.

I don't have experience with either machine, but I know that a major difference between them is the ratcheting system on the X-2. Having to re-tension on the Klippermate every time I don't get the bar to land parallel would be a deal killer for me. Is there something about the Klippermate that makes it easier than I would imagine it to be?

yem
04-19-2012, 08:20 AM
... I know that a major difference between them is the ratcheting system on the X-2. Having to re-tension on the Klippermate every time I don't get the bar to land parallel would be a deal killer for me.

This is exactly why I bought an X-2 over a klipper. The ratchet is really helpful.

Each stringer is just as good as the other, just slight differences. Both are made well, and each has a positive selling point(Clamps for the Klipper/Ratchet for the X-2). I have used both and prefer the X-2.

KerryR
04-19-2012, 09:29 AM
FWIW, you CAN get a somewhat similar ratcheting motion on the K-mate, where the string slides through the gripper as you adjust the weight-- no need to re-thread and re-tension every time you need to adjust the level of the weight. It's not as simple as a ratchet, and it takes practice to develop the technique, but it's an effective enough work around that it may not be worth worrying about the lack of ratchet. No quibbling, though, it'd be nice if Klipper changed to a ratchet!

Whatever the choice, I really like these machines because they pay for themselves VERY quickly.

loosegroove
04-19-2012, 10:58 AM
Yeah, though I touted the Gosen Micro, Baseline Spin, and Mamba Strings as good values, I agree with the other posters: You shouldn't buy a reel unless you know you like the string. The Gamma comes with enough sets of string to get you started, then you can go from there.

retlod
04-19-2012, 11:56 AM
Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and pick up a set of mini-pliers. It should have a small angle cutter, needle-nose pliers, and a curved jaw pliers for sure. Those and a starting clamp should be all the tools you'll ever need.

zapvor
04-19-2012, 08:56 PM
i think gosen is a pretty decent all around string to start out with.

Overheadsmash
04-20-2012, 03:09 AM
The Forten felt a little mushy to me. The Gosen is better IMO.

When I bought my Stringway ML 120, Alpha threw in a 340 foot reel of their syngut for free.

If you can save a little bit of cash and get a fixed clamp machine that is well worth it.

cknobman
04-20-2012, 07:00 AM
I don't have experience with either machine, but I know that a major difference between them is the ratcheting system on the X-2. Having to re-tension on the Klippermate every time I don't get the bar to land parallel would be a deal killer for me. Is there something about the Klippermate that makes it easier than I would imagine it to be?

I cant speak for how easy it is with a ratcheting system but I can speak for my experience with my Klippermate.

It took me all of 2 racquets to get the nuance down for the tension bar. I may not hit parallel on my first try every time but I have figured out how to easily and quickly make small adjustments to the string and reapply tension to get the bar parallel. I honestly dont even notice any significant struggle when applying tension.

I have owned my Klippermate since Christmas and have strung about 10 racquets so far. My time is now down to about 50 minutes to get a string job complete. That time includes unbundling/packing the string (which takes a good bit of time) and stringing while watching TV.

kengan
04-21-2012, 01:40 AM
Thanks for the inputs. I ended up ordering the X-2 along with a reel of gosen og micro, forten nylon, isospeed baseline 17, and a gamma starting clamp. I'm not a picky guy when it comes to strings, and I can always use them to string my friends' or family members' racquet. If it goes according to expectation, I'll probably be using the gosens as crosses with poly mains, see how that works out.

jgrushing
04-21-2012, 01:08 PM
Since this entry level stringer thread is so common, I've seen many, many people talk about the most common machines, Gamma X2, Klippermate, etc. Very often, the ratchet system of the Gamma machines is held up as a clear advantage over KM's cam gripper.

I don't want to take any shots at the Gamma machines, I've strung on them. But it's not that simple. After all these years, KM could have easily switched to a ratcheting gripper if they believed that their system was at a disadvantage. The loading and unloading of the cam gripper is much easier and quicker in my opinion. Also, to say that you have to re-pull if the bar isn't horizontal just isn't true. It's a very quick and simple adjustment. I'd say that I hit horizontal, or close enough, on the first try +90% of the time.

To be completely honest, I would have to say that the ratcheting stringers have a slight advantage when stringing polyester which is a little bit of a pain on the KM. On the other hand, I'd say that on multis and synthetics, the KM is noticeably faster.

Owning both of the clamps, Gamma and KM, I'd say the Kmate clamps are the clear winner. The fact that they're based on vice grips is a strength, not a weakness.

If you're thinking about an entry level stringer, PM me if you have questions. I've had tons on experience using them.

ATP100
04-21-2012, 01:48 PM
Since this entry level stringer thread is so common, I've seen many, many people talk about the most common machines, Gamma X2, Klippermate, etc. Very often, the ratchet system of the Gamma machines is held up as a clear advantage over KM's cam gripper.

I don't want to take any shots at the Gamma machines, I've strung on them. But it's not that simple. After all these years, KM could have easily switched to a ratcheting gripper if they believed that their system was at a disadvantage. The loading and unloading of the cam gripper is much easier and quicker in my opinion. Also, to say that you have to re-pull if the bar isn't horizontal just isn't true. It's a very quick and simple adjustment. I'd say that I hit horizontal, or close enough, on the first try +90% of the time.

To be completely honest, I would have to say that the ratcheting stringers have a slight advantage when stringing polyester which is a little bit of a pain on the KM. On the other hand, I'd say that on multis and synthetics, the KM is noticeably faster.

Owning both of the clamps, Gamma and KM, I'd say the Kmate clamps are the clear winner. The fact that they're based on vice grips is a strength, not a weakness.

If you're thinking about an entry level stringer, PM me if you have questions. I've had tons on experience using them.


I have used both a lot, if you start with the bar down on the gamma, it is a lot quicker.

FLYTYER1964
04-22-2012, 06:54 AM
Kirschbaum has a good Synthetic Gut at a good price at TW. Their brand of Poly works pretty well also.

max
04-22-2012, 07:22 AM
I have floating clamps from Gamma and Klippermate. Klippermate kicks the snot out of the Gamma clamps. . . the plastic clamps.

Smasher08
04-22-2012, 08:26 AM
I got the Gamma composite flying clamps with my X6. Seem to work fine to me.

Getting a starting clamp has been invaluable, for both starting and bridging.