Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro & ZX Playtest!

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    it is rather difficult to tune in on the higher power level of this string. coming from poly mains i find that the recommendation to string lower (of course related to syngut) is somewhat misleading. i haven't played natty gut for quite a long while (with the exception of two hybrid sets last summer, when i had to play it in the crosses), but i think that from a certain perspective it has a ng-like behaviour - at medium pace you think you finally got it under control just to find yourself that facing a hardhitter you spray balls all over the place. the power level relative to incoming ball speed (and spin of course) is completely different than what i'm used to with poly mains - i can keep heavy incoming shots pretty good under control with poly mains but i do still have to find my range with the mgzx - at 22kg (48lbs) it works better than my initial hybrid at 21kg(46lbs), but not yet at the level i would like it to be.

    as a matter of fact, i think that it is also a quite temperature sensitive string - last time i played the temperature outside was around 17°C and i was playing a hardhitter. surprisingly i had little trouble, even returning first serves. it's a pitty it started raining (again) after just 15 minutes, so i was not really able to complete a match under those conditions.
     
  2. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    What tension did you string it at? LO?
     
  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Is there anyone that likes this string??? Most of the reviews seem to be pretty nergative, especially with respect to power (high) and control (low). Why does Ashaway recommend going lower tension if everyone says power level is high? Would you guys says that this string is as powerful as a multi?

    The string seems to be confusing as to what it's supposed to be? It's marketed as an alternative to nat gut, but it seems to be more of a softer, livlier copoly?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  4. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    That sounds about right. I tried it due to GE after using various polys, mostly BHB7, and it has helped with that. I prefer BHB7, but I only have one right elbow, and so far I like ZX better than any multi I've tried. I wonder if Ashaway could make a textured ZX?
     
  5. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    basically i like the string, it's just that i have not come to terms with the power it develops. i think that strung at 23kg or eventually even at 24kg i might be able to get out of it what i want. i use to play poly mains at 21kg (some softer ones at 21.5kg) just for reference.

    one thing that might keep me from switching though is the price point. while i get better durability out of it, albeit at the lower tension, still have to see how long it lasts at the higher tension (!), it still is almost twice as much as the polys i usually take for the mains, so this aspect might come into the equation sometime down the timeline.
     
  6. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    Can anybody else related to what I describe as an overall plastic experience with thew string?

    I'm guessing this comes from different makeup of the string. Contact had an odd sound like a ping/tick that I have never experienced (I always use a vibe control). The strings moved around a lot as well. The overall feel of the racquet just went downhill with this string in. Felt very unstable and cheap. Like a shelf racquet from discount store.

    I know others have discussed wrangling the power as the main issue but did anybody else experience this "plastic" experience?
     
  7. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    gtshark1,

    yes, this string sound different, but personally it does not bother me too much. it is also moving around pretty much right from the beginning but from my perspective i had no drop in spin as others reported, nor dare i say that my control issues are related to this - my control issues are related to "poor" footwork. whenever i set up properly and made contact correctly (in terms of timing) with the ball, i had no issues whatsoever, even with the lower strung stick. it's just when i'm a little bit off that the ball just flies, so the window is a lot smaller than with poly for instance - as weird as it mighht sound, poly is more "forgiving" an slightly mistimed strokes.
     
  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    56 pounds on a lockout. I did 15 second pulls on each string. I'd love to up the tension but I think Julian from Ashaway said 60 pounds is about all the string can take.

    This could be a great cold weather string in my opinion to give some extra pop but in the hot/dry conditions we have right now, the ball just goes too far.
     
  9. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    TW should have made it a requirement for testers to specify whether the tension used was LO or CP. The tensions used are just confusing without that.
     
  10. john hempel

    john hempel Rookie

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    Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro Playtest

    Gauge & color received: 17 gauge/brown colo
    Tension used for playtest: 52/50lbs cp machine
    Regular string set up: 52/50 BHBR/Polylon
    Racquet brand and model used for test: Wilson Steam 99S
    Power of test string: Power seemed good initially and after continued play. Power was good on serves and overheads, in particular.
    Feel: Didn't particularly like the feel of the string, especially on touch shots.
    Spin: Average. Not equal to most poly setups I've played with in the racket used in the test.
    Comfort: Felt the string was average to slightly above in comfort.
    Durability: Excellent durability. Think this is a string strength.
    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time): No noticeable change in playability over time.
    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?): Control was average with slightly more control on serves than returns and on backhands versus forehands.
    Compare to the string you use most often: Doesn't provide the spin or control to me that my current setup of BHB7/Polylon provides.
    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?): Might consider slightly higher tension for future use because of the abundance of power and the possible increase in control/touch with more tension.
     
  11. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    When this playtest is officially over, it might be useful for TW to somehow merge this thread with the existing ZX thread in the string forum rather than just deleting it.

    Would be useful collection of reviews / reference piont for people searching the forums for reviews of this string in future.
     
  12. SJSA

    SJSA Semi-Pro

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    I feel the same way with you. The "ping" sound really bothers me whenever hitting the ball. It feels like hitting w/syn guts without a dampener.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  13. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    String, gauge, & color received: Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro Black, 17 gauge

    Tension used for playtest:54 lbs

    Regular string set up: polyesters at 54 lbs

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Donnay XP-Dual 102

    Power of test string: definitely has more power than the polys that I typically play. I was enjoying the added power so much this string is making me rethink my preference for poly strings.
    It's been a long time since I used a natural gut, but I don't think this string has real gut power. It's power is probably closer to a stiff synthetic gut or a really soft co-poly.

    Feel: A little softer than poly. Again, more like a soft co-poly. Feel was fine on volleying.

    Spin: I was tickled with the amount of spin I was getting. The other three players on the court with me all commented on how much spin I was hitting on serves and ground strokes. My backhand slices spun well too.

    Comfort: more like a soft co-poly. My arm was a little sore after a night of play just like it gets with my regular poly set-up.

    Durability: I rarely break strings with this racquet, and I don't think this string will change that. I didn't play enough to break a string, but I couldn't detect any wear or notching.

    I break strings in my Wilson Steam 105s, every week, and I'd like to try this string in that racquet.

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)
    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?). I played two long nights of tennis and used it for an hour of cardo tennis. The strings did not seem to change any during my testing.

    Compare to the string you use most often: this string had more power than the poly I usually use, but was very similar in every other category.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?). I think I got lucky with 54 lbs as it performed well for me at that tension. If I changed tension, I might try a couple of pounds less to see if I could get even more power and still keep the ball in play.

    List any final thoughts. This is defitely a string I'd like to play with more. I usually don't pay more than $10 for a set of strings, and I string myself, so I most likely wouldn't pay $17 for a set of this. But if it were less than $10, I could see myself using it as a regular string.

    My only real complaint was in stringing with this string. The stringing directions suggested waiting 10 seconds for your pulls to stretch the string. And stretch is exactly what this string did on every pull. I found this really slowed my string job on my drop-weight stringer.

    Others commented on the loud ping sound when hitting the ball with this string. I experienced it also but thought it was partly because I don't use string dampeners. I got used to it after a while, and I think the sound became less as I played more.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  14. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Had my 3rd hit with it last night. I must have just had an off set the previous night because I played quite well with it again. I've got USTA league match(es) on Saturday and might even use it then. After that, I've got 2 more matches before I go on vacation so in order to make the end of May deadline, I'll wait another week before posting my full review.
     
  15. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Hi Jack,

    Seems like most folks did not enjoy the string so much. The power level was inconsistent. Not really hotspots on the stringbed, but for me a disconnect with the stringbed and not a strong feeling of how hard to swing. I tend to enjoy crisp co-poly hybrids. Still not sure what Ashaway was thinking with this offering, but is a interesting string. The problem is that so many companies offer much better prince/performers that this one. It might be special string for some... just not anyone in this playtest so far. This string is like a movie that is marketed as a comedy but is not funny and is not really a great drama either. I am sure most folks have seen a few of those. The movie did not know what is was supposed to be. This string does not know what it is either...sorry to say..:-(
     
  16. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    I don't know the answer to this but-

    Might the string be stronger as a hybrid cross? That wasnt an option for the play test but I wonder if it would be better received/perform????
     
  17. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I suspect this ping business only happens at lower tensions without a dampener and in certain racquets. When I stung up 1.27, it sounded like a loud rifle shot on contact with the ball, with dampener. Ping also disappears the harder you hit. Can't say I've really noticed any pinging sounds at the tensions I've used (with O dampener).
     
  18. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    Strung it at 58# AND always use a dampener. No rifle sound here.... plastic and tick/ping.
     
  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    You really liked this string correct? What racket did you try it in?
     
  20. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Not quite. I found it akin to having an exotic mistress. At times, it thrills likes nothing else with lovely feel (compared to poly), at other times it frustrates, and its unpredictable and high maintenance.

    But it is most definitely the most unusual and intriguing string I've ever played with and I find it has an addictive quality that makes me want to go back and want to try to get it to 'work' perfectly (I've burned through about 9 sets of 1.27 experimenting). Still haven't been able to consistently get it right (its very tension sensitive IMO) - its been amazing at times and very frustrating at other times. Very unusual string.

    Using it as a cross with poly mains does make using it alot simpler though - this with a stiffer main string seems to be the best combinatoin. I'm still playing full bed poly but do want to have another go experimenting with this string.

    BLX 6.1 95 18x20 and BLX JP 96/16x20 were the sticks.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  21. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Nice description. I must have nailed the tension on it then.
     
  22. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    String, gauge, & color received: Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 17g in Black

    Tension used for playtest: 50 pounds main, 52 pounds cross

    Regular string set up: Volkl V-Torque 17g 50/52

    Racquet brand and model used for test: Babolat Pure Storm Ltd. GT

    Power of test string

    Feel

    Spin

    Comfort

    Durability

    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time)

    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?)

    Compare to the string you use most often

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)

    List any final thoughts.
     
  23. pfchang

    pfchang Professional

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    Strung it today in my APD 13. It really played like a plastic trash bag today. I was probably a bit off, but the strings really felt like plastic. Even sounded like plastic when I shifted the strings.

    Strung at 57 on an electronic rotational gripper. Really did not enjoy the strings at all today, my playing partner had better luck and I fared much better after switching to BHB7.

    The only redeeming quality was that if i hit it just right, which was every now and then it actually felt quite good. String seemed a bit lower powered to me compared to BHB7 for me.

    Gotta give this another couple gos before a full review. Hope that it can soften up a bit more.
     
  24. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    I t sounds like our reviews will be very similar. Same wording and experience...
     
  25. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Mine just started bleeding red on the balls last match out. Normally "bleeders" are worse at the beginning and get better with time.
     
  26. SJSA

    SJSA Semi-Pro

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    Sorry mine is strung at 59 lbs with dampener.
     
  27. ishiun

    ishiun New User

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    String, gauge, & color received: MonoGut ZX Pro 17G Black
    Tension used for playtest: 53lbs
    Regular string set up: Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 17G 48lbs
    Racquet brand and model used for test: Wilson Juice Pro
    Power of test string: Good- the string has pretty good power with good pop. It has very nice pocketing
    Feel: Good-The feel for this string is decent. You have to play with the string for awhile before you get used to it but once you do you can hit all the angles and place the shots where you want them to be.
    Spin: Average- The string did not have a lot of spin potential. Spin for serve was nothing to write home about as with the groundstrokes. The spin for Slice was a little better but not by much.
    Comfort: Great- Very comfortable. Did not bother my arm at all. Even after playing with it for multiple hours at a time
    Durability: Great- Popped the strings at 10 hours which is better than the time i get for many other strings.
    Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time): Good- The string played very well for the first 7 hours but as it approached 8 hours the control dips drastically and you begin to lose the control. I felt like I needed to put in extra effort to keep the ball in at that point.
    Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?): Good- The control is pretty good overall. Before the 8 hour mark the trajectory is very predictable and you can definately hit your angles with this string. THe lower the swing speed seems to produce less control for this string
    Compare to the string you use most often: Compared to the BHB7 this string kept good playability for a lot longer. The BHB7 has this string beat at spin though. The spin on the BHB7 is a better but the rough surface smooths out pretty soon and lowers the spin potential but even is still higher than this string. Durability for this string is higher same with comfort and feel but BHB7 is better in terms of control,
    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?): I would recommend a couple pounds higher to get better control.
    List any final thoughts.: Pretty good string overall. The string is mainly lacking in spin and control. Players looking for spin should pass on this string but flat hitters would be delighted
     
  28. bspitch1

    bspitch1 New User

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    String, gauge, & color received
    Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 17 gauge (1.22) in a wheat color


    Tension used for playtest
    48lbs -- Strung on CP machine.

    Regular string set up
    Luxilon 4G (45lbs)

    Racquet brand and model used for test

    Babolat PureStorm Tour GT

    Power of test string

    This string has a decent amount of power. Compared to my regular setup (4G), I found the string to have a little too much power for my liking. Power seems to remind me of a poly/multi hybrid.

    Feel

    Feel is average at best. Maybe it was just the packaging or my incorrect perception based on my prior research of the string, but I was expecting it to feel more like gut. The string had better feel than most poly's but I was a little disappointed in this category.


    Spin
    Spin potential was lacking. I don't mind this as much as others since I'm used to something with similar spin potential but there are others out there with more spin potential. If you're looking for a string with huge amounts of spin, this isn't for you.

    Comfort
    As far as I can tell, it seemed comfortable to me. I haven't had arm problems recently and am used to a full bed of poly. This string definitely did not cause any arm/elbow pain for me.

    Durability & Playability Duration

    Durability was average. Took me about 6 hours to break (drilling) while hitting with a 5.0 player. Within the first thirty minutes, the strings were notching and moving considerably, but seemed to be stuck in place when I moved them back. The string lasted longer than synthetic gut and multi's but not as long as a poly.

    Control
    Decent control -- it reminds me of a synthetic gut. I was never really worried about spraying the balls, but I feel that my normal string setup has more control. I can see this string having more control with flat balls, but since I hit a large amount of topspin, someone else may need to comment on that aspect.


    Compare to the string you use most often

    Compared to my 4G setup, this string seems to be lacking. My biggest priorities in a string (low power level and good durability) were not up to par. In short, this was a very average string.

    Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?)

    I would try around the 50 range. A little tighter would help with the control issues but I wouldn't string much higher than that.
     
  29. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Really strange, I seem to get a lot of spin with this string but nobody else does.
     
  30. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    mikeler,

    i am not part of this playtest but i have played the string as you know and i also had absolutely no issue with spin-production. i even stated that i felt that this string is up on par with the round polys i like best and is just slightly below spin-strings like genesis twisted razor, which produced better AND consistent spin for me, but at a rather low margin above the others - my strokes where not making it over the fence all of a sudden!:)
    i seem to tune in on my setup at 22kg (48lbs) but i still think that i would be somewhat happier at 22.5-23kg.
     
  31. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    If anyone's interested in more sets of Zx Pro, check out my post in the string trade thread or drop me a line.
     
  32. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    I am in the same boat as you, and I have put about 5 hours on it already, I am gonna give it a couple more days, and then write my review, but so far it is similar.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  33. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  34. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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  35. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I noticed a trend in comments about ZX that closely mirror my experience so far. I thought it might be helpful to combine a few to better see the pattern.

    It's not necessarily a bad string. It just doesn't seem to do one thing better than other strings can do, especially at its price point. It also seems extremely fickle in performance when it comes to tension (you need to get it just right for a given frame with little margin of error) and playability (it's not forgiving outside the sweet spot resulting in erratic shooting, especially with respect to power level).

    A cheaper multi or poly can do most things as well as or better than ZX at a lower cost while more expensive strings such as natural gut perform far better, especially wrt a consistent hitting experience.

    I just don't see a market advantage for ZX but there appears to be some market disadvantages (e.g. more erratic/fickle performance at a higher price!).

     
  36. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    pretty agreeable assessment. i would add that at first outing I was enamored, but as tension dropped it was harder to deal with the unpredictability. maybe if i had strung a little higher than the target with my stick it may have been a different story. regardless i blew out four mains on a clean hit after about 5 hours on the court. that's a deal breaker for me.
     
  37. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    It definitely a string which you don't want at too low a tension. I picked up a 6.1 18x20 that I had strung with 1.27 about a month ago. The reference tension was too low in the first place but I was curious as to what it might be like after a month of not using it. Just wasn't feeling the confidence to really nail the ball. You really had to concentrate on your strikes and hit perfectly. It wasn't providing the control/low power/spin security you get from a poly, or the predictability of a synthetic gut. Strings felt a bit tinny at this lower tension (though never uncomfortable) unless you really hit through the ball.

    That said, I have strung up 1.27 at higher tensions previously and at times, it played beautifully.

    The easy answer is to throw in a stiffer poly main with ZX as a cross. It just helps bring some order to the string bed.

    Personally I'd like to see Ashaway produce a stiffer version of ZX and see how that performs.
     
  38. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    The word "plastic" has shown up in many reviews and is popping up often as well. From feel, sound, etc.....
     
  39. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    torres,

    you have played both the red and the natural - how would you descirbe the differences, as ashaway themselves claim that the red one is slightly stiffer than the natural one.

    i have just played the natural one (1.27mm) and i seem to be getting along with it pretty good at 22kg mains, although i must admit that if i am a little bit off, the balls still sail on me. when the time has come and i pick up this string again, i will surely give it a go at 23kg mains for the natural one.

    the 1.22 i'd rather try out as crosses as i would have to go too high on the mains (probably around 25kg) and that would bring durability down quite a bit.
     
  40. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    @ fgs

    I can't make a direct comparison because although I've used both colours, I've never strung them at the same tension. That said, red doesn't seem noticeably stiffer to me. If it is stiffer, I suspect its only marginal or very marginal.
     
  41. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Anyone think this string would make a good cross with Nat gut or multi mains?
     
  42. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    It is obvious from the posts that string testers are reading others' comments before they post their own opinions of this string. I think this taints the entire objectiveness of the test.

    The test would be more meaningful if if the tester's results were all posted at the same time so we couldn't be swayed by others' opinions.
     
  43. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I can tell you for sure the comments are not making me biased. I'm not having the experience on court that most of the others are. In fact, this is probably going to be my cold weather string setup.
     
  44. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Hummm... Most of us playtesters are very serious about "our" results. I was a test and evaluation engineer in a former life and understand this process quite well. While some of the results may be tainted, in general we tell it like it is. Most of us are a bit OCD about our frames and strings and we tend to be rule followers by nature. Maybe the results are accurate and we know how to playtest? This is about my 20th test...rackets, frames.. shoes... grips. If the results are in general are negative, maybe the string has missed the mark.
     
  45. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I think it might make a nice cross with a lower powered poly. I am not sure at this point what application makes sense for this string.
     
  46. gtshark1

    gtshark1 Rookie

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    Agree 100%. I take the tests serious and with respect to the company.
     
  47. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    2,656
    I will say one thing, I do not look at other's reviews before writing mine, mostly because I am too lazy to read, but another because I want it to be my own and genuine.
     
  48. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,809
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Probably not a bad idea. I just get curious and have to read them. :)
     
  49. AR15

    AR15 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,125
    Location:
    Gulf Coast, USA

    There is no doubt that we take these test seriously. However, it is obvious by the reviews that they are swayed by the comments already posted. Many of the reviews refer to comments already made.
     
  50. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,230
    Location:
    Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA
    My curiosity is for tension recommendations and I try my best not to have my thoughts swayed.

    That said....No review from me as something may have happened to it in transit

    From an email I got from Tennis Warehouse

    Hello Playtesters,

    Your sets of MonoGut ZX 1.27 & 1.22 were shipped out late last week. If your sample hasn't arrived yet, keep on the look out as it should arrive soon. Unfortunately, we will not be able to send a replacement set if the first one is lost in the mail or "returned to sender". Most of the sets shipped were the 1.22 gauge (ZX Pro) with only a couple 1.27. We even shipped a couple sets of the black color! For those who have not installed it yet, keep in mind: this string has a low tensile strength, so be careful tightening knots. Also, exercise caution with tensions near or above 60lbs, especially on a constant pull. Please consult Ashaway's instructions inside the string pack.Those instructions have been reprinted in the playtest thread.

    Please post your review by May 30th in this thread > http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=461439
     

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