Babolat Gut Quality Control

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TimothyO, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    After recently having three string jobs of Babolat Tonic+Longevity randomly break in my bag I switched back to Black VS Touch.

    Well, now I've had two packages of Black VS Touch in which the string coating flakes off during the stringing process and the surface of the string is extremely rough and dry out-of-the-package rather than the usual translucent black and smooth.

    It's not friction burn as the stringers who have done the work produce beautiful string beds. With normal Black VS Touch their string beds are glassy smooth and a beautiful translucent black. And as I note above with these last two packages the string is weird right out of the package.

    In one case a stringer pointed out that a particular area of the string which was nearly devoid of coating and actually "splintering" with layers of gut sticking out like bits of wood! These guys know their business and string for the BB&T Open here in Atlanta and attend the annual symposium in Florida.

    I know that natural gut, being a natural product, will have variations and I'm fine with some level of variation. But between the random Longevity breaking and splintering VS Touch it seems that Babolat is trying to reduce costs in order to maintain or improve margins, perhaps by cutting corners. This is consistent with their recent move to coarser, less expensive graphite being used in some of their latest frames.

    At this point Babolat gut might not be the reliable choice it always has been. I'd move to Wilson but it's rumored that it's also made by Babolat. In any case, Babolat needs to do a better job at QC on their natural gut.
     
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  2. Capps

    Capps New User

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    wilson gut is better!

    I used babolat gut for about 9 mths 17 and 16 ga , black and cleAR AND never got goo dlife out of them ...like 3 weeks I sitched to WIlson gut and almost couldnt break a string no matter what i did couldnt beleive the difference... BIG difference
     
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  3. WhereIsMacMac

    WhereIsMacMac Professional

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    IIRC Babolat Produces Wilson's Natural Gut Strings minus the BT7. So the Babolat should be more durable than the Wilson
     
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This isn't about durability of the strings under normal use but about out-of-the package defects.

    I've had gut mains break after a period of use with poly crosses and have no problem with that. It's perfectly understandable.

    In these cases it was Longevity+Tonic just breaking randomly in my bag after just a session or, in one case, with zero use.

    In the case of VS Touch it has been about the string being sort of dry and flaking layers right from the package. It's as if a form of "friction burn" was applied to the string in the factory and then it was packaged up. Obviously that's not the case but vast areas of the string look like that.

    In fact, the first time it happened I thought the stringer screwed up and inflicted friction burn on the mains but then I looked at the unused half of the gut. It was in terrible shape and consistent with the strung half.

    Maybe it's the BT7 process gone haywire? Or maybe Babolat is counting on the BT7 process to allow them to use sub-standard gut for their premium products and they're hit a point at which even BT7 can't hide the imperfections in a lot of natural gut.

    I may have to move to Wilson gut but I've read somewhere on TT that even Wilson is now "BT7" and they might be using a different name for the same technology.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
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  5. raging

    raging Professional

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    Timothy, it sounds like your Black VS Touch is a bad batch.

    Can you please check with whoever you bought it from/retailer -
    it should not be dry or splintering as you describe it.

    If you can't return it, because you have thrown it away, return what you have left.

    I would return it to your babolat rep.(wherever you are) for replacement.

    Babolat take QC seriously.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
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  6. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Ask poster Babolat Official what's going on. He is an good responder about the company's products and maybe you should bring this to his attention.
     
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  7. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    Have you tried contacting the warranty department?

    We track each set of string (see the serial numbers on it, I believe we're the only brand that does this) and can resolve any warranty issues. Call them: 7205426312
     
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  8. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    No, hadn't thought of it before the stringer had discarded the packaging.

    All of the Longevity was purchased at an Atlana chain with the initials YST...they do excellent work! One package of Touch was purchased at the Superduper PGA (I would never let them touch a stringing job) while the other was at YST. Perhaps that might help you determine if others have seen the same issue.

    I lubed the dry/splintered Touch with some silicone and it's playing fine but definitely showing signs of premature aging and fraying.

    Next time if I see this again I'll send in the serial number. I've tried other gut and Babolat is my favorite so I truly hope this is isolated to a few bad packages.
     
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  9. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    It takes 60 days and two cows to make a set of gut...all by hand. We do extensive QC testing but sometimes things slip through. The serial number is actually printed on the gut, so if you take the string back to the shop you purchased it, they will facilitate sending in to our department and we take it from there.

    Sorry about any headaches.
     
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  10. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    babolat strings are the best. all this BT7 bashing is just funny
     
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  11. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I agree with Op that Tonic gut is kind of crappy and very inconsistent. that is why it is cheaper, I think.

    and as with Babolat gut, I think it is just Better to get the Uncoated gut if you are a full bed user. Those coating doesn't really extend life that much and it just takes away from playability. Only time you should really use Coated gut is if you plan on playing in the rain.......LOL

    But kidding aside, with Babolat guts, if you really want that Great playability, then just get the Uncoated gut. That is the way to go. You will be amazed with how well it plays.
     
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  12. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I'm not bashing BT7 at all. On the contrary, I've come to enjoy it more than non-BT7 gut.

    When it was first introduced I didn't like the fact that it felt stiffer than non-BT7 VS. But others pointed out the potential advantages so I stuck with it can came to prefer it. I've tested pre-BT7 and BT7 head-to-head and the BT7 provides a little more control and more spin in a gut/poly hybrid. Non-BT7 gut such as Wilson plays a little softer.

    We're not talking about massive differences but they are noticeable.

    @BO...unfortunately the flaking and stretching have completely obscured the text on the strings. I didn't know that the serial numbers were printed on the string but even the Babolat name is mostly obliterated (there's one area where the name is still mostly visible).
     
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  13. raging

    raging Professional

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    That's cool from Babolat Official - glad he gave you the head's up and not another disgruntled poster.

    Main thing is everyone learnt something:

    check the serial numbers on string if you have any doubts BEFORE giving it up for stringing. Always refer back to your Retailer and failing that your Babolat Rep. It is very hard to get warranty after the fact, especially once another stringer has got hold of it.

    This forum is supposed to be about the exchange of knowledge.
    Sometimes that knowledge exchange is damaged because others think they know something.

    Babolat Official rocks!
     
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  14. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i was referring mostly to the other thread, but sure. sounds like you are unhappy, but given what gut is, what do you expect? it's not man made. when you grow a tomato in your backyard, its not going to be perfect like from a lab. deal with it.
     
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  15. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    totally agree. all this complaining. kudos to Daniel for dealing with all this
     
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  16. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    Visit your retailer and try and send it back anyway (cut out strings from racket), write a kind note explaining the situation... you never know.
     
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  17. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    When paying nearly $50 per package I guess I expect to get what I pay for based on previous experience with the product. I've used VS for years which is precisely why this recent experience was so bewildering. And I guess Babolat agrees with me rather than you since they take pains to track quality by imprinting serial numbers on thier product and have a QC department and a customer service department.


    Based on your comment it appears that is you ran Babolat you'd eliminate the QC and CS departments and print on the package "It's a natural product, but at your own risk". Obviously that would be idiotic but consider the source (you).
     
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  18. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, I shall do that if it breaks prematurely. Otherwise it might be simply a surface issue. If it does fail prematurely I'll also include photos of what he frames look like freshly strung for comparison. When freshly strung (well) VS Black is a beautiful translucent, very deep, warm gray-black. The surface is glassy smooth and reflective. Poorly strung with friction burn or defective it looks ashen gray and opaque.
     
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  19. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    ok i will bite. first off, you do realize daniel is going out his way to be of such service to all of us. there is this thing called internet, and social media, and for him to 'give away a replacement set of gut' to make you be a happy customer is well worth the good will. so of course. the publicity is better for the company.

    2nd, if you seriously believe a natural product should always perform according to your desire, stick with the lab made tomatoes. whether or not the package says 'use at your own risk" or 'has a serial number' does not matter much. you the consumer ultimately will behave however you will. i personally reconizie gut for what it is, and accept it, QC or not. you want perfection and your money's worth of $50, that's your thing.

    the fact Babolat even prints the serial shows their utmost care already. to be so disappointed and make a deal out of it with posting this thread is....well, as you pointed out, consider the source

    oh and to add, numerous products to have labels stating' use this at your own risk/caution'

    and really, come to think of it, you even pointed out yourself. it is a natural product, it would be redundant to print 'this is a natural product'. that's like saying'Sonic Pro: this is not a natural product" DUH
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
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  20. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    no reply........figured
     
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  21. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    always love hearing from the experts.
     
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  22. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    if you are referring to me, i am not expert. just exercising common sense
     
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  23. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Don't worry Zapvor, you're in no danger of being considered an expert. Thank goodness you're not in charge of quality control for Babolat. They'd be out of business within a month.

    By your reckoning any item of clothing made form cotton, wool, leather, or silk is marketable at full price regardless of actual condition since it's made from a natural material. :roll:

    From your perspective any item made from wood such as a table or spoon or book shelf is marketable at full price regardless of condition since it's made from a natural material. If a table had a huge knot hole in its center through which daylight streams you see no reason that it couldn't be sold at full price since it's "natural". And you'd be perfectly happy with nasty, crinkles and flat spots in a car's leather seats since they're made from a natural material.

    That's completely idiotic and unhinged from reality.

    Let's leave Babolat's QC and future in the hands of the adults.
     
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  24. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    hahhhhahahaahha i am not even going to bother with this one. your post is so desperate that you are completely trying to skew the conversation into something else. i like how you cant even admit you are wrong on the internet. oh well. i guess that was to be expected too judging by you starting this thread. hey, have a good one. i hope your life gets better for you. and yes i agree Babolat QC is just fine they dont need mine or anyone else's help. they make great quality products as is, probably the best on the market. so yea, its just you. by the way you realize anyone reading your post will see how you aren't even making sense at this point........lol
     
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  25. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    TimothyO,

    I string professionally, over 3000 racquets/yr. I happen to agree with you about Babolat natural gut. When BT7 first appeared I noticed problems with it immediately. I wrote the USRSA. I wrote Babolat. The USRSA response was the usual shoulder shrugging and the Babolat response was the usual silence.

    Most of the folks here were objecting to the BT7 strings playability. I don't play natural gut. My problems with the string are entirely based on stringing it. For the first time in over 25 yrs of stringing I find myself having to wax the gut if I am stringing a full bed. This was never necessary before BT7. It isn't always necessary now, but it is frequently necessary and I mean NECESSARY.

    In the old days of glide bar machines, having to wax gut mains was not a huge deal. Today with swivel clamping, I am frankly not keen on getting a build up of wax under my clamp bases so it has made it necessary to find products that are more suitable. That was the question I posed to Babolat and the USRSA. No help.

    You are also correct about the increase in rough spots and premature fraying. The decline in quality of Babolat strings is what prompted me recently to try another brand but that's a post for another thread and another day.

    Thanks for the thread and your thoughtful and reasonable posts.

    Zapvor....go sit in the corner.
     
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  26. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    It's easier for us to help if you reach out directly. Call the warranty department and they will work with you on any potential product defects: 18773169435
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  27. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    lol so your one experience defines the whole entire babolat gut industry. yea...........you are not making sense either. i string a lot of gut as well, including a gent that was hitting partner with ivan lendl when ivan was still on tour. and guess what? i had ZERO issues stringing it. maybe, just maybe, its you? not the product. this whole BT7 thing is funny too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  28. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    daniel you are such a nice guy. these guys go out of their way so much to complain about stuff that's really already a high end product. we all know babolat makes the best gut, period. they don't get it though. oh well.

    by the way, i strung my racket with rpm blast, and i am very disappointed. i thought it was supposed to be black in color, but the 2 sets out of 1000 i have strung, they were like dark gray. like not black. i mean come on! babolat can't even get the color right??? i demand a refund. its ridiculous. i mean thats a whopping 0.00001% of color defect. for a premium string! it totally made stringing it much more difficult too. the color threw me off and i had to wax it and paint it with a sharpie to make it pure black. and on top of all that, i lost my match. can i get a refund too? ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  29. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Just to be clear not all packs of Babolat gut have been a problem. It's a random occurance. Later this week I'm having a couple of frames restrung with VS Black and will take the precaution of checking the gut before stringing. i've tried other brands such as Wilson and Pacific and do prefer Babolat BT7. Combined with poly crosses the BT7 gut provides excellent control and amazing spin potential. It's truly confidence inspiring which is precisely what a player wants. Even now I recommend it to other players.

    But at $46 a pop I do expect consistency just as I expect consistency from cotton shirts, leather belts and shoes, and wool sweaters. All are natural products and contrary to Zap's insane fanboi rants such expectations are perfectly reasonable.

    I have not contacted Babolat's CS dpt. because despite the gnarly appearance of the string it' has played quite well and one frame is still going strong. Tonight at practice I recieved my usual kudos for my spin generation and I have no doubt that Babolat's designs enhance my game in that department. I hit semi-western so spin is natural for my technique but having tried other frames I can't deny the fact that Babolat frames are very spin friendly and without reducing the cross count like recent frames from other mfgs. (which means even more precision).

    Daniel should know I'm I strong advocate for Babolat products, my entire family uses Babolat gut mains, and my two sons use Babolat frames now. We're both loyal and demanding Babolat customers and have no doubt that Babolat is even more demanding than we are. After all, their pay checks depend on it while we're just rec players.

    I just hope they ignore internet fanbois. Acting on such drivel will kill a company.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  30. floydcouncil

    floydcouncil Semi-Pro

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    Please don't feed into TimO's BS. I've read many of his comments in TW and overall, they are always "nit-picky", overemphasized on small (and nonconcernable) specs, and based upon physics/formula rather than actual play. I shake my head at players like him putting WAAAY too much emphasis on equipment and not enough on actual performance.

    I've strung and played with many different gut strings in my days. I find that the new VS BT7 gut plays fine. Is it identical to the gut from 10 years ago? No, it's different. Is it much worse due to QC? No. The McD Quarterpounder with cheese (or shall we call it Royal with cheese) doesn't taste the same today as it did when I was 10. So what, I'm not going to blame McD QC on it.

    Frankly, if ANYTHING with EVERYTHING isn't perfect, people here on these boards are too quick to blame and slow to understand.
     
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  31. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Floyd,

    You have it completely backwards.

    For example, it was my extensive time on court that led me to conclude that lab-based specs such as Swingweight, something that you obviously hold in high regard, are largely bogus. (I'm self employed and probably get to hit far more often than you do.)

    I noticed that frames with supposedly lower SW can provide far more power and stability than frames with higher SW. And racquet reviews by TW staff often don't reflect calculated SW when describing frame power. Even the TW retail product descriptions show discrepancies between SW and frame power/swing speed.

    Well, it's true, based on calculated SW you can mod a frame to 1,000 pounds and maintain its SW of, say, 320. Obviously that's ridiculous, but that's how SW is calculated. You can use the TWU tool to see it for yourself. Therefore traditional SW doesn't accurately reflect frame power during a typical ground stroke from the baseline. Even the TW article on SW indicates that the theory behind SW is probably more applicable to volleys rather than serves and ground strokes. And that opinion is based on extensive court time and detailed observations.

    More importantly, you're so fixed on personal attacks and being an internet tough guy that you failed to read my comments on BT7. I prefer BT7. It does result in a stiffer feel and others dislike it. Clearly you're arguing for argument's sake, which is quite sad.

    Obviously you and Zapo are more interested in old school internet flame wars that reasoned discussion of tennis gear. In fact, you must be a little bit off at least since you're one of those fellows who claim that discussing gear doesn't make sense while posting on a forum dedicated to tennis gear. Perhaps you should go off, figure out how you really feel, and then come back and try to contribute to the discussion constructively and without the pent up anger.

    If you want to discuss tennis gear then enjoy yourself and do so. But if discussing tennis gear creates some sort of inner conflict causing negative feelings, frustration, and imaginary threats to your masculinity then STOP. Step away from the keyboard and spend some time playing instead of arguing that a BT7 fan like me somehow doesn't like BT7. The stress is clearly making you delusional. ;)
     
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  32. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    And we want to keep providing quality service and products to people who love tennis as much as we do. If you ever have product issues, call the warranty department 18773169435. They are very receptive to friendly, honest people. We try to be perfect and whatever defects do make it through the process, we make right.

    Thanks for the support. Glad you're in the family. Happy hitting.
     
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  33. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    lol i like how you backtrack and now are trying to appease by saying how you are in the babolat family. and calling me a 'fanboi' in the same post. LOL i am just going to leave you alone man. i feel bad. hope you get it together soon buddy. maybe some free string from Babolat will help. credit to daniel.
     
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  34. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    yea exactly. the very fact he started this thread is exactly what your post refers to. the internet has become such a vehicle for people to just rant for stupid reasons. it's really sad. we can't even behave properly as soon as we can hide behind a screen. oh well. it's what he has to live with. you and i know what's going on. let's just hope he can turn it around eventually.
     
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  35. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    daniel??? what about my post???? dont i get free string too? lol
     
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  36. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Why is it a feel I opened the wrong door and inadvertently found the Drama Club?
     
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