Broke Xcel too fast and is hurting a bit with RPM Blast...what to get?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by mpe71, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. mpe71

    mpe71 New User

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    I´m 42 years old and have recently(started in August) picked up tennis as my main sporting activity. I´ve never played for real before, but since August I try to play twice a week. If I were to judge my own level of play I would guess on ntrp 4.0. My style of play is to mostly stay along the baseline and hit mostly forehands with quite a lot of top-spin. My backhand is two-handed.

    In January I switched racket to a Babolat Pure Drive with Xcel strings. I really liked the comfort and feel of the xcel stings, but they broke after about eight hours of play. Instead I tried to have my racket restrung with RPM Blast at 57lbs. With this string I really liked the top-spin and control. They also seem to be durable. The problem is that if I play a bit more than usual, my elbow and shoulder feels a bit more soar than with the Xcel.

    So, the question is...is the a string with the comfort of Xcel and the durability and top-spin of RPM Blast?
     
    #1
  2. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    IMHO the Pure Drives are already harsh sticks and with RPM Blast at that tension would be an arm killer, particularly for one in his 40s. So beware, it can sneak up on you.

    I have used dozens of sets of RPM Blast since about '10 and started with 17 gauge in the low 50s and ended in the mid 40s with 18 gauge.

    You didn't mention gauge but at a minimum I would suggest you use 18, and drop a few pounds as an experiment.

    My personal finding is that RPM at anything over 48 shortens its life--gets harsh and boardy after hitting for 8 or 10 hrs, and you never get to feel the real deal with that string at those high tensions even though you get major spin.

    You mention liking the RPM's spin (hence that part of its name), but don't forget its also called Blast, and to get part that you may want to lower tension. If you try it at 48 you may find that you get a bonus of power and longevity in addition to the great spin, without arm issues. Re control, I have not lost control going to the mid 40s but I do observe minor control differences between say 44 and 46. What I seem to see is that power makes the ball go fast and the spin keeps them in--sometimes seem to drive into the court instead of just a bounce.

    Good luck and have fun with it.
     
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  3. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If you like Xcel, I would go with quality natural gut.

    Quality natural gut for me is about 4X as durable as Xcel and plays better, too.
     
    #3
  4. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Natural gut... or more racquets. I always have three in my bag and I'm not even a string breaker. If you like a string, keep with it. It doesn't matter if you break it often. If it wins you matches, then why change? High performance = high $$ 99 times out of 100.
     
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  5. mpe71

    mpe71 New User

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    Gauge is 17.
     
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  6. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    Try some other multi strings as well. Consider PPA
     
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  7. mpe71

    mpe71 New User

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    Thanks for all the advice!

    It seems there are a couple of ways for me to try here:
    - Lower the tension with the RPM Blast.
    - Go back to Xcel.
    - Try nat gut.

    I´m not sure I want to go back to Xcel. Though it felt nice and comfortable to play with I also felt it sort of overpowered my racket. I also feel that restringing every 8th hour of play is too often for me.

    I will probably start with lowering the tension of the RPM...and if that doesn´t help I could try the nat gut.

    Another alternative I thought of was to get hybrid with RPM and nat gut or Xcel.
    What do you think of that? Will the durability be better then a full Xcel stringing?
     
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  8. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    RPM Blast is only good for 1 or 2 hitting sessions, and then the playability goes off the cliff. Also, it is not a good idea to use dead polys for a long time--it will wreck your elbow.

    Try natural gut, but only the high quality ones will give you the longevity that far surpasses that of multifilament strings.
     
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  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    #9
  10. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I love natural gut (Babolat VS Team 17) and I use a couple of racquets also b/c my hand sweats...Find a good stringer that prestreches etc and the gut should last you around a month if you hit flat, hard shots...

    You could also try Wilson NXT Max.
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Agree with NXT Max or Gut.
     
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  12. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    I can't disagree with your statement that RPM Blast is good for only a couple of sessions--under all conditions. I would tend to agree if strung over 50#, but not if strung at 48#. I have consistently gotten 40 to 50 hrs out of RPM 18 in the mid 40# range, for a couple of years now. I have several racquets that I compare newly strung to old and have experienced remarkable consistency. Now admittedly I don't have a dynamic tensionometer or anything, my only metric of measurement is my feel and ball flight but I can't deny the results.

    There is a forum topic on the Guts and Glory tennis site that is also carried on the Essential Tennis forum, that discusses the issue of poly string tension and stringing techniques. Basically, the premise is that poly will be overstretched at tensions over 50 and will play harsh. So you want to keep tension in the high 40# range max, set the stringer to pull at its minimum value, e.g., 30% so it doesn't overstretch, and let it dwell for 5 seconds after each pull.

    There is also a "JET" stringing method for poly that some believe to be good.

    I don't know, but it seems that if poly uniformly dies at 8 hrs, it would not be so popular.
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    40 or 50 hours? Why are you even using poly then?
     
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  14. lynnbart

    lynnbart Rookie

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    Give RPM Team a try, it seems a little softer.

    We use Team as a hybrid with a synthetic gut and it plays great in the Pure Drive.
     
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  15. mpe71

    mpe71 New User

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    Does this apply even if I play with a lot of top-spin?

    I talked to a guy at the local shop and he meant that nat gut would not be more durable than Xcel, more like the other way around. I don´t know how experienced he is with strings in general, so I can´t really judge his comment. When I bought my Pure Drive it came with the Xcel, pre strung, and it didn´t seem to mix well with my top-spin forehand, since it broke after about eight hours of playing.

    What I´m looking for is a string that is not too harsh for my arm, but still has durability for , say, 15-20 hours of playing. Is it even possible to fing a string like that?
     
    #15
  16. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Individual results may vary, but to me, quality gut like VS, Wilson and Pacific are far more durable than Xcel and other multis.

    Of course, there are some who can pop polys and kevlars in a few hours. For these players, natural gut would not fare any better than multis.
     
    #16
  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    RPM doesn't give spin.... your technique does. No string, unless it is another multi or natural gut is going to give the same comfort. RPM is a poly string, which is extremely stiff compared to a multi, dies very quickly, and loses it's liveliness quickly as well.

    Your racquet selection is another matter as well that needs to be looked at in relation to your questions. It is one of the stiffest frames on the market, has a lot of vibration, which leads to arm discomfort/pain. It also, being so stiff, and with a relative open string pattern, is going to break strings quicker than a more flexible frame with a more closed pattern.

    Lastly, you may want to have a coach look at your technique, as this may very well be the cause of your discomfort.
     
    #17
  18. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sorry to be the rude one in saying this, but this is doo-doo.

    RPM loses about 10 lbs of tension in the first 15 minutes after it is strung, and continues losing tension there-after until it "dies" a few hours after playing with it.

    The JET technique is also garbage, and doesn't do what is propsed.

    Lastly, in regards to your last statment, poly is very popular amongst recreational players because:

    1. It is durbale.
    2. People have been bamboozled into thinking it gives them more spin, which for the vast majority of players using it,,,, it doesn't.

    To the OP, I would agree with Scotus. Go with VS Tonic Longevity. It will be more durable than the XCel.

    As for natural gut and spin, here are the facts.

    The highest recorded RPM of any player on a ground stroke was Roger Federer, with nearly 5,300 RPMS of spin, and this was on a slice backhand. Yes, you read that correctly, 5,300 RPMS. And hes uses Gut in the mains.

    Pete Sampras, using all gut with a tiny 85 sq inch frame was able to generate nearly 5,400 RPMS of spin on his serves.

    So yes, as I said before, it's all about technique. Not necessarily the string.

    If you want the "spinniest" combination recorded to date, it would be a hybrid of natural gut mains, and poly in the crosses.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    #18
  19. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Read Technical Tennis and get rid of Babolat Racket

    When it comes to sore arms arms while playing tennis, way too much emphasis and blame is put on the strings. Where is the rackets impact? Doesnt it exist at all? I have had a bad arm for years and i must say that if you dont start with good racket that minimizes shock and vibration, then even using natural gut is like putting a ferrari steering wheel on a vw beetle, it isnt going to turn that but into an italian sports car.
    Look, I get just as much spin with with Leoinia 66 as I do with Black Widow because I am able to use the proper stroke when I really want to do so. The strings impact is seriously overrated. There is a book called Technical Tennis and it supports this. Please read it, it is very informative. I recently played a player who is 38 years old and was using a Prince CTS Lightning 90 strung with Prince Duraflex at 64 pounds, He played number one at Yale and he hit with tremendous spin and power as well as accuracy. Therefore ability to hit spin and or power has more to do with the player than the string. I believe in the old saying, "Its the Indian, not the arrow"
     
    #19
  20. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Try Toa 66 first, it only cost 2.59 cents a set and if strung at 55 or lower should help your arm, but the racket may be the biggest culprit
     
    #20
  21. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    10 lbs in 1st 15 minutes ? I have to disagree. maybe 2-3 lbs but not 10 lbs
     
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  22. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes. Up to 10 lbs, and I've measured it. Several times, including in front of doubting customers.
     
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  23. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I string it at 60 lbs, so after 15 minutes I am serving and hitting with 50 lbs of tension. I dont' think so. if it was 50 lbs, I would be getting much more power from the string bed, I would think. but I don't
     
    #23
  24. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    YES.

    That's because lower tension doesn't necessarily translate to more power.
     
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  25. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I find that hard to believe. I can sense just 2-3 lbs drop in tension thru my fingers. If it really drops 10 lbs, there is no way I can not feel that.:???:
     
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  26. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    The authors of Technical Tennis have since changed their position and now fully support the idea that polys do generate more spin than nylon & gut.
     
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  27. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    no you can't.
     
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  28. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    How do you know ? Roger Federer and jimmy Connors can sense 1/2 lbs drop in tension, I heard.
     
    #28
  29. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Rod Laver once told me to string his racket at 44 pounds than a day later told me to string it one pound tighter at 45 pounds. It was strung on a Prince P-200 stringing machine. Maybe he could tell the difference.
     
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  30. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Scientists now say that T-Rex walked on all 4 legs instead of upright. But it is tough to prove!
     
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  31. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    The TW Professor is one of the authors of Technical Tennis. He is now convinced that polys do produce more spin, and he thinks the snap-back is one way the polys and gut-poly hybrids produce more spin.

    You can believe what you want, but no more pointing to Technical Tennis to say all strings produce the same amount of spin.

    If you'd like to maintain your position and back it up with science, then please find a different source.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    #31
  32. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Wilson claims the Steam 99s and 105s provide more spin due to snap back caused by less cross strings that allow the the mains to move more freely. Also looser strings causes more snap back as well. I believe snap back alone provides more string than polyester
     
    #32
  33. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Like I said before, I don't really care whether or not you believe the string materials contribute to the differences in spin production.

    All I am concerned about is the use of Technical Tennis as the support for that argument.
     
    #33
  34. mpe71

    mpe71 New User

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    I´m sure you´re right about me needing to improve my technique. Last time I had a session with the local tennis pro we talked about when I move sideways along the baseline I tend to have a bit too open stance when hitting forehand and therefore not moving my body forward as much as I should. Since I still hit quite hard he said I then use my arm to gain power and speed in the strokes a bit more than I should, instead of my body.

    I really like the way the Pure Drive plays, it suits my game well I think. Do you have any suggestions on what to look at if I wanted a racket that plays like the Pure Drive, but is more arm friendly?
     
    #34
  35. ricki

    ricki Professional

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    how you dare to talk about slice??? you slice in same direction as incoming ball with topspin spins so it gives you great underspin guaranteed.

    Look at forehand spins. Any player will confirm you that poly makes topspin 100x easier than multis/guts!
     
    #35
  36. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    I play 4-6 hrs a week and I was needing a string job about every three weeks or so. I was a Wilson Sensation 17 at 52# guy for years. I tried Reaction, which was a little better, and Micro Sheep which had better feel but only lasted two weeks or so. I tried Head FXP Control which I didn't like and Bab Xcel Premier 17 which I liked but shredded too quickly --two weeks or so.

    One complaint I always had about Sensation was that it played the best right before it broke. My stringer said that was because the strings were sawed deeply and really a 20 gauge string at that time. I was 48 in 2010 and my stringer said we could try RPM 17, but he wanted to be sure that if I had any arm issues whatsoever I would tell him and he would immediately cut them out and replace them--at his cost. He strings for a lot of competitive players and was careful who he strung with RPM.

    So I tried RPM 17, and my stringer used his sore arm stringing method--whatever that means--and I tried them and did not have any problems. I could swear that I get better spin with RPM--I have multiple racquets and did side by sides with Sensation, and my hard topspin shots seemed to dive into the court. I actually had one player whom I regularly played, who told me he didn't like playing with me any more because I made his arm hurt after we played. I also noticed that I seemed to be able to put a lot more side spin on the ball with a 7-2 o'clock swing path with noticeable results--I actually had some guys whiffing--that I could not do with Sensation.

    After the first year I did notice a little tenderness and the 18 gauge had just come out so I went with that in the mid 40# range. I now seem to get 40-50 hours out of a string job. I don't know what tension drops I have but I get a pretty consistent ball regardless of how old the string job is--until its at about the 40 hr point and the racquet gets boardy.

    I play a microgel prestige pro up weighted to 348g static at 6-8 pts hl polarized, and regularly hit with highly ranked hard hitting semi western grip high schoolers, 4.5s, and some D2 college guys and, although I would not stand much of a chance in a match with them--they seem to enjoy the ball I give them just rallying and I can smoke a surprising number of shots past them from the BL. I have not had anybody blow me off the court, I can handle pace and heavy top and can give it back, but I do have problems getting to smokers down the line because of foot speed issues due to age I think.

    I am fascinated by these posts and try to share my experiences for the benefit of others, and if anybody has any suggestions for things for me to try I am all ears.
     
    #36
  37. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    40 hours with full poly is an arm death sentence. It will build up over time. It sucks but if you want to play with poly, you need to restring every 10 hours or so.

    Hell, just ask the manufacturer. Solinco emailed me and said to resting Tour bite weekly.
     
    #37
  38. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    Thanks PP. I've been playing RPM for three years now. I don't sense any problem but don't want to end up blindsided. And I don't want to string every 10 days.

    What would you suggest that I do?--given my lengthy description of my journey to this point--I have not tried a lot of strings. I have hit with other folks' racquets, and they mine and they often comment how plush mine is but heavy. I often find theirs harsh but they seem to string in the high 50s and low 60s. I know that a college player I hit with uses the Head Liquidmetal 4 strung with synthetic gut at 62 and my arm immediately reacts with soreness after just a few minutes using that although you can smoke groundstrokes with it. Don't know if its the strings but that is one harsh setup.

    I tend to like to try new things and like to carve the ball when I can--side spin low approaches, 7-2 groundstrokes, etc.
     
    #38
  39. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You can get away with more since your stick is soft - that is key.

    Honestly, you could probably put any string in there, but the magic setup that you could get away with using longer would be gut mains and poly crosses.

    You could use full syn gut with most likely zero issues as well. Syn gut is awesome and gets no love here from most people.
     
    #39
  40. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    What you are missing is that the first time you hit with it, even if it is "strung at 60", is the first hit the "Actual Tension" is going to be closer to 50.

    People confuse Actual Tension (what the tension truly is), with the Reference Tension (what tension we tell our stringer to string, or string the racquet at).

    Even gut will drop a few pounds from Reference Tension to Actual Tension right off the stringer. Polys all drop substantially, some even 20 or so pounds. When hit with for the first time, we 'think' that tension is the tension we strung at, but Actual Tension is a whole different animal. Even players that can sense a "half pound' difference in their strings (like Becker or Laver, etc), are simply using "Reference Tension" as their guide, since that's the only number you can control.

    No string is going to hold 100% tension after it is strung, and polys especially lose substantial tension before we even hit with it, so we confuse that first hit with the number we set our machine at.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
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  41. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    +1 to this.

    In addition, I would assert that racquet selection will impact arm health more than strings.

    My main frame is a 58 flex, 18x20 midplus. I have used every string in it from gut to poly to kevlar. No arm problems.

    I've also used a few different midplus frames, with flex ratings in the mid to high 60s. Some would really transmit heavy shock to my wrist & arm, and even using gut in one case with a stiff frame was still harsh. Of course, gut was more comfy than the poly setup in the same frame, but some frames, especially very light and very stiff frames, will be detrimental to aging arms no matter what string is used.

    Best advice for arm health is to use a racquet with a flex below 65, with a headlight balance, and a static weight above 11.5 oz.

    String choice will also help, and natural gut is the best option. When coupled with a dense 18x20 pattern, string life can double to triple that of an open patterned 16x19. If worried an 18x20 won't "give you spin", technique will always be the #1 source of spin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
    #41
  42. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    JT, if you ever get a chance to use the new Tec 315 18 mains, please post your thoughts.
     
    #42
  43. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Yea, I saw the specs on that frame and it looks like a nice one. Definitely hope to try it out this summer!
     
    #43
  44. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    Thanks PP. I value your input immensely. If you don't mind my asking, if I'm doing a full bed of RPM B 18 in the mid 40s say 44 mains and 48 crosses and am happy, what might you suggest, specifically string brands, gauges and tensions? There's so many its confusing to me.

    Thanks again PP.
     
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  45. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Boy there are so many options..lol.

    Main thing is if you do not want to restring every 1-2 weeks, you will probably want to avoid poly. Granted you have not hurt your arm yet, and I think that racquet has saved you so far, but 40 hours of full poly is not going to be good.

    So that being said, I would suggest 16 gauge pacfic gut classic mains at around 55#s and then a smooth poly cross like Cofocus or 4g. You will be able to use this stringbed for a longer time and the spin is off the charts. Also the ball feel will be much better as well.

    It is probably the best setup I have ever used, but its humid down here and I play on har tru a lot so I rip through gut pretty fast. But if you are getting 40 hours with any stringbed, you will be fine.

    Another easy way to figure out string setups is to simply get prince syn gut original 16 gauge. String it at 55#s. Use it until it breaks or gets too mushy. Just doing that will teach you a lot about your racquet and what strings to get next. You could very well not want to spend the extra $$$ and change up anything because syn gut in your racquet will feel and play great (I have a similar stick).
     
    #45
  46. sm01

    sm01 Rookie

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    PP re your first suggestion, what gauge and tension on the cofocus and 4g--and what is 4g? I will probably have to place an order with TW--re the Prince -- specifically not the Duralast? So basically you are indicating that I want the classic syn gut feel--if there is such a thing?


    Thanks big time PP.
     
    #46
  47. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well I am just saying that if you are unsure about strings the best way to start is plain ol prince syn gut. It is the baseline string.

    I dont use duralast, but I may give it a look. I like the plain old original stuff.

    Id use 7 gauge poly crosses.

    4g is luxilon. It is a rather long lasting string (for a poly)and matches well with gut.
     
    #47
  48. tennisinoc

    tennisinoc Semi-Pro

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    If you can afford Gut, I would move up from it from Xcel if this is the string you prefer.
    Gut lasts 3x longer than xcel and plays much better. Remember, they invented multifilament strings to hopefully mimic gut strings.
    If cost is a factor, a hybrid of Gut mains and Synth gut crosses is a more practical substitute at a better performance tradeoff.
    Just remember to use string savers to help with durability.
     
    #48
  49. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    I'm not sure how accurate this assessment is but Golden Set Powercord is claimed by the mfr. to be comparable to Lux 4g.....but at $77 a reel.

    I have a reel of it and I think it plays great. It's definitely a softer poly. I am using it as a cross for gut mains.
     
    #49
  50. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    Apr 12, 2011
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    424
    I also like some of the old stuff.

    I used Duralast for awhile for no other reason than it was cheap and seemed to last awhile. IMO, it plays fairly stiff....as far as comparisons to strings I have used, it's probably not far off from Polylon.
     
    #50

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