Do You String Yourself?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by REKX, Jan 27, 2014.

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Racquet Stringing?

  1. String My Own

    196 vote(s)
    87.5%
  2. Pay Someone

    26 vote(s)
    11.6%
  3. Other (please specify).

    2 vote(s)
    0.9%
  1. REKX

    REKX Rookie

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    Does anyone here string their own racquets?

    Im thinking, machines are pretty cheap, (well the cheaper ones), and I pay my guy to string them up for me but it gets expensive because I practice a lot.

    How hard is it for a beginner to learn to string racquets? And more importantly how long does it take to do one racquet inside the house?
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Cheap drop weight machines do fine, if you keep the clamps clean.
    Speed depends how well you think, and tranlate that to stringing.
    Drop weight, most guys take about an hour at first..or third, then drop the time to 40 minutes. Since it's YOUR racket, do a good job.
    Electronic standing machines are a little quicker, saving you about 7-10 minutes.
    If you can tie some knots, you can string.
    I've strung maybe 2,000 on stand machines, and maybe 12 on cheapo Klippermates. String jobs are very similar. Tension accuracy better on more expensive machines.
     
    #2
  3. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    I'm using an alpha revo and it takes me about 20-30 min but it depends on the racket. When i started i was up toward 50 min or so.

    Like leed said if you can tie knots then you can string. You can easily recoup the costs of a stringing machine faster by stringing for friends or advertising on craiglist.

    If you take tennis seriously and are interested on how equipment can change your game, i'd get a stringer. You could also look for used machines on craiglist.
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OR, you can age really old, still hit the ball pretty hard, and you will have little need for strings more than once every 6 months.
     
    #4
  5. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I got a nicer dropweight machine four years ago and I only do my own. It takes me 60 to 90 minutes to string a racquet, mostly because I've never needed to string at a faster rate. And I must say that I enjoy the process of noodling along at a meditative speed. And my strings cinche up nice and tight this way.
     
    #5
  6. Jim1564

    Jim1564 New User

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    A vote for what's been said already. I've been a cheap drop weight user for years. (Yep, be sure to clean those clamps.)

    I'm a "machine pusher." If you think you might like a machine, you probably will like a machine. If you think strings have an impact on performance and you're concerned about how a racquet feels when hitting a ball, then you should get a machine and experiment for what works and feels the best for you. You'll save a ton of money on stringing costs, and, not the least, don't underestimate the jolt of confidence you'll get by telling people you string your own racquets. Seriously. It's a nice feeling when you break a string playing with someone new and they ask who you take your racquet to and you're able to say you do it yourself. Good on the court tennis conversation topic.

    And, there's no telling what you can trade with your partners and friends for stinging their racquets for them. I'm a beer, wine, and lunch person myself.

    An open pattern racquet I'm familiar with I can string in about 30-35 minutes. Unusual racquets can take up to 50 minutes. I don't want to say how long it took me to string for the first time a Prince O-Port racquet without the proper tool! Some of you know just what I'm talking about.

    Once again, go for it if at all possible. You may find this hard to believe, but some of us actually enjoy stringing our own racquets. It's not a neutral or painful time consuming activity, but something we like doing, something that adds value to our overall tennis experience. It's not bliss or anything like that, but even years into stringing I still get a kind of handyman/can-do ego boast out of stringing my own racquets. As Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson might say: string your own racquet.
     
    #6
  7. camohommed

    camohommed New User

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    I purchased a Klippermate and started stringing up my own rackets about a year ago. It has worked out great for me. Allows me to try string and tension combinations that I would not otherwise have done.
     
    #7
  8. REKX

    REKX Rookie

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    why? do old people not need restrings?
     
    #8
  9. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    LeeD is alluding that Old People do not hit hard enough to be frequent string breakers. It may also be 'sarcasm' as he uses Tour Bite or a thick 15L SG as mentioned in some of his other posts.
     
    #9
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Old farts. Most of us have been playing tennis for 33 + years.
    We know when to hit hard, and not with eyes closed, so we don't mishit nearly as often as young and developing players.
    Guess what? Mishits wear down the strings, so even a solid hit can break the already weakened string. Youngsters mishit more often, and often, mishit when they are swinging their fastest.
    Hitting hard has something to do with RHS, but not everything. A flatter ball will go faster than a spinnier ball, unless the spinnier ball is hit by a healthy Rafa or some other 7.0 level player.
    Hitting hard. What is hitting hard? Is a 110 mph serve hard, or is only 130+ hard?
    Maybe a old fart can sense WHEN to hit hard, and when to slice, so he doesn't spend half his days mishitting shots 100' high.
    Can old farts hit hard? Would the endorsement from a NATIONALLY ranked 4.5 give any weight?
     
    #10
  11. stoo

    stoo Semi-Pro

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    Help, I'm steppin' into the twilight zone....
    Got a Klippermate a few years back and it's been perfect for my needs. Inexpensive, yet still does a great job for the amount of string jobs I do. As mentioned, it takes a bit longer than electric stringers but I'm never in that big of a rush. (just enough time to enjoy a good single malt)
     
    #11
  12. rolcrz

    rolcrz New User

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    After my high school coach taught me how to string (he was too lazy to string everybody's racquet) I never allowed anyone else to string my own racquet. Most of my peers were definitely better and faster, but there's a certain satisfaction to stringing your own "weapon".
     
    #12
  13. JDMasFCK

    JDMasFCK Semi-Pro

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    Been stringing my own since high school!
     
    #13
  14. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    A stringing machine is a worthwhile purchase but it doesn't save as much money as you'd think since you'll be constantly trying new strings/tension.
     
    #14
  15. REKX

    REKX Rookie

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    Wow I am genuinely surprised at how many people string their own racquets, most people I know dont.

    And what do you mean by keeping clamps clean, is it difficult to do?
     
    #15
  16. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    Keeping the clamps clean just means wiping/brushing your clamps with some alcohol every now and then to remove any residual string gunk. It only takes a minute or two.

    Stringing is totally worth it from a financial and time-saving perspective. Financially speaking it's obvious. If you buy a cheap (under $200 drop weight), it will pay for itself in 10-20 stringing depending on where you get your racket strung and how much they charge.

    Time-wise it also makes sense. Say it takes you an hour to string a racket. Well if you have to drive to the local shop, drop your racket off, drive home, then drive to pick up the racket and drive home; that's most likely over an hour right there. Plus factor in gas cost. Not to mention that's an hour of driving, opposed to stringing at home while watching some TV and sipping down a cold one. Sometimes I break my strings and need them restrung by the next day for an upcoming match. When you string for yourself, then it's not a big deal to have them done in time.

    The first string job can be tough. I think it took me like 3 hours because I was reading the manual, trying to decipher what seemed like cryptic instructions, and generally speaking let my OCD get the better of me. However that was before I was active on these boards, and before Youtube had so many great instructional videos on the matter. So if you use these resources (or even better someone you know that can come over and show you in person), you'll be much better of than I was in the beginning. And once you get the hang of it (which comes with just a few string jobs, especially if you don't let too much time lapse), you'll become much more proficient. On my Gamma X-2, I'm doing my racket in 40 minutes, and I actually enjoy doing it. It can be therapeutic, much in the way I imagine knitting would be for many women (or I guess men also).
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    #16
  17. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    It's a strings forum, so it's not at all unusual that a good number of people who frequent this section string for themselves. ;-)

    • Definitely a worthwhile investment, especially if you're a tennis enthusiast.

    • Stringing isn't hard, but it does take time to become proficient.

    • You don't have to be a string breaker to justify purchasing a stringer. Most rec players tend to leave their unbroken strings in well past their effective prime.

    • As for how much to spend/which stringer to buy, my opinion is if you absolutely know you want to string your own racquets, spend as much as you can...maybe even a little more.
    - The more expensive stringers allow for more convenience features, typically better clamps and mounting, etc.

    There are several schools of thought with respect to how to go about deciding what stringer to buy; that's just mine. The bottom line is any stringer is better than no stringer.
     
    #17
  18. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Stringing isn't hard to learn.

    Basic stringer will cost you $174 (gamma progression 200)

    Even if you only save $10 per string job that's 18 string jobs until you have recouped your cost.

    Depending on where you get your racket strung you may save $20 or more between labor, cost of string, and gas (if you make a trip just to get it strung) which means it could be less than 10 string jobs.

    If you don't like stringing, or decide you love stringing and want a better machine, you can sell it for about $100 (or a bit more) easily. So lets say worst case you only save $10 and don't really like stringing yourself ... if you string for yourself 8 times and then sell it you will break even.

    Honestly I'm surprised that more people don't at least give it a try.

    Personally I bought a used gamma progression 200 about 1-2years ago for $75. I have easily saved myself way more than I paid, and I even pick up a little extra cash stringing for a few people I know which helps pay for my club membership.

    I just wish I had $1300 or more to throw down on a nicer machine, some day I plan to do just that and get certified.
     
    #18
  19. Out?

    Out? Rookie

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    buying a stringer has been one of my best investments its saved me so much money
     
    #19
  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I bought a used pros pros machine and it works really well. the first jobs where crap and it took 2+ hours but it is getting faster and I can play with fresh poly:). I play it 10-12 hours and then cut it out.
     
    #20
  21. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Stringing machines are relatively cheap. I just bought a used Babolat Star 5 machine. The drive for the tensioner was messed up and probably could have been fixed but I had ordered a new tension module ($450) which includes everything from the plug to the tensioner gripper.

    Anyway the tension module had strung 3,480 rackets. For a $3,200 (price when machine was new $3,700 now) machine that's less than $1/racket.

    Stringing is so easy a child could do it. You run in each main, pull tension, clamp, and tie off the ends. Then you run in each cross, pull tension, clamp, and tie off the ends. From talking to the stringers in stores most have less than one year experience and it shows. Seems like all you have to do is apply for a job and you get one sometimes. You could get yourself a part time job and make enough to buy a machine and learn how to string while your saving up your money to buy a machine. Quit, buy a machine, mount the frame, run in the mains, tension, clamp ....

    EDIT: Forgot your last question, I can string a racket faster than you could drive your racket to the stringer to have it strung. But you did not ask the most important question. Many people don't like stringing. They buy a stringer, let it sit for a while then give it away or sell it for a loss and let someone else string it. Think of it this way, I paid over $3,000 to have my house painted when I could have bought the supplies and painted it myself for maybe $350. Four guys painted my house in three days seven years ago. I'd still be working on it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
    #21
  22. CamG

    CamG Rookie

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    Wrong thread
     
    #22
  23. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Wow, talk about jumping off on a few tangents lol.

    True, the process of stringing is rather simple, but becoming a competent, proficient stringer takes time, for which there is no definitive answer.

    It's also true that some people discover they don't enjoy stringing after purchasing a stringer. When I recommend that someone buy as much machine as they can afford, it's with the idea that the absolutely know they want to string.

    Buying an inexpensive stringer is fine, but there's no sense in starting with a Klippermate when you know you want to string, you value convenience, you plan on expanding to stringing for others, and you don't want to cycle through outgrowing 2 or more machines just to get the one you really want. If that sounds like you AND you can afford an upright with constant pull (or even a crank), go for it. My 2 cents.
     
    #23
  24. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I like to change string too much to pay that money to someone else.
     
    #24
  25. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    I LOVE stringing my own racquets. It's not hard to learn. First couple of racquets will take you over an hour but you'll get it down to 40 minutes in no time.

    My problem is I can't stop myself and end up buying way more stringer than I need. The first time, I purchased the axis pro and added a WISE tension head to it. That's a $1,300 machine just to string for me and my brother...overkill. I quit tennis for a while due to an injury and thought I'd never play again so I sold it. Fast forward to now. Picked up tennis again and first thing I did was purchase a used Klippermate. I told myself that was ALL I was going to buy. Go ahead... ask me what I have now...An alpha Revo 4000 with an added WISE tension head again. LOl :shock:

    I shoulda just bought a Gamma x-6fc and be done with it. But like I said, I can't stop myself. :)
     
    #25
  26. GlenK

    GlenK Professional

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    String for myself and have a small stringing business. A little surprised to see that over 90% do string for themselves.
    That's great and glad to see so many of us on the bandwagon.

    Bought my Gamma X-ELS in March 2011. It paid for itself in the first year. Love stringing and keeping up with the latest technology and industry trends. Try to keep my customers informed as well.
     
    #26
  27. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I have a dropweight and I'm developing some pain at the top of my right leg, at the hip socket. I usually get it when I'm walking on snow or ice. Do you guys think that moving from the racquet's hoop to the tensioning arm repeatedly and making twisting movements is aggravating my leg/hip? Is this a common injury for stringers? If so, is it more common for dropweight stringers? I could invest in a Wise tension head.

    Thanks for any info.
     
    #27
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Serious.
    Switch hands, to alleviate the pain and balance the body.
     
    #28
  29. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    What do you stand on while you string, and do you wear shoes? One of my coworkers when stringing for an ITF was on a weird Babolat matt and noticed that his hips and legs were sore after a couple days. Now that he's back to stringing on flat carpeted ground he's good to go. :)

    -Fuji
     
    #29
  30. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I wear socks on a carpet. During the summer I go barefoot.

    Something I just thought of is that ideally my machine would stand 3" taller. When I need to crouch lower, I usually share duty between the knees and the waist rather than just bending over. This could be disturbing my leg/hip joint as well.
     
    #30
  31. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, it feels serious, maybe even a nerve. I could cut down on the number of racquets I string. I really enjoy the rythm of stringing on my Alpha Pioneer, but do you think it would help to go for a Wise head?
     
    #31
  32. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Ah definitely! Yeah I find my machine is a bit too low as well, I could add another 4+ inches and be a bit more comfy. I almost wish I had a table top stringer as I could just build a new stand that is more comfortable.

    -Fuji
     
    #32
  33. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I guess this is a hijack of your thread, OP? Sorry about that. I'll take it over to health and fitness.
     
    #33
  34. MF878

    MF878 New User

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    I'm lucky to have free reign over the Wilson Baiardo machine at the shop I work part-time in. It's been over a year since another stringer so much as touched my rackets. I tend to come in under half an hour at a cruisey pace when it's a frame I'm familiar with.
     
    #34
  35. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    I bought a Stringway ML120, watched all of the YUlittle youtube videos on how to string, and never looked back. Best investment I ever made.

    Bought a bunch of cheap reels, and will string up a hybrid with Forten Sweet 16 mains and Isospeed Baseline speed crosses. Low tension, plays great!
     
    #35
  36. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    Have you checked to see if your machine height is adjustable?
    I believe most upright machines are so.
     
    #36
  37. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Yup! My machine is at max height as far as I know. I'm just a really awkwardly sized human being haha.

    -Fuji
     
    #37
  38. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    It's a tabletop. As far as I can tell it's not adjustable. It's an Alpha Pioneer DC+. I'll call Alpha on Monday to see if the little legs can be lengthened. I'm sure they won't go 3" longer.
     
    #38
  39. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    yeah, you'd need a stand, although i bet there's a way to "make" some longer feet.
     
    #39
  40. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I got into stringing because I've become a "tennis person": got into coaching high school teams, certified as a teaching pro, teach at a club and also on my own... My first machine was a drop-weight and the person who sold it to me also gave me some instruction to help me on my way - I also bought string from him for a number of years. Not the same as your situation, but I had a similar starting point; I was curious, but didn't know a thing.

    I just got into a more professional machine this year only because my old machine broke and that company is no more. In any case, it takes a couple stringings to drive the learning curve. Once most of us have crunched through maybe a half-dozed racquets, we start to get the hang of things. I've also been amazed with the number of decent tips that are available online (youtube, these forums, etc.).

    As soon as I had it figured out and could produce a consistent string job, I realized that I would never let anyone else touch my racquets again. I think it's obscene what some people/clubs charge for stringing and cost aside, there's no way to know what variations we'll get from one stringer or another.

    Having a machine at home is also a huge luxury because whenever I pop a string, I know that I can usually have that racquet back in business by tomorrow. If you want to experiment with different string types and tensions, having a machine makes that night and day more feasible and affordable. Once you start stringing for a few of your pals, you'll be amazed with how quickly a basic machine will pay for itself.

    It's not a big deal to learn how to string and once you've got it, it's also easy to keep a basic machine stashed out of the way until you need it. Cleaning clamps every so often is also super easy. I think you can also buy a machine with some confidence because if the endeavor doesn't work out for you, it shouldn't be tough to sell it and get a lot of your money back.
     
    #40
  41. Double Handed Backhand

    Double Handed Backhand New User

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    I have made a lot of mistakes in the past. Don't believe people telling you stringing rackets is easy, they have forgotten the pain they have gone through when they were still noobs. If you're willing to put the hours into it (and I mean a LOT of hours), you will eventually master the art of stringing. It took me at least 1 year to master it (approx 100 hours). I think i litterally made every possible mistake.
     
    #41
  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Some people learn quicker than other's.
    My practice partner was stringing really well from his first stringjob. He was a college student and about a B level (4.5) player.
    The No.5 on our BATL B team, now a professional stringer, was flumoxed and confused, as he tried to string every weird racket ever made, from his first few string jobs.
    I was in the middle, taking 45 minutes or so, and never going faster until after 15 rackets string, the same kind. I was 26 at the time, so mature and somewhat stable.
     
    #42
  43. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Respectfully I have to disagree.

    I did my research, watched Youtube vids and lurked here, and generally educated myself before stringing my first racket.

    I played with my first stringjob and it was just fine, and the only mistake I ever made was a double misweave in 1 of my own rackets, which played fine.

    Some desire to learn, and some attention to detail and stringing is easy, especially when just stringing your own frame (so you get used to it)
     
    #43
  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Our racket stringer at FTC sports, in the mid '70's, had strung well over 10,000 rackets, according to him when I asked.
    He was of the opinion that no one can ever "master" the art of stringing, as new ideas, new strings, new racket's, come out all the time and the stringer has to constantly adjust his thinking.
     
    #44
  45. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    I disagree as well. I found that only my first racquet or two were truly frustrating. A couple more might have been 'difficult' but then it was pretty easy. Not fast, but simple task to complete. Now i'm not saying it was easy to 'master' the art of stringing. I'll never do THAT. but it was easy to learn to string my own racquets.
     
    #45
  46. MixedMaster

    MixedMaster Rookie

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    Is there a general feeling about which of the less expensive might be the best?
     
    #46
  47. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I went with the lowest price catagory (dropweights), looked for one with a linear gripper and fixed clamps and six point mount, found which brand had the best customer service and reputation, and took build quality into consideration.

    I wound up with the Alpha Pioneer DC+. Because it's a dropweight, it's not very fast to use, but fine just for my own racquets. It's very, very sturdy and heavy. It cost $425, so it's at the top of the dropweight catagory. I needed a clamp replaced once within the 2 year warranty period and Alpha had no problem replacing it with a new one.

    Beyond the warranty, when I've needed to make repairs, they e-mailed me thourough instructions and had no problem answering my questions on the phone.

    All that being said, which machine is right for you depends on your budget and your needs (racquets per day, life expectancy of machine, features, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    #47
  48. uk_skippy

    uk_skippy Hall of Fame

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    Totally agree with that statement.

    Regards

    Paul
     
    #48
  49. osutennis24

    osutennis24 Rookie

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    I struggled early on stringing racquets, but as time went on and I did more, I became more and more comfortable in doing more.

    I used to be deathly scared of doing racquets in which people provided the string, but outside of natural gut, I have confidence in more work
     
    #49
  50. Double Handed Backhand

    Double Handed Backhand New User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    94
    Ok well it's probably a personal thing, but I probably messed up 20 (different types of) rackets. Misweaves, pulling crosses through main grommets, skipping grommets, breaking strings, measuring not enough string for a racket so ending up short and many more mistakes. Maybe I'm just stupid and clumsy :)

    I do think it would have helped reducing mistakes if I only had to string the same racket over and over again, but I strung a lot of different types.
     
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