Does Natural gut "expire"?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Doctor of Tennis, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Doctor of Tennis

    Doctor of Tennis Rookie

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    How long can you store natural gut unused sealed in a package? Do they ever "go bad" after a certain amount of time? like 3, 5, or 10 years? thanks
     
    #1
  2. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If you keep them in room temperature or cool temp, it should last you a few decades at the least.

    Some posters have reported having played with gut that had been installed in a wooden racquet from the 70's and it still played great.

    With today's coating technology and preservatives, high-quality gut can last you decades. No doubt about it.
     
    #2
  3. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Just like with anything organic, no light, no heat, no moisture, and it'll last as long as you need it. In other words, a cool, dry place out of sunlight. In other words, a closet works fine. :)
     
    #3
  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=7221144#5

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=7221144#8

    We really do need to stop repeating ourselves...
     
    #4
  5. sundaypunch

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    #5
  6. scotus

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    #6
  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    So which string produces the most...oh darnit. :)
     
    #7
  8. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    That's easy. Its Big Hitter Red 7 Plasma ALU Tetradecagon RPM Bite 3S Spiky Pro Tour 22g...
     
    #8
  9. kazamzaa

    kazamzaa Rookie

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    True! I use it at 22.3 lbs and I hit around the post every shot! It's not just the side spin. The topspin shots bounce right out of sight. Backspins bounce back at me with a speed of at least 120 mp/h.
     
    #9
  10. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    the important question there is: What color does it come in?
     
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  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Hello Mr. McLovin, I've searched far and wide on Tennis Warehouse for this string and I just can't seem to find it.
     
    #11
  12. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Personally, I prefer BHR7PALUTRPMB3SSPT 20g. Lasts 30mins instead of 34mins.
     
    #12
  13. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Ha! I love that it now has an acronym, so it is easier to remember...

    Also, have you tried it in 20L?
     
    #13
  14. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Really rolls off the tongue.
     
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  15. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    You guys are hilarious!

    But seriously, 21.5L is the best gauge, everyone knows this.
     
    #15
  16. kazamzaa

    kazamzaa Rookie

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    Yes of course. But could someone please tell me that if I do a natural gut hybrid with this awesome string should the poly be in the mains or the crosses? And also what tension?
    By the way.. I hit groundies like Nadal, but my serve is like Federer's. If that helps with your suggestions.
     
    #16
  17. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    We have similar games it seems. Do you also have Edberg-esque volleys like me?
     
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  18. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I'm waiting for the BHR7PALUTRPMB3SSPT Soft.
     
    #18
  19. Doctor of Tennis

    Doctor of Tennis Rookie

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    the other thread's title asked a different question and I would have never found it.

    Thanks to those that actually answered the question
     
    #19
  20. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    I've got three Jack Kramer Autographs strung with VS gut back in the 70's that have still only 15% of their tension.
     
    #20
  21. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I don't know how often do you guys buy natural gut, but as one that I've been stringing with it continuously for the last couple of years, let me tell you that you are wrong (and especially the salesmen lol): natural gut can expire (be dry and break fast after stringing), even when sealed in the original bag!

    It doesn't happen very often but I got a couple of bad batches, including from the major vendors and that was even after they had reassured me that it didn't stay in their warehouses long ...Babolat VS Team 17 mainly.

    My certified stringer is also usually fast to spot the less elastic ones (or the opposite, the ones that really give him a good feeling when stringing them)
     
    #21
  22. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Sorry, but I've been buying and using natural gut for the last 25 years and stringing mostly gut-poly, gut-multi hybrids and full gut myself exclusively for the last 10 years or so.

    I'd say your 2 years of experience with a couple of bad batches isn't quite sufficient to pass the judgment. Some batches are just bad, and it is not necessarily because of age (Check some threads on Pacific and Klip gut on fresh gut snapping).
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
    #22
  23. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Of course it's possible. The fact that it's less likely than for it to last a few decades speaks volumes, however.
     
    #23
  24. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I strung kevlar/gut from the early 90s in my frames until ~ 5 years ago, when I switched to gut/poly. In addition, I've been stringing full gut, kevlar/gut and gut/poly for just as long. I keep a healthy stock of gut around (currently have 7 packs of BB Hero, 8 packs of Classic & 1 of Tough Gut), and keep it stored in the basement (where my stringer is) in a Ziplock baggie.

    I've never had a pack of dry gut, other than the Titan, which came w/ a hole punched in the bag :?
     
    #24
  25. scotus

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    Nice to have a fellow gut lover.

    How does Kevlar/gut play?
     
    #25
  26. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Honestly...I forgot. It's been so long since I've hit with it, and the Kevlar I used is no longer available (Gamma Extreme Spin 19), except in a pre-packaged hybrid called 'Fusion 19'.

    Maybe one day I'll string up a frame w/ it just for old time's sake.
     
    #26
  27. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Well maybe not everyone buys the more expensive Babolat VSes...

    But I did (over the last 5-6 years) had a couple of dry ones; aren't those aged?
     
    #27
  28. scotus

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    Fintft,

    There are more people here who use VS than you may realize.

    And no, 5-6 years is nothing to quality gut like VS (here I am extrapolating the maximum age of gut from the number of years you have used gut, although you seem to be fudging numbers there with regard to your experience).

    You said earlier that you received reassurance from the shop that the VS you received wasn't aged, so what is your reason for thinking that it is age that makes gut susceptible to premature breakage?

    I use old VS all the time, and I would not trade them for the newly formulated VS for any reason.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
    #28
  29. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    My friend I'm not fudging anything: I've been using Babolat VS for over 6 years now and for the last 3 exclusively in full bed.

    The certified stringer at times finds some strings stiff/less elastic. Once or twice it was full batch of 5-10 of them (sealed VSes Team 17).

    The shop (i.e. TW) told me once that they've got it recently (like 1-3 months before my order), that's all. There is not guarantee as there is no manufacture date and that batch caused problems (again also seemed stiff according to the stringer). Then I've ordered from a smaller store, which didn't have 10 in stock so that they had to order them for me and this time, the stringer found the strings elastic/giving him a good feeling while stretching (without me telling him anything about the change). Etc.
     
    #29
  30. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    All right, I take no pleasure in arguing about someone's experience.

    So let me ask you this. Why do you think it is the age of gut that is causing the problem? If the manufacturing date is not printed, how do you know it is old?

    Also, why do I and others who use old gut, including VS, do not have the same problem?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
    #30
  31. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    The stringer finds it less elastic and usually it breaks faster.

    As for the others, dunno, do they go to the same stringer (like 20 times per year)? And does he pay attention?
     
    #31
  32. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Fintft, I've strung natural gut from VS, to Pacific, to Gamma, to Prince, to Head, to Titan, all the way down to the dried out Global gut going on the Bay under "naturalgutwholesale" or whatever they're called. The sets of natural gut I've broken amounts to 1. Both half sets were Performaxx gut two perhaps three years ago when there was indeed a bad batch that got sent out. Their gut is 1.20mm. If you just take your time and follow the rules, two things tend to cause breakage. First, is improper storage, and the second is improper stringing technique. I've seen gut older than me string up here locally (old guy brought in his frame with a pack of what I believe was Bow brand? from the 80s) and it stretched just fine.

    [​IMG]

    Natural gut has the greatest tensile strength of all string materials next to first gen poly. You only need to be careful when that tension is applied either unevenly (as in the case of a weak spot), or too quickly (in which the acceleration of the tensioner adds lots of force that you don't intend). Gut breaks prematurely typically when it was strung improperly, or environmental factors get thrown in.

    The question I have then, is how is your stringer stringing these guts? Not all appear to be elastic. For example Tonic and VS seem to be much more supple than Pacific due to the coating Pacific uses.
     
    #32
  33. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Well, in my case, I am the stringer. And I'd like to think that after 20+ years of doing this, I pay attention...

    I string one of my frames at least once a month depending on the season (summer is more frequent as I'm on clay the majority of the time). I have 7 others that use either gut or gut/poly, and some are once a month, others are once a year.

    So on average, I'd say I string 40+ frames a year with natural gut, and as I've said before, other than a couple packs of Titan, I've never had an issue with gut snapping on the machine.

    I've used Pacific (Classic & Tough), Klip, Tonic +, Bow Brand, Gamma, and Titan. Again, other than Titan (which came with a hole punched in the package), I've never had an issue. And the Titan was only one or two packs, and I used to order a bunch of it.
     
    #33
  34. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    You'd be better off tying up a roast with Titan than using it for tennis string. That stuff is garbage.
     
    #34
  35. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I used it as a cross only. In the mains it popped in the first few games the one time I tried it.
     
    #35
  36. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Thank you.

    What I was getting at (and my stringer too; he is the best in town it seems) is that some batches were more elastic then others (based on his feel mainly while stringing them).

    Some broke faster, while playing (not in this machine).

    Storage has been an issue for me (even with the thermal compartments of the tennis bag and taking care not to leave them in the trunk of the car), much improved once I got a locker, during the winter.

    After that I had only one string snapping on me, close to the tying notch (at the bottom of the frame- I've noticed that the stringer changed the notches from the top, after I've complained last summer that I had a couple snapping there), in the bag, in the locker, over night.

    This snapping close to the notches is a separate issue, to the premature normal breaking (I get a couple of weeks, up to 6, out of each one of the two sticks I use in full bed VS Team 17 at 57 mains and 55 crosses).
     
    #36
  37. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Sir! Obviously you do pay attention if you are your own stringer and you string so much!

    Like I was replying to the other poster:
    What I was getting at (and my stringer too; he is the best in town it seems) is that some batches were more elastic then others (based on his feel mainly while stringing them).

    Some broke faster, while playing (not in this machine).
     
    #37
  38. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Notches? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean grommets, or is this something I'm just not familiar with?
     
    #38
  39. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I meant the knot he ties.
     
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  40. scotus

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    Ok, I understand that your stringer finds some gut to be stiffer than others.

    Now, help me understand how you associate the stiffer batch to old age.
     
    #40
  41. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    What else can it be? Different coating? It's the same string (VS Team BT 17), but some batches feel stiffer then others and may break faster during play...


    The other thing that made me connect with age was that the more elastic ones had to be order by the vendor (from Babolat) since they didn't have 10 in stock as I wanted to buy.
     
    #41
  42. scotus

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    See, that's the problem.

    You're looking at different batches of gut as being exact same quality material only different in age.

    There could be many variables there, including different ranches, different slaughter houses, different breeds of cows, genetic differences that result in varying qualities of serosas, different feeds, not to mention manufacturing variances, errors, and quality control problems.

    From what you've written, none of the gut you purchased was in any way significantly aged when you used it, because if you bought the previous generation (packaging with older design) then you'd know for sure the batch is older. But you've already told me that you can't tell age from packaging because manufacturing dates are not written on the packaging, which leads me to believe that you are dealing with batches with no more than a few years of age difference. So with the exception of the case when you ordered a whole new batch from warehouse, you really don't know which batch is older than which, especially given the other case where you also had problems with a batch that was reportedly fresh.

    Sorry, but check out the threads on pacific and klip again. When there is a significant problem with a whole batch of gut, it usually has little to do with age. Often you'll see new batches fresh off the factory that have problems due to factors other than age.

    "What else can it be?" simply doesn't cut it.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
    #42
  43. scotus

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    I don't know if you made a mistake, but did you seriously mean to write "VS Team BT 17"?

    If by BT, you mean BT7 (it can be nothing else), do you know that the oldest BT7 cannot possibly be any older than 2 years? And you're complaining about the age?

    I have heard my tennis buddies complain about BT7. Not just its playability which many find inferior to the older classic VS, but people find that BT7 sometimes snap in the bag after being freshly strung.

    If that's the problem you've experienced, your problem has nothing to do with the age of gut. You might as well move away from BT7 and look for the much older "classic" VS.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
    #43
  44. Fintft

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    Thanks for your replies!

    Yes I know that BT 7 is new and true that sometimes it snaps in the bag (only once though after using a locker, but more often before).


    Ok, I understand your point about other possible causes for early breakage while playing(defects and differences in batches as opposed to aged sealed strings), but I'm still a bit of loss as to how to deal with that situation when it happens, due to:

    a) Lack of warranty
    b) Not an easy way to find the older, classical VS.
    c) Personally I didn't like much the Wilson 16 natural gut, that presumably, according to posters here is more flexible then the new BT7 VS (and made on the same production line, according to the vendors).

    Cheers!
     
    #44
  45. scotus

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    BT7 is stiffer and has fewer strands of fibers (each thicker) woven together than the classic VS.

    I think the best thing for you to do is stop ordering from other shops but ask your stringer to start stocking VS and buy directly from him.

    This way, your stringer knows that if the string snaps either during the stringing job or overnight in the bag then the problem lies somewhere between the manufacturer and his stringing job. Then your stringer, who may be able to get replacements from the Bab rep, can take care of the problem. I have a sneaking suspicion that your stringer might have influenced you to blame everything on age when he himself might have been part of the problem (he might have kinked it, if he's the kind who wants to string as fast as possible).

    Also, I would ask the stringer to use medium to slow pull speed if his machine is equipped with such function.

    If problem persists, ditch BT7 and look elsewhere. I still think Wilson is the best alternative to classic VS. If you have problems with other brands of gut, time to switch stringers. You might want to invest in a stringing machine. It takes a little more care to string gut but it's still quite easy.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
    #45
  46. Fintft

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    Hello Sir,

    Easier said then done in Ottawa, Canada, i.e.:

    a) The stringer works for a store, Sports Experts and although they do stock some Babolat natural gut, their prices are way too high for me, so I buy either from US (like from the owners of this forum) or from a Toronto supplier.
    "Snapping either during the stringing job" never happens, while "overnight in the bag" only happened once this winter, after I had the revelation to use a locker at the club and not even transport the string from home anymore at all. I'm mainly ticked when they break faster then usual during normal play (say in two weeks as opposed to 5-6 for the each of the 2 frames I'm using simultaneously).
    And if he had said at the same time that the strings felt less elastic, then I become suspicious...

    b) He is probably the best stringer in town and although overworked, he usually takes good care of my frames, since we've become friends (i.e. he even waxes the string before feeding it through the grommets, does careful pre stretching etc)

    c)I'll ask him about medium to slow pull; all I know is that he is proud of his fingers and careful not to kink.

    d) Wilson seemed a bit less ideal to me, but probably b/c it was thicker (16 as opposed to the 17 VS Team gauge).

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
    #46
  47. scotus

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    Well, I understand that gut can be quite expensive, especially where you reside.

    Best wishes to you on your ongoing adventure with natural gut.
     
    #47
  48. scotus

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    Here's to my dwindling supply of old gut. Cheers!

    [​IMG]
     
    #48
  49. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    You. Are. Evil.
     
    #49
  50. scotus

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    Pure. Evil.
     
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