Hey TT, *Updated 2.21.11* I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my latest order of strings until today...Gaucho Gut Spider Silk! I'm aware DanCraig posted a brief review in Jan but I figured I'd give it a shot. Unboxing--Strings came all the way from Austria-- the usual Gaucho packets inside. 2 coils of 21' each. Cutting the ties, the string unraveled without difficulty, Coil memory is strong, but not obnoxious. No real imperfections of note. The string is dyed black in color and has a seemingly different coating from the usual Gaucho (more on that later) **A side note: I love the fact that Gaucho provides the extra foot of string and that the sets come in 1/2s. I always string my racquets in 2 piece fashion and find it very convenient. Stringing-- I strung a Liquidmetal Radical MP (Czech) with (m) Spider Silk (Ss)/ (c) SilverString(SS) at 58/60. My usual setups are Gaucho Natural/SS @ 57/59. Stringing was about the same as Gaucho Natural. It's not VS but it's no where near Titan *Thumbs up*.The biggest difference from Gaucho Natural was in the coating: Ss feels like a waxed version of the natural. I'm not entirely sure if it's the dye, or something new they've done with the string but it's enough to notice. No fraying, no kinks, no damages of that sort. The only other thing I noticed is that the seams in the string are just becoming visible as white lines in contrast to the black--happens on Natural too but doesn't effect play. After stringing, I took the time to pick apart one of the extra strands I had left from cutting the string-- it does, indeed, have a synthetic component in there! Check out the next post-- there is a green filament inside! Play time tomorrow and again on Saturday. Will update as I play *UPDATE* Ok, so I've got to say, rather surprising results from the Spider silk. I had the opportunity to play some casual doubles and a set of singles tonight with the Silk/Silverstring (specs above) Total play time 1.5 hours. Didn't get much of a chance to really hit and fully test out the string but here's what I've got so far! The biggest adjective I would use to describe Ss (aside from the usual natural gut adj) is crisp. Plays very much like Gaucho Natural but much crisper. Note, not stiff, crisp. I feel that Gaucho natural has a softer "trampoline" like response to the string whereas the Ss snaps back. Perhaps I'm reacting to the lb bump up in stringing tension but I don't think that's the case. I did feel that the string needed some hitting to settle. Taking big cuts at the ball or hitting off-center had a bit of a buzz to it. Almost like a slight twinge to the wrist/elbow. VERY strange. My only other explanation for this is that I managed to break the butt cap (again) of my LM Rad. Needless to say it settled after about 10 minutes, no issues from then on. Groundstrokes are crisp and responsive-- The strings do what you want them to. Flatten out strokes and the ball pops off the frame, spin it up and there's a good sense of depth and control. Power, -it's there. It's not as explosive as Gaucho Natural but it's definitely there-- I had a blast returning some big serves for winners and felt comfortable with the pace and depth of my returns otherwise. Gaucho Natural can spray a bit long if I cut it too close to the lines. On flat strokes in general, I felt like Gaucho Natural had a bit more "oomph" whereas I had an easier time rolling high balls to the baseline with Ss. Spin, - Decently more spin friendly than GN. I was able to drive balls deep into the court whereas recently they've been going 1-2' long. Could be reacting to the 1lb tension change but as a whole, I felt like it was an improvement. Slices are easy to drive or float, either way. I'd say that Ss has a slight advantage on the floaters. Low drives are about the same. Serves, -Not my greatest night serving but Ss held up nicely. Spin based serves are a bit more accessible and pronounced where flat serves are slightly muted. I didn't quite feel the extra "oomph" I get from GN. Still great by any stretch of the imagination but it certainly took the edge off my flat serves. I did find it much easier to cut the box on the AD side with a good topspin or kick serve. I got a few (surprise) aces that way on second serves. I look forward to playing around with this a bit more once I'm feeling up to par. Volleys, -Volleys have got to be my favorite part about this string. Normally Gut/Poly volleys feel nice regardless. Ss shone tonight for me-- by far the best volleying night I've had in a long time. I typically have difficulty at net either putting too little pace on a volley or not enough angle. Something just clicked tonight and I was snapping off shots left and right. I was able to place the ball where I wanted with confidence and even found myself Serve+Volleying when playing singles just to keep the feel going. I really hope this holds up Overall Wear/ Tear Even though tonight wasn't a heavy hitting night, there is some noticeable wear on the strings. It may be due to the black coating but the strings look as if they were "roughed up." Gut typically still looks smooth after playing-- Ss reminded me of the multi from Kirshbaum's hybrix spin once you play through the outer coating. Note, I'm being rather nit-picky here, the gut isn't damaged or fraying by any means. I'd love to see how this stuff holds up for an hour or two against my usual hitting partner. Overall a pleasant experience so far. If Ss continues to play this way and has comparable or better durability than Gaucho Natural, I can certainly see myself switching over. Plus, black gut looks totally badass. Makes me wonder how the ICE plays now. Next play will be in Syracuse for a tournament on Saturday-- we'll see how it holds up to crunch time! *UPDATE February 21, 2011* I got the chance to thoroughly smack the little yellow fuzz around this weekend and was pretty satisfied with the Silk. My prior assessment of the strings were pretty accurate. Silk is a crisp version of the Gaucho Natural Gut. Silk is very responsive off the baseline. It's not as powerful as GN but it definitely has its own personal merits. What you'll find when winding into forehands and backhands is a measure of control. I, personally, found spin to be more accessible with the spider silk-- There was no difficulty rolling balls into the back court. Slices are controlled and sharp, no difficulty driving the ball low to the net, or floating them deeper into the court. In short, the strings do what you expect them to do. Serves Still missing that extra pop of the GN, but it's balanced nicely with access to spin. With GN, I've been having success with both 1st and 2nd serves flat and hard. I used to throw a slice or kick in for variation. With Silk, I noticed a shift towards spin based serves; topspin and kick in particular. I found it easier to cut angles for aces. Of 6 pure aces this weekend, only 2 were flat serves. Volleys-- Still the shining measure here. I love volleying with this setup. Period. I haven't found any string combination more comfortable, nor lending me more confidence. Great snap when directing the ball, just enough response to put balls over when bending for dipping volleys. The biggest surprise I had with this string is the "feel." If I caught the ball off center, or with an "unorthodox" swing, I could feel the impact. Those definitely twinged the elbow/wrist. Granted this was no where near the impact of dead poly, but it was not something I expected of gut. Perhaps the slight increase in tension may have contributed to this feel, but I didn't notice this with Gaucho Natural. All in all, I'm satisfied with this string, It's a nice rendition of the typical gut experience. In the future, I'm going to try stringing a few lbs lighter to see if I can get some of that extra "pop" back and reduce the occasional discomfort on off-shots. With the current setup, I think that these two strings offer different sides to the same coin. I can't make a definite judgment as to which is better because I like different aspects of each. I'd love to hear from someone who plays a full bed of gut. Try hybriding GN and Ss -- I think this would really be awesome. Favorite PRO from GN: Access to spin/ tension freedom-- Silk reminded me how nice it is to be able to roll balls into the corner Worst Con: Loss of that extra pop-- I've come to rely on access to a big flat serve to set up points/ claim free points. It was a bit disconcerting at first to adjust. Direct comparison: Groundstrokes: Spider Silk Volleys: Silk by a wide margin Serves: GN (not by much) Power: GN Spin: Silk Feel: GN Stringing: About the same-- GN is a bit smoother, Ss has tension range. Durability: Still deciding Tension Retention: Still testing. Popped my first racquet-- ended up being a shear pop 4 mains from the throat. Silk held up pretty nicely otherwise Hope this was useful!