Hard to learn how to string?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Big_Dangerous, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Okay since I found out that ********* no longer does tennis, now I'm forced to get my rackets strung at another place which is kind of far, not to mention not great on the price. Then there's option B, which is to buy a stringer and learn how to string my own rackets. It's always something I've wanted to learn how to do, but after hearing some stories, I'm a little nervous about trying it. Obviously if I do get my own machine, I'll start with something basic. I was thinking of the Gamma X-2 as a nice first stringing machine. My question though, is that for those who got into stringing, how hard was it to learn how to string a racket? If you have any pointers for me that would be great. And would you recommend any tools I should get? I know some people have complained that with some stringing models, the tools you get aren't so great.

    But yeah, just looking for any insight and input from you stringers out there.


    Thanks!
     
    #1
  2. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Only done 2 of my sticks so far. Knots are a nightmare.

    But just take the plunge and do it. I got a Klippermate for $50 plus shipping.

    And the racquets I've done play great!
     
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  3. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

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    It is well worth your time to learn. You will save yourself a headache if you, unlike some other posters, do your research before starting to string. With an X-2/Progression 200 at $179 or so now, you will pay it off in no time. It is particularly easy if you can focus on your own racquets at first. Look at them to see how they are strung. Of course, the first few times it will take you longer than it normally would. Again, preparation is key so you know what to do next, keep control of your string, and move efficiently.

    What racquet do you use? What string?

    Check out my guide here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=427767

    Check out the links to forum member videos and how the machine works if you plan to go the X-2 stringer "category" route.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
    #3
  4. Bobo96

    Bobo96 Semi-Pro

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    To be totally honest, It's pretty hard and frustrating at first (it was for me at least.) I have been stringing for about three months now, it still gets frustrating, but I'm getting a hang of it. All I had to go by at first was the dvd that came with it (not that helpful) and looking at this forum. Nothing seemed to cover the very basics. It was more like showing someone who kinda new how to string how to string in detail. I was so frustrated that I asked my hitting partners Dad to show me how, once I did that I got all my questions about the little things answered and it was alot easier, because I knew the basics, like when, why, and how to set the clamps on the strings, how to tension, how to measure string for both sides etc.

    The point is if you know someone that can sit down with you show you and show you how to string, it will be know problem. Not saying you can't learn on your own, it was just really hard for ME.

    If you get a dropweight make sure you get the fixed clamps, this makes the tension more accurate opposed to flying clamps.

    If You have extra money to blow, getting an electric stringer will save you time and some back aches, otherwise a dropweight works just fine.

    If you want a high quality dropweight I would reccomend the pioneer DC+

    Good luck, and hope this helped.
     
    #4
  5. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Very funny Radicalized ha ha. I did my research before stringing. It's still a pain but it will get better.
     
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  6. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    More like if you have $1K+ to spend. LOL..
    Crank machines would be ideal for the price and speed. Heck, if you wanted an electric, all you would need to do is make some cash back from stringing for others and you can upgrade to a Wise 2086 tension head. The Alpha Revo 4000 for only $649 with fixed clamps, 6 point supports, crank tensioner is great for the price. Add $545 for the Wise tension head. ( optional )
     
    #6
  7. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

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    I didn't say it wouldn't be time-consuming at first. :) But it is a plus to assemble the machine correctly, use adapters properly to avoid damaging the frame, know to not leave the racquet on the machine overnight to lead to it cracking, to not drop/push the bar to break the string, and other items involved in "new user" anecdotes. It is a physical process. It takes effort. Know your pattern. Know where you should be tying off. Know how to avoid missed weaves. It keeps you sane, even if your fingers hurt.
     
    #7
  8. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Happy to say I made none of the above mistakes. But the first one took forever. The second one - not so bad but still well over an hr
     
    #8
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Figure, if I could do it, you could do it better.
    Me also, a Klip way back when, like 27 years ago. Took an hour, exactly, to string my YonexOPSGreens with BlueStar at 58 lbs.
    Of course, I was an adult by then (28 or so), but not mechanical by any means.
     
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  10. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Nothing hard about it.
     
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  11. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Can you...

    Bake a cake (follow instructions on a box or a recipe)?
    Assemble Ikea furniture?
    tune up your lawnmower?
    change the oil in your car?

    I'm no expert but I find all of the above activities no harder/easier than stringing a racquet and definitely more tedious.
     
    #11
  12. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Most frames have the instructions printed right on the frame 16 mains, 19 crosses, and 57 +/- 5 lbs. Everything else you need to know is common sense. What amazes me is people ask for patterns all the time.
     
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  13. tyu1314

    tyu1314 Semi-Pro

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    Its easy,put the string through the grommet hole, pull the tension, clamp it, put another string in to the next hole, pull tension, clamp it......keep repeat this.:) There are bunch of videos online you can learn from, its really easy to learn. Start with cheap nylon string for practice.
     
    #13
  14. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    It's really not hard at all.

    Plus you can save alot because having your own machine lets you use string brands that cost alot less but big shops don't usually carry. Brands like Tourna, Gosen and many others ... my string of choice (Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough) costs me $5.62 per racket because I buy a whole reel of it.
     
    #14
  15. pvw_tf

    pvw_tf Rookie

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    Why does one cake taste so much better than an other.

    Why are there for many always pieces left over when done.

    Why has wimbledon so much nicer grass than my lawn.


    Getting a racket done is maybe not so hard. But getting it well done is something different.

    It is funny there is no offense taken if stated he/she can play better tennis or he is just a lousy player. But stringing everyone can do. And all jobs are quality jobs..........

    Peter
     
    #15
  16. sstchur

    sstchur Hall of Fame

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    This is mostly true, but some patterns are not completely obvious. Some fan patterns and patterns with shared holes. When I get those, I usually take a bit of extra time to make sure I don't screw them up. I can completely sympathize with a newbie stringer calling something like that "hard."
     
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  17. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    Hi BD,

    I am also considering buying a machine and learning to string. I strung a little when I was a JR player and was not great at it. But 16 year olds are impatient and get frustrated easily. At least I did. I hope to have a better experience now. I am lucky enough to have alot of time and my two jobs are tennis related. So stringing makes sense. I am very eager to see if it might be something that I enjoy. Won't know untill I try. I am looking at The Gamma Progression 200 as it fits my budget. have heard that there are good youtube videos and knowledgeable people here on the boards.
     
    #17
  18. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    its not hard but it has many little things you must do, and in certain ways. if you dont, you get to start over. once you get past the first 5 or so its mostly just practice.
     
    #18
  19. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I can also sympathize with a new stringer also. Stringing does not become obvious until you get a few rackets under your belt. But even the fan patterns have a gradual widening of the strings at the top and if you don't do it correctly it just does not look right. As far as rackets with shared holes, once you get the mains if you take time to count the open grommet holes on one side you can tell pretty quick if there are fewer than the number of crosses you have crosses you have shared holes.

    If you can look at a racket and tell some is not quite right then you should be able to tell what is right. But when all else fails you can go to the specifications page for the racket on the TW site every new racket is there like the Head YOUTEK Speed Pro. If you don't have a new racket it more often than not comes with the pattern right in front of you. Just look before cutting the strings out.

    I think it is just like riding a bike. The hard part is just starting out once you get it down you will flying in no time.

    EDIT: I can't sympathize with someone who cuts all the strings out of a racket and wonders how to put them back in. But even though I don't sympathies with him I would still be more than willing to help out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
    #19
  20. Tamiya

    Tamiya Semi-Pro

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    when replacing an existing string job, TAKE A PICTURE before snipping it out...! :)
     
    #20
  21. Slitch

    Slitch Rookie

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    It really is easy thanks to great video's posted by forum members.n Irvin's videos are great.
    Hardest thing for me when I started stringing on a 602 with flying clamps:
    1. Doing the knots properly. When you get a parnell knot right for the first time you really get a sense of achievement because of the look.
    2. adjust the clamps properly so you don't damage strings
    3. Starting mains/crosses without a starting clamp. Definitely buy/use your starting clamp
     
    #21
  22. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    One thing that really helped me take the pain out of stringing when I was first starting was to create a spreadsheet cheat sheet of both the stringing patterns for racquets I string and a concise set of instructions for stringing with the Klippermate I was using at the time. It is pretty obvious but the top screenshot is part of my stringing patterns cheat sheet and the bottom are my Klippermate instructions.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #22
  23. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I agree with Irvin that it's a little confusing the first several racquets. Then, you have an that moment it becomes clear. Stringing is not hard at all. And I really can't understand having major trouble with knots. Don't try to get fancy; two half hitches will work forever if you'd like. Couldn't be a simpler knot. Even the Pro or Parnell are not complicated knots at all. Reading this board, seeing conversations about the finer points of stringing, you can get the impression that it's very difficult. I taught my son to string when he was 12 and he was proficient after 3 or 4 racquets. Go for it--nothing to it.
     
    #23
  24. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    The USRSA has a manual that covers just about all the basics of stringing, and their stringers digest has just about all the string patterns for most racquets out there. They also have a # you can call if you get into trouble where a technician can help you out. String samples, online digest , RSI magazine, It is a great org. in my opinion, but some stringers don't feel this way, but they give the craft credibility.
     
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  25. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Is there a vid on how to use the starting clamp? I searched and didn't find anything useful

    Thanks in advance!
     
    #25
  26. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    The OP asks a really fundamental question, and it's kind of telling (to me) about our society, to wit:

    DO kids really learn how to use their hands and do lots of things? ARE you the kind of guy who can just dive in and tile the kitchen? ARE you the kind of guy who knows how to, and does, change the oil in your car?

    HAS NOTHING to do with money or one's economic position. I've known wealthy guys who like to work on their car or their house.

    REALLY, the question is, did your parents raise you to be handy? Can you change a bike tire flat?

    I was stunned a few years back to run into a 12 year-old boy who had no clue how to use a hand saw.

    I suppose this can happen in our times. . .

    IF ONE is even barely handy, stringing a racquet is a breeze.
     
    #26
  27. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    it's easy as pie. don't let anyone tell you different.
     
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  28. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Same here. Just bought a machine a couple weeks ago and I've strung two racquets. So far, the "stringing" part is easy.

    The knots are the part that I have the most trouble with. Especially with a poly string. The synthetic gut wasn't that bad. Ultimately, they're good enough for me. I'm satisfied with how the racquets play after my string jobs.

    I did a lot of reading and watched a few videos prior to attempting it, and I also had my computer handy to pull up a video or text just to verify something while I was stringing.

    So, I'd say go for it. It will be worth it. My only advice would be to make sure you prepare before trying to string a racquet - read the instructions that come with your machine, read up on how to string, watch a video or two, etc. If you do that, it really isn't that difficult. However, if you just take the machine out of the box and start trying to string without preparing a little, I imagine it could be a nightmare.
     
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  29. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HARPkXL6UyA
    Is Irwin showing how to use a starting clamp to start the mains. He gets to the part about using the starting clamp at 2:25.
     
    #29
  30. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I bought a simple Klippermate drop weight stringer years ago, and it works just fine.

    The biggest plus is the instruction manual is really, really, well done with pictures and well written directions.

    The first 1-2 racquets probably took me 1.5 hours, then time dropped. I can string in about 45 minutes, full poly, taking my time in a relaxed manner fiddling with my music ipod while I'm stringing.

    It's not fancy, but it was cheap, its accurate, more than enough for my needs of stringing 2 racquets every couple of weeks.

    And the big plus is the ability to experiment with different strings at different tensions. You order a bunch of different strings from TW, then see what you like. (Anyone who says strings or tension change don't make a noticable difference is speaking from an ignorant POV. You'll quickly realize this when you start stringing your own and control all the variables.)
     
    #30
  31. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Over - under - through. Over - under -through.

    [​IMG]
     
    #31
  32. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I should mention to the OP or others learning how to string and tie different knots, that the Parnell allows you to cinch or tighten the knot.

    With a multi, the cinch works really well, with a poly you can tighten the knot, but its a little harder to do because of the stiffness of the poly string.

    Since it is difficult to verbally describe or through written to describe how to tighten with this knot, best way is to google a Parnell knot to see... but in brief, if you pull the "tail" of the string (the end) you will tighten the loops you see above, but you can pull the second loop in a manner that takes out the slack/cinches the knot first.... then you pull the tail to tighten the loops.

    It is easy to do if someone shows you, but again, hard to explain in words when describing knots, and loops, and tails etc.
     
    #32
  33. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Thanks beernutz!
     
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  34. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    Hi BD,

    I am also considering buying a machine and learning to string. I strung a little when I was a JR player and was not great at it. But 16 year olds are impatient and get frustrated easily. At least I did. I hope to have a better experience now. I am lucky enough to have alot of time and my two jobs are tennis related. So stringing makes sense. I am very eager to see if it might be something that I enjoy. Won't know untill I try. I am looking at The Gamma Progression 200 as it fits my budget. have heard that there are good youtube videos and knowledgeable people here on the boards.
     
    #34
  35. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Hmmm... there must be some magic here that I just don't see. Although I've just started stringing, there is nothing about it that I see that requires motor skills and intelligence that an average person doesn't have. Sure I'm sure experienced stringers are better/quicker at it. But who at a pro shop/club is actually stringing the customers racquet and how long have they been at the job?

    The last string job that my wife had done at our club (nice people... love them) had a missed weave. They gave the racquet to my wife and she played with it a couple of times before I noticed the miss (they restrung her racquet of course).

    I'll give a couple of example where I think I'm better than the technicians at the local clubs... I calibrate my machine with every string job. Additionally, I spend a LOT of time adjusting my clamps. I use a piece of the actual string that I am stringing with and pull tension multiple times while adjusting till where the clamp will stop slipping so I can avoid bruising the strings. I can afford to take my time while stringing a racquet. The guys who do it for a living can't (though I'm beginning to think that a quicker string job as long as it's methodical will actually result in a more consistent string bed).

    To get back to my original set of analogies...

    If the recipe is correctly put together in the first place and followed to the letter with the exact ingredients, different results should not be expected.

    Anyone who's got leftover parts when assembling Ikea furniture after putting in a reasonable effort is probably below the lowest common denominator.

    The lawn at Wimbledon has nothing to do with whether the equipment was maintained properly. All my small motors + power tools are maintained properly to the manufacturer's spec or better.
     
    #35
  36. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    This thorough guide in addition to many Gamma X-2 videos on Youtube is the main reason I went w/ the X-2 vs the Klipper (thx radicalized!). If i ever had any questions, I would go to the guide. It is very thorough and specific to the machine which is nice.

    That being said, after a few racquets, I think you will get the hang of it regardless of machine.

    Some tips I would give is to get a starting clamp... I almost wouldnt know what to do without one. Additionally I would make a spreadsheet like beernuts that has all the specs you need for whatever racquet you're working on.

    Good luck!
     
    #36
  37. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    you forget the biggest factor-human being. we all do things differently. give directions to 10 people, 10 different results. you must not have tried before
     
    #37
  38. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Not so... I'm very familiar with this... I used to design industrial controls for automotive components manufacturer. All assembly stations were designed so that anyone making minimum wage so long as the instructions were simple enough could turn out a product within the required specifications. Granted that stringing a tennis racquet might be a little more difficult than performing an assembly operation on a fuel injector, but I really don't see where it is so difficult that a person of average intelligence and motor skills who is capable of carefully following instructions wouldn't be able to do a good a job as a technician at a club or a pro shop. If stringing a racquet requires so much skill and experience so that there is such wide variation, then the whole process is flawed.... I don't think so...
     
    #38
  39. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    oh no thats not whati was saying. it doesnt take any great skill to string. but you said people can achieve same results following directions, and its just not like that. on a machine assembly line its different because you take out the human factor. but once you put it back in things start to vary. receipes is a good example.
     
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  40. pvw_tf

    pvw_tf Rookie

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    There is no real magic. There is "no real magic" in a good craftsman making furniture, a good mechanic fixing a car others have been failing, is also no magic. Just humans who know their job better and have more skills, more dedication, more interest, more drive, more ....... than others.

    One or other way everybody can string when they have a machine. And one or other way it is not allowed to state someone just cannot do it that well.

    There are many average craftsman doing a decent job. But many pro shops are done as an extra to coaching, as a service, making some extra bugs or what ever other choices. And you are right many shops just have somebody do the stringing.

    Stringing is a manual job, fingers, feeling, having bad and good days.

    Let me give an example of a quality stringer: He can do 9 the same rackets and strings in a row within 3 hours and string 3 at 24, 3 at 24.5 and 3 at 25 kg. And all sets of 3 rackets will sound the same. And the tighter ones will sound just a bit higher in tone.

    So just test yourself. If you have 3 of the same rackets, put the same string in all of them at the same tension and test if you are done if the result is the same. And that is the only the first most easy test the result.

    There is outside temperature, changes in quality of ingredients, humility of the day, air pressure of the day, all factors not in the recipe. But a quality craftsman just knows how to deal with. Why is a croissant in France so much better than in the states? And as to be expected you have better bakers than others.

    Not every one is as handy. Not every one can sing. Some think they can but all those X-factor America got Talent do show many who are not really appreciated and they can sing so nice......


    Wimbledon is the end result of some water, some grass and some machines.


    All I am saying stringing is not as easy as it looks. It is no rocket science. It is craftsman's job.


    Peter
     
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  41. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    peter you are not american are you
     
    #41
  42. Tamiya

    Tamiya Semi-Pro

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    Used to pay mechanics to change my brakes, until there was a "misweave".
    And another time when their latest pads just faded away with 4 golfers & gear
    onboard, overshooting a red light at bottom of a hill.

    Now I prefer to do my own brakes!!!


    Racquets aren't so safety-critical but seeing them kiddies rush thru jobs,
    no way I'd trust them with my irreplaceable classics (most OLDER than them).
    I'm sure they can all weave a fine bed, but I'd rather not chance it anymore.


    umm Ikea often includes extra minor fiddly bits of hardware "just in case"
    Been knocking together Billy & co for 2+ decades, accumulated big box
    of leftovers... and if I ever needed more, local ikea store has a wallful
    of parts bins for fans to help themselves to. :)

    No ikea hackers here?
     
    #42
  43. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Volkl PB 10 Mid and I use BHB7 as my main string.
     
    #43
  44. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Hells yeah! What tension are you stringing that awesome racket at ? :)
     
    #44
  45. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    +1

    The OP asked whether it's worthwhile to get a machine since he/she has to travel a bit get a racquet strung (2x if it can't be done while waiting) and it's expensive (cost of stringing and fuel for travel) but had some trepidations about the difficulty.

    To wrap stringing around a shroud of craftsmanship, skill and experience IMO is doing disservice to the OP. I acknowledge that there these elements but would not discourage the poster. I say go for it. One doesn't need to be a rocket surgeon do string.

    My tennis pro actually encouraged me to get a machine and experiment with string types and tension and recommended a variety of strings and tensions that would suit my game.
     
    #45
  46. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I think stringing falls quite a bit short of the "craftsman" category. To string well and consistently requires basic understanding and a willingness to do things in a repeatable manner. When I string my three racquets or my son's three racquets, they turn out very much the same because I do things the same not because I carefully monitor results string by string or because I adjust my clamps before every job.

    I've strung for many years for lots of really good players who don't even know what they use or want. Probably 90% of players wouldn't know the difference in what I'd consider a marginally bad string job.

    Do some people do a bad job--absolutely!. They tie ugly knots, tie off in the wrong places, have a occasional mis-weave, etc. But we all know that most of those mistakes have little effect on the way the racquet plays.
     
    #46
  47. g_desilva

    g_desilva New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Agree with this completely - stringing is not a difficult thing to do well, but you have to be conscious of what you are doing, so you don't misweave, and so you do the same thing every single time (pull the crank at the same speed, clamp off at the same time, etc) and take the time to be critical of your own work, especially if you are stringing for other people.

    Stringing for myself allowed me to experiment with as many different tensions and hybrids as I could want, without having to pay a hefty price is all of that labor.
     
    #47
  48. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,018
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Usually I go between 50 and 55. I don't like going much higher than 55 or so. I prefer to go looser for a bit more power.
     
    #48
  49. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,267
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    OP/BD,

    Just do it. Sounds like you have every reason to do so. Also, if you stay with a lower cost machine at first and you decide later that you don't want to string.....you can easily recoup most of your buy-in costs by re-selling/used.

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
    #49
  50. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    I agree. If the OP buys a used machine, he can most likely recoup the cost of the machine if he gets one at a good price, usually 50% of a new machine. If he gets a new machine, he can expect to get 50%-75% of what he paid for the machine.
     
    #50

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