Is Natural Gut really supposed to do this?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by JPW, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. JPW

    JPW Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    106
    A long time ago I had some pretty severe tennis elbow issues so I started researching racquets that might help me. I've just started playing with a ProKennex Ki5 and love it so far. Much of what I read online also said that playing with natural gut can help reduce the chance of tennis elbow as well so when I purchased a new racquet I had it strung with what most considered to be the best natural gut, Babolat VS Touch 16 gauge at 62 pounds.

    It really does feel great. However, after only hitting with it for about an hour I was shocked to see just how much the inner part of the string bed was splinting up. I live in Houston, Texas where it is hot and humid and I've read that humidity can sort of be murder on natural gut strings but should I be expecting this kind of degradation this quickly on a natural gut or did I maybe just get some bad strings? I suspect I might only be able to get about 2 more outings with this string before it splints so much it breaks but that is just a guess.

    Finally, while I have you string experts here let me ask one more thing. If I stick with natural gut I can tell it is really going to start costing me. The Babolat VS Touch is the most expensive stuff out there but the Babolat Tonic + is $10 less. It says on TW's web site that it is basically the same stuff as the VS with a little less gauge consistency and cosmetic blemishes (who cares if it gets the job done). If this is the case I'm curious why VS continues to be TW's most popular natural gut? I would think more people would opt for the Tonic + since it is a better value. Is it really a better value or is the VS really worth the extra $10 for some reason? Any guidance here is appreciated as well.

    Thanks.
    JPW
     
    #1
  2. Return_Ace

    Return_Ace Professional

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,267
    Like you've found out, natural gut frays much more quickly than a normal synthetic.

    What you *could* do is try a hybrid of gut... maybe a soly synthetic like umm *someone will suggest one* and then have gut as your other string so you get more durability. That would also mean you could essentially get 2 string jobs for the same amount of money. Don't forget there's always stuff like Titan natural gut which seems to be like <$20 but i've never played with it so you'll have to search around on how it plays.

    As for Tonic / VS gut.. it's more down to preference... for example, so people want the lower gauges of gut for more playability/power. Also for people like me, i've hardly ever broken a string even playing for months etc so the extra $10 isn't really too much to pay for the aforementioned reasons
     
    #2
  3. Valjean

    Valjean Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    4,729
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Right now you should just add in string savers. And if you run a cigarette lighter *gently* under those fraying strings, the frayed bits will curl up and disappear.

    Fraying doesn't have to mean breakage is imminent, in other words.

    Babolat has sold bottles of its protective outer coating in the past; its reapplication can help you.

    And in the end, Pacific's Prime Gut may keep you happier than now, when available: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageACPACIFIC-PNGP17.html. It does come in 16 gauge too; you may have to hunt to find some out there at this time (midsummer). As to the meaning of VS--cleaner shot production, if you have a clue what that might mean to you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
    #3
  4. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    4,364
    The nat. gut may look different when it starts to fray, but it will still play great and continue to fray,and still play great, don't wory about it, mine frays for a long long time before it finally does break.
    IMO the extra $10.00 is worth the vs quality, as others have had issues with a tonic now and then breaking when stringing. When I heard that, I figured it was worth the extra and get the best quality.
     
    #4
  5. JPW

    JPW Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    106
    Thanks for the responses. Ace, let me ask you one thing. How long after playing with new strings do you notice the fraying?
     
    #5
  6. Return_Ace

    Return_Ace Professional

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,267
    Hmm it depends on the string, i think the only string i've ever snapped was Intellitour and that was after a good 4-5 months i think of playing regularly every few days...

    As for fraying, that would be syn. guts... I haven't really tried many syn guts since like i said, i hardly break strings and i normally just get them restrung after i find a significant tension drop..

    The strings i've tried are:

    Wilson NXT - i it only started to slightly fray after a 1-2 weeks but still carried on playing.. i hated it so it came out before it broke.

    Yonex 880 Soft - Kinda like NXT except i hated it even more so it got cut out before it frayed... maybe 2-3 weeks worth of playing and it got cut.

    BB Alu - I had this in my racket straight after the 880 Soft... i stopped playing tennis regularly for a good year now but this came in a good few months before that... it's still in there lol.

    Babolat Hurricane main, VS Gut Crosses - This is in my other racket... i had this during my A Level coursework so it's been a good year (before i stopped playing)... i'd started to slow down how much i played but it's still only just very slightly frayed.. the tension's probably gone but i think it will stay in there until it breaks (which could be forever lol).

    That's quite a short list... i've been playing what... 4-5 years and only tried 5 strings :? lol - admittedly i did just keep restringing intellitour for a while.
     
    #6
  7. rockbox

    rockbox Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    368
    I used to live in houston and yes this is normal. However, gut still plays very well in this condition and could possibly last longer than you think.

    In my hybrid setup with Big Ace, the gut seems to last longer than with gut alone. I don't know why this is. Maybe it has to do the less friction and movement from the big ace.
     
    #7
  8. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    With gut the fraying begins almost immediately but you'd be surprised how much play you get out of it. By the time mine breaks it really looks terrible!

    I have found VS to be the best but not so durable. The best durability/feel compromise I have found is Klip Legend. Doesn't feel quite as sweet as the VS but I get 25% longer out of it at the same gauge. Note that this means going a gauge up for Klip i.e. Klip 17 is like VS 16 if that makes sense. Legend 17 is what I use now. Avoid ArmourPro in my opinion if not using it in a hybrid, it has this weird coating and feels pretty strange.

    I have used a PSGD hybrid in the past (crosses) and found it ok, to be honest it just felt a bit crisper and lasted less long than a full job.

    In short the fraying is normal and you will be surprised how long it lasts. I would recommend giving the Klip a try and if you are still having durability issues maybe a hybrid with a decent multi and some stringsavers to bring down cost.
     
    #8
  9. JPW

    JPW Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    106
    I just wanted to say thanks for all the responses. This is exactly the information I needed. I just won't worry about the fraying and have it restrung when it starts to feel like its lost something. Thanks again.
     
    #9
  10. 150mph_

    150mph_ Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    491
    my natural gut didnt fray at all (bab tonic+ 16) and it broke :(

    so...
     
    #10
  11. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    It depends on your style and level. I saw a guy at my club recently break Bab VS in 3 games, didn't have time to fray! That and there will be some natural variation in the material/manufacture. How many playing hours did you get from it?

    It should play well up until the point it breaks, within reason, i.e if you are getting 3months of out it, probably time to restring, otherwise it will likely break before any significant deterioration in play
     
    #11
  12. stician

    stician Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    438
    Did the PSGD crosses break first?

    I ran into crosses breaking relatively quickly when I tried a bunch of Iso Speed Pro in the crosses with Legend 17s. I realized too with a full job of Legend 17s it lasted longer.
     
    #12
  13. stician

    stician Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    438
    are you using string savers? depending on where you break the mains, either pick the 6th and 7th cross from the top or from the bottom and use 5 string savers on every other main and stagger so one saver per main but on a different cross. i find the pattern effective.
     
    #13
  14. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    Yeah the crosses went first, sometimes two at a time. Not sure why that would be the case as to be honest I would have thought the mains would have still gone first. Same thing happens with some multis with me, again not sure why, normally I would always break mains unless it's a mishit.
     
    #14
  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    If you don't like the fraying, try the Armour Gut from Klip. It's a bit stiffer than regular gut so drop the tension a few pounds when stringing. It's much easier to string and the coating takes quite a long time to wear off.
     
    #15
  16. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    7,272
    Next time you get gut, try 15L Klip Legend. String about 2# lower than what you just strung the VS. I think Klip Legend lasts longer than VS anyway, and the 15L will last that much more.
     
    #16
  17. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,832
    Location:
    New York City
    Try a lower tension. It makes a world of difference.
     
    #17
  18. jorel

    jorel Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,488
    most pros want what they want.... if they want a 16 g... they want 16.. if they want 17... they want 17...

    that tonic guage discrpancy is a big deal to the pros... and it should be a big deall..... they make their living off of their strings...

    and you have some people that also just want wat they want... 16 or 17 and not maybe 16L .. maybe 17 maybe 16..... maybe 15L

    but for me and some recreation guys......that guage discrepancy isnt a big deal
     
    #18
  19. jorel

    jorel Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,488
    how tight did you string it?... hybrized with Poly? ... do you hit Topspin like a man possessed?
     
    #19
  20. jorel

    jorel Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,488
    you know i have been stringing BAb gut really tight (ala Sampras) and it feels REALLY nice.....
     
    #20
  21. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    I find about 1 out of 10 Tonic strings to be problematic. For example, I had one set snap very fast, and you could tell from the clean break that too many fibers were ending in the same spot. Otherwise, I have had good luck with the product and used it for years. I string myself, so I do not pay for labor, so I am looking only at string costs, so I figure I come out ahead with the Tonic.

    Regarding other brands, I really cannot feel a difference between quality guts (Babolat, Klip, BDE, Bow) I have tried, but would not use Titan. I may try the Pacific brand, but with Tonic and Klip being cheaper, I have not felt the need.
     
    #21
  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    For a lot folks who can and want to use gut, price is not a big deal, which is why VS sells the best.

    Personally I would never use a lighter on my strings regardless. The fray will only help you get more spin potential so is not a "problem" that needs to be "solved". Usually there is an intersection or two where the fraying is a lot more prominent than the rest of the stringbed, this is where you would want to use a String Saver. I wouldn't use them to prevent fraying, rather to respond to it.

    Your local humidity will play a role in fraying but less than in years past, since the coatings are so much better now. My understanding is that Legend is uncoated and so would be more vulnerable to local conditions.
     
    #22
  23. mokong

    mokong New User

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Hi! This is my 2nd post here in this very helpfull and informative forum. I think you'll find it interesting to see my 1st post under the thread 'making gut last'
     
    #23

Share This Page