Low Friction Poly X's For Gut Mains : Softer Alternative to MSV Co-Focus?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by ChicagoJack, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. drak

    drak Professional

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    keep us posted, be curious what your gut/ZX 16 gauge durability in that racket will be like, what level do you play at and how tough on strings in general?
     
  2. jbm

    jbm New User

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    I am a usta 4.5 benchmark player, doubles mostly. Usta league singles has passed me by. just switched to the 6.1 95s. Tried 17g Wilson NG main with 17g ZX which lasted 5 hours of doubles and practice. I'll let you know what I get out of the 16g. I really like this racquet, and I think it is meant to be strung with poly, but I don't want to go there right now.
     
  3. drak

    drak Professional

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    Thx, I get to start hitting again next week after 3 months off due to Achilles issues. I just signed up for the Wilson spin (control choice) $1 demo, May 12 appears earliest shipping date. Looking forward to trying the 95s and 6.1 95s and 98s.

    Ramon on this thread has really likes a ZX main/Gamma Marathon syn hybrid, he has a spin frame and is getting 15-20 hrs out of it I believe, he uses 16 gauge ZX (1.27) mains. This is a combo I want to try as ZX is really soft and I am done with Poly.
     
  4. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Hi Jack, many thanks for your detailed significant contributions to these boards , it is much appreciated. I have the same long term concerns as you re:arm health. I use full poly 58lbs hex 130 in a huge Vortex 116 with great success but wrist and forearm get sore (no TE) . I plan to use Monogut ZX 17 pro (i want power and spin). Not sure yet what my set up should be yet. But i plan to use ZX 17 in my backup racket Wilson 105s..I am a 4.5 level and never broke a string in my life. I wanted to try a soft poly in the mains first with ZX in the crosses to see how that feels on my arm first before i try gut in the mains.. I really need to keep my power and spin that i get from full poly..

    I can buy ZX 16 or 17 for $113 for 330 ft reel $212 for 720 ft reel thru my PTR organization if you or anyone else want to buy some thru me but the promotion deadline is April 30th..thanks again for all you do here my email is comeback@safe-mail.net
     
  5. linustennis

    linustennis New User

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    I have an oversize frame (110). I currently string with gut at 62#. I would like to try gut in mains and the monogut in crosses. Monogut red should be strung 10-15% lower than usual tension, so would it be ok to string gut mains at 62 and monogut crosses at 53? or is that too much disparity in tension? Being an oversize frame I have major control issues at lower tensions. I really like the full bed gut but would like a little more spin. I have no elbow or other problems. Thanks!
     
  6. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldn't go for such a big difference in tension. The general rule is 3-5 lbs lower and that is what works best IMO.
     
  7. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    Hey JBM, can't wait to hear how the 16g setup plays and lasts, it's exactly where I'll be going next as well.

    I'm playing the same racquet with Pacific Classic 17 mains at 56 and Head Sonic Pro 17 in the crosses at 54. I've played with a few setups and the gut hybrid is good all around performer in this racquet. The control is excellent, I can drive the ball in the corners with ease. The other thing I really really like about the gut is it really opens up the sweet spot.

    As a reference, I played with a full set of 4g at 51 for about 30 hours prior. The 4g generated a lot more sharp spin and a heavy ball. It was great for hitting angles, but I couldn't volley with it to save my life.
     
  8. linustennis

    linustennis New User

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    Thanks for the reply spin to win. I have heard that there should be no more than 4-5# difference in tension between mains and crosses. So how do you use monogut as a cross? Reduce tension in mains? Can't be done in an oversize frame as tensions are typically higher? I thought the OP had posted something about the tensions he used and I thought there was an 8-10# difference which struck me as weird. but i could have it wrong. Maybe i'll try 58/54 in a 98" frame first? don't want to waste too much gut experimenting!! Thanks!
     
  9. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    Monogut is fairly soft and (if I'm not mistaken) more powerful than most polys. I personally would string it 3 or 4 pounds lower than the gut. But this is personal preference really. If you have never played with such a high difference in tension, I don't recommend it. String it up like you would a soft polyester I'd say.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  10. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    while i have no experience with monogut zx as a cross (so far), i have played it in the mains and i would seriously advise you to go for the same tension as gut, respectively string it up as you would a full set of natty.

    i played it in the mains and at my usual tension 21kg it was "uncontrollabel" compared to even midrange polys. i upped the tension to 23kg on the mains and loved the result - it is one of my favourite strings as a main, but at my rate of breaking it is too expensive. while i played it at this tension with my regular mcs-crosses (also upped to 22,5 from my regular 21kg), i played also a natty-m / poly-x setup at 23kg mains and 21kg crosses (crosses have been luxilon adrenaline 1.25). basically the two setups played really comparable and are amongst my top-rated combos.

    judging from this i would go with a natty-mains / monogut zx-crosses combo just at normal tensions as i would string a full bed of natty.
     
  11. epicondylitis

    epicondylitis New User

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    Haven't tried 4G as a cross with natural gut, only in a full bed. However, of all the string combinations I have tried, the gut main/MB combo is hands down the best performance I have found.
     
  12. epicondylitis

    epicondylitis New User

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    I will try the thicker gut, but I am not optimistic about the outcome. It appears to me that once the outer coating is worn thru, the rest of the process takes less than a few games. So a thicker gut may last only a few hits more, but we will see. I will also try thicker poly, but man does that MB work!

    The Prime 17/RPM 17 was a bust (pardon the pun) as well. Two doubles matches. Ditto for the VS 17/MB 18 combo. Just for my own peace of mind, I tried the VS 17/MB 18 in my Prince EXO3 Red (16x19) and after 4 sets of doubles it looks pristine.

    By the way, for reference, I am NOT a string breaker. Before this experiment, I had never broken a string before tension loss necessitated restringing.
     
  13. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    I think someone up the thread mentioned Poly Tour Pro 125, which is my second favorite cross after MB. Seems like your next experiment should be 15g gut with this 16g cross. If you break that too fast here is another idea:

    The MB is soft enough to use in the mains if you lower the tension and then cross it with a slippery syn gut. I have a back up/bad weather stick strung like this and it hits pretty nice! Obviously not as much touch as the gut, but the spin is there and it's reasonably comfortable too. Nice thing it's a pretty cheap experiment.
     
  14. epicondylitis

    epicondylitis New User

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    Is there such a thing???
     
  15. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. Gut/MB is still my favorite all time setup. It lasts a long while in the 18x20. Another way to get more life is to use string savers, and try some of the other WC strings that come in thicker gauges, like Scorpion or Silverstring. While MB is the softest, the other two are pretty solid in the feel department as well, and all WC strings seem to have great tension hold.
     
  16. corners

    corners Legend

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    Yeah, there are quite a few. You can find them on this table of inter-string coefficients of friction (COF): http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/COFreporter.php

    But those measurements are of new strings. Nylon strings (syngut and multifilament) have much softer surfaces than copoly strings do. Consequently, they abrade quickly as the main string slides to and fro along them. Probably more significantly, nylon strings used in the crosses quickly form dents at the intersections, even if you don't play with them. Dents at the intersections dramatically increase static COF by forcing the the main string to slide out of the hole of the dent on each impact.

    Nevertheless, copoly mains paired with syngut crosses has been the go-to hybrid for many players for a decade or so. Are these players still getting the spin benefits of copoly? They seem to think so, but there is little evidence from the laboratory to either confirm or contradict their impressions.

    My own experiments with gut/syngut showed me that gut mains will slide and snap back when riding along syngut crosses, but not as well as with copoly crosses, and not for as long. Inspection revealed dents at the intersections as well as "scoring" of the syngut crosses, little notches probably created by impact pressure. I judge whether a string setup is still sliding and snapping back by the appearance of the stringbed. Are the strings getting stuck out of line? "No" - then the mains are still sliding and snapping back. "Yes" - then the mains are no longer moving freely and are getting stuck out of place before snapping back. Gut/poly stays straight (the old way to describe this was "they don't move," but this oxymoronic) for a long time; gut/syngut stays straight for a couple hours only.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  17. corners

    corners Legend

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    Ignore Ashaway's tension recommendation for this string. The reason they made that recommendation is that they believe ZX loses less tension than other strings. If they lose less tension, their thinking was, they should be strung lower to compensate.

    But ZX is less stiff than any nylon string. It is nearly as flexible as natural gut and about half as stiff as a copoly like Lux Alu Power. In addition, Zyex strings do not get significantly stiffer when strung at higher tensions as compared to lower tensions. Again, this characteristic is similar to natural gut. All other string materials become appreciably stiffer at higher tensions. So, as others have said, ZX is most similar to natural gut in terms of stiffness and therefore should be strung close to whatever tension you would string natural gut.

    The originator of this thread, ChicagoJack, upped his tension when going from gut/copoly to gut/ZX. You might want to do the same. In any event, there is absolutely no need to string the ZX crosses lower than the gut mains. Do make sure, however, to either pre-stretch the ZX or conscientiously apply the long, 10-second pulls recommended by Ashaway when stringing. ZX stretches a lot initially and you need to get most of that stretch out or the string will lose a lot of tension during play.
     
  18. corners

    corners Legend

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    fgs, have you ever played with full ZX? If so, at what tension and how did you find it?
     
  19. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    corners,

    no, i never did a full bed of zx. i played only the 1.27 wheat colour as mains. the first set i strung as poly according to manufacturer recommendation and man was i swinging for the fences with it, no matter how much topspin i put on the ball. there was something i liked nevertheless about the combo so instead of going for the crosses with the second half set i decided to up the tension and put it in as mains again. i went from 21kg to 22.5kg and i quite loved it - i guess at 23kg it would have been even better.

    i have a set of zx pro here which i intend to play as mains with mcs and as crosses to a poly, most probably the kirschbaum helix, which is currently my "competitional" set-up. but due to my matches and testing schedule i will most probably not make it prior to late summer.
     
  20. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Completely agree with everything corners said in #316 and #317. Good stuff as per usual.

    1. I would add that new users of gut should go with 15L (Babolat Tonic would be a good choice) or a premium 16. Stay away from 17g your first time out, as the thinner gauge increases the likely hood of a premature snap due to a bad string job, or a shank near the grommets. And 17g gut in a 105s is crazy talk!

    2. I would recco the 16g red Zx rather than the 17g for the same reasons.

    3. I cant tell the dif between 15L gut and 16g mains. It's my opinion that we've likely over estimated the effect that smaller diameter strings have upon spin potential. Prior to the last few years, ball to string friction ie, Ball "bite" was the 1st, 2nd, and the last word on increasing spin. We've come understand (in small increments beginning in 2008 ) that of the two kinds of friction, string to string friction plays the larger role. Bench testing suggests that more ball "bite" is still good to have, but if the strings are not moving, diameter does not matter and thin will be just a spin friendly as thicker diameter. That's because balls compress to roughly 55% original size on impact. If the mains are sliding, then more ball to string friction is a good thing, as the string have to "re-bite" for that last little flick before exiting the string bed.

    -J
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  21. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    I wish I could undo my above post from 2 weeks ago. I played again with same set-up and I was feeling like a King.

    Monogut zx should arrive today, really looking forward to putting it in crosses. I plan to pre-stretch it as mentioned in some other thread that I've bookmarked. If it's easy to string and plays nearly as well as Pro Line II, I'll end my experimentation.
     
  22. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

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    Good stuff, ChicagoJack. In the TW questions, The TW Proffesor has just stated the same.

    I should add that ball-to string friction is pretty irrelevant in the cross string. Perhaps a main with high spin potential and a cross with low COF is best. Plus any other parameters you desire, like stiffness and tension loss. The downside is you would think high ball to string friction increases notching of the main.

    I would agree with henman_fan that pre-stretching may tip the balance towards a high COF, with no tension loss to counterbalance. Yet, if you pick a string with higher tension loss, you lose consistency. Plus, COF and tension loss probably don't change at the same rate, so you will never be able to perfectly balance the two. The "strings going dead" article indicates that COF will gradually rise, regardless of tension loss. So, regardless of the opposing effects on stiffness, string movement will always decrease over time. Thus the solution is that if the increased stiffness of rising COF wins, you string lower next time or lubricate the strings. This doesn't remove the problem of lower movement, which I think also causes harshness. Lubricating could help with this. Sorry for veering off topic, Jack.

    So even silicone spray wouldn't help with these dented syn gut crosses, right? Zyex is soft, yet it seems to last much longer then synthetic gut. Is this to do with string construction? What is the durability of gut like, compared to Zyex, Kevlar and Poly? I haven't tried Gut as of yet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  23. corners

    corners Legend

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    I think that notion is rubbish. To rely on tension loss to provide a good stringbed is silly. If you want the main strings to slide and snapback you want the lowest inter string COF you can get, period, regardless of string pattern. You then set the tension so it plays well at the start. From there, if you don't have to worry about tension loss changing the stringbed dynamics as time goes on, all the better.

    Not necessarily. This thread is about gut/poly and gut/alternatives to poly. One of the reasons this thread exists is that gut/poly is the only string or string combination that did not increase in inter string COF over time in the TWU lab. In fact, it decreased. It's probably this reduction in inter string COF that a)makes gut/poly so good for spin, and b)makes it last longer than a full bed of gut (for most people.)
    Lubrication is good, for sure. But with gut/poly tension loss is not always a bad thing, either, because it's mainly occurring in the crosses. In a relatively closed 16x19 or 18x20 pattern, lower cross string tension probably facilitates string movement. And since the gut mains barely lose any tension….

    Silicone spray always helps. If the inter-string COF has increased due to notches, dents, general scuffing, etc., you can lower it again (temporarily) with lube. Take a look at what lube does to notched gut and unplayed, but dented, syngut. The following is from TWU's Spin and String Lubrication, an awesome paper that everyone into strings should read. It appears there as Figure 1.

    [​IMG]

    Regarding durability of Zyex vs. nylon, ZX has a high melting point compared to poly. This might be why it's showing good notch resistance and durability. Poly melts at the intersections - notches. Also, note that longitudinal stiffness and surface hardness are two distinct characteristics. ZX is less stiff than nylon strings, but harder.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  24. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

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    Thanks a lot. I guess that is why many people, like Smasher08, get so many hours out of Gut/Poly combinations. Maybe Gut/Zyex is the same. No-one knows about Kevlar combinations. I plan to experiment and find out one day. Your right that adjusting the starting tension, or picking strings with high tension loss, to counter rising COF will only result in a string bed that plays inconsistently over the duration of time.


    I can't find where it states that the nylon string was dented. My point was that if nylon has a big dent in it, no amount of lubrication will stop the main getting sliding in the hole and getting stuck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  25. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    Actually, people have done just that, and though string movement surely is not at its best, the lubrication allows the string to move again.
     
  26. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    Just finished stringing monogut zx crosses with klip legend mains.

    Stringing took some time, with zx stretching so much, but weaving crosses was so easy compared poly. I prestretched it for 3 minutes.

    Hope I like how this plays. Even if it plays remotely as good as Pro Line II I'll keep coming back to it. The ease of stringing as crosses makes it worth it.
     
  27. corners

    corners Legend

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    String up a bed of syngut and let it sit for a month. It will be dented just from the pressure of mains and crosses smashed together in a tensioned weave. I think the graph above shows quite clearly that lubrication does help mains climb out of cross string dents, just as it helps notched mains slide along crosses.
     
  28. Nojoke

    Nojoke Rookie

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    I am four hours into a tonic 16/ tourna black zone 16 hybrid strung at 54/50. Very soft feeling. Coming off a VS black/pro line x hybrid that was strung tighter, but made my forearm throb a bit after playing. Also played a full bed of pro line x at 50 lbs that I loved but made my forearm ache, so I knew I had to get away from that.

    Racket is a 6.1 95s. With the tonic hybrid, almost no wear on the gut mains after four hours, two of which were on rubico. Black zone rated well in COF, stiffness, and tension retention. If you compare it's numbers to co-focus, it is clearly superior in those categories. Feel on court seems to back it up, but I must say the spin is not as much as I expected. Control is good, volleys are unreal, and all around touch and feel is excellent. Type of string bed where you immediately notice the lack of sensation pulsing into your arm. You almost feel yourself healing! Hopefully spin picks up as the string bed settles. If it does , I think I can stop the experimenting for a bit.

    About me- mid level 4.0, trying to play all court tennis. Play singles and doubles. Not a string breaker, even with the 95s as I hit mostly flat. The 95s gives me more topspin, but still allows me to flatten it out or slice well with the backhand.

    Joe
     
  29. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

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    So you can use gut or synthetic gut in the crosses, instead of poly or ZX, if you regularly lubricate the string-bed. I will playtest some strings at some point, and see if this is the case.
     
  30. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    it won't have the same effect. A normal gut/poly hybrid still has more string snapback than a gut/gut or a gut/syn hybrid with lubrication.
     
  31. corners

    corners Legend

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    Duplicate post.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  32. corners

    corners Legend

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    Well, you can see from the graphs that even when lubricated full syngut and full gut do not reach the spin levels of unlubricated poly. That's the best evidence I know of on your question. The rest is pure anecdote.
     
  33. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    I finally got to play the nat gut/ monogut zx hybrid in a singles match today.
    This was my set up in Babolat Pure Drive. Klip Legend 16 in mains at 59 pounds and Monogut ZX(wheat) in crosses at 55 pounds.

    Comfort wise, this is the best set-up I've ever used. Very gentle on my arm and wrist.

    Compared to Pro Line II 17g in cross, this set up had both more power and spin.

    Let's say I mistime a flat shot A with Pro Line II which would fall 5 ft long from the baseline. With Monogut, the same shot would have gone 12 ft long.

    Let's also assume I put too much spin on a shot B with Pro Line II which would fall 3 feet beyond service line. The same shot would fall 3 feet short of the service line.

    All of that is very personal, but still that is how I mean this one has both more power and spin.

    My spin serves were more than satisfactory. Did not get to volley much but I'm guessing they'll be pretty good as I liked my slices and forehand bunts.

    If this setup can retain playability for 6 weeks, I'll be ecstatic.

    Many thanks to Chicago Jack for play-testing and encouraging this set-up.
     
  34. corners

    corners Legend

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    Great report, sir! Very curious to hear how this setup lasts in a Pure Drive!
     
  35. yangster007

    yangster007 Professional

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    The lubricant dries out fast in a match, unless I have Severus Snape's hair I can't keep the string constantly lubricated in a match :)
     
  36. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    I just saw that the string friction database has been updated… Babolat Origin 17 is at the top with a COF of 0.066 :shock:
    I honestly am surprised because the string did not play that way for me on court :?
     
  37. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    I'll be trying 16g Nat Gut of the "wholesale" variety in mains at 55 with 16g Pro's Pro Intense Heat in crosses at 55.

    I'm off to an inauspicious start as the first half set of the gut broke about 3/4 of the way through the process. Not sure what the issue was as I was being uber careful. It broke in the middle of the string bed. No kinks or anything else to indicate a problem. I also turned my string speed down to 50% out of an abundance of caution. I suppose I could go down a bit more in tension also, but with a Steam 105s, I'm already pretty low.
    Anyway, I hope to hit later and I will report back.
     
  38. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    16g nat gut mains / 16g intense heat crosses---
    Felt fine. Definitely had more elasticity. I didn't have the sense that the mains were sliding easily on the crosses, but it felt like there was a little extra snap due to the elasticity.

    Yada, yada, yada - the gut broke 15 minutes into the hitting session.

    That's it for me on using gut in the 105s. Thanks for coming.
     
  39. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Your "wholesale" gut isn't good enough to withstand 55 lbs of tension. Try it at 50 lbs or lower.

    You have just learned that cheap gut isn't very economical when it snaps on the machine or just 15 minutes into playing.
     
  40. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    Yep. You're probably spot on.

    I've got a couple more sets of it. I don't think I will use it because it just won't last in my racquet, but I may offer it up to someone with a denser pattern (nearly everyone) and at a lower level with slower stokes. It did feel nice but couldn't withstand the combination of high stress factors I was putting on it.
     
  41. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Gut in a 105S is a recipe for disaster.
     
  42. wmrhawk

    wmrhawk Rookie

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    I don't know about "disaster", but I agree it is poorly suited and the result was not at all surprising. I wouldn't put it on par with the sinking of the Titanic…
    Certainly no worse than the Hindenburg (or the tennis string equivalent thereof).
     
  43. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    How is this been working for you?
     
  44. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    First 2 weeks I was in paradise. Cracking more forehand winners than ever before. Partly had to do with improving technique but still, the control, power and spin were fantastic.

    After 2 weeks (about 15 court-hours - majority on presureless balls-ball machine practice) the control just vanished. Started hitting wild home runs. I tried to shorten swing, sometimes just pushed, but even those went long. Tried to reduce swing plane angle to compensate them from going out. Hit too many nets.

    For the time being, I have to give up on using monogut zx crosses for a while. May be I did not pre-stretch them properly. Perhaps they'll retain playability longer as I get better at stringing.

    For now, I'm thinking I'll go back to Pro Line II crosses or try CyberBlue; I cant afford the same experience with ZX again in the middle of the USTA season.
     
  45. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Thanks, i just started NG 58lbs/Monogut Pro 56lbs setup today in a Steam 105s (i am not a stringbreaker) and really liked it..15 hours doesn't seem too bad..You seem like you are blaming the monogut for the lack of control; I'll see how long it works for me and report back.
     
  46. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    I strung Pro Line II on April 4 and Monogut ZX on May 2.
    I tested the Pro Line II today and it felt like I fully regained my control, despite it being strung a month earlier.
    Have to guess it's the ZX that costed me the control.
    I think its essential to pre-stretch the ZX which I did. I also think that it needs to be done very diligently and the right way which I might not have.
    There are some very good posts regarding properly pre-stretching ZX on this forum. Happy Hunting!
     
  47. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Epitome, would you care to do an experiment? My hunch is that the surface of the ZX crosses in your frame has gotten scuffed up to the point that inter-string friction has increased significantly since the stringjob was fresh. If this were the case, you might get a higher and more variable launch angle but with less spin. The net result would be loss of depth control.

    I don't know if this is the truly the case, but it would be easy to test: Simply add some lubricant to your gut/ZX stringjob. If lubricant restores control then we can be reasonably sure that increased inter-string friction is to blame. But if lubricant makes it worse, than this would suggest tension loss in the crosses is to blame. I know it takes some time, but such an experiment would add valuable info to this great thread.
     
  48. EpitomeOfAwesome

    EpitomeOfAwesome Rookie

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    Don't know much about lubricants.
    Would baby oil work?
     
  49. henman_fan

    henman_fan New User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    93
    I thought increased inter-string friction increases stiffness, lowering the launch angle .
     
  50. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    10,135
    Location:
    Germany
    that is why corners mentioned the more variable launch angle. The launch angle will begin to vary in such a setup, which leads to a somewhat inconsistent response and the poor depth control that EOS mentioned.
    He meant the initial high launch angle (I presume) by the way. The launch angle remains high, but there is less spin.
     

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