Low, low tensions. 30lbs feels great. 20lbs pretty good, too

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Hit with the low tension VS Cross + RPM Main hybrid for over two hours today:

    - no unusual arm stiffness while playing this evening...very pleasantly surprised! I went into this experiment with great trepidation as I also fence and arm health is important to me

    - spin was excellent...it was sunny here in Atlanta today and we joked about the felt contrails left behind the ball as it came off my racquet...there was literally a little cloud of felt glistening in the sun!

    - control + spin was the challenge...slices were AMAZING!!!...but I felt that consistently nailing perfect spin forehands was more difficult than a traditional setup (eg gamma pro cross + hurricane main at normal tension)...when it was on, it was dead on...but sometimes I felt like angle off the racquet was a little unpredictable as in "how the heck did it go that way?" I launched some rockets today, but fewer than I expected with a natural gut at this low tension.

    - lots of string movement, lots of vibration, and audible hum post-hit...

    I'm sold on this concept and am very grateful to the TW staff for the many hours of experimentation and research.

    I'm new to this level of play having just graduated from a power racquet to a more control oriented racquet. I loved the spin and control provided by poly mains in a hybrid but they hurt my arm. It was like discovering a whole new world of tennis and then being told by the Tennis Nazis "No polys for YOU!!!" :)

    Not sure which way I'l go next, but my inner-geek is looking forward to additional low tension experiments! The idea of full poly, even at low tension, scare the heck out of me. But I'm fascinated by the prospect of combing poly's spin/control with comfort and arm safety.

    Maybe a slightly stiffer nylon cross is the next step? Full poly? Some Head Rip Control arrives tomorrow from TW. Maybe HRC crosses + RPM mains? HRC has a reputation for being lower powered and it's certainly stiffer than gut.
     
  2. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    So, anyone here that has stuck with the low tension poly (30-40 lbs) for a few months? Any remarkable or new experiences to shed some light (as in, longer than usual playability; good/bad durability, lack or resurgence of arm pain, etc)?

    I'm sticking with gut until my arm feels young again (perhaps wishful thinking), but every now and then I feel the urge to string up a poly again at 35 lbs...
     
  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I just tried out the Mantis Comfort Synthetic 16 and it is low powered like a poly but with no arm discomfort. It's also much cheaper than gut. :)
     
  4. TTECHH

    TTECHH New User

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    Been with it for over a month now, no changes and still like it a lot. I have found some strings feel better as they break in (i.e. Black Code and RPM Blast vs TiMO), but that is expected.

    As far as my arm goes, it feels pretty good. I sometime feel a little sore after I hit, but that is normaly due to a shot hit extremely hard with bad form and I feel it when I do it. I bet my arm would hurt with any string on those shots.

    TTECHH
     
  5. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I went with TechFbr Red at 32lbs throughout September. Right before it broke I was playing my best tennis ever. I could tell the string was about to break. The bed had been feeling brittle for days. But that's what I liked about it, how crisp it was. Anyways, I really dialed in my topspin serve while using Red at 32. Better than ever before. My ground balls were lighter, according to more than one regular hitting partner, but definitely had more spin, too. It took me a week or two just to find control over depth of shot (my skills are pretty low to begin with). My serve was cranked up both targeting-wise and pace-wise, the day before my strings broke. I may try this setup again, but right now I just had my stick strung with a hybrid of Sonic Pro (m) and Prince syngut (c) both at 50lbs. I am still experimenting with setups. Took up tennis only six months ago, still a newbie, learning, finding out what works and what doesn't. But I definitely liked the Red Code particularly as it aged. Previously, the only other setup I had tried was a full bed of Gamma live wire at 55lbs, and the tourney nylon that came on the stick. I have broken three setups: (now four, if you count the Red Code) twice the Gamma, and once the original nylon, all since purchasing the racket in May. I may be a string breaker, but I also practice a lot without recording hours spent on court. Oh yeah, I also have broken one other setup, in my spare racket, since May. The spare is an old Wilson graphite Matrix which I had strung w/some Technifiber white poly that was on sale.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  6. cmartin

    cmartin New User

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    I am currently playing Ashaway Kevlar 18ga. at 40 lbs. in a k blade tour. Like it so far ( a few weeks).
     
  7. Gasolina

    Gasolina Professional

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    Has anybody tried a Syn Gut Hybrid at low tensions? I had my stick strung with PSG/MSV Focus @ 50lbs and I am MISSING my BC's @ 35lbs badly.

    I'm not sure how two different kinds of strings would react to the low tensions. I even read here somewhere that a hybrid of two different polys at low tensions are pretty catastrophic.
     
  8. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I used Tornado/Sweet combo at 36/38lbs and it was fine(but more string movement than what I use now). You need faster racket head speed to make it work, IMO.
     
  9. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    i gave the natty gut a try hybrid with alu big banger power. i strung the gut at 48# and the poly at 46#. results were terrible. the natural gut is just too springy at low tensions. the ball was shooting long all over the place. this was completely different to my experience with a full bed of technifibre black code 17g strung at 32# - spin was amazing and serves but volleys were terrible.

    i've since gone back to my normal 57# gut setup. i am transitioning to a serve and volley game and the low tension did not offer crisp volleys.
     
  10. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    i've tried a poly/syn gut hybrid. i do the poly mains in the low to mid 30s, and the syn gut crosses in the low to mid 40s and find it to work well. too low w/ a syn gut or multi and the ball starts sailing.
     
  11. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Not sure if this qualifies me to answer but very recently I have a soft poly in Sonic Pro set at 50lbs in my mains and Prince syn-gut at 50 in my crosses and suddenly, my forehand is looking like an actual weapon, while another shot which I like to use to steady myself when a match seems to be slipping away has disappeared almost completely on me and this is my squash shot with which I have tended to do well, at directing slice off my forehand but not so well under my current setup. I think my forehand is the more technically sound of the two strokes to begin with...another issue I've been having under this setup lies with grooving a topspin serve, I cannot imagine what the problem is but I'm having trouble, it seems, with getting enough feedback from my string bed to execute this serve and, since my current setup seems to donate more to the raw-power (read: less control) side of things, targeting flat serves well, by putting small amounts of predictable spin on the ball, has been tricky going.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  12. Gasolina

    Gasolina Professional

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    Wont this setup warp your racquet head?

    I've also got some Ashaway Dynamite that I'd like to try low. Anybody done it?
     
  13. Kaz00

    Kaz00 Semi-Pro

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    So it has been about a month since my first stringing of the 30 lbs Lux's Orig Rough and now they feel great. Maybe because I have adjusted or changed my forehand to a shorter take back but man can I rip the backhand or forehand now! But since I have been hitting more winners I seem to have lost my touch with the backhand slice bleh!
     
  14. mmaster

    mmaster Semi-Pro

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    are you all using vibration dampeners at low tensions?
     
  15. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I tried and they would fly out pretty fast. Had to go rubber band.
     
  16. rfm29

    rfm29 Rookie

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    Yeah. I haven't had a problem with it, but my racquet has an 18/20, so that might help keep it in place.
     
  17. Kaz00

    Kaz00 Semi-Pro

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    Naw vibration dampeners fly out too fast. Plus I have gotten used to not using a dampener.

    Edit: Was hitting some more today with my 30lbs racquet and the strings broke ! :( I hit a mean backhand cross court and heard a pop. I think I'm going to stick with the 30lbs for the rest of the off season and see how it treats me for the high school season!
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  18. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

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    I use the black and red doughnut shaped ones by Tournagrip. They stayed on really well for the first 40 hours of play then they would pop off about once a match on a shank shot by the throat. The dampners do a good job of taking out the buzz without deadening it too much.

    I started out at 32lbs and found the tremendous spin that others have written about. It was great for singles but I needed a bit more control and precision for doubles and increased it to 37lbs. I like this tension a lot, the only shot that flies on me a little when I'm not on are low BH volleys.
     
  19. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    40 hours of play? Is that a typo?
     
  20. levy1

    levy1 Hall of Fame

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    What poly do you suggest for a 62 year old with not much power to my swing. I will be trying 30lbs and 35lbs. I am stringing a BLX pro open leaded to 11.6. Need something somewhat easy on the arm, would like a somewhat stiff feel. Power is most important. Thank you,
     
  21. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Technifibre Black Code might work but I gather it's hard to combine comfort, stiffness, and power in one string.
     
  22. Eightmarky

    Eightmarky Rookie

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    Did Jason ever post his results on this test? I didn't see it. Thanks.

    8
     
  23. corners

    corners Legend

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    All polys are going to give you about the same power. Some are stiffer than others, the stiffer they are the less power they will give (but this difference is less than you'd think). If you're using a stiffer poly you'd want to lower the tension; if you're using a softer poly you'd have the tension a bit higher - either way it's more or less a wash in terms of power. Polys are always low-powered compared to other strings. So, if you're looking for poly spin and the comfort of low tensions, but with more power, I'd consider a hybrid.

    The convention is to go with a syngut or multi in the cross and a poly in the main for hybrids. This does give more power, as the cross string provides your power on topspin shots. But, you also want a slick string in the cross - and multis and synguts are generally not slick - for maximum spin. Therefore, I'd try a soft poly in the mains and Prince Recoil (a syngut with a teflon wrap) in the crosses. Prince is now offering this as a packaged hybrid.

    Another option is Prince Recoil in the crosses and natural gut in the mains. This doesn't have any poly in it, but gives poly-like spin with good pop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  24. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    Difficulty Finding Proper Tension

    I do my own stringing and am having a hard time getting my crank stringer to pull 38#. Typically my tension is spot on +/-2# when I string 50lbs or above. I am not certain what the problem is when attempting to string sub 40# tension. My last few jobs where I set the tension on my machine to 30# have resulted in the tension being 45#. This is very frustrating.

    Today i just finished a full bed of Topspin Cyber Black and set the tension at 30 hoping to get the bed to 38#. When done, the tension tester read 45#. I stood on the string bed for a few minutes and got the tension down to 42#. This really sucks because anything above 40# is too springy and I cannot keep the ball in the court. I have wasted a few batch of string.

    I went back to the drawing board pulling out the digital fishing meter in order to test the actual tension pull of my machine. The machine was set to pull 30#, the digital meter has 15guage nylon string attached, and, after pulling, to my surprise the digital meter read 30# spot on. what the heck. so why isn't my stringbed following suit? anyone want to philosophize on this one?? I am completely confused.

    ps. in case this is not the proper forum for this post, i will copy this information over to a new thread. i apologize in advance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  25. bugeyed

    bugeyed Semi-Pro

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    I've not been following this thread, but has it been determined that at extremely low tensions the fact that lower tension = more power has been reversed? BTW What are you using to measure the stringbed tension?
     
  26. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    yes, at very low tensions, the trampoline affect dies down tremendously especially if you use stiff poly string. i use a string meterwww.stringmeter.com to test the stringbed tension.
     
  27. bugeyed

    bugeyed Semi-Pro

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    I see that you got the answer I was about to give about the stringbed stiffness in the string subforum. I agree that the readings with that device may not be linear & at lower tensions you may read a wider variance. In any case, testing stringbed stiffness is always a relative thing. The variance may be less within a certain tension range, so keep notes.

    Cheers,
    kev
     
  28. trade

    trade New User

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    Was told I should post this here...apologize if I'm intruding with what I posted elsewhere:
    -----
    I'm a junior and just started stringing and I want to experiment with tensions, but I'd like a heads-up before I do anything stupid with my time and $. Please provide your projections on what would happen with playability (power, control, etc.) for the following combos:

    1. poly mains @35, synthetic crosses @55

    2. poly mains @35, synthetic crosses @35
    I know some here are really happy with low tensions, but I thought that was only with a full poly bed.

    Is it true that the mains provide 80% of the playing characteristics of the strings? If so, would 2. above be such a bad idea?

    Many thanks.
     
  29. corners

    corners Legend

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    I haven't tried your #2, but my guess would be that it would be very jumpy with the synthetic crosses. The synthetic crosses might also prevent you from getting the same level of spin on each shot - if they cause sticking of the main strings on some shots and not on others, you'll get different amounts of spin on each shot.

    Your #1 will elongate the head of your racquet - don't do that.

    Super-low tensions are ideal for poly because it is so stiff already. An average copoly at 30 pounds is still a bit stiffer than an average syngut at 60 pounds. Do you find syngut at 60 to be comfortable? If so, and you're looking at super-low tensions, there's not reason to waste your time with hybrids. At 30 pounds, full poly will give you more spin, about the same power, and more consistency from shot to shot (control) than will syngut at 60 pounds. Comfort will be about the same.

    Poly/nylon hybrids were an attempt to achieve what 30-35# full-bed poly can do. But in my opinion, full-bed poly at 35 pounds is superior in pretty much every way.
     
  30. trade

    trade New User

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    Thanks. Your reply was helpful.

    Concerning comfort, which can occasionally be an issue for me, from what you said above, would poly mains and synthetic crosses in the low 50s be only a little more comfortable than all poly at 35 (not much difference)? I ask because my pro, who isn't a string expert, says to go with the hybrid in the low 50s for more comfort to protect my arm. Personally, I'd rather go with the all poly at 35.

    Thanks.
     
  31. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    get some cheaper poly and put it in at low tension (full bed). if you feel any pain, cut it out.
     
  32. corners

    corners Legend

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    I agree, worth a try. If you've got a mid try 30, midplus try 35. Keep in mind that there is some evidence that strings that slide freely, like poly, result in longer dwell times and thus less shock. My experience is that poly at 30 in a mid is very soft and easy on the arm. When the strings start to move around replace them.
     
  33. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    No, I side-by-sided a full bed of Red Code at 32# and a hybrid of Red Code & Prince syn-gut (duraflex) at 45#..The hybrid shredded my shoulder, played terribly boardy (I thought I knew what 'boardy' meant, but I didn't really know until I had played w/this hybrid setup for about three weeks--it was so jarring, with absolutely no pocketing), and provided significantly less performance overall than the full bed of RC @ 32 with which I comfortably played some of my best tennis ever from serving accurately and aggressively, through buggy-whipping shots I didn't know I had in me, to destroying opponents' second serves dtl. You should ignore your pro who isnt a string expert and go with a full bed of poly at very low tension..
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  34. BC1

    BC1 Professional

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    Best Polys to use for low tension

    Is there a concensus here on the best polys to string at these low tensions? How is RPM, or ProHurricane, or LuxBB? I would imagine some are better then others when string in the 30-40 lb range. Can someone give me 3-4 reccommendations? Thanks
     
  35. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I like to use twisted, textured polys at low tension because I figure the extra bite will help generate more spin and keep the ball in play. I'm currently using Tornado(check sig) but I've also tried Volkl Cyclone with success.
     
  36. 10SDad

    10SDad Rookie

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    If you search the forum I believe you will find that Chris found the low-tension range for hybrids to work best in the 40's. 35 would be too low for the synthetic. Also, in my experience thus far (and I believe validated in other postings here) you need to be playing with a mid to midplus (98" or less), heavier, more flexible player's racquet to leverage the low-tension poly bed. I've tried an all-poly bed at 35 in 11-11.5 oz stiffer racquets and approx. 12 oz. more flexible racquets and it definitely played better in the latter.
     
  37. levy1

    levy1 Hall of Fame

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    For comfort I am using poly at 35 and natrl gut at 40. Working great for me. (klip Explosive 17)
     
  38. courtking

    courtking Semi-Pro

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    This is very interesting.. I noticed the trampoline affect after a couple days @40lb AluPower cross and 45lb Vsgut on my KPS88.. Reading your comment, I might try 30lb Alupower cross and 35lb Vsgut on main.. do you loose power at this low tension?? what the heck.. I'll try it next time but this setup is kind of expensive though..
     
  39. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    the gut is what will kill the setup. it will make it too powerful. i would go 30lb full poly bed of alu power if i were you. at these low tensions, the strings play very very muted and soft and shouldn't hurt your arm. of course ymmv.
     
  40. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    How the heck can anyone play with such low tensions. I can barely feel anything unless its 56-60 lbs.

    mawashi
     
  41. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    yeah at these low tensions there is basically no report from the strings when you contact the ball. the spin is insane though. it really takes some getting used to. i have tried going very low tension multiple times but it does not suit my game.
     
  42. exo3

    exo3 New User

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    it seems as if the players that hit with a sort of topspin heavy groundy (as many players do today) benefit much more than flat hitters which find the ball sailing. If anybody could clarify on this it would be extremely helpful
     
  43. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    20lbs? isnt that how tight the strings are when you buy a racquet from kmart or aldi
     
  44. corners

    corners Legend

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    Yep, it seems you're right. Flat hitters and those looking to stick a lot of volleys don't like the unpredictability of low-tension, poly or otherwise. But for hitting spin on groundstrokes it seems to work wonders for some people.
     
  45. Bigsy

    Bigsy New User

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    Anyone have any ideas how poly stiffness would effect this little experiment?

    I want to give this ago and have the following strings ready:
    SPPP 1.33
    Focus Hex 1.18
    PolyStar Energy 1.3

    I would prefer to use the SPPP as its dirt cheap so not a problem if I cut it out, but its very stiff.

    I like low power, I'm currently using pro hurricane at 60lbs, but just worried that SPPP at 30lbs is just going to have no life in it at all? Equally I don't want to stick soft PS energy in it and possibly be spraying balls all over.

    What do people think?
     
  46. corners

    corners Legend

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    If you like pro hurricane at 60 I'm not sure you'll care for low tensions. But, SPPP at 50 is about as stiff as Hurricane at 60 (according to TW University stiffness tests). So why don't you try 30 and see what you think? You could go 40 but I just don't think 40 is low enough to get the low, low benefit. But, like you said, cheap strings make it easy to experiment.
     
  47. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense to me that heavy topspin users will benefit more from low tension. All that wicked spin helps to control the ball from flying out.
    BTW, hitting good volleys are very doable but there certainly is a transition period (ie lots of practice!)when coming from higher tensions. :)
     
  48. BalboaNoah

    BalboaNoah New User

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    Here are my low tension set ups which i really like: Tfight 320vO2, one with pro hurricane tour 18 at 30 lbs and another 320vO2 with lux bb ace 18 at 40. previous to the tfights i used yonex rds001 mids at 54 lbs sometimes with bb ace 18 and sometimes timo 18. obviously the tfight setups are a HUGE jump in power, but surprisingly the control is still there. i hit mostly with topspin but smack flat shots off the rise, too. i use a worm to kill the initial buzz from the 30 lbs PHT. At first the trampoline feeling is weird but ironically, the MORE you go for the shot, even the flat ones, the more control you get. The depth on the run and when playing defense is a major plus. The effects of spin hitting the court is enhanced. I dove right in the low tension experiment by playing a 5.0 who i had never taken a set from with the 30 lbs PHT after only hitting with the setup for an hour a couple of days before. After figuring out that not being tentative was the way to play with this setup i made sure to plow through the ball. the extra depth while playing defense was a huge dfference maker. long story short, i beat the guy 0 and 1. when the PHT dies it seems to mimick a higher-tension setup. the bb ace is still springy after a few weeks. its much more powerful than PHT, thus the 10 lbs tension difference. i like the way this feels a little better than the PHT.

    i hope this helps some of you out there. try it, you might like it. i'm sold.
     
  49. Deee

    Deee Rookie

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    Just tried 36/40 with PHT on PDRGT+. My normal tension is a PHT/syn gut hybrid at 66/60

    As others have said, advantages are:
    - Good spin
    - VERY good slice, the ball pockets/bites so well and it gives you so much confidence
    - Low power
    - A lot of feel for the ball
    - DROP SHOTS!!!
    - Second serve / ball movement and action

    Some disadvantages I found:

    - Forehand shots falling very short or into the net.
    - Difficulty on low shots. I use a western grip, and on low shots, it just doesn't work at all. Well, its not easy to dig a low ball with western grip anyways, but this tension makes it a lot harder. I changed my grip to compensate.
    - Full cuts at the ball every swing
    - Some inconsistency with shots that will fly way long. Avoid hitting it flat since at 36/40, it will still trampoline to the fence.
    - Flat first serve lost 10-20kph estimate.


    Overall, the advantages outweight the disadvantages, as with adjustment and time the disadvantages will diminlish. The greatest advantage is feel for the ball, it makes difficult shots a lot easier and gives you more confidence for normal shots. Also gives more dimension to my game since I can slice very well and drop the ball with confidence.

    I am sold on low tension.
     
  50. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    Do not go below 40Lb. There is no control, no power at tention below 40.
     

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