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

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

  1. ahile02

    ahile02 Rookie

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    Awesome interesting stuff Chris. Would you say at lower tensions you had to remember to stay loose on your strokes more? I'd imagine trying to muscle the ball at that low of tensions would just send the ball flying.

    Do you think you're going to permanently use really low tensions?

    I second what another poster said, a video of this would be really cool!

    Thanks alot Chris, keep up the good work!
     
    #51
  2. supineAnimation

    supineAnimation Professional

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    My brain can't compute playing at these tensions, but it's fascinating. I'm too much of chicken to ever go below 50.
     
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  3. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I'm currently using 45/44 Kevlar/poly in my diablo mid, and it feels great. I've never gone lower though - I'd be interested to hear a comparison of Kevlar/ poly at superlow tension vs full poly or co-poly. I personally feel that a Kevlar/poly grips the ball with a lot more bite and control than a full poly or co-poly.
     
    #53
  4. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Well, I tried it yesterday in my Vantage @ 45 lbs. And while it was too low for my tastes (too springy/lively, although the kick on serve was just unbelievable!), my impression of the string was very positive indeed.

    As other have reported, it's soft and smooth, with good spin/control/oomph - and, yes, excellent comfort for a poly... okay, the tension obviously has to be considered here and in a big way. However, my instinct is this could well be precisely the poly I've been looking for. BTW my other Vantage is back from the stringers after the weekend (Poly. Energy @ 56 lbs), so I could answer your query better then.

    Sorry. Can't really answer your other qsn re comparing to soft multi/Maxim Touch.

    R.
     
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  5. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    A great thread Chris - thanks. I've never been that adventurous with stringing so low, but after this thread I'm willing to try! And to top it all off -it's healthier for your arm; it's a win-win. :)
     
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  6. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

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    This is a fascinating thread that is about 10 years too late for me. My story is that growing up, I used a Pro Staff Classic 6.1 95 and I always thought that tighter was better...unfortunately I was stringing them at 65 lbs. with Forten Kevlar 15L. Unfortunately I ended up with arm problems that continue to this day. I remember at the time my dad saying I should string lower, say around 50, and thought he was nuts.

    Now looking back, he wasn't that crazy after all. I'm currently using my PB10mid with MSV Hex 1.10 Black strung at 52 lbs. (Spring-Fall) and 50 lbs. (Winter). Here's the thing, using my ERT300 I found out my sweetspot ranges around the 40-44 lbs. range. I found this out just keeping track of tensions as soon as I get home along with how long I played and how many sets I played. Another crazy thing is that I can keep playing with the same strings until the bottom drops out to around 36-37 lbs. with no problem. I also don't break strings even though I hit with a good amount of spin since the strings don't really move all that much.

    What I really like about my setup is the slingshot effect, people have commented that I tend to hit heavier if I just whip the PB10. I also like the ease of playing defense; just stick the racquet out and the ball just goes. Playing offense definitely is a ton better too as I'm getting a ton of jump on my shots; being lefty and having the spinny setup is definitely a boon.

    Has my game changed from going to lower tensions? I think I try to exploit the setup now as it pertains to my game, with the PB10mid I can definitely hit some wicked angles and touch shots while also pounding big serves and groundies. Slightly OT, my trek-font PC600 was strung with VS17/Isospeed17 at 48/53 and it's still in the frame, but has dropped tension in the low 40s and I feel that although I'm not hitting the wicked angles, I can still reap the benefits of great defense and a more penetrating, flatter ball from the ground and serve.

    The lesson learned for me is that I should keep an open mind from now on and try something new every so often. Who knows, it could be a pleasant surprise!
     
    #56
  7. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    Hey Chris, thanks for keeping an open mind and trying out something that few would even think about. I'm currently in the mid to upper 40's for string tension but didn't think 30lbs would even return a ball - man was I wrong. I think this will help quite a few ppl out, you might even start a new trend.

    I read your blog where you mentioned "hand pulling" the tension, and since 10lbs worked for you I thought, heck I could hand pull at least 10lbs. So I tried it on an old racket which had no strings in it anyways. I had no machine btw, but still remember how to string from back in the days, so I used a soft face woodworking clamp and a pair of work glove. I was surprised I could get the main strings pretty tight feeling. Any loose strings could be tightened up by pulling on previously tensioned strings while pulling on the end of the string. But the cross strings I couldn't do that with so they feel pretty loose. It's kinda rough on the hands though.

    Anyway, it actually felt good so far bouncing the ball on the strings. Good call on the Barry White comment... My normal rackets suddenly sound tinny and feel board like right after boucing the ball on the hand pulled strings. I have no idea what the tension is obviously, I do know there is a drastic difference between the mains and the crosses. This is an old slightly fractured (it just makes slight sound) but still totally functional racket strung with super low priced Liberty 16 so it doesn't matter. I'll get to try it out in the afternoon.

    Btw, I tried pushing down on the middle of the string bed firmly with my thumb while holding the edge of the frame with my other fingers, and the stringbed caves in about 1/4 of an inch on a 90sq in head. Could you tell me how much the string bed deforms on any one of your string tensions? Just trying to get an idea of how firm my strings currently are. Thanks again for your experiment.
     
    #57
  8. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    if ultra low string tensions are so good, how come they haven't been used in the past?
     
    #58
  9. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I found if I just cleared my mind and played as usual, blocking out the low tension deal, worked best. It was tough at times to trust the racquet and stay on the gas during points, but it worked out.

    It is amazing how quickly we adjust as players. After hitting with the 10lbs racquet, when I went to the 30lbs racquet it felt crisp in comparison. Imagine that, a racquet strung at 30lbs, feeling crisp! While it was obviously still very soft, compared to 10bs it was pretty crispy.

    We are shooting the Nike Vapor Lunarlite shoe review Monday, so I'll tack on some additional shooting to get footage of hitting with low tensions.

    Chris, TW
     
    #59
  10. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    They were used in the past in wooden racquets. With graphite, I'm not sure how syn gut or natural gut would be at these low tensions. The use of poly as a string material definitely makes low tensions a realistic option.

    Poly is stiff before you string it, while you string it and after you string it. Even just holding the string, so at 0lbs, it is stiff.

    Chris, TW
     
    #60
  11. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    Natural gut at 30lbs is really nice to feed with but impossible to compete at a high level. These tensions definitely require at least half poly. My go to right no is bph 18 mains and global 17 crosses 34/36. Its had about a week to settle in and feels great.

    What I have wondered for a long time is at what point do you finally stop gaining power from dropping tension? I think its somewhere around 40lbs. At least for my Avery m3 power. Any thoughts?
     
    #61
  12. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    interesting. So it may be the case that ultra low string tensions may become mainstream with poly...
     
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  13. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    Really interesting thread !

    Has anyone tried hybrids with combos of a soft multi or gut in the mains and a stiff poly in the crosses and gone to these extreme low tensions or is there a limit here, because of the softer multi or gut, which will make the hybrid impossible to use for serious play ?

    Anyone who has tested how low you can go with hybrids of soft multi/gut and stiff poly ?

    I'm currently testing a hybrid a VS gut mains @ 52 lbs mains and Luxilon Alu Power @ 48 lbs crosses in my 95, SQ" 18X20 BLX, but will try to go for 48 lbs mains and 44 lbs crosses next time - but could one go even lower into the 30's with a hybrid of soft multi/gut and stiff poly ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
    #63
  14. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    Great thread chris. I have a new frame that I think is ideal for this kind of experiment. (Blx pro tour 18x20). Very tight pattern stick. I will try it and report. My previous low was 45 in a k90. Topspin was incredible. My feeling is that with this new stick I can dip even lower. I think I'm gonna try a thick full poly in the 30s!
     
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  15. PeterCharvet

    PeterCharvet Banned

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    LOL. Low tensions don't work for gut you idiot, because its already a very soft elastic string. It's just going to produce a huge trampoline effect with consequential huge loss of control.
     
    #65
  16. stoble

    stoble Semi-Pro

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    I think this is an important distinction. I bet even a synthetic gut may be too stretchy to string this low.

    Your blog has inspired me to give poly another shot. I first tried poly (SPPP) a year ago and didn't like it. I dropped the recommended 10% (from 53 to 47) but still felt it was too harsh and difficult to volley with. I have a pack of luxilon fluoro that has been collecting dust, so I'll use that. I think I'm gonna try 30 lbs and see how it goes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
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  17. ahile02

    ahile02 Rookie

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    That's a bit harsh don't you think. Don't ridicule the guy just because you understand how much more powerful gut is than polys.
     
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  18. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    I can only read this fu#ked up jerks posts, when he's quoted by others, becausé the idiot and his alias Ivan Lendl's Backhand is on my ignorelist.

    I've played with nat guts for longer and have used more sets of nat gut than this idiot has even seen in his life.

    I'm not asking about full jobs of nat gut, but nat gut hybrids with poly, which because of the poly also can be played nicely at lower tension, just not tension as low as with full poly jobs of course.

    I use 1-2 sets of VS Team Gut a month in hybrids with Luxilon Alu Power and WeissCannon Silverstring.
    Have just not experimented with tension lower than 52 lbs mains for the gut and 48 lbs crosses for the poly in 95 SQ" 18X20 frames, but will start to do so soon.

    Was just looking for comments from other guys - I was certainly NOT looking for a comments from the biggest TROLL on this board - PeterCharvet aka Ivan Lendl's Backhand - ignore the guy, in 50% of his posts in here, he's attacking me showing how big of a TROLL he really is, and the moderator does NOTHING.

    Oh yes, the moderator banned me, while PeterCharvet still is free to continue his personal attacks on me.........
     
    #68
  19. ahile02

    ahile02 Rookie

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    You should let a moderator know about all this.
     
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  20. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    He was talking about gut hybrided with poly, and as has been talked about earlier in the thread, there are already some people who hybrid gut/poly at or below 40 lbs.

    Can everyone just please chillax we're just talking about strings here, wow. And so what if he happened to string all gut at 40 lbs?? Let that person try it and then see what happens. no need for hostility and name-calling over string setups, geez.

    For instance, I use kevlar mains with gut crosses, both strung mid 40's and the ball only flies long if I use a eastern grip. It's a very solid control setup, so I imagine poly instead of kevlar at this tension, still with gut cross will also be quite controlled. Or gut mains poly cross at that tension also will be playable. Give it a shot and see! :)
     
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  21. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    The guy hates me and he uses every occasion possible to offend and hassle me..........
    I only read his posts, when someone quotes him, since the guy and his 2 aka's is on my ignore list :)

    I already am testing VS nat gut mains @ 52 lbs and Luxilon alu Power crosses @ 48 lbs, and love it.... Will try ti go lower step by step, but would like to hear if anyone has gone much lower with a nat gut - poly hybrid.

    As you have noted, but Peter-MORON-IDIOT-JERK-Charvet has not, I'm not talking about full nat gut jobs here !
     
    #71
  22. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    Peter Charvet has certainly made himself known as a less than educated poster......If others haven't seen my previous posts, I already said I have been playing with hybrids in the 30's for a few years now. I compete at a 4.5 level and have no trouble with control. In fact, when I attempt to go to 40lbs is when I lose complete control. I teach alot of 4.0's at my place of work and when I play with over 40lbs I am not worth the price of the lesson. The ball starts flying everywhere. Full polys are great in the 30's and hybrids with global gut crosses feels extremely comfortable without much more ( if any) power. I think it is because its past the point of increasing power. Bottom line...hybrids with syn or nat gut in the 30lb range is an amazing setup for serious competition.
     
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  23. C-XIII

    C-XIII Rookie

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    Has anyone thought of the negative effects on the racket having it strung so low. My fischer says 45 to 65lbs and was wondering if I went under it be as bad as going higher up? Im guessing though they just put numbers for the lower end for an overall guess?Anyone have any knowledge of this because i definitly would like to try 35lbs or 40lbs.
     
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  24. armsty

    armsty Hall of Fame

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    I strung up my KPro Open a few times at about 40lbs with cyber blue a while back and loved it but moved up to 50lb.
     
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  25. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Trying it again...

    It's been awhile since I've played with full-poly strung at low tension (tension less than 40#). I think the last time was in my PK 5G's

    I just strung up one of my APDGT's with Big Hitter Blue at 38#... will give 'er a try, tomorrow.
     
    #75
  26. beststringer

    beststringer Rookie

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    just strung my babolat pure drive with 30lbs of 18g poly. feels soft, but it's a different feel from gut at 50.
     
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  27. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    What could the negative effects be? Lower tension leads to less stress on the frame and that's a good thing. :)
    Are you talking about the extra vibration that Chris was referring to at 10lbs?
     
    #77
  28. corners

    corners Legend

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    Have you tried gut mains/poly crosses at these low tensions?

    I've read that different materials have "power curves" such that their elasticity is highest at certain tensions. For gut, that peak is supposedly at 60 lbs. Nylon is 50 lbs. I've got no idea about poly.
     
    #78
  29. auzzieizm

    auzzieizm Semi-Pro

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    I tried stringing my Prince Graphite Longbody last night at 32 lbs with SPPP. I typically love extremely high tensions. My usual setup is 66/68 lbs Blue Gear m/ SPPP x. I use that tension just based on the SPPP having snapped on me when I tried 72 lbs., and the Blue Gear losing spin capabilities on me over 66.

    Anyway, I had a quick hit with the 32 lbs setup last night. At first I only took abbreviated swings thinking everything would fly long. Touch felt nice, and shots just seemed to be landing in. There weren't as many fly aways as I would have thought. I actually felt that flat shots were very effective and found myself hitting flat for the first half an hour. Then the strings settled in a little bit (typical for SPPP), and I started to find this tremendous range. Wherever I wanted to hit, whatever spin, and any angle all became available to me. At the time I was hitting into the wind, so I asked my hitting partner to switch so to have the wind behind me to see if I lost this amazing command I had over my shots. And to my shock, my shots became even more accurate with the wind behind me. Nothing seemed to fly. I was getting better control, touch, and spin than my 66/68 set up, and any other set up I have tried for that matter ( I do experiment alot).
    I am going out for a match this morning against a 4.5 guy. So I hope to report back more good results...

    As a post script, I love high tensions. I have always gravitated towards these setups. Played with Kevlar/ 15g syngut at 72 lbs when at school. Now I am back in the 60's with poly, but alot of time feel that I want something tighter. I religiously try tensions in the 50's after trying friend's racquets or based on recommendations. It feels good in everybody else's frame except mine. So stringing at 32 lbs tension is a quite a pleasant surprise for me.
     
    #79
  30. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Ok, let's shut this thread down right now! I just don't want any of my opponents hearing about all this!! :shock:
     
    #80
  31. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    So if I used like PHT I could string that much much lower, around 30-40 to try this lower tension out right?

    Also what's the main difference between Co-poly and Poly?
     
    #81
  32. kalic

    kalic Professional

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    I believe that fresh poly stringjob is good at very low tension. But, any reports after 10 or more hours of play ?????
    I really hate when poly lose elasticity (I don't have a problem when it lose tension, BTW).
     
    #82
  33. SJP

    SJP New User

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    I picked up a racquet strung with full Luxilon ALU in the high 30s that had been used in tournament play and then put back in the bag to sit for a couple of months. It didn't play that great - felt like a loss of control on some shots. When the racquet was freshly strung it was great.
     
    #83
  34. Sublime

    Sublime Semi-Pro

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    I'd think that playability with these low tensions would be longer because the dynamic tension on a shot would be less. However any playability lost due to notching would likely be the same. Defitely going to try this out.
     
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  35. auzzieizm

    auzzieizm Semi-Pro

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    as a follow up on my match results: I did post a win :), but it was because my opponent retired :(. He strained a back muscle.

    Anyway, today, I just didn't have the same results. I hit some great shots, and missed some easy ones. I actually found myself netting alot more balls than I was expecting. Defensive and touch shots were above average today. In the 5 games played, I had 4 drop shots for winners. I don't typically drop too much, but the touch and feel I was getting with the low set up just coerced me into those types of decisions. Serves were ok, but I found myself just going for a smooth motion instead of winding up for a big delivery. I was getting good spin on my second serves. But like I mentioned earlier, I missed some easy rally shots. The type of shot where I am not going for a winner nor playing defensively. Just didn't get a good feel. I also had more trouble today going for finishing shots. Just didn't have the same feel and confidence.

    So, after logging 2 hitting sessions with the low tension, I am afraid I am going back up to the 60's. Hope my trial and error helps someone else...
     
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  36. Lawnmower

    Lawnmower Guest

    Just strung up my prestige pro's at 32/34lb with proline 2. We'll see how it goes.
     
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  37. beststringer

    beststringer Rookie

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    this is the one of the best setup ever for forehands and slice. not so much for the serve. i need more time with this tension to get the serves right.i had 3 other friends tested it. none of them liked it as much as i do. so i think it has to do with the stroke u hit. i think it suits me.

    first generation ($2) 18g poly at 30, with babolat team.
     
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  38. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    As a quick note, it took me about 6 months to a year to really settle in to these low tensions. At first, I would go back and forth. Of course, my boss who originally recommended the low tension would make fun of me when I went back to the tighter stick. Then he would point out all the shots that I would have made with the loose stick. After awhile of fighting back and forth with myself, I eventually stayed in the 30's. Although I no longer work with him, I'm thankful for him showing me his secrets.

    For those that are experimenting, give it time. Just keep one frame with low tension and break it out whenever you can. Of the dozen or so students that I have tried to convert, less than half actually stayed with it. Its definitely NOT for everyone. But for those who dig it, its really a joy.
     
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  39. auzzieizm

    auzzieizm Semi-Pro

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    That's interesting. I am sure I would feel more comfortable with the setup if I played it for longer.
     
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  40. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    I have a gamma tension check and suprisingly, the global crosses lose more tension than the poly.

    Also, someone asked about gut in the mains and poly in the crosses. I tried that a couple years ago at around 33lb and didn't like it. It didn't have the same control is all I can remember.
     
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  41. schenkelini

    schenkelini Semi-Pro

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    This is an interesting thread. I had just finished reading some posts similar over at stringforum.net. One of the things that came out there was to slow the pulling process down during stringing and to pull the last two mains at 8lbs higher to have a consistent string base. I plan to try this tomorrow when my Stringway clamps arrive.
     
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  42. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    I love this thread to pieces :lol:

    I'm definitely going to experiment with full poly at VERY low tension (35 lbs and 28 lbs) the next couple of weeks and will also try some nat gut mains-poly cross hybrids at pretty low tension (48 lbs gut mains, 44 lbs poly crosses)

    What I'm ancious to hear is how the poly behaves, when strung at that low a tension. Will it keep and hold its elasticity and tension longer, will it be the same or maybe even worse :confused:

    My guess is that the poly should hold its tension and elasticity for a longer period, when strung at low tension - but I'm only guessing :)

    I also wonder how the poly will last and behave, when strung at that low of a tension......would think it should keep its elasticity and tension better at low tension.

    Looking forward to hear about your 'low tension journey'!

    I will try that. String 2-3 of my frames at low tension and the other at my usual tension level and then compare, what I pefer.

    I'm currently experimenting with a hybrid of nat gut mains @ 48 lbs and poly crosses @ 44 lbs. It plays nice so far. Need more playing hours to decide if it's for me though :)
     
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  43. schenkelini

    schenkelini Semi-Pro

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    One of the things that came out in the thread that I mentioned above is that stringing poly faster and at higher tensions often kills it's resiliency. Once it is stretched beyond a certain point it goes dead very quickly. If this is correct, then stringing it lower should make the strings last much longer. I look forward to trying that out. I am also wondering about strings that I have felt were too stiff in the past. I have a set of Blue Gear that I didn't like at higher tensions. It is like a whole new world has opened up.
    Just as I thought I had everything figured out as to my personal preferences, now I have to start all over again.
     
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  44. no1

    no1 Rookie

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    So as a summary, what were the disadvantages of low tension? Difficult to control late balls?
     
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  45. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    went and hit with my random low tension set up yesterday for about 1/2 hour. It seemed pretty low powered but had very good bite on slice. It was easier to control and get used to than I thought, but it felt like playing with rubber bands for strings, as I'm using nylon, not poly. It felt a little out of control on some shots, especially those that landed near my feet, and a little unpredictable at times.
     
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  46. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    I agree. I have read some advice over the year from reliable MRTs, that basically the lower you initially string a poly, the less stress you are putting on the string from the start (i.e. poly is not very resilient to begin with), so if you only string it at 30-40 lbs, you aren't "taxing" it's elasticity to begin with like you will if you string it at 50-70 lbs, so that in the end, a low tensioned poly *should* retain it's limited elasticity for a bit longer than a higher tensioned poly.

    But again, the only way to see is to try it out, and in theory sounds like the string should be playable a bit longer when initially strung low.
     
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  47. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I would guess that using a newer co-poly that has great tension maintenance ie. Spin-X or Tornado would be a better choice here, IMO. And polys lose less elasticity at lower tensions too.
     
    #97
  48. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    711
    I was playing with co-polys strung around 40lbs in a 100 sq. in. head size for a while and they always felt really good. I loved the feel, but the strings felt dead after a shorter time. I've never tried it with a multi or other syn gut.
     
    #98
  49. stingstang

    stingstang Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    394
    I've been creeping my tension down a lb or two every time since starting to use poly and like it more each time. I've going to stop being a chicken and drop it down to 40lbs this time. I use a wilson K95 16x18 and SPPP, anyone else use this combo?
     
    #99
  50. Bittabonga

    Bittabonga Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    I tried 50 pounds the other day and I seriously hit a ball over the fence in the air.:shock:

    So I won't be venturing into the 30s 40s.
     

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