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

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

  1. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    My 2 cents if it matters to anyone.

    Last night I strung up a steam 99s with bhb7 at 32 to see what the buzz was about. I normally us OGSM/TCS at 54. Mostline baseline games with a big hitting partner.. ex-college 5.5 player. 90 minutes session.

    As others stated the experience was not what I expected at all. First thing I noticed was the buzzing of the strings. It was very pronounced, and annoying. Second thing was the easy access to power at low swing speeds. I then noticed that the power dod not ramp linearly.. There seemed a law of diminishing returns. 75% swing speed as oppose to 90% swing speed produced almost the same ball for me depth wise. It is possible that the full out swing was producing more rpm's but I did not get that impression.

    The ball DID move faster that my normal setup. There was more rpm and the trajectory actually seemed a bit lower as I adjusted. I'm normally a full western, but I felt very comfortable in semi-western and smashing the ball flatter and lower over the net. This was surprising to me.

    Volleys were much nicer compared to full poly at a higher tension. IMHO this is where the lower string tension really shines. Backspin slice volleys were butter smooth, punch volleys were easy power. Drop volleys had lots of bite. They didn't float as much as I expected.

    I did not serve enough to have a real opinion. I was concentrating on baseline and some volleys.

    Now the bad. I felt an acute lack of control when I was not able to execute a full swing. I don't mean a fast swing, I mean the full technique. Getting jammed at the baseline where you need to grab it low and flick it up for example. These shot FLEW. I would have to re-learn these shots.

    Also as I tired into the last 15 minutes I noticed my forehands getting more out of control as I throttled back the RPMs.

    The worst part for me was two fold, and mostly in my head. First was the vibration. I HATED it. I did not like it at all. I can't stress this enough. I lick a crisp contact and even though I'm pretty sure the initial contact was crispish, the on going vibration was annoying as all get out. Even after 90 minutes and continually trying to ignore it it was driving me nuts.

    The second was the sound. There was none besides a twang. A weird twang. An unholy twang. I'm used to positive feedback from the ball strike. This was just odd. I might be able to get used to it... might.

    all and all for me it was a mixed bag. I'm not going to discount it right off the bat. I'll keep a stick strung with it in my bag and experiment with it from time to time. I'm curios to see how it servers. I'm guessing I'll get some huge serves out of it.
     
  2. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    A steam 99S at 32 sounds a bit too audacious.
     
  3. keithfival

    keithfival Professional

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    I've tried it a few times now and had very similar results as ^^^. Feels great for relaxed groundstrokes and fantastic for volleys but stick saves/reaction shots/flicks all just flew out of the building. Also, I always lose speed on my serve with it - similar to what you are saying about hitting harder and the ball not going any faster.
     
  4. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    isn't the consensus here that extreme open patterns should be strung higher because an ESP stringbed is softer at the same tension? (less crosses stabilizing it)
     
  5. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

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    The above might be what I'm experiencing. I should try it at 38 to 42 and see what that is like.
     
  6. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    On the vibes. Its true, and every racket is a bit different. There are a few options. sometimes 5lbs lower or higher totally changes the vibe situation. I solved it with some plastidip and later with some shocktape for the grip. If you adjust and like the low tensions, know that it is possible to solve the vibration issue.

    I was told by my coach that the lack of sound was challenging. He said that it was harder to tell if the ball was hit hard or not and that it made playing the ball tougher.

    I had the same experience. The SW was always a bit of a crapshoot and western for me was alot more consistent. NOw its reversed and for some reason I just nail the SW now.
     
  7. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    FWIW I strung up my prince pog mid at 15lbs but skipped every other cross creating a 14/10 pattern. Because this racket was not designed for that I doubled tension on the crosses to 30.

    I was using kevlar/poly hybrids. It was great on many levels though ultimately a bit unpredictable on some shots. There probably is a need for more tension, though with the strings I used it was a pretty stiff bed.
     
  8. dtomelden

    dtomelden New User

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    Wilson PS Classic 6.1 18x20 Wiess Silverstring 17g @ 32#

    Made the jump to low tension 1 yr ago. Was SPPP 16g @ 54# on PS Classic Stretch.

    Now Weiss Silverstring 17g @32, Stretch cutdown to 27", 13oz 14pt HL.

    Very nice improvement in comfort and control, highly reliable serve, volley ok. Nice topspin using a higher trajectory, good slice and drop shots. Winning consistently with this setup.

    I string on a Gamma X-Stringer but I pull tension slowly and gently. I think that is key when working with poly. Having your own stringer helps solve the tension puzzle. After some (not much) trial and error, I stumbled on string, diameter and tension epiphany. The Pro Staff 6.1 Classic is a beast. Now she's a beast that does what I want and does not hurt me. I get sore after 5 sets, but, I play 5 sets hard and I win. It works for me, I encourage others to try.
     
  9. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    what tension is best for someone who volleys?

    what tension is best for someone who volleys? I don't hit very many groundies, I come in on every serve and even most returns I'll hit and come in. I play doubles so I'd prefer a tension that doesn't have a high launch angle. A lot comments I've read deal with groundies, I'm interested in the best tension for serving and volleying. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  10. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    37.25, regardless of racket.
     
  11. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    If you are using the 99s and you are a big hitter, you should not poly strings with a low tension. You need control brother. Coupled with the fact that you didn't care for sound/feel, you can close that experiment. I am curious though, what poly strings did you use?
     
  12. Casco

    Casco Semi-Pro

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    I've experimented with all kinds of tensions for years, including into the low 40s. So reading about the 30s and lower peaked my interest. I've already started to think about cutting out my RPM 16 at 26/25 kgs in one of my racquets and trying RPM 16 at 32 or 30. But I decided to read on to really see if I should take the time to conduct yet another string experiment. I am now seeing that many ELT believers have converted back. And, I did get curious about Chris, so I did look up his play tester profile as the profile typically indicates current equipment of the play testers, and Chris indicates that his current string is Cyclone 16 ga. The tension he indicates is 57 pounds. In all fairness, just because his profile indicates 57 pounds, it doesn't necessarily mean that this is what he is using. However, it is a reasonable assumption. I still may try the 30 pound setup, but I really don't want to waste any time, and if I can benefit from others' experiences here, I won't have to re-invent the wheel. I think that this is one of the purposes of such forums. The above post by Wmilas isn't exactly supportive of ELT either. Would love to hear from Chris and see if he is actually up to 57 pounds with his regular racquet, and if so, why. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  13. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I love elt. Though like wmilas the vibes are really frustrating. The performance is great and the feel is top notch. I just cant seem to eliminate the vibes. Though been doing 45/30lbs if that counts for ELT

    Just finished stringing a racket at normal tension 55/50 but instead of kevlar mains its gut mains. Its a test. I could be OK with the 45/30 in the sig. The vibes are mostly tamed. Also I can tell you that each frame is different and the vibes happen at specific tensions. Wmilas and anyone else should try 5 lbs higher or less.

    I'll be trying 15lbs on the new racket at some point to see.
     
  14. aarenes

    aarenes New User

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    Much of the talk on this thread is related to see poly or poly based hybrids.

    Does this apply to multifilaments as well?

    I am using a Wilson blade 104 with head rip control...currently strung at 55 to 58 lbs

    Wondering if one gets similar benefits stringing multis at low 40 and low 30 tensions.

    Opinions anyone?
     
  15. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    Nope. Multifilaments are very elastic unlike polys, so they perform best at higher tensions. At lower tensions their elasticity makes them a unpredictable trampoline (IME).
     
  16. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    RIP Control is a poly based multi. Just try it lowering your tension a little at a time. You'll never find out until you try.
     
  17. logrock

    logrock Rookie

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    After years of playing with soft poly's & hybrids at 52/50 range finally dropped to 46/44 in a full bed. Should have done this a long time ago, huge improvement all around. No need to hybrid anymore either. Love it!
     
  18. SOY78

    SOY78 Semi-Pro

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    Just wait until you try it in the 30s :)
     
  19. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Casco,
    I am back up in tension, but mostly due to playtesting. I'm constantly testing racquets and sharing those racquets with other testers so the tension has to be within a 'normal' range. When I do get to hit my racquets I'm usually testing strings. To do a solid test, I use a tension more in line with what most players would use so my feedback reflects more of what they could expect if trying the string.
    Switching to the Six.One 95S is another factor. I'm not sure how that racquets would play at low tensions? The PB10 Mid was fantastic at low tensions -- although in the 20s I got a lot of vibration as there comes a point when the stringbed vibration and racquet vibration start to amplify each other instead of canceling each other out.

    Cheers,
    Chris, TW
     
  20. Cobra Tennis

    Cobra Tennis Professional

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    I strung up Pacific Poly Power Pro for a customer at 42lbs and he loved it. He was a usual poly at 55 kind of guy.
     
  21. Nevarin

    Nevarin New User

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    hello!

    i didn't want to open another thread, since it is about low tensions.

    i am a player 5.0 player. I play with a single handed backhand and a slightly more extreme grip than eastern. i always had alot of power and spin in my shot and i hit them more penetrating than loopy. kinda like federer. spinny but penetrating. i always liked low tensions more and played gamma live wire/msv co focus 20.5kg/18.5kg in my leaded up PS 6.1 90. Went a little to costly for me so i searched for something cheaper. Found Polystar Energy, cause it is one of the more powerfull polys and i own a stringer so i basically restring everytime i play. tried that at 18.5kg/17kg and felt good.

    came across this thread and thought: lets try that! more spin and concistency with my heavy balls would up my level quite a bit!

    strung my racket with 15kg/13.5kg with the Polystar Energy. Spin was even more than usual, but i couldnt hit that penetrating anymore. concistency was upped and i had alot of control, combined with the spin. it felt nice, but finishing the point became a tad harder. the ball is not as "heavy" anymore. it loses more pace after the bounce than before.never had this problem in my life, my balls usually dont slow down after the bounce. winners where still possible, although more flat, but still controlable.

    point is, one of the strongest traits in my game is the heavyness and pace of my balls, my weakest is my concistency. i dont want to lose my strongest point just to improve my weakest point. overall i probably played around the same level or maybe a fraction better with the 15kg/13.5kg

    today i tried 15.5kg/14kg and 16kg/14.5kg. penetration is back, finishing the points is easier again, but i lost the awesome spin. spin is back to normal, which was relativly high to begin with, but because of that my concistency is to normal levels again.

    the sound is more lively again, so i guess i hit the treshhold of the trampoline effect for my setup.

    does anyone has experience with poly/multi at these tension? i thought since i only lost some penetration and pace i could string something like polystar energy/gutex ultra or some other cheap multi at 15kg/13.5kg again and get the same awesome spin, but a little bit more penetration.

    any experience or do i just have to try blindly?

    thanks guys!
     
  22. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Review of ELT head-to-head vs ESP

    I've never been a fan of soft string beds. And I've never been a fan of poly strings in general. Always been a kevlar guy who likes the precise control and crisp feel of a firm stringbed. And I really like my current "ESP" stringbed combo of kevlar/ZX fully prestretched with 20-lb differential, which gives me great spin without giving up the precise "volley on a dime" feel.

    But I have to admit that I've been curious about the claims that there is a "no man's land" in the 40s, and then a nice zone of good playability in the 30s.

    My ESP setup (now fortified with 16g kevlar) will probably last me a year before it breaks, so I thought, why not try something new and different on my backup Blade. I had a reel of 17g silverstring in the closet just sitting there, so decided to give the ELT thing a try.

    I strung my backup BLX Blade 98 (Leaded up to 13.69 oz., 12.55" bal., 369 SW, same as my signature) with the 17g silverstring, fully prestretched at 35/30 lbs, skipping the outer mains as I normally do. For silverstring, fully prestretched means leaning my body weight into the end of a 19' length until it stretched the relaxed length to 19'7".

    The result:

    The poly ELT setup was surprisingly playable, softer than my regular ESP setup but crisper than I expected.

    Pros: Serve velocity higher than my current setup. Even though the spin on serve was a little less, the net heaviness of my spin serves was improved compared to my regular setup. A little extra power on my 2hb felt nice. When I had time to set up to play soft sitters, I enjoyed hitting groundies with the setup. When I had to extend to play a defensive shot without being able to drive my weight into the shot, the extra power was welcomed. Touch shots like drop shots were fine as long as I was playing a a ball that was just sitting there.

    Cons: Not as much bite as my ESP setup. As a result, I had less control of the "shape" of my shots. Volleys with my ESP setup >>> better than with the ELT, especially when the incoming shot had heavy spin. My confidence at net was not quite there with ELT, as I just couldn't control the rebound angle off the stringbed nearly as well as my crisper ESP setup. Returns against heavy serves were also much more controlled with my ESP than with the ELT. I also liked groundies much better with my regular setup when I was counterpunching against a big heavy hitter. Transition game with half volleys were much better controlled with ESP than with ELT.

    Overall, I was surprised that I had as much control as I did with the ELT. Serving was a little more interesting with the ELT than with my regular setup due to the extra pop. But other than the serve power, I'd say I prefer my ESP better on just about everything else. And volleys was no contest.

    It was a fun experiment though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  23. geca

    geca Rookie

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    strung up Volkl DNX10 mid with ALU Power fluro 17 @52 full bed... nice hit and it did go into the 40's no man's land for a while before falling further into the high 30's and is now playing nice again :)
     
  24. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    I'm listening to Radio Wimbledon and just heard that Lleyton Hewitt is having his racquet strung at 29lbs.
     
  25. tegg96

    tegg96 New User

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    Todd Woddbridge was mentioning LLyton's low tension stringing also. Didn't give any specs though
    I know he plays a Gut/Lux Poly hybrid. Tension wise someone else will have to chime in.
     
  26. tegg96

    tegg96 New User

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    Here is a quote from forum member drakulie


    "I strung Hewitt's frames last year at 34 lbs. This year, he dropped to 31.

    I've also strung Jack Socks frames as low as 38."

    __________________
    Head Stringer @ the LTC, Babolat Star 4 Stringer
    http://www.youtube.com/user/drakulie
     
  27. kalipa

    kalipa New User

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    I need some opinions.

    Strung my Original Exo3 Rebel Prince at 40 lbs.

    Used Tecnifibre Polyspin gauge 16 for the mains, and Babolat synthetic gut for the crosses.

    Played for a couple of hours, and I just couldn't find my game, and whilst playing doubles, I often wanted to cross court the ball, only to give it where the netman was standing.

    Here is what I inferred:

    1. I have bad form.
    2. I am a flat hitter, since I wasn't able to generate any more spin than what I normally do with my regular tension (60 lbs).


    What do you guys think?
     
  28. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    30lbs TB 19 in Head EP 2.0

    Shots land just long, volleys have easy power but not confident of control.

    Can't really comment on spin except to say my 99S is much better.

    Will probably switch back to high tension with this string.
     
  29. gambitt

    gambitt Professional

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    Tried 44/42 using a fairly soft 1.30 poly in my PS95S (down from 52lbs) and it's beautiful. Most shots landing just inside the baseline but I did cough up a few short balls (probably my footwork to blame). I'll try 35 next time, but since it's a very open pattern 16x15 I think it might need a touch higher than usual 16x18 frames.

    So easy to string low tensions on my dropweight plus less stress on the frame when stringing so maybe a frame can take more string jobs in its life?
     
  30. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I'm at 25 with Kevlar in the mains and 55 with gut in the crosses......

    It's paradise!
     
  31. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    I think the one thing I don't do is cough up short balls, which is why I need a racket to hit shorter than I'm aiming for.
     
  32. Holdfast44ID

    Holdfast44ID Rookie

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    When I used to teach tennis, there would be a few extra racquets in the tennis shed that we could use for feeding balls. I used to play with the PS85 back then, with tension in the low 60's. However, one day I picked up an oversize Prince racquet with very loose strings. It really felt great! My shots were consistent, accurate, and had power. Additionally, hitting the ball felt more effortless. Did a bell ring in my head, telling me to try lower tension strings? Of course not! Everyone played with tight strings back then. The only person I heard of playing with loose strings "ever" was John McEnroe. I grew up trying to emulate Borg early on, even using a Donnay Borg Pro stick with string tension in the 60's. Anyway, now I'm going to try out poly strings in a Babolat Pure Drive at 45 lbs. I'll try softer strings at around 52 lbs.
     
  33. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    45? Go low.....30!
     
  34. dfy

    dfy New User

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    low tensions... same as soft poly?

    in my quest to find the best soft poly for myself i've been testing a variety of "soft" polys. i'm definitely finding a wide range of softness and comfort.

    i'm wondering if moving my tension from the mid 40's down to the mid 30's would accomplish what i'm looking for.

    any thoughts?
     
  35. meltedsteam

    meltedsteam Rookie

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    from my experiences it will help with the dwell and pocketing feel, but not with the stiffness and the feel that comes from that. I don't know if this makes sense or not.
     
  36. dfy

    dfy New User

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    that does make sense, thanks
     
  37. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I bet.

    Try 15lbs on the kevlar!!!

    FWIW I was a big kevlar guy but I think I have switched solely to gut mains and zx or poly crosses at a more normal tension.

    I have made some racket changes and now I should try going back to the low tensions too.
     
  38. novak143

    novak143 New User

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    I am new to this ELT experiments. I have tried full bed of Topspin Cyber Flash on my Boris Becker London at 35 lbs tension for both mains and crosses. I have followed the Stringing process defined here.
    Based on the first outing I felt that the serves had more pop with less effort and the feel was very good on serves. I could serve out wide on deuce side with less effort. Ground strokes were also good. If the ball came at low height I could hit a flat reply with good pace. If the ball landed higher on my side the top spin helped to keep it lower.

    I am planning to get some strings from a friend of mine from US.
    Which do you think is best for Hybrid ELT - a multi or synthetic or a soft co-poly.
    I already have some Prince Premier Attack multi's with me. I am looking for some VFM synthetic and polys.

    I have Volkl PB10 Mid and a Volkl X10 295 also. Has any one tried ELT hybrids in these racquets. If so Please suggest some ELT setups that you felt were good in them.
     
  39. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    Tried very low tension with full poly, and from the back after I adjust to the launch angle it's all OK. Nice comfort, good topspin, good precision/control.
    I don't like it for volleying though, I just can't seem to feel/control the ball as I can with higher tension. So, higher tension poly is OK (not as good as RIP control for example) for volleying but bad from the baseline.
    The net result is I have to compromise and go with an "intermediary" tension when stringing full poly (and going with the most elastic polys I can find)....or...string hybrids at slightly higher tension.
    RIP Control would be ideal in a full bed, but it's expensive in Europe and I break it too quickly, so it's tough to justify the cost.
    Currently testing a 1.35 mm TF synthetic gut with poly cross...winter is close and I want to avoid full poly for winter time (it gets cold and balls are stiff).
     
  40. unforced error

    unforced error New User

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    Can someone explain the function or the impact of the mains vs the crosses as it relates to string tension and type?

    For example, how would a racquet strung with mains at 70 in synthetic gut with crosses in poly at 40 play vs. a racquet with the mains at 40 with poly and crosses in synthetic at 70 (or any other radically different combination)?
     
  41. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    it's a trend that's being around for a couple years now. Some people on the board think it increases spin and whatnot due to more snapback.

    All it does IME is cause extra stress on the frame for no reason. It's quite tough on the frame to be stringing that large a difference between mains and crosses.

    -Fuji
     
  42. unforced error

    unforced error New User

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    Okay, but which is "it" here? Is it that there is increased spin with the low tension on the mains or the crosses? Is it about the variation in string type?

    I understand that a differential in tension (either way) would create more strain on the racquet (because really all of that pressure would just be pulling one way) but it also seems intuitive that a major tension differential would make it so that only the tighter strings would be doing the work against the ball since the tighter strings would more quickly reach their point of resistance.

    But then it is still not clear to me what the function of that would be in the difference between the (generally) vertical facing strings (the crosses when you strike the ball except on a serve or slam) or the horizontal strings (the mains). It seems like it would matter. It also seems to me that you would want the mains to be the strings that grab the ball since it is the mains that will allow you to put either top or back spin on the ball.

    In that case you would want them tighter than the crosses to clearly dominate the contact point. But it would then just matter to only have the crosses marginally looser to not let the crosses dictate the resistance to the ball, but anything greater than marginally less resistance would simply be an exercise in thrashing on your string life (since zero tension on the crosses ultimately does not change the fact that mains at 50# are still at 50# but it could impact how quickly they wear out if they are bending with little behind them to hold them in place).

    All of that said, when I string my racquets, it is pretty obvious that the mains are awfully darn floppy no matter what their tension until the crosses are in. So maybe the real story in the crosses?

    Anybody actually know?
     
  43. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I was talking about the large differential between mains and crosses sorry. That has been a trend for a while since travelerjam posted his findings a while back.

    -Fuji
     
  44. meltedsteam

    meltedsteam Rookie

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    This thread is about low tension for both mains and crosses, and is worth a read. As far as variations in tensions, there are soft benefits to each method (tighter vs looser crosses). Those being more wear and snapback from the mains vs a more uniform stringed tension. Crosses will end up being looser relative to the mains if the entire racquet is strung at the same tension. Few will advocate a large tension variance, but it does have it's few proponents. I recommend utilizing Google for your question, and referencing the Talk Tennis pages that the search results display.
     
  45. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    I just strung my Ki5 PSE with RPM Blast 17 @ 35lbs.
    Feels sweet. I am getting a bit more spin than usual with this racquet.
    Need some adjustment on the volleys. Still haven't dialed in.
     
  46. Krajicek Serve

    Krajicek Serve New User

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    Yesterday I tested my Pure Drive Roddick 2012 strung with Volkl cyclone 120 (yellow) @ 38/37 lbs. Before this I played with several poly's, like YPTP 125, Cyclone 125 and YPTS 125 @ 45 lbs. So I dropped tension with 7 lbs.

    While 45 lbs gave me perfect control, I lost this @ 38 lbs. I wasn't able to fully swing at the ball while keeping the ball inside the court. I did notice and increase of top spin and my slice was really nasty. I was also able to bomb my serves at a very high speed. I was also able to put a higher amount of slice in my serves than usal.

    So I liked the low tension, but it was too low for me, as I wasn't able to fully swing at the ball without my shots flying long. So now I know my perfect tension is between 39 and 45 lbs and the experiments will continue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  47. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,755
    /\ At some point below 39 lbs, the power will diminish, but I am thinking this is not for me.
     
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,455
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Been alternating in a Bio300T with KirshbaumSpikyS 16 at 38 lbs.
    Tons of control, possibly a little too tight still. Racket is 18x20.
    My Aero300's with STBite16 at 47 is also a little tight, now probably 40.
     
  49. Jec

    Jec New User

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Hi guys, i'm using a PD2015 right now.. interested to try the low poly set up. the lowest i ever gone is around 52lbs.. should i drop straight to ~30s or maybe try around ~40lbs first? Can someone recommend me some strings best suitable as well? i'm aroundd 3.5, playing with SW FH usually with little spin unless necessary, if that matters. Thank you!
     
  50. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,616
    42 seems to be the consensus tension for first timers and 30 is getting to the point of no return as vibration begins thereafter.

    I've only gone down to 42 and I could find nothing but positives.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015

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