Mains and Crosses Tension Difference?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by HiroProtagonist, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. HiroProtagonist

    HiroProtagonist Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,110
    Location:
    Samsara
    So I feel a little noobish asking this question but I have now seen different set-ups and opinions so I am confused again.

    I string my mains tighter(usually 2lbs) than my crosses as I was told this would increase the size of the sweet spot. I dont have any experience stringing myself so generally listen to the guy at my local pro shop, but we all know they are far from infallible.

    Recently I been seeing a majority of the people on these boards string their crosses tighter than their mains, and in thinking about this it made sense to me as the mains would be able to more easily slide across the crosses on impact and snap back into place thus creating more spin.

    Can one or more of you kind people explain the thinking here, pros, cons, effect etc.
     
    #1
  2. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    4,245
    Location:
    Snoqualmie, WA
    Rumors I have heard:

    1. Lower crosses - wider (makes sense) and closer to the tip of the racket (not sure why) sweetspot.

    2. Higher crosses - less string movement.

    We will need TW Professor here. /

    I typically string both the same - cannot feel the 2lbs difference.
     
    #2
  3. hpaiste

    hpaiste Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Tennis Courts, Pennsylvania, USA
    I myself have always gone with the 56/54 tension, but I just do it because of the things I hear. Do I think it makes a difference? No. But for me it's just thinking and knowing in my head that it makes a difference.
     
    #3
  4. DavidNERODease

    DavidNERODease Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    148
    This is a very interesting topic to me as well. When tension is measured on the crosses (near the sweet spot) it is usually far less than the mains due to the build up friction at each point where the mains and crosses touch each other during the stringing process. So it would seem to make sense to increase tension on the crosses but yes we need the professor on this one.
     
    #4
  5. DavidNERODease

    DavidNERODease Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    148
    I did a lot of hybrid testing this summer and I've been keeping a spreadsheet traking all the tensions after stringing and play etc. I just compared all the tensions on the mains and crosses right after stringing and it was very interesting. When I increased or decreased the set tension on the crosses it had little to no effect on the strung tension of the crosses but the strung tension on the mains was affected!

    Thinking hard about this (smoke coming out of my ears now) this does make sense. The mains are installed first and have a certain tension already. Installing the croses causes the mains to deflect increasing the tension on the mains. The tension on the crosses is just being applied and has to overcome a tremendous amount of inter-string friction and with the increase or decrease in set tension on the crosses being "used" to change the defelection of the mains - there isn't enough force left to overcome all the friction and end up with much of a change in strung cross tension.

    I think inter-string friction might have a bigger effect on final cross tension than set tension. When I installed string with a high COF I ended up with less strung tension on the crosses and when I installed low COF string I ended up more tension on the crosses.

    My current conclusion is that varying the tension on the crosses is a waste of time but more testing is needed for sure.
     
    #5
  6. HiroProtagonist

    HiroProtagonist Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,110
    Location:
    Samsara
    Very interesting, thanx for sharing and keep us posted.
     
    #6
  7. DavidNERODease

    DavidNERODease Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    148
    Another interesting thing about my limited summer data (sorry getting excited now that I have enough data to look at) - the tension on the crosses never seems to go down after each hit but the drop on the mains is fairly steady after each hit. This was true for both hybrids and full synthetic string jobs.
     
    #7
  8. southend

    southend Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    156
    Also from what I've read, it depends on what string is used in the crosses -- nat gut, poly or syn gut. If a poly, seems like a rule of thumb is to lower tension by 10% just because it is a poly. I personally string poly mains at 55 and syngut crosses at 60 on one set up and on another, nat gut mains at 55 and poly crosses at 55.
     
    #8
  9. dsmercado

    dsmercado Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    NYC
    I've been doing something similar. 54 for my poly mains and 60 for my gut crosses.
     
    #9
  10. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    I've been told that stringing crosses at a lower tension than mains will enhance dwell time thereby increasing spin. I would assume though that this is for like strings with like tension maintenance.

    That said, I have settled on Pacific XForce 18 gauge poly mains at 48 and 17 gauge multi crosses at 52. I get great pocketing and feel around the net with this set up. It doesn't feel boardy and control & spin are good.
     
    #10
  11. avdiscolo

    avdiscolo New User

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Very timely topic for me.

    I normally string Babolat Pro Hurricane 18 mains at 49 lb. and Gamma Asterisk 17 crosses at 56 lb. on my Wilson BLX Pro Open. Last night, I tried Asterisk 17 mains at 56 and Pro Hurricane crosses at 51 and it caused the hoop length to be compressed by about .25". Clearly, the cross tension has to be increased, but by how much?
     
    #11
  12. tennisace23

    tennisace23 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    290
    Location:
    PA
    Generally, more than a few pound differential can cause deformation. So maybe 56/53 or something less drastic than 56/51.
     
    #12
  13. avdiscolo

    avdiscolo New User

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Thanks tennisace23.

    I'm assuming then that the hoop is stronger in the 3-9 o'clock direction, and that is why the 49 lb. mains and 56 lb. crosses looks and plays fine?

    Finally, any idea what tension I should start at with the Asterisk mains and Pro Hurricane crosses so that it gives the same softness as when the strings are reversed strung at 49/56?
     
    #13
  14. tennisace23

    tennisace23 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    290
    Location:
    PA
    Also, the racquet construction comes in to play as well (beam width, whether frame is hollow or filled with something, materials used, number of layers or material, etc). So certainly one frame might be able to handle more of a differential than another. That being said, when I've seen frames with more than a few pound differential (exceptions exist of course, like you mentioned) there is usually visual deformation in length and or head shape. As to your second question, I don't know the answer, maybe someone does, or possibly you might just have to experiment--since it is all subjective anyway.
     
    #14
  15. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Northern NJ, USA
    You had it.........

    You had it and then went a little walk about. Changing tension on the cross does indeed effect the SBS/DT (string board stiffness/dynamic tension). This intern can change how the racquet will perform. Racquet pattern, string type, stringing machine and stringer technique will also have an impact. Generally, looser crosses can open up the sweetspot and increase pocketing, feel and spin. Tighter crosses will reduce sweetspot, pocketing, feel and string movement, for a firmer feel. Both have there respective benefits based on the players level and style of play. Extra attension needs to be used when hybriding, to understand how the SBS/playability will be impacted.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
    #15
  16. HiroProtagonist

    HiroProtagonist Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,110
    Location:
    Samsara
    Many thanks TennezSport.
     
    #16
  17. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,445
    TennezSport, great info. I agree 100& with what you said about machine and stringing technique. I had a stringer I used for 20 years. He retired and I have not found a stringer that I like since then. What I mean by "like" is that the way my racquets feel after I have them strung feels nothing like when my regular stringer did them. Even though I use the same strings and tension they just don't play and feel the same. I've messed around with tensions and some other strings but still I'm not happy with the way they feel now. I miss my other regular stringer. I wish he hadn't retired and moved away. I do wish him well though.
     
    #17
  18. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,977
    Is there any truth to the proposition that looser crosses widen the sweetspot, but tighter crosses can stretch it longtitudionally?



     
    #18
  19. Irakli

    Irakli Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    I’ve had interesting story about this topic:

    I usually use full poly and cut the stringbed after 10-12 days (as I play 3-4 times a week), so poly is really dead after that period. Last time however, I did hybrid poly mains and multi crosses 24/26 kg respectively. I played with that setup for 2 weeks and it was really good for all that period. After, I went for a vacation for 2 weeks, and when I got back, the first thing I wanted to do was to restring the racquet (since it was a month since I’d strung it up) and hit a court. Unfortunately, I found out that my stringer was really busy (due to ongoing tournament) and had no time for at least 2 weeks (?!). I got really upset, but nevertheless I went to the court to play. To my great surprise, the racquet played great!!! There was no loss of control and/or spin, whatever. I could hit some serious heavy/spinny ball, angle, drop shots, you name it. I was really surprised, I didn’t expect that strings that were that old and had played many hours already (and then resting in the bag for whole 2 weeks) would perform so well. I really thought that the tension would be so decreased, that it would be really hard to control the ball, but it was not. Could it be, that multi in the cross held the tension really well, thus the total tension loss was not so apparent?

    As the story goes on, I played with this setup for a week (it played really good for a whole week) and then I discovered another stringer so I took the racquet to restring (mainly because the crosses were about to break). I asked him to do poly mains 24 kg, he did. Then I asked to do multi crosses 26 kg. He got really astonished and said: “Are you serious? You can’t do crosses higher than mains! On the contrary – you should do crosses lower, since crosses are shorter than mains!”. I said that I knew that, but since crosses were much softer than mains one would string it higher to compensate. He finally agreed to do crosses higher, but not too much higher, so he did crosses 25 kg, so the setup came up like 24-25kg.
    I hit the court the second day and played. Never in my life I had such a terrible setup – the balls were flying all over the place. It was the worst experience, ever! I played for an hour and then gave up – maybe it was not my day, decided to give it another try the next day. Went to the court next day – it became even worse. In the end, I cut out the string after 2 awful hours. I have no idea what went wrong with the last setup, maybe the stringer did something wrong, maybe he didn’t up the tension to my liking, but results were horrible...

    To sum it up, I guess even 1 kg difference in crosses could lead to completely different playing setup (at least that was my case). It’s really hard for me to judge, since I’m, by no means, a string guru, but I really think it’s very complicated topic and we should just experiment to find out what kind of setups suit our needs better.

    Sorry for a long post, hope it was (at least) somewhat interesting :)
    Irakli
     
    #19
  20. DavidNERODease

    DavidNERODease Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    148
    Actually we are in agreement (except for the part about the walk about :)). I wasn't saying that varying tension on the crosses didn't make a difference on the courts or to the total SBS/DT, I was saying that the effect it has on the actual tension of the mains vs the crosses isn't what we think and that this is more affected by friction than we thought - to the point that varying the tension by a couple pounds on the crosses may be an ineffcient way of attempting to get less or more actual tension on the crosses. The subjective play testing might produce the results we expect and the combined SBS/DT is for sure differenet but the non subjective data sugest that our logic may be flawed and that we can get the results we really want by using string with a different COF which has a noticeable effect on cross tension.
     
    #20
  21. MuscleWeave

    MuscleWeave Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    709
    I'm wondering why we're talking about increasing or decreasing the cross tension in order to widen or stretch the sweet spot? Doesn't it make more sense to lower the cross tension to widen it and lower the main tension to stretch it?

    I just increased the crosses on my LM Rad OS by 1 lb. and the control increased dramatically. It plays much more similar to my Dunlops now.
     
    #21
  22. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Northern NJ, USA
    4 All..........

    Stringer technique is very important and can have a major impact on a racquets performance. If you know how to contact your old stringer, give him a call and ask him to talk to your current stringer. You may help your current stringer and yourself. Good luck.

    The sweet spot in racquets (there are actually 3, but that's another story) is determined by the racquets shape and size. However, you can increase the size slightly by stringing lower. Since the cross strings control the tension in the frame, lowering the cross tension will allow better pocketing and a higher level of CoR (string recovery), giving you the feeling of a larger sweetspot. Tigher crosses decrease pocketing, giving more control and a slightly smaller sweetspot.

    Bingo, bullseye, dead on!

    When doing hybrid stringing your request was right on the mark with the 2kg (4.4lbs) difference between the poly mains and multi crosses. By stringing the crosses down the way your stringer did, he just gave you too much power. For even more control go with a good synth gut in the crosses, which will also improve durability.

    Ahhh, I understand now, my bad, walk about rescinded :)

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
    #22
  23. ryangoring

    ryangoring Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,080
    Location:
    Daytona Beach via Barbados
    #23
  24. Irakli

    Irakli Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    TennezSport,

    Thanks very much for the info.

    I couldn’t quite understand why you recommended synth. gut for better control, but as far as durability goes, the multi I use in the cross is mono-multi (multi made of poly, sorta Tecnifibre Promix) and it’s 1.30, so it’s quite durable. But when I’m trying to hybrid it with poly, I can’t make up my mind what tensions to use: The package of a poly says “string 8% lower”, while the package of this multi says “string 6% higher” (I guess lower and higher than synth. gut). Let’s say my starting point for synth. gut is 25kg, so I assume I should string the poly 25kg-8%=23kg, and the multi 25kg+6%=26.5kg, so by just calculating I end up like 23kg poly mains and 26.5kg multi crosses, and I guess 3.5kg is quite a difference between mains and crosses and can (and will) cause the head to deform.

    What would you recommend?

    Irakli
     
    #24
  25. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Northern NJ, USA
    Well.............

     
    #25
  26. Irakli

    Irakli Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    TennezSport,

    Thanks again for the info.

    Actually, the multi string I use is not Promix, it’s Weisscannon 6StarString, but the idea is the same as with Promix – it’s a multi made of poly (well, at least that’s what the description says). It’s 1.30 gauge and though after couple of hours of heavy hitting it begins to fluff, it’s still quite durable and I haven’t had it broke on me while playing.

    I did restring my racquet – poly 24kg mains and multi (the one mentioned above) crosses 26kg. I took the racquet to MY stringer and he did the 24/26 tension without deforming the frame. He said the other stringer probably didn’t “lock in” the racquet in the stringing machine and that caused it. But I’m still afraid to go beyond 2kg difference between mains and crosses – do you think it’s safe? Like 23/26 or 24/27?

    Thanks again,
    Irakli
     
    #26
  27. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Northern NJ, USA
    Fine..........

    2-3kgs should be fine as long as your stringer knows what he/she is doing.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
    #27
  28. Chris Rizutto

    Chris Rizutto Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Surely you saw the manufacturer recomendation to string the mains and crosses at the same tension.
     
    #28
  29. Speed Kat

    Speed Kat Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    My stringer made the mains tighter than the mains by mistake and the racket played horribly compared to when the mains and crosses were both the same (at 57)
     
    #29
  30. kslick

    kslick Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    246
    Just read on another site about stringing Mains and Crosses. Using a Poly in the mains and a multi in the crosses. Typically to achieve an even string bed you raise the X's by 3-4 lbs. But in what I was reading you need to throw in string patterns. Typically with a 18x20 pattern this works. But they were saying in a 16x19, 16x20 (which is what I use) you actually raise the tension on the mains by a few pounds because of the fewer mains (16). Is this really the case?
     
    #30
  31. Virgilio

    Virgilio Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    432
    Mains = horizontal? and crosses = vertical?
     
    #31
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    If you are using a hybrid poly/multi, then you might want to string the poly tighter because it's going to lose about 3-4lbs of tension in the first hour, compared to the multi which will lose about 1-2lbs. So, if the mains are poly, you might want to string those tighter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
    #32
  33. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    2,462
    Location:
    SF, CA
    You have the idea backwards. Mains are vertical to the handle and Crosses are horizontal to the handle.:)
     
    #33
  34. Uncle Emmitt

    Uncle Emmitt Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    250
    Location:
    New Braunfels and Austin TX
    poly mains : so I string looser than I would a reg syn gut or multi

    multi crosses : string tighter because they are multis.

    On my PDR

    I currently go : 59 mains RPM
    62 crosses NXT

    I also go all rpm at 61 some and am still not completely sold on makeup and am experimenting. After reading an answer above may try :

    58 mains rpm
    63 crosses NXT

    vedy vedy interesting!!!
     
    #34
  35. coach

    coach Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I have been stringing 2 lbs lighter in the crosses for years. The first rational I heard (and I thought it made sense) was that cross strings are shorter than the longer mains, so they naturally will flex/stretch/rebound less than the mains so that's why I have done it.

    You can also go nuts if you want and do something called "proportional stringing" where you are changing the pull tension on strings multiple times during a string job (based on their length), but I have no interest in that. However, search on that phrase if you are looking for the "holy grail" of stringing.
     
    #35
  36. Roadway

    Roadway Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    282
    I concers more on the head shape. I found in order in retain the original head shape, the crosses should be strung looser (2-4lbs) than the mains, otherwise the head frame deformed more or less(measured by a ruler). Does anyone has same experience with me?
     
    #36

Share This Page