natural gut and humidity

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Edward DFW, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Edward DFW

    Edward DFW Rookie

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    I've read here that natural gut does not like humidity.

    Can anyone go into greater detail about that?

    What happens? How humid is too humid?

    I'm considering my first full natural gut string job.

    Just want to make sure I know what to avoid.
     
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  2. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    People are too paranoid about gut and humidity. I even hit with gut in a light rain, (had a lot of rain this past summer, 21 days of rain in June alone, July wasn't much better),and they are still okay.I keep one racquet with all VS gut, that is worn and frayed somewhat, and that is my foul weather racquet. Have done that for some time, and it holds up fine.May possibly last a little longer if it never got wet, but I get a good amount of use from an all gut set, as I am a relatively flat hitter, so I am not a typical string breaker.As long as you do not soak the string in water, I just wipe it down after it gets wet, and use it as normal. The strings are meant to be used, irregardless of the weather, as the gut strings have a coating that makes them more durable as well. At least this is true of a quality gut, as I cannot say about global gut, as I only string a quality gut for me and clients.My gut customers come to me for a quality job, so I only offer them the best of the best.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
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  3. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    I've had issues, but only in really humid weather with a hybrid (15Lg Tonic gut mains @ 55 lbs, 17g Pro Hurricane Tour crosses @ 53 lbs). Last summer was the worst, with the gut fraying and breaking on me inside 2 hours. Winter comes and no problem since the poly dies well before the gut breaks.

    This summer I'm having better success after switching to a smooth poly cross (Weisscannon Silverstring 1.2 @ 53 lbs) and using a few judiciously placed string savers in the vicinity of the sweetspot. The gut still frays, but so far I've only broken 3 sets the entire summer.

    One other thought is that Tonic tends to have slight variations in thickness and imperfections compared to VS. I've always thought that these imperfections are vulnerable to fraying. Once the fray starts, it's a relatively rapid decline when the relative humidity is above 85%.

    Oh, I hit a fairly heavy ball with plenty of topspin so that probably doesn't help much.
     
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  4. Edward DFW

    Edward DFW Rookie

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    Thanks guys... So playing in high humidity... Ultra high can be bad but what about bringing your racquet with you?

    I've heard about multi's breaking inside a bag when its very humid out... Any chance of that happening w gut?
     
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  5. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I agree. I've never had an issue with humidity and NG breakage.
     
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  6. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I've never had a problem either, and I've created some high humidity situations for my gut. I poured a can of soda on the gut once, just to see what would happen. They became sticky. That's all. No fraying, no breaking.
     
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  7. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Completely correct! People on these boards way overemphasize gut and moisture, at least with an all gut set up, and a quality gut.I cannot count the good # of times I hit in a light rain, and the balls get wet, and the gut still holds up fine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
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  8. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Humidity will kill the gut's playability. you can seal the gut in the plastice bag and tie it with rubber band to seal it and that helps some.
     
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  9. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I would not follow this bad advise, as this had been gone over before.A # of racquet covers even have a mesh opening in the cover just to ventilate any moisture. I would not follow what Fedace said at all!
     
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  10. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^
    I'll second this.
     
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  11. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    hee hee.

    Was it Fedace that suggested the plastic bag earlier and the counter argument was that if you seal it on a humid day that you trap the moisture in with it......also, didn't he suggest wrapping the whole racket after play suggesting that the moist used grip would also trap moisture in there?
     
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  12. baek57

    baek57 Professional

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    Every post I've ever seen from fedace is counter-intuitive. I really can't tell if he just has no idea or if he just likes trolling.
     
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  13. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Yes, and his advise on this is way off base.
    When my strings (gut), gets wet I wipe them down with a towel, and sprinkle a little baby powder in the racquet cover to absorb any moisture and thats it. Use the strings, don't worry about humidity, as the strings are meant to be used, and like all strings, they eventually will need replaced as they all wear out.Fortunately I am not your typical string breaker, as I hit a relatively flat ball, so the strings last me a long time even if they get wet.I know that with an all gut set up, there is no problem, possibly with a hybrid with a rough poly against the damp gut may effect the strings, but an all nat. gut holds up well.
    Before you string up gut, check out your grommets! That is one area that can shorten out the life span a tremendous amount, even if the grommet is slightly cracked through, nat gut strings will snap on you there.I had a client that brought in a racquet with nat. gut, snapped at grommet, it looked fine without the string in there, as it was a hairline crack in the grommet, once I strung it up, the string pressure opened up the crack in the grommet, and then I realised that the grommet was bad. I had to cut out the entire job, and redo it. Things like this happens, its a reason (and there are more reasons), why gut labor is higher to string!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
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  14. Seacoast Stringer

    Seacoast Stringer Semi-Pro

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    I've never had problems with my gut jobs in high humidity. I have a customer that avoids gut in humid weather but he only bases this on the advice of his HS coach. I think it is more of an old wive's tale than anything else.
     
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  15. the Town Sherif

    the Town Sherif Semi-Pro

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    I'm of the opinion that Fedace doesn't really exist but is more like a computer that pulls together false information and spits it out in '14yr old boy' lingo.
     
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  16. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    I've never had a problem with gut and humidity. I HAVE had a problem with gut and extreme temperatures. Going from a heated club to an unheated car to a heated house. This was in winter in Vermont. When I went to my racquet bag the next day string had popped.
     
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  17. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Probably adjusting your strings with your sweaty fingertips puts more moisture on your strings than the water vapor from the air.....
     
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  18. supertrex

    supertrex Semi-Pro

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    Depends on what brand you are using, Ive tried some Nat Gut from eeeee bb aa yyy which is no branded. they do suck and dont last longer will even break when stringing.

    Babolat Guts are really good even if u already open the package and re seal.
     
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  19. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Definitely not an old wives tale, as I am speaking from experience. I think a lot depends on the relative humidity, the type of gut, coatings used, whether or not a hybrid string job is employed and if so, whether the mains or the crosses are gut, and the playing style.

    Many of the responses here are likely anecdotal and should not be generalized into a statement such as "there is no problem with gut in humidity". In my experience, there very well can be issues with gut in high humidity.

    I will say that I'm impressed with how much more playing time I am getting this summer over last summer after switching to a smooth cross with a few string savers. Hell, I should even consider switching to Gaucho Gut given all the positive things drakulie has had to say about it thus far.

    Now, if I could only find a poly that plays well and lasts as long as gut does in the winter months, I'd really be saving some $....
     
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  20. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I have never had a problem with gut and humidity
    I'm talking about a quality gut, as I string not only my own, but I also string a lot of gut for clients.When a client asks for a nat. gut string, I only use the best of the best,as that job reflects on me, and that is Babolats VS.The quality guts of today(not the Global that snaps on some people before they even hit with it), are made so much better than years ago, and I never had a problem with humidity, or even getting wet with a light rain, and that in itself gets the balls wet.Granted its an all gut job, not a hybrid, so a rough hybrid string may have extra wear and tear on a wet or damp gut so that can be a factor, but I certainly got the gut very wet, and have yet to have problems with it, being an all gut stringing. And I am a flat ball hitter, but still hit a very strong forehand, as that is my best shot, and the gut lasts a very long time.Others that I string for all agree with this as well, as the rain this year in my area was incredible, June it rained 23 days, and July and August was not that much nicer, so the strings certainly got wet this summer, for me and a # of others as well.
     
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  21. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    The three key differences between you and someone who has seen gut degrade rapidly.

    Conjecture #1: Better quality gut has less imperfections and therefore lower likelihood of fraying.

    Conjecture #2: An all gut job presents less stress to the mains than a textured poly cross does, reducing the chances of fraying the mains.

    Conjecture #3: Flat ball hitters don't displace the mains as much as topspin hitters, therefore there is less likelihood of sawing and fraying of the mains.
     
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  22. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    jrod, you bring up some really good points, and I agree with all of them. This does not mean I disagree with, jime and some of the others.

    That said, I do, and have experienced significant tension loss, and loss of playability with natural gut in very humid weather if I don't take care of the gut. I'm a fairly heavy hitter, who hits flat, but with lots of spin off both sides. Part of me caring for my string job is wiping down the string bed with a dry cloth when done, and sealing the frame in a plastic bag (minus the grip). I've noticed that this does help prolong the tension and life of the gut (regardless of brand).

    Down here in south florida, it gets VERY humid, especially in the rainy/hurricane season, and the gut is effected if not cared for.
     
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  23. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the support Drak. I thought I was the lone wolf here for a second, holding onto the last confluence of river and forest. After reading the bolded part, I feel like I've been a gut abuser all these years.

    (Oh, for the record, the absolute maximum number of beer I drink in a night is 1 no matter how hot/humid it is so it sure doesn't feel like abuse to me...)
     
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  24. shell

    shell Professional

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    But did you get more grip and spin? :)
     
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  25. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    If my memory is correct, I believe he used a diet drink, so the strings would not get fat:)
    Honestly , the strings are meant to be used, and no matter the type of string or humidity, all strings will eventually break.I just use the string just like any other, when they break, then restring. If they don't have the durability that you desire, then switch to something else, simple enough.For me, I'm with Steve, I've never had a problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
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  26. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    Like Jim, I've have never had a problem. I grew up in Tulsa (very humid) and now live in Virginia (fairly humid). I don't buy the hybrid argument because I use hybrids, not all gut. I put gut in the mains and I have tried a good deal of other strings in the crosses, including thin poly's, multi's and synthetic guts. Even with thin poly's, I've never had a problem with excessive fraying or loss of play. With multi's of the same gauge, the multi in the crosses usually breaks before the gut in the mains. With synthetic guts, its about 50/50 which breaks first. I use Klip Legend 16. The poly's I use are usually 18g strung 3-5 pounds lower than the gut. With multi's, I string at the same tension. With synthetics, I string 1-3 pounds lower than the gut. Gut does fray, but that's normal if it frays a bit. Usually, it takes awhile. I've used Klips uncoated gut before too, not to mention Victor Imperial through the 80's (also uncoated). Yes, they frayed (wet or dry). But, they still played good all the way up til they break, and that's usually no sooner than any other string (bar kevlar or a thick poly) would break.
     
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  27. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    If you get all the air out of the plastic, it will be fine. and it keeps the gut dry and it preserves the gut for much longer life.
     
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  28. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    This is ludicrous. The plastic bag(s) do not prolong gut's life. I had an old wood racquet I played with in college. It spent several years in a store room outside in the deep south in our heat/humidity. It was strung with gut. It never broke out there and played great 20 years after college.
     
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  29. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Wrong again. Wrap a good air tight plast bag over the head and wrap it up with rubber band tight over the throat of the racket and you will keep the moisture away from the natural gut. and it will help the gut stay fresher much LONGER. Good TEST is this. BRAND new gut is nice and Milky white color when freshly strung. but once it starts to wear down, it turnes kind tan and OFF white color. this is from picking up moisture. if you seal it when not playing, gut will stay this New white color longer before it turen into off white, icky tan color.
     
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  30. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I agree with Rabbit! Plastic bag will not allow air to circulate and can actually trap moist air inside, especially if you go from a warm environment to a colder one condensation can occur.Why do some racquet covers have ventilated mesh areas, I'm sure it is to allow air to circulate, not trap it. My gut strings last a good while and no special precautions taken with it, other than to wipe it down when wet, and ocasionally sprinkling baby powder inside cover to absorb any moisture.
    Like I said the string is meant to be used, and if your style of play breaks it fast, then restring often, or change your string type. For me, gut lasts a long time irregardless if it gets wet, or hit in humid weather.Plastic bag idea of Fedace really does not make a lot of sense, but this was all gone over a while back and he still brings it up!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
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  31. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yep. The rule of thumb is to string as often as you can afford it. I agree with others who've indicated they wipe their strings down removing any obvious moisture. This is common sense. What Fedace is indicating probably lessens the strings life if anything. In any large open building, changing the air is a major concern. My dad was in the Navy and told me about a blimp hanger. It was so large inside if they didn't change the air, clouds would form and it would actually rain inside the hanger. The principal is the same. Air circulation keeps moisture/condensation from occuring. If you trap air, any moisture that can evaporate from the racquet or strings will condense and it has to go somewhere...if there is a plastic bag holding it in, then it stays inside the bag.

    Truth be told, if you're using Global Gut, then you probably do have to do more to keep it playable. If you're using a higher end gut like Babolat, Pacific, or Klip then they do the work for you. The gut has sealants which help prolong life and playability.
     
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  32. Sangria Munky

    Sangria Munky Rookie

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    Drakulie and fedace say that a plastic bag over the racquet works but others say otherwise with profound distaste.. who's right?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
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  33. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    In general, calling a plastic bag good or bad is missing the point. A plastic bag seals in whatever is surrounding the racquet currently. (And no, squeezing most of the air out of the bag doesn't solve that. Basic physics should make that obvious.) If the air or racquet or grip are moist, the plastic bag seals in that moisture. If the air, racquet, and grip are dry, but the air outside it wet, the bag can protect from moisture. The bag is simply a somewhat airtight seal. It doesn't change the humidity for better or worse on its own. So use common sense. As some have pointed out, if you put a wet grip or strings inside the plastic bag, you're just locking moisture inside. And if it's damp out, then leaving your racquet uncovered exposes it to the moisture. The idea is to keep the strings as dry as possible, so what you do depends on the situation.

    Something no one has mentioned here, but is worth noting, is that a desiccant can be very useful. For those unfamiliar, they're those little packets that often come inside the packaging of electronics and similar items. Those little pouches trap and eliminate humidity/moisture. So if you save some of those from any package you find them in, you can wrap them inside the plastic bags and you'll be better off than any other setup mentioned thus far.

    While extreme moisture can break down and rot gut (just like many other natural proteins), extreme dryness can also damage it. When gut gets very old, it's more likely to dry out and lose resiliency than rot due to moisture. Also, modern gut usually has a protective coating, which makes gut far less fragile than it used to be. But as the coating wears off, the string gets a little more susceptible to damage. In most cases, you won't have too many problems with modern gut and moisture. But if you want to be safe, use a plastic bag and a desiccant packet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
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