New Racquet short reviews: 99s, blade 18x20, Speed G Pro/MP

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by rafafan20, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I'll start with my least favorite to my favorite. All racquets were strung w/ Gamma TNT at 55

    4. Blade 18x20

    I don't think this was a bad racquet it just wasn't for me. The biggest positive was the serve. I hit more aces with this racquet than I have in a while. Could put serves on the T or out side on a dime, it was incredible. The biggest negative was defensive shots from the baseline. I just wasn't getting enough net clearance when my opponent played balls deep and the racquet just didn't have enough oomph. I also did not like the super-muted feel. I think generally I like racquets with a little more power. I found the control and stability nice at the net but I just couldn't control points like normal from the baseline.

    3. Speed Graphene MP

    This racquet was simply not for me. I actually found it to be very low powered. It was a little too light for me and the weighting felt off. I liked it a ton at net, especially for an open 16x19 pattern but from the baseline I just wasn't liking the lack of mass and the more head-heavy balance. I also didn't find a lot of spin as I usually do with open pattern racquets and a lot of my balls were falling short in the court. Another racquet I liked for serving but similar to the Blade I couldn't control points at the baseline.

    2. Steam 99S

    This is quite a racquet. I loved pushing my opponent back to the edge of the court and then hitting a wicked angle on the approach shot. I also was hitting some bomb flat serves with this racquet. Defensive shots were awesome as the depth got me right back into points and on the offensive. It also turned my 1-handed backhand into a weapon as I was hitting crazy cross-court angles and a very heavy ball. Sometimes I got too aggressive with this racquet and would hit it long, which worried me. It is a definitely a unique racquet and it would definitely suit a counter-puncher top spin type as the racquet creates such a heavy ball. A very nice offering from wilson. As with the blade, not crazy about the amplifeel.

    1. Head Speed G Pro

    This racquet blew me away. The combination of control and spin is unmatched in any racquet I've ever used. Every short ball my opponent hit I could punish with driving topspin approach shots. Slices were absolutely wicked with this stick and threw my opponent off. It is also THE most stable racquet I've ever used. Facing circa 110 MPH serves I could swing at them and the racquet came right through. Control on the serve was a beautiful thing as well. A++++ and will be my new racquet hands down.
     
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  2. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    A side note: if I was to purchase the Steam 99s I would 100% use a poly, I will be going with the Head Speed Pro though.
     
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  3. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

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    3 out of those 4 are on my desirable list too. Have you tried the new Vcore Xi 98 yet? Interested in your opinion on that too.
     
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  4. PED

    PED Legend

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    Nice writeup.

    How is the swing weight on the steam s? I'm a little concerned with the 335ish number that tw put on the site. It may be that's once the stick is only 325ish static weight that the sw won't be a factor.
     
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  5. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    The stick I had felt a little lighter than the SW that was listed. I found the weight to be very comfortable and I generally don't like heavy racquets (i.e. wilson 6.1 95 or volkl organix 10). My hitting partner also found it to be very manageable weight wise.
     
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  6. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I am a huge fan of the ezone xi 98 I almost switched to it last year. I didn't get to try the new one because my local store doesn't carry Yonex but I would like to. I will be switching to the Head Speed G Pro but let me know if you get to hit the new xi 98.
     
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  7. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    Hey rafafan, I also enjoyed playing with the Speed Pro. Just wanted to ask if you found the stick to be stiff at all. I played with it and am finding some pain in my lower forearm. It might have been the full poly since I use half gut in my normal string set up.
     
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  8. PED

    PED Legend

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    Thanks for the answer, I see in our sig that you used the 320, that's a sweet stick, I always thought it played like a lighter version of the six one Wilson's which I always found to be about 12g too heavy for me.
     
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  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Thanks for the revews. It seems that most all of the reviews of all the Head Speed models have been like your review of the Graphene Speed MP. Something just was off about it. So you feel like Head has finally put together a Speed racket that has it all together with the new Speed Pro?
     
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  10. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    It had a fairly soft multi in it. After playing because I liked it so much I stuck around on court and hit about 100 serves and I have no arm pain. I'd probably stick with a multi in the future. I generally don't get arm pain other than stiffest of racquets/polys.
     
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  11. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I really liked the speed pro honestly the stability, spin, feel and weight were all perfect for me. I would stay far away from the MP if you have a modern topspin baseline game, I would only even hint at recommending it for a pure serve and volleyer.
     
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  12. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I think so. I've tried many Head frames over the years since I departed Head (I used the FXP Prestige for over 4 years, the MG Prestige MP for about a year, Head Youtek Rad MP with lead, Head Youtek Prestige Pro, Head Youtek Prestige MP, etc.)


    Yeah unfortunately my frame was strung with a black polyester.. not sure which but I'm going to guess the new Head Sonic Pro. It felt a bit too stiff. I think this frame definitely can be trouble for arms if its strung full poly. Other than the slight discomfort I found everything to be great as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  13. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I love it but when one of my 2 frames cracked the racquet bug got hold of me again. The TF 320 kept it away for about a year though it is certainly a very nice racket.
     
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  14. neil1b

    neil1b Rookie

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    Most of the g racquets shipped from head with regular sonic pro. If it is black its probably sonic pro.......the sonic pro edge is anthracite.
     
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  15. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Have you hit with the old Head Youtek Speed Pro or a Pure Storm Tour GT and how does it compare? I didn't like the older Speed Pro but it seems like this new Speed Pro lowered the SW and static weight significantly and went with a 18x20 string pattern so this is totally a different racquet.
     
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  16. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Never hit with the old speed pro although one of my hitting partners currently plays with that and I'll ask him and let him try the demo Tues morning.

    Only hit with a PSTGT briefly but a very different feel. More pingy/hollow feel to it vs. the more stable/lively feel of the speed pro. Speed pro lighter, much easier to swing through especially on the serve.
     
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  17. Vertiz

    Vertiz Rookie

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    Do you think if you leaded the MP from 11oz to about the specs of the Pro that it would be better? Been using 18x20s all my life but looking to get a 16x19 for power/spin. Or do you think that the 18x20 has just as much if not more spin/power than any 16x19 racket. I was also thinking about the aeroprodrive or pure drive 2013s. I play d1 tennis at a university & hit a onnie just like you. Thanks
     
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  18. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I can concur with his comments. Lighter, easier to swing. Has that whippier as well. This Speed Pro is the upgrade to the Speed MP 315 18/20. It's just called the Pro and has no relation to the previous iterations of the Speed Pro. The polarization of the weight definitely is felt and it is more stable and solid than the previous IG version. And to Para, I think I will be moving on from the PSTGT to this frame. I just want to try it out in a string set up that I'm familiar with.

    I feel like the Pro still has some good spin potential even though its an 18/20. The power is definitely there with a thicker beam than the normal players frame. I've been an 18/20 user all my life but went to an 18/19 and most recently a 16/20.

    Ah thanks for the clarification. Not a fan of the string at all. Not very comfortable. In a hybrid it could work for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  19. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Did you play with the MP? I really didn't like it, I tried to be gentle in the review... curious to see the TW review
     
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  20. Vertiz

    Vertiz Rookie

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    Thx for the reply mrmo. Have you played w. thhe ig prestige MP ? How would you compare it to the speed pro?
     
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  21. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I have not. But I have held it in person and dry swung it. Found it incredibly light. I don't like to touch racquets that won't be stable and solid that 11.5+ ounce racquets tend to give me. I had a stretch of my junior career (a year) where I was playing racquets in that "tweener" classification.. K Blade 98, Tecnifibre 305, and Yonex 98 D, but realized I was playing with the wrong kinds of frames. I'm coming from the Pure Storm Tour GT which is on the other end of the spectrum. A heavy and solid frame but has no whip. I'm looking for something that can give me the whippiness of a lighter frame but the stability of a heavier frame.. I feel like the Pro gives me that.


    I haven't ever played the IG iteration of the Prestige.. but I have extensive experience with the MP in its predecessors. I was a multi year user of the FXP.. used the MG for a year and playtested the Youtek. I found that the power level decreased as the models got newer and its something I couldn't deal with. So one thing I can definitely comment on is that the Pro definitely has an increase in power level. It might not have the same amount of control as the Prestige, but the Speed Pro definitely has a solid amount as well. The Prestige might be a bit more whippier since it has a low SW compared to the Speed Pro, but it won't feel as solid at contact. Hope I helped.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  22. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Okay glad for the clarification on the Speed Pro, Mrmo. I never really like 18x20 string pattern as I had a Prestige Youtek MP and just didn't get enough oomph on the ball plus hate stringing up more crosses.

    Does this Speed Pro produce the same heavy ball, spin, and power like the PSTGT but in a lighter package? I still can't imagine a 18x20 string pattern offering more spin and lively feel that a 16x19 string bed can produce.
     
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  23. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Inexplicably, with the same string, the Pro had more power and spin in my hands than the MP
     
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  24. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I feel like although this is an 18/20 pattern it packs a bigger punch than many of the other 18/20 player frames out there I think due to the thicker beam and at a higher SW than the Prestige, etc. There are definitely some 18/20s out there that have pretty good power as well I'm sure. I just think spec wise this racquet is perfect for me since its not as heavy as a PSTGT ( <12 oz) but it still provides me that power (>320 SW <330 SW).

    So yes, I think that the Speed Pro does provide a comparable ball in terms of spin and power as the PSTGT but it doesn't have that "log" feeling as much (being much more maneuverable). That being said, I think the PSTGT might be a bit more solid on off center shots and from behind the baseline.. but the SP isn't that far behind. Overall I think I found a racquet that fits my needs. A PSTGT in a lighter package is a good way to put it.
    I don't feel like with the SP I have to set up for my shots as much as I do with the PSTGT allowing me to attack balls quickly and robbing my opponent time to get back into the point. I found that with my PSTGT I wouldn't attack the short ball quickly enough allowing my opponent to sometimes reset the point and battle back after I had control of most of the point. Finishing points in the midcourt and at the net were tough using the frame. Balls out of my strike zone were tough as well. Another realization I've made using this new Speed Pro is that while I've been using the PSTGT my forehand stroke has been more abbreviated probably due to the higher SW not allowing myself to take a full swing like I used to with my old frames. I feel like maybe I was compromising myself not being able to take that full cut at my forehand. All of that is solved with this frame.

    I don't think its that inexplicable. The Pro is heavier and has a higher SW so the power level should be higher even if its a closed pattern compared to the MP.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  25. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    More referring to the spin I guess I was getting loads more spin with the Pro
     
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  26. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense^
     
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  27. etd

    etd Rookie

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    If you like hitting with ~ 12 oz racquets, a 11 oz racquet will not feel right as these racquets have to be less headlight in order to get the swingweight up and improve stability.

    I also hit with the Blade 98 18X20 today when I demoed the Graphene Speed MP. These are both very good 11 oz racquets, but the balance on both is a bit "clubby" (2 or 3 pts headlight) compared to a 12 oz racquet which is usually 6 to 8 points headlight.

    Actually, I felt that both the Graphene Speed MP and the Blade 98 18x20 have a lot of power for 11 oz racquets, but you're right, they will not match the power and ball "heaviness" of a 12 oz racquet. You have to make it up with swing speed with a 11 oz racquet.
     
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  28. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I've been demoing the 2 Blades and they do feel "clubby" I don't think having all the weight at the tip is something I like. I'm used to a racquet thats a bit more head light. The Blade 98 feels a bit more maneuverable than my Bab PST but not as much as the Head.

    I feel like the Blade does play heavier than its static weight due to its high SW. For the people who don't mind the heavy head then I think the Blade works perfectly. A light package but one that packs punch and has stability/solid feel.

    etd, whats your opinion on the Blade 18/20? I haven't had as much time with it since its strung with Wilson Sensation.. a string that's not in my wheelhouse. I've hit the 16/19 and its just way too lively for me. Whats your frame history? If you're in the 11 oz strung range then we might not be similar in preference but just wanted your opinion on it. And I don't think you've hit the Pro ? If I'm wrong and you have can you compare Blade 18/20 with the Pro? I'm not really considering the 18/20 but maybe I'm not giving it a fair shot since I haven't hit it much. The time I've hit with it though I haven't been sold on it.. I think its the balance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
    #28
  29. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    I felt the same way you feel about the speed pro with the previous generation ig. And I feel that in this updated line, they might have improved it. The ability to convert a fast powerful shot coming your way and to redirect it with the absorption of energy is quite amazing coming from the older IG. I am dying to try the new graphene. I was excited over the steam 99s, but the more I read into it, I think it might be better in the next few updates later down the line. I think this is more like a prototype than something that should be played with. I hear the feel isn't so great. And you tend to over hit.
     
    #29
  30. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    I have a Blade 16x19 and I agree that you can't compare racquets with such a big difference in weight. I actually added about .3oz or so of lead to the handle to make the Blade more headlight and easier to whip.

    My question is if you had to pick between the Speed MP and Blade 98, which one would you go with? I like the Blade 98 so far because it swings easier than my PSTGT but still offers a good amount of power. Of course, due to the lighter static weight, it doesn't offer the same power but before that, I never found a racquet that was stable enough at 11oz.

    I am still debating whether to demo the Pro given what you guys have mentioned but a little leery of 18x20 string patterns.
     
    #30
  31. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    Give it a shot. You'll see that spin potential is great and that 18/20s are quite solid. I'm a bit partial to 18/20s because the first 16 main racquet I've ever used was the Bab.
     
    #31
  32. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I haven't owned an 18x20 since I was a junior player but I love the pro, give 'er a whirl.

    mrmo1115 what are you currently using and are you going to switch to the pro?
     
    #32
  33. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I think you are dead on. Its a racquet to have some fun with. If you are playing a decent opponent the spin won't throw them off. Plus when you switch to a different racquet you feel way off for about 15-20 minutes.
     
    #33
  34. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    So both of you are saying that this particular 18x20 does have power unlike other racquets I have tried like the Head Youtek Prestige MP or the Prestige Pro? I tried many racquet demos with 18x20 string pattern and always found them short on power and I have tried to lower the tension on the strings to make up for it but never been successful.
     
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  35. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Yes, this is the most pop I've seen in a 18x20, don't have a ton of experience though
     
    #35
  36. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    For those that have hit with the Speed Pro, is there much flex to it in the throat? The RA stiffness seems to be right up there which isn't quite my preference...
     
    #36
  37. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    I currently use the babolat storm tour and have been using it for a bit more than a year now. I really do think this will be my next frame. But I want a couple more hours with the frame before I pull the trigger.


    I think I'm the only one that mentioned the racquet being a bit stiff. But I think it was more of me not used to a full bed of poly than the racquet itself
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
    #37
  38. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can hit as heavy as with my blade as I can with my dunlop 200 mfil. I think the difference is minimal. The secret is to get the Blade moving, and let that higher swingweight crack the ball.
     
    #38
  39. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Exactly.

    Demoing rackets without customizing them to the specs you like is a waste of time.
     
    #39
  40. mrc

    mrc Rookie

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    I hit the Graphene Speed Pro today. Strung with 4G Mains Poly at 50lbs and Nat Gut at 55 Crosses. Just not my thing, too stiff, thick, light, and hollow feeling.If you want to break 200MPH on your forehand..great stick. Reminds me a bit of Head Radical IG Pro which I hit for a few minutes.
     
    #40
  41. nocturn11

    nocturn11 New User

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    The MP, just FYI, feels amazing. I usually hit with a Babolat, and in comparison the feel is PERFECT. OP was right, though, for a 100 square inch, 10.6 ounce racquet with its balance there is basically NO power. I had to max out my swing speed and it still wasn't going as deep as I wanted. The spin was still there, sure, and the feel was sublime; but I need to buff up a bit before making a switch.
     
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  42. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    I had a chance to string up the Graphene Pro and hit with it today and it definitely has great control with a good amount of power. If you can generate the necessary racquet speed, this racquet will deliver a heavy ball with good depth. This is the first 18x20 string pattern that offers control and also delivers power.

    It has slightly less power than the PSTGT but offers more control so for now, it looks like I am loving the racquet.

    I have also tried the Blade 98 but in 16x19 pattern and the Wilson 99S and finding at the moment, the Graphene Pro is better suited for me in terms to offering decent amount of power while providing that control that I couldn't get with the 98 16x19 nor the Steam 99S.

    My only gripe about the Graphene Pro is the horrible grommets. Be careful when you string the shared holes as they have a tendency to pop out if you don't hold them down while pulling tensioning the string.
     
    #42

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