NEWS FLASH!! Matt21 Orders a Stringer!!!

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Matt21, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    TT members, it's taken me over a month of web research, posts on tt.tenniswarehouse.com and talking to various stringing professionals and vendors. After all the research and discussions, plus doing the math in my own head, I've finally decided on the....

    Gamma X-2.

    Why did I go here? Well, aside from the dislikes regarding the clamps, all of my research suggested that the X2 is an extremely well built machine, quite capable of delivering a professional-level string job. It was really hard for me because I was so close to purchasing an Eagnas Challenger I, but decided now is not the time to gamble on potential issues with build quality/customer service. My gut feeling is that the machine overall is a quality machine, but I couldn't bear the thought of having a problem with the clamps and having to "fix" them on my own (or not be able to get world-class support were I to run into a problem; again, not really fair to the folks at Maxline since I've not personally dealt with them, but I've read more complaints regarding those machines and the service than I did with Gamma (which were virtually none); hey, I'm just a consumer trying to make the best decision he can). Anyway, I figured that after the shipping, my cost for the Challenger I would be somewhere around $370 dollars, which is, in my mind, too much to spend for a 1st machine where, according to most of my research, there is a considerable enough chance I may run into a problem.


    I still have the Challenger I in mind for 12 months from now (if I feel strongly then that I want/need fixed clamps and 6pt mount). So, anyway, what were other factors that influenced my decision?

    I. Add-ons:
    I'll be honest, I had many a poster tell me, "don't just buy a machine for the free string," but when you're doing value proposition, my math says if I avg $30/string job and I'm getting five free packs of string ($150 in stringing for me), I'm getting the machine for $9.00 plus shipping. That's hard to turn away from.

    II. Clamps:
    Believe it or not, without having yet used them, the clamps don't don't seem so bad to me. My local string uses Prince NEOS 1000 stringers and had a Prince Universal Flying clamp that is identical to the Gamma flying clamps. I did a first-hand inspection of the clamps and noticed the sharp edges that everyone complains about... easy enough fix: I'll do what others have suggested/done and tape them with athletic tape or something protective to cover the edges on the clamp handles. What I was told was the most important concern with clamps is that they don't slip. I think I'll find that happy medium by adjusting the clamps before I start stringing.

    III. Value:
    At $159.00 and after talking to guys who own $400+ stringers for home use only, I've learned that the guys (I know) who have the more expensive stringers also have access to other stringers and don't seem to use their "personal use" stringers as much as the guys who own the sub-$200 models. Again, from a value proposition perspective, not counting the savings on the free string, if I string my racquet 6 times, I've paid for my machine.

    IV. Rotational Gripper vs. Linear Gripper:
    This was one of the points that I struggled with for a long time, as everyone I spoke with that has used both told me that linear grippers are better. The only linear gripper models I considered were Mutual Power and Eagnas (Challenger I). I know a couple guys who own Eagnas models who told me that they have problems with the linear gripper slipping (I guess they need to adjust them with an allen wrench or something). I also heard of a few issues with rotational grippers slipping (less often than sub-$500 linears though). Well, if I'm going to spend money and risk slippage, I'd feel better about having to work with a $200-or-less machine vs a $400 machine. All told though, most I've seen with the Gamma rotational gripper models don't have major issues.

    V. Accuracy:
    I've seen enough research to draw the conclusion that this has to do more with the person stringing than the machine. I've seen videos where guys using drop weights don't go 0-degrees on the X-axis every time (which in my mind, would lead to an inconsistent string job with a drop weight). All my research suggests that electronics are probably the most accurate, but even still, they need occasional calibration. Also, my research suggests that tension is relative to the machine and that what's most important is doing it the same way every time.

    VI. Two-point Mount vs 6-Point Mount:
    My only hesitation with the two-point mount was the infamous, "frame shrinkage or racquet breaking" reports. Yes, this was a concern but I've heard from a number of USRSA stringers that 2pt mounts are fine if the stringer makes certain his mounting is secure. Also, my primary stringing pro only uses the Prince Neos 1000 machines and they don't have side mounts. I also know a guy who let someone string on his 6pt mount Babolat electronic machine and that person cracked a frame during stringing, so, so much for the thinking that it can't happen on a 6pt. If it can happen on either a 6pt or a 2pt, if I can get a quality machine that's a 2pt for hundreds less than a 6pt, I'll go with it (hence, the X2 decision). Also, I'm not a stringer (yet) and have never strung a racquet, but my mathmatical mind tells me energy of the force of the pounds of stress on the frame doing a string job does not magically go into the four additional mount points. In other words, they don't act as an energy sink. The stress is still going into the frame; it's just that you have four additional points to secure the frame. Now, I've never done any real research into all the differences between 2pt vs 6, its just me doing a little simple math: force applied to a frame is force applied to a frame and therefore, whether or not frame distortion is visible, the racquet is still being stressed at the fibre/micro-fibre level.

    VII. Fixed vs Flying Clamps:
    This was my last hurdle to overcome. Everyone I talked to in person told me, "go with fixed: they're easier, faster and produce a more accurate stringjob." I would agree, only that my own research suggests that flying clamps can be equally fast and produce an equally accurate stringjob. As for drawback, in my own mind, I thought that drawback would be more of an issue with flying clamps than with fixed, except for my in-person, up-close observation of fixed clamps drawing back after tension release on a string. Though I have yet to use them, in my mind's eye, the way floating clamps are setup to affix to more than one string may prevent drawback (perhaps, even more so than fixed clamps which affix to a single string).



    So, there you have it. In the end, I decided that my biggest gain in going with a more expensive stringer with fixed clamps and 6pt mounts (and a linear gripper) would only be in the area of convenience. The Gamma X-2, to me, appears to be as sturdy as the X6FC, X6ST, 602 Progression FC, etc. If I'm getting the same build quality and it's just going to take me a bit longer, or be a bit more inconvenienced because I have to unclamp and move vs. sliding; I felt that for hundreds less, I could deal with that. Also, again, given that I avg $30 per string job, I pretty much played a little math game in my mind and told myself I'm getting a $159.00 stringer for $9. Finally, the X2 seems more portable than the fixed clamp machine I considered.

    My runners up:
    Eagnas Challenger I: (I wanted so badly to go with this one; especially given that with it, I also would have gotten free string and a full set of tools. Were this machine $250.00 vs. $319, I would've thrown my "caution" to the wind and taken the chance on build quality and customer service).

    Silent Partner Swing:
    This was also close from the sub-$300 machine standpoint; but the Gamma seemed to be as sturdy if not sturdier, plus the value proposition was better with Gamma (more for less: strings and tools with drawer and tray; though the clamps from Silent Partner look a lot more "user-friendly).

    I would like to thank all of you who were so kind and patient in answering all my questions and helping me to narrow my choices. I hope none of you who own more expensive stringers do not take offense to some of my comments regarding fixed clamp, linear gripper machines. My comments were not intended to offend and were only to show why I decided on the X2. If I had/have to step up to the next echelon of features, sad to say, I'll migrate away from Gamma (sorry, no offense Gamma; but I'm a value guy and for the next level of features in a DW stringer, other companies seem to give you equal or more machine for less money). Eagnas guys, I plan to keep this stringer for at least one year, then re-evaluate. If I decide to sell this one for more features, I'll be browsing your catalog again. Hopefully all the complaints about build quality and customer service fade away. Keep in mind that consumers all want great products, but beyond that, they want equal if-not-better customer service. Great service makes the people spending the money feel good about their purchase, even when the product sometimes falls short of expectations and in the end, grows your new customer base and keeps existing customers coming back.

    Thanks again everyone and my apologies for the long post!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
    #1
  2. jhutch

    jhutch Rookie

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    There is the alpha string pal with a linear for about the same $
     
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  3. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    I've read a lot of posts regarding it, but for starters, I didn't see it on Alpha's website, which suggested to me that they were no longer producing it. Secondly, were it not for the free string from Gamma, I may have gone with the String Pal. I've read nothing but good things about it.
     
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  4. jhutch

    jhutch Rookie

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    doesn't alpha let you choose $100 worth of strings when you purchase a machine?
     
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  5. technoob10

    technoob10 New User

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    maybe the Alpha website doesn't have it, but its online store "new tech tennis . com" (no spaces) has it for $139. I own one and the clamps are great
     
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  6. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    You will not regret buying Gamma Stringing Machines and if you do not overtight the flying clamps they should last you a long time.
     
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  7. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Congrats Matt and welcome to a whole new world!!! Sounds like a sensible purchase and if you ever have a problem with the clamps you can always buy an upgrade like the Stringway flying clamps, which are just about the best flyers out there.

    Happy Stringing

    Ash
     
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  8. Parker512

    Parker512 Guest

    How much did you buy it for? Because i think i might buy this used Eganus flex 920 with shipping for $205. Loooks new Know the seller from TW forum. Or might get a basic klipper. Because i know kinda how to use a klipper.
     
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  9. tennisman917

    tennisman917 Rookie

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  10. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    $159 plus shipping. I can't speak for the Klippermate or the Flex 920. The Gamma X-2 just seemed like the best combination of value and quality for what I wanted to spend. Not to mention, I've recently observed both high-end electronic and crank tensioners with considerable drawback after clamping and releasing the string from the tensioner. Don't know if that is the machine, the clamping method or the individual stringer. Either way, I think I made the right purchase.
     
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  11. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I tried the Gamma X2 and couldn't believe how cheap the plastic clamps were. The overall machine just had a very plasticky, cheap feel to it. Not for me.

    My opionion is if you are going to string more than once a month, you should spend a little more and get a quality fixed clamp / linear gripper machine.
     
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  12. SirGounder

    SirGounder Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on the decision, you won't regret it. I started with a Gamma X2 I bought used and had no problems with it. The only reason I upgraded to a 602 FC was because I get a great deal and ended up selling my X2 for more than I paid for it.
     
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  13. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Any way you can justify your purchase with no regrets is all that matters!
     
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  14. aznfatmonkey

    aznfatmonkey Rookie

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    Congrats on getting a machine!
    Sorry, but I have to point out a flaw in your logic. With the free strings, you are not actually saving $150. If you buy your own strings, you will still be saving the labor costs. Therefore you are only saving the money the actual strings cost.
     
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  15. schenkelini

    schenkelini Semi-Pro

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    It's a good machine. You will not have any regrets, and you can always upgrade the clamps later.
     
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  16. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    I beg your pardon, but my logic is not flawed. I just choose to look at it one way and you choose to look at it another. As I stated, if I walk into my local pro shop and say, "put that string in my racquet," my cost is more-or-less, $30.00. If I didn't purchase the X-2 and took 5 of my frames in for restringing, I'd pay about $150 before leaving. That would have been $150 I could have applied toward purchasing a stringing machine (that would have also thrown in 5 packs of string). Now, were I to buy my own string and take it in to get strung, it would run me $15 in labor costs. $15x5 is $75.00; but that doesn't account for how much each individual pack of string cost me. Depending upon where I purchased the string and what type, it could cost me more or less than $15.00 per, but that's beside the point.

    So, you choose to look at it in your terms, but on my terms, if I have a $150.00 string job budget and I know 5 string jobs will run me the whole $150.00, if I take that stringing money and apply it toward the purchase of a $159.00 machine, and they're "giving me" 5 packs of string, my stringing my frame with free string cancels out my walking into my local pro and choosing string that costs (after tax) $30 (labor costs built into the price of the string). Therefore, they gave me "$150" back in string jobs. Guess what that means to me? It means I bought a machine for $9.00. $150 in "goods and service" savings is $150 I don't have to spend out of pocket later. A company who sells me a $159.00 machine and gives me, what has been to me, $150.00 in parts/labor savings (5 packs of string x $30 per stringjob), by my household economics, has sold me a machine for $9.00.

    For all you literal people (and I'm one too :) ), I didn't ACTUALLY "purchase an X2 for $9.00," but I took the money I had from my stringjob budget and used it to buy a $159.00 stringing machine. By them giving me 5 packs of string, they kept me from spending an avg $30 per stringjob with my local pro.

    Okay, I'm off my home economist's soap box; I'll leave the dead horse alone now. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
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  17. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    I could almost see your argument about what you feel I really saved, but what if I bought a String Pal that came with no string and decided I'd "wait til later" to start stringing and later turned into 6 months? I can guarantee you I'd be getting my frames strung 4-5 times within that 6 month period. Based on my avg cost history, that's $120-$150 I've spent, all the while having a stringing machine sitting in my garage, waiting to be used.
     
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  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    You can't argue how much money a stringing machine saves over the long haul. If you happen to give up tennis for good in a few months, you still might save money depending on how much money you can get for your used stringing machine.
     
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  19. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    First off let me say congratulations and I think you will be happy with your new stringer. I love to string rackets.

    I doubt you know it yet but there are going to be some problems you will run into with flying clamps. Because of the way the clamps work you have to clamp two strings together. How do you clamp the first main and cross?

    Flying clamps are set for one particular distance between strings. For all the rackets you string there will be a different distance from one string to the next between the first and second mains and the last and next to last mains. Same for crosses. Some times if the distance is substantial it is almost impossible to clamp to the adjacent string.

    But where there is a will there is a way. If you run into problems let us know someone always has an answer. We are from headquarters and we are here to hep'ya. LOL

    Irvin
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
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  20. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Irvin! :D
     
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  21. schenkelini

    schenkelini Semi-Pro

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    I know what you are talking about with having to reach with flying clamps, but I have only found it a problem on huge rackets with wide patterns. I would say that 99% of the rackets out there are no problem.


     
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  22. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    ^^ there are 95~97 racquets that has very open string patterns, Prince racquets come to my mind, like the O3 Speedtour, the orange one.
     
    #22
  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    My local store charges $12 labor to string. That means if I buy a $200 stringer, I will have to string at least 16 racquets just to break even. Plus, there goes about 24 hours I could have been doing something else. So if you are like me and string about once a month, you won't be saving any money until you are well into your 2nd year with the stringer and even then, you are only saving about $10 a month. Nothing to get too excited about.
     
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  24. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Don't forget less gas mileage to the stringer!
     
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  25. High Roller

    High Roller Banned

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    Different strokes for different folks. Being able to do it himself better affords Matt the opportunity to test strings and stringing techniques to his heart's content, not to mention being more intimately connected to his sticks while increasing his knowledge base. Good stuff IMO. It is shortsighted to think only in terms of how much money is saved or how many string jobs it takes to reach break-even on the machine purchase.

    You know the old saying: "Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can."
     
    #25
  26. topanlego

    topanlego Semi-Pro

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    And wilson 16x patterns.

    Stringway triple clamp to the rescue!!!
     
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  27. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    i'd venture to say it takes roughly the same time, maybe more for most folks to deliver a racket and pick it up from the pro shop.

    time is a moot point in the equation, IMO.

    i'll say it again, it's (home stringing) for the same reason that i change my own oil.
     
    #27
  28. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    AND back - two times.

    Irvin
     
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  29. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    And let's not forget the fan patterns. Some are about 1/4" at the bottom and over 1" at the top.

    But for the most part those are few and far between you may never have one to string.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=1538

    Irvin
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
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  30. Parker512

    Parker512 Guest

    It most be so hard to string a Power Angle raquet.
     
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  31. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Power Angle rackets are not too bad at least all the strings are evenly spaced. Try stringing a Power Angle on the glide bar machine like the Prince NEOS 1000. IMO by far the best clamp system is floating clamps but no matter what clamps you have I think there is a way to string just about any racket.

    You have to remember there are advantages to any type of system. Floating clamps are inexpensive (some are cheap and there is a difference,) and glide bar clamps are faster to string with. I have used all three and did not dislike any system. When I had the glide bar clamps though I seen a need to use the floating clamps at times.

    Irvin
     
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  32. aznfatmonkey

    aznfatmonkey Rookie

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    Yeah, that's true. I assumed you would buy strings at the same time if you bought a different stringer, but I guess some people would put it off. I guess it doesn't really matter. The bottom line is that you bought a machine and you're happy with it. Have fun stringing!
     
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