Should I buy a stringing machine?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Jay_The_Nomad, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    Hi guys. I need some feedback/advice on whether I should take the plunge and buy a stringing machine.

    Just some background info about me.

    1) I am being charged $20 per racquet just for labour and I usually string 2 racquets. So it is $40 everytime I go.

    2) My regular stringer runs his business from his tennis shop and it takes me about 20 minutes to get there by car. It is the nearest shop-based stringer. I always need to go back the next day to pick the racquets up so it's easily 40 minutes plus petrol.

    3) I am using polyester full bed.

    4) Recently in the last 12 months I play around 2 times a week with variable intensity. I play 3-4 hours per session with a mixture of singles play, some doubles, and some drilling. I took around 6 months off competition and I intend to play competetive soon. So my week will be 2 hitting sessions a week and 1 match a week.

    Do you guys think it is worthwhile for me to get a stringing machine?
    And if so, should I get a tabletop with a Wise tension head? This will set me back by about $1400. I really like the idea of an electronic stringing machine for accuracy.

    Also would you recommend a standing machine over a table top? The table top is quite attractive because I like the idea of being able to put away the machine in the storeroom when not in use. And besides the table top is probably around $300-$400 cheaper.But if portability comes at a major expense to ergonomics, I may have to think twice.

    Thank you for your help and time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
    #1
  2. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Worthwhile? maybe, you could end up spending $1,400 and not like the stringing process at all. I would say you should start small and see if you enjoy it first.
     
    #2
  3. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    This. Especially if you're not stringing weekly or bi-weekly.
     
    #3
  4. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    Fair point. My two other options are a two point mounting drop weight for $400 or a 6 point mount drop weight for $800.

    I guess I could always get the drop weight and maybe upgrade it with a wise tension head somewhere down the road? That could actually work. From what I read I just need to detach the lever and mount the tension head?
     
    #4
  5. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Yes. Just make sure your dropweight has fixed clamps otherwise it'll look too Frankenstein! :)
     
    #5
  6. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    you my friend, are a candidate for a entry level dropweight machine IMO.

    accuracy, portability, cheap (wife won't complain?).
    now if you want fixed clamps, great spend a few more
    bucks. i think that is money well spent, BUT as Irvin said
    you may not even like it/want to do it once you try.

    you can pay off a floating clamp DW model in a few trips to your stringer/shop. triple that for fixed clamps?

    enjoy!
     
    #6
  7. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Some things to consider

    If you buy a good stringing machine new and decide you don't like to string you can sell it for nearly what you bought it for. Lets say you spend $1300, you'd probably get at least $1000 back out of it if you decide it isn't for you.

    The better the machine you buy the more enjoyable the stringing process will be. You can string just fine on a klippermate but you will have a much much more enjoyable experience on a babolat star 5.

    Now granted you probably don't want to spend thousands on a babolat machine but after stringing on a basic entry level machine (gamma progression 200) here are some things I've learned.

    I wish I had fixed clamps. Not only are they faster, but some rackets have a large gap between the last few cross strings and floating clamps pinch those strings resulting in a loss of tension and possible stress on the string (I wouldn't dare string natural gut using those clamps)

    I wish I had a faster mounting system - 6 point or 2 point is fine , but the basic mounting system on my machine is hella slow especially if you string different rackets.

    Dropweights are slow - (not counting automatic drop weights) taking the time to make sure your weight bar is nearly parallel to the ground really does slow down the overall time vs a crank or electric tensioner.

    If I do upgrade it will be to a machine that has spring assisted clamp bases. A Gamma 6004 would be my ideal machine to upgrade to, but if my budget wouldn't allow it I might consider an Alpha revo 4000.

    If I was rich I'd just buy a prince 6000 or babolat star 5 though :)
     
    #7
  8. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I was indecisive but my purchase of a 150usd gamma x-2 was one of the best expenses. Before that my cost of stringing was like yours too but I wasn't happy cuz I never understood strings.

    Well, 150usd isn't much by most standards in the US. Over the years I have strung many rackets for myself, many for others with payments. I don't string fast at all but I know the process well and feel very easy. Plus it feels therapeutic when I string for some reasons.

    I don't advertise my "service" at all. I got "referrals" from those who enjoy my stringing. A little understanding about strings and stringing and rackets goes far. :)

    I own only this machine and I don't understand why anyone who plays a couple times a week wouldn't get this device. It's so cheap and convenient and fun.
     
    #8
  9. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Absolutely worth it! I had my reservations when I bought my machine, but so far I'm loving it. Even though I don't string all the time, I know I've gotten my money's worth out of the machine thus far. It also allows you to try new string set ups.
     
    #9
  10. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    There's certainly something to be said for buying a low-end machine to test the waters, see if you like it. On the other hand, I think it's more about knowing what kind of person you are. I hand never strung before I put down $1,700 on a Apex II/Wise. I also knew it was the right move for me since I'm fairly pragmatic, I enjoy working with my hands, and there was no way I was going to continue to drive 25 min each way just to pay someone else to pay for something I could easily learn to do myself.

    So if you're just not sure, then yeah, pick up a Klippermate or comparable machine and give it a go. Just bear in mind that stringing on a machine like that is nothing like stringing on a nice upright.
     
    #10
  11. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I got a Gamma Progession 200 a couple years ago and learned how to string. My Gamma has a 2-point mounting system and flying clamps. It takes me about 50 minutes to string a racquet (although I can do it in 40 mins in a pinch).

    Everything gmathias says is spot on. I wish I had fixed clamps and a better mounting system, but I don't. I don't love stringing, but I do love the results. I get my stringed exactly they way I want it, with a good degree of consistency and accuracy.

    Occasionally I will have my pro shop string for me when I don't have the time. It costs $10, but the results are all over the map (despite their high-end stringing machine).

    I toy with the idea of upgrading to a better unit--something with fixed clamps (I don't mind the drop weight at all). I think I could sell my Gamma for $100, so I wouldn't lose out on the trade up. (Heck I could through it in the trash and would still have saved a huge amount of dough over having someone else string my racquets.)

    The big deal for me is control. I know exactly what's going on with my strings and that takes one big variable out of the equation.

    I think I would hesitate to spend $1,000+ on a machine without having tried stringing. You could hate it. BTW I love being able to put my machine away when it isn't in use. That's a big plus IMO.
     
    #11
  12. stringmaster

    stringmaster Banned

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    This is very true fixed clamps are so much easier if my machine had not come with them I would have bought them immediately.
     
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  13. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Almost everyone who plays tennis knows someone who has a stringer. Ask around and see if you can use a friends stringer before you buy. Maybe trying more than one will give you an idea of what type stringer you want.
     
    #13
  14. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Hey OP!

    I got into stringing 15 years ago because I was in a situation very similar to yours:

    to wit, bad string jobs (the "club" stopped doing the frames and let their members with stringers do it for a cut), irregular string results; some constant tension, others not.

    long wait for the frame (probably related to the above practice of letting some old guy take it home and get it back to the club once he was done with it)

    high, high price (since both the club and the member had a cut)

    long drive to the club for drop off and pick up.


    My Klippermate's been very good to me. My suggestion is to buy one, use it a couple dozen times, then if you like stringing, sell it (they command about as much used as what you buy them for) and upgrade to a mid-level model with fixed clamps.

    Or, like me, just find yourself very content with the Kmate. It works just fine for me.
     
    #14
  15. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    Just buy it. You won't regret it. At $20 per string job its a no-brainer. Down here they charge $8/racquet and i still string my own raks just to avoid the hastle of drop-off/pick-up. Plus I love stringing my own racquets.
     
    #15
  16. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    OP I'll echo many of the replies here: I was in a similar situation to yours about 15 years ago and the guy who was doing my stringing decided to move away and didn't want to bring his stringer (a classic Ektalon), so I bought it for $400 (as I recall). Since then, I've marveled many times at what a good purchase it was because it's saved my thousands of dollars in stringing my own, and wife's, frames; as well, I have a regular clientele for whom I string. So, as others have suggested here, I think it's a worthwhile purchase.
     
    #16
  17. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    one of the best purchases that I have made. Really made me more interested in my tennis and saved me some money. Plus, it's kind of fun to throw on a match, have a beer and string up a few sticks. (few sticks is better than a few beers..ha)
     
    #17
  18. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    Buy a drop weight, it's worth it to get fixed clamps IMO , I have flying clamps and don't like them one bit
     
    #18
  19. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply on my thread. While I am still not sure if I will definitely like the stringing process, I got a feeling it just might work out.

    I have been looking around and I'm thinking about getting the Spinfire Flame dropnweight tabletop stringer.

    http://www.spinfiresport.com/flame.html

    It's got fixed clamps and the price is $795.

    What do u think?
     
    #19
  20. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    For $650 I'd rather go with an Alpha Revo 4000 especially since you can just slip a wise 2086 on in the future.
     
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  21. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Hummm? Why would you want a no-name brand? Are you in a location where other machine are not readily available?

    I would for with a Gamma 602 w/fixed clamp for $500 you can add a Wise on it later too.
     
    #21
  22. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    That spinfire has eagnas written all over it, which you can get much cheaper. Challenger II

    I'd go with a Gamma. Otherwise just get the Eagnas, I don't understand why the Revo 4000 gets as many mentions as it does (looks like spendy eagnas to me, but with better CS of course).
     
    #22
  23. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I wasn't going to mention the E word but I thought that.
     
    #23
  24. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    My guess is the OP is not in the US and does not have access to Alpha. Now I am wondering if the price he quoted is USD or not.

     
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  25. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    that makes more sense.
     
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  26. j1mw3b

    j1mw3b New User

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    I was lucky and picked up (stumbled on) a used Klippermate on Craigslist for $50.
    I didn't know if I would like stringing or not, but after using it - I like it.
    Have done about 5 racquets now. Not afraid to try different strings and tenisons either 'cause it's so cheap to string

    The hardest part is I have to read the little book every time I string a racquet to see how to get it going with the little starting pin.

    Rest is easy - the dropweight is simple mechanism, easy to level it. After a bit you just know how much string to give it.

    Of course, stringing the crosses is a pain, but would also be a pain on a $1400 machine.

    The floating clamps are fine - I also picked up a Stringway triple and double 'cuz I was looking go get another Kmate for my daughter that was missing parts.
    I actually prefer the Klippermate clamps over the Stringway ones.

    Hard to go wrong even at list price of $159.
    But be very very careful on ****, sometimes the clamps or whatever are not included.

    Jim
     
    #26
  27. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Looks like an Alpha Pioneer DC Plus Painted in a different color to me... I had one... Good machine. But I think it's essentially an Eagnas with better customer service (Alpha in the US at least)... Not sure if Spinfire is a reputable company in OZ or not...

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=457555

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    #27
  28. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    Are you outside the U.S.? That looks just like the Alpha pioneer DC Plus and you can get that for under $500 last time I checked. Or you could go with a Gamma like Irvin suggested. Both are cheaper and they have a reputable name.
     
    #28
  29. camohommed

    camohommed New User

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    I completely agree. My Klippermate has been great. I recommend it highly if you want to get into stringing.
     
    #29
  30. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Agreed! If I was to get picky I would only want fixed clamps. Otherwise it's a great machine for very few bones

    edit: Klippermate has a fixed clamp machine - I had no idea. It's on my wishlist now!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
    #30
  31. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    #31
  32. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    #32
  33. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    O
    No feedback at all but it appears to have one (AND ONLY ONE) fixed clamp. There are a lot of other machines out there with toe clamps in the same price range.
     
    #33
  34. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    A Gamma X-6FC or Progression 602FC are great machines, well worth the price. Plus, you have the ratcheting gripper.
     
    #34
  35. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    I was in the exact same situation as you... play often and paying $20+ for labor. This was totally unacceptable.

    Got a gamma x-2 and never looked back. Works great and im getting pretty good at it. I have zero desire to upgrade.
     
    #35
  36. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    In your situation OP I would absolutely get a machine. Saving $40 labor charge plus the markup your stringer is charging you for poly string, not the mention the travel costs make you an ideal purchaser for a home stringer. Beyond the cost and time savings, you will also get into the ability to cheaply try out new string setups or do an emergency last-minute string job for you or a friend.

    I went the cheap route initially and bought a Klippermate which I used for 5 years until I was pretty sure I had saved enough money by stringing for myself and my wife to pay for an upgrade. I then found a used Prince Neos 1000 in very good condition and have used it for almost 4 years. My advice is not to do what I did but rather go ahead and spend the most you can comfortably afford now and get a nice stringing machine from the get-go.
     
    #36
  37. Topspin101

    Topspin101 Rookie

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    The Klippermate fixed clamp model is no longer available. Discontinued. I do 2 racquets on avg/wk. The KM with the Stringway cross tool does a fantastic, consistent job. Awesome cs as well.
     
    #37
  38. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I am pretty sure it hasn't been discontinued. I was able to put it in my cart and make it all the way to the end of the checkout process. What makes you think it was discontinued?

    http://www.klipperusa.com/products/productdetail.php?catnum=M120
     
    #38
  39. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Agree - especially about buying the most machine you can afford part. Heck, I'd go so far as to say you should consider buying a little more machine than you can afford with one caveat: don't start experimenting with new strings for the first year to ensure you recoup most/all of the "extra" money you shelled out for a really nice model.

    Experimenting with new strings can get addicting, which in turn gets a little expensive. Reason being is because you start cutting out strings long before they're dead...because you can! Is it fun? Absolutely, but again, the $$ starts to add up quickly.

    Earlier in this thread I said if you're simply not sure about stringing (tolerating/learning), then sure, the Klippermate is a good move, but if you've made up your mind, take the plunge and get something nice. You won't regret it.
     
    #39
  40. pmata814

    pmata814 Professional

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    Why get the klippermate with ONE fixed clamp if for an extra $50 you can get a very nice Gamma 602?? :confused:
     
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  41. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't posting that you SHOULD do it (buy the Klippermate), just that you CAN do it.
     
    #41
  42. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    I have the entry level Gamma model with floating clamps < $200. No regrets. Keep in mind, there is a learning curve, especially for the mechanically challenged like me, but with a little persistence, it can be done.

    If tennis is your thing, then just consider this a hobby investment. You are buying something to support one of your passions and you learn more about the sport. The whole saving money thing is added bonus and further incentive to buy it.

    If you do go with a Gamma model, be sure to pick up a couple extra sets of cheap string to learn on. You'll want to save the free strings that come with it, they are actually pretty playable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
    #42
  43. donnaypro

    donnaypro New User

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    Do remember that the learning curve can take a long time to master. The first string job may take hours. Even after you perfect the process, it would still take around 45 min on a entry level machine. It takes thousands of racquets to get as quick as the pro's (15-30 min per stringing). So you should take this in to account when calculating the financial benefits.
     
    #43
  44. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    It really doesn't.
     
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  45. donnaypro

    donnaypro New User

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    Oh really? then how much practice does it take to be able to string a racquet in say 15 min with accuracy?
     
    #45
  46. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    I have the Alpha DC Pioneer. I have no issues with it and enjoy the stringing process.

    Much better than paying to have a racquet strung.

    Also - most importantly - with 2 racquet's I can now test out different tensions and strings w/o going broke.

    That may be the best part of it!
     
    #46
  47. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    That would depend on the stringer (the person stringing) and the stringer (the machine they're using.) I used to use a Tremont stringer and strung about 50 frames on it and never (not even once) strung a frame in less than 60 minutes. No matter what frame I strung. Then I bought a Prince P-100 stringer. The first racket I strung on it was a Prince CTS Approach 1 piece and it took me about 17 minutes. I thought I died and went to heaven.

    Some people won't string a frame in 15 minutes and many don't care to string that fast. For some machines it is highly unlikely it will happen no matter who is using it.
     
    #47
  48. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    That is not what you originally wrote. You said 15-30 minutes. After less than 50 racquets I could string a racquet in under 30 minutes on a Klippermate. I have had my Neos for just over 4 years now and except for the first couple of times using it I always string a racquet in under 30 minutes on it and I only string about once a month.

    So, yeah, really, it really doesn't take thousands of racquets to get fast enough to be in the time frame you originally stated.
     
    #48
  49. am1899

    am1899 Rookie

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    15-30 minutes is a huge range. As pointed out, totally depends on the person, equipment, etc. Anyway, to unilaterally claim that it will take 1000 frames to be able to string at a certain speed is umm...misleading. Everyone is different, so it might take me 20,000, and it might take Joe Shmo 10. What I can say with relative certainty is this - you will get out of it what you put it. If you regularly practice your technique, you will almost certainly become faster. And if you are practicing correct technique, you will almost certainly become more consistent - the ultimate job security in this business.
     
    #49
  50. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    It takes me about an hour on my gamma prog 200. I could probably shave 10-15 minutes if I was all business, but I generally prefer to do it non-rushed.
     
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