The Alpha Pioneer DC+ is GREAT!

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Doulers, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Doulers

    Doulers New User

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    I am a complete newbie to home stringing. Based on reviews and comments on this forum about the Alpha Pioneer DC+, I bought the machine and strung my first racquet over the weekend. The machine worked great! It took me several hours, as expected for my first time, since I was having to follow the instructional DVD while I strung. But I was able to complete an entire string job without any major problems! I did a one piece universal around the world pattern. Went out and hit with the racquet too and it hit great. I know this sounds silly, but I almost felt more at one with or more connected to the racquet since I was the one who strung it!

    The instructional DVD that comes with the machine is fantastic and features YULitle. He does a great job explaining all the steps (e.g., mounting, setting tension, clamping, weaving crosses, tying knots etc.). As someone posted on this forum, the instructional manual the machine comes with is not all that helpful. Not enough detail in it at all. I did find a copy of the Klippermate instructional manual online and used parts of that to learn some of the basics. But the DVD that Alpha includes is really the better instructional device.

    I did find passing strings through blocked grommet holes to be pretty tricky, but I am sure that now that I know the basics, with more practice, I will get quicker at stringing. And then the next step I want to try is stringing natural gut.

    Thanks to all who recommended the Alpha Pioneer DC+!
     
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  2. Spatula

    Spatula Semi-Pro

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    So Alpha took the video's that YU did on youtube and is now including them as part of the purchase?

    YU--are you getting a cut on this? Congrats!
     
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  3. Doulers

    Doulers New User

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    The Alpha instructional DVD appears to be different from YULitle's videos on his YouTube channel. Substantively not too different from what I can tell so far. But in his YouTube videos, YULitle is using I think a Gamma machine and at times a Tecnifbre machine (?). In the Alpha instructional DVD he is using the Alpha Revo 4000 and the Alpha Pioneer DC+ since those are the machines he is showing how to use. So far, from what I can tell, the substance of his narrative is not too different from his YouTube videos. He covers many of the same topics. Looks like they just shot separate videos to put on the DVD. Both YULitle's YouTube videos and the DVD I find to be great resources for beginner stringer.
     
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  4. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

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    Alpha paid me to make an instructional video early last year and has been including them with their Revo and Pioneer machines ever since, to my knowledge. It's all original footage that I made for Alpha, with their machines. It's about 2 hours long...
     
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  5. brosamj

    brosamj New User

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    YULitle...have you done one for the Alpha Axis Pro...or can I just use the Revo one as the one to follow?
     
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  6. Toad

    Toad Rookie

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    I second the original poster. Same story basically...I got my DC + last Monday, and have pretty much done the gamut of stringing. Done one of my kevlar/syn gut hybrids, did a multi/syn gut hybrid, and did a full gut. I have also practiced two and one piece stringing. The only thing I haven't done is poly, and around the world, but I doubt poly will be any worse than the gut. The gut was hard as hell to get it in the last cross since the string kept bunching up when i tried to push it through so I had to keep cutting a bit off the end and trying again (even with liberally applying chapstick to the string end).

    I have no regrets about my purchase, and thank you so much to YuLitle for teaching me the proper way to string a racket through his videos. I noticed a substantially higher quality string job on my first attempt vs. a string job one of my classmates did for me a year ago. I think adding a few pounds on the tie offs and holding the string when pulling tension on the crosses is the main reason for this.
     
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  7. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    Get a piece of poly, push that through, then, before pulling the poly out of the hole, start putting the gut in. It should work, hopefully.
     
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  8. Toad

    Toad Rookie

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    Thanks, I will try that next time. I sort of ended up doing something similar with my awl, but that will work better.
     
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  9. Doulers

    Doulers New User

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    Hi Toad:

    After some more times stringing the Alpha Gut 2000 synthetic gut I got with my machine (for the practice), I am going to try stringing natural gut. How big of a difference did you feel between stringing synthetic gut and natural gut? Any things to look out for with natural gut?
     
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  10. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    The gut will stretch more, and it is more fragile (in a nutshell).
     
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  11. Toad

    Toad Rookie

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    To be honest, the only challenging things I found about stringing the gut up vs the Alpha Gut 2000 was the gut had more coil memory, and getting it through the first and last few crosses where holes are blocked was a huge pain. I did a little bit of pre-stretching the gut, so I didn't really notice much more stretch than I saw with the Alpha Gut 2000. You might try getting the string straight so there is just a small amount of tension in the string and letting it set for like half an hour or something before you string it up...I think that would take a lot of the coil memory out....going to try that next time I string this up.

    One thing that I did run into when I strung the gut up though was it slid through the clamps the first couple times I tried to tension the string (I normally adjust them before I start so that they are very nearly, but not, squishing the string some). I eventually cleaned the clamps and tightened them some more so they did mar the string up a bit, but they weren't slipping any more. I read somewhere on here that you can use a note card or something between the clamps and the string to add some friction so the string won't slip, but I didn't try that...I will next time.

    I also noticed when doing the crosses, the gut started slightly unraveling, but I think that was happening where the string was slipping through the clamps in the beginning, and also on some of the spots where the string went through the linear gripper (decided to use the stuff that slipped through a bit on the crosses). One other thing I noticed was that when I clamped the string, or the string went through the linear gripper it changed colors a little bit.

    For the record I was stringing up with an old (like two years) set of BDE gut 17 gauge (not vacuum sealed gut) that had been in the persons tennis bag the entire time, so some of the problems I ran into might have been due to the string being in overall bad shape before I started. I will say that the gut I used was not nearly as fragile as people seem to make the stuff out to be...I thought for sure the string was going to break after it slipped through the clamps a couple of times, but then again I was pretty careful when I was stringing it up.
     
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  12. ROCKinCourier

    ROCKinCourier Rookie

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    How was the ratcheting action? Was it simple to release and reset? Did you have problems getting the bar perfectly horizontal? I am wondering because I am trying to figure out if I want to spend the extra money on a Stringway ML100, or if I want to get the Pioneer DC+. Right now I am leaning towards the DC+ because I can't warrant the extra expense when comparing it to how often I will string. But usability and accuracy are huge factors that may swing me to the ML100.
     
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  13. Toad

    Toad Rookie

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    Maybe someone with more experience on this machine (or experience on both) can comment on this as well, but I really have had no problems at all with the machine once I had done a couple rackets on it. The ratchet is very easy to release. I only had problems with it once the first time i strung when I misjudged how much I needed to lift the lever to get to the tension. It settled before the arm was level, but after a minute of screwing around with it I figured out that all you have to do to get it to release if it gets locked up is add a little more tension to the string while pulling on the lever to release it (you could even do that if you have problems getting it to release after you clamp since the extra tension won't go through the clamps, but I have never had problems getting it to release after clamping). Doesn't take much more tension to get it. When I was stringing up my kevlar mains, I only needed to reset the ratchet a couple of time for the set of mains. With any other string you will need to reset it after every pull, but it isn't a big deal in my opinion.

    After my first string job I haven't had any more problems getting the bar level. I typically wait a few seconds before I clamp the string so the string stops stretching and I lift the lever a small amount more...probably not really needed though. I considered the Stringway (that is the dropweight that is accurate at any angle right?) as well because I am pretty obsessive about accuracy, but after reading something on here that said the lever being off by about 10 degrees will only result in a 1 lb difference in the tension pulled, I decided it wasn't worth it. Realistically you aren't going to be that far off even if you are being sloppy, and you would have to be that far off on every pull for your entire string bed to be off by 1 lb (which I can't really even tell). You can be just as accurate with the DC +, it will just take a little more time.

    The only complaint I have with the machine is that when you are starting the mains and pulling towards the racket handle, the racket handle can get in the way of the arm if you don't pay attention. This would no doubt be a problem with any dropweight though, and it is pretty easy to account for it.

    Personally I can't tell any difference between the stringjob I did compared to the $20 stringjob I used to get (I think they used a Babolat Star 3).
     
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  14. ROCKinCourier

    ROCKinCourier Rookie

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    See -- I am in the same boat you were -- accuracy is a huge thing to me, and for some reason I can't give with the fact that a lockout type machine, like a crank, will drop so much tension.

    I used to string with a Gamma Progression II FC back in the day -- started string when I was 15. I gave that to a family member a few years ago -- and now I'm searching for a stringer again (yeah, I should have just kept my old one). It seems I will probably go with the Pioneer DC+ -- but something about the Stringway just keeps me curious ...
     
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  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    You're a star! :grin:
     
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  16. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    I'm a big fan of your videos. You mentioned in one of the FAQ videos, that you will be getting an Gamma X-2 or Alpha drop weight stringer. Maybe you should work into your next contract with Alpha or Gamma that they include the machine you do the video for.

    Keep up the great work!
     
    #16
  17. Doulers

    Doulers New User

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    Just finished stringing my second racquet with my new Alpha Pioneer DC+. Was able to complete the job again with no major hiccups! The machine is fantastic!

    This time I did a two piece pattern to learn it. The first time I did a universal around the world pattern. I think these will be the two major patterns I will need to know for the racquets I own. So I feel I am pretty much there with all I need to know to be comfortable stringing just for myself. I might try one more practice string job before making the leap to stringing natural gut. Not sure yet, but so far I am feeling pretty confident with the Alpha. I may just try natural gut on my next string job!

    So far I can see why some people say they may prefer an electronic tensioner or crank. At times it can take a little time to get the drop weight parallel on a drop weight machine. This obviously increases the time it takes to string. But I have only done my second racquet so far and I can tell that I am getting quicker at getting the weight parallel. The linear gripper on the machine sometime sticks. But Mark Gonzalez at Alpha recommended using graphite powder preferably, and, if not, silicone spray to lubricate the ball bearings. Beyond that though have had no major problems with the Alpha Pioneer. Once you get the basic techinques down and get better at leveling the drop weight, stringing a racquet really is not as hard as I thought it was going to be.

    I learned basically everything I needed to know from YULitle's Youtube videos, the Alpha instructional DVD that also features YULitle, and a little from the Klippermate instructional manual. I should have learned to string my own racquets years ago and saved myself a ton of money!
     
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  18. illzoni

    illzoni Rookie

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    I also love both the DC+ and YULitle's vids!

    It's interesting to see pieces of advice I now take for granted shared elsewhere on this forum...because I heard them first from YULitle.
     
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