Which Technique is "Best", If Any?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by TimothyO, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Recently I've been asking stringers about the details of their work and I'm amazed at the variety of answers.

    One local chain, which strings for ATP events, automatically adds 10% tension to the last four (outside) crosses and mains unless given other instructions. So of 16 mains the center 8 are at reference tension and the outside 8 are +10%. Same goes for top and bottom crosses.

    Another fellow who does very clean, neat work keeps the entire bed at reference if not otherwise specified.

    A guy who goes to the GSSS every year and who also does very clean work (eg NO friction burn on natural gut) subtracts 8# from the two outside/shortest strings, adds 8# to the next 2, and does the center strings at reference (his string beds come out very tight).

    I've used all three and noticed the differences between them enough to ask them about technique.

    And of course you have stuff like the JET method and others such as one local fellow who has his own "5 Star" technique (not sure what that means).

    Is there any one "best" approach for achieving a well playing, uniform string bed? Is there any research to back this stuff up? Or is this more art than science as far as the stringing community is concerned? Why so much variation?

    As a stringing customer I'm curious since these technique variations clearly influence how a string bed plays enough that I've started to spec precisely how I want a frame strung (bumping up tension on the outer strings but nothing as high as 8#).
     
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  2. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    IME/O - being consistent and delivering the same thing every time is the single most important thing to me. Ergo, I use a time honored method, the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid.

    If the customer asks for 55 pounds mains and crosses....I have this funny inclination to string the mains and crosses at 55 pounds...exactly. I don't use calculus to extrapolate out a harmonic average tension varying string by string. I also don't wear Mickey's Wizard hat when I string. I just pull the damn string.

    I really wish people (not you) would quit trying to turn racquet stringing into some science, mystical cosmic event, or occult practice.
     
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  3. bugeyed

    bugeyed Semi-Pro

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    ^ +1
    Actually, I do try to establish if a new customer has used a CP or lockout machine, then adjust my recommendation accordingly.

    Cheers,
    kev
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I understand your sentiment and, as a customer, mostly agree with you. It can be frustrating as a customer getting such huge variations from different stringers when specing the same reference tension.

    I'm a tech geek with an artistic background and really appreciate that small variations in stringing and racquet mods can result in differences in how a frame plays. I've experienced myself in blind testing (eg feeling small variations in SW or string bed tension without looking at the frames).

    So of the three stringers detailed above, if I spec something like gut/poly at 56/52 with no more detail I'll get back three VERY different string jobs from those three stingers ranging from very tight to compareitively loose.

    So I guess my question is about industry standards in some ways. I know they don't exist at a low level which is why it's best to always go to the same stringer over time, but that's not always possible (eg multiple stringers in one shop and they rotate to different shops).
     
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  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    ^ +2, great post by Rabbit.
     
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    String for yourself. That will eliminate the problem.
     
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  7. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I know. I've told myself that once our boys move away to college I'll do that (just 7 short years from now). :)
     
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  8. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Geez, why wait 7 years? It's not expensive to get in with an entry level drop weight which strings just as consistent as anything else, and speed wise, once you get it down you are talking less than 1 hour easy.... you'll more than cover the cost of an entry level stringer with just 5-6 string jobs, plus the benefit of being able to experiment with different strings and tensions, or even make a few bucks stringing for friends.... it's really not that difficult or time consuming.
     
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  9. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    It's not cost, it's time: time to learn and time to do the stringing. Skill-wise I'm sure I can handle since I'm very handy with tools and crafts.

    But I have adopted your perspective in the recent past and am very tempted to make the leap as soon as this winter. I do love experimenting which would save money. But there's a retired fellow in our neighborhood who does excellent work and is really hardcore (attends the Florida symposium). He only charges $10 per job just to earn pocket money and stay busy so it's pretty cheap (another shop charges $20, $25 if you bring in your own gut).
     
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  10. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    With Rabbit. KISS is best for replicating the SBS. Remembering to change tension for the outside mains and crosses is a PITA.
     
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  11. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Getting back OT, do any of you experienced stringers know what percentage of stringers simply pull the reference tension on all the strings and what percentage try something like altering tension as in the JayCee, JET, or other methods such as proportional stringing?
     
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  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    +4 with Rabbits post.

    As much as certain stringers try and make stringing an art to make themselves or work special,,,,,,,, by and large stringing is anything but an art form. It is a craft. As rabbit stated, KISS.
     
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  13. Chotobaka

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    Best post I have read here in a very long time.
     
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  14. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

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    +5 Rabbits post.


    By the way, I've never heard of a JET method, what is it?
     
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  15. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I respect and value your opinion very much and know about your professional experience. Do you pull a constant tension on all strings or vary it across the SB as in JET or proportional stringing? By your answer above I assume constant byt just want to confirm.

    One reason I'm curious is that I'm about to have both frames strung for a head to head comparison of VS/4G versus VS/Focus Hex. I want both freshly strung at the same time and in the same manner so I'm spending the money to have it done in one go.

    The fellow doing the work will do what I spec but his default is something like JET.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
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  16. TimothyO

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    It looks like a variation of the JayCee method and it's pushed by L-Tec...it's the antithesis of Rabbit's advice! :)
     
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  17. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Best post by "Rabbit".

    Too many folks fret about their equipment, I would suggest working on the serve, volley or that backhand slice.

    When focused on improving one's game, the thought of "customizing" equipment, is but a distant memory.

    OP, IMO, 4 lbs. between your mains and crosses is to much. IMO, 2 lbs. should be the max.
     
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  18. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I've played with that delta a bit based on frame size, pattern, and string type and gauge. It seems that I prefer around 4# on smaller and denser frames and 2# with larger, open heads shading up and down based on gauge and stiffness.

    Fully agree about practice. I usually hit serves 2-3 times each week at lunch and hit at least 3-4 times each week (1 match, 1 formal lesson/practice, and 2 informal sessions with friends or family).

    In fact, my interest in this topic is driven by the fact that I just switched fom the Speed 300 to the 200 Tour and want the setup nailed down asap so I can focus purely on technique. I'm a creature of habit but also very picky. I'll search far and wide for what I like and then enjoy the consistency and confidence of a known value.
     
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  19. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    The best? You know that will depend on who you talk to. All your going to gets is opinions. Why not do what you think is best or do you think everyone else's opinion is better than yours?
     
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  20. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    You have thousands of posts on a forum dedicated to the exchange of knowledge and opinion.

    The only explanation for your post is that you suffer from multiple personalities and don't even realize that you're writing this stuff.

    Go take your meds.
     
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  21. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Well yes I guess that's true, but normally when someone on here gives an opinion they don't have to worry about being ridiculed.

    EDIT: Maybe you should apply for being a moderator on the forum so you can delete all the opinions you don't like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
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  22. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    this is the best solution.

    agreed. i know what feels and works best for me so i don't care about others' opinions. for all you know, the opinion you're getting from the internet might be from someone who's just strung their first racquet in their life.

    here's an analogy. just because you've spent more time mindlessly practicing jump shots doesn't mean you are automatically going to be a better shooter than Ray Allen.

    some people make is seem like everyone can produce a quality string job if they practice enough. it's just not true. if you keep stringing with poor technique but you aren't aware that your technique is poor, you'll just be really proficient at producing a consistently crappy string job.

    when i string for others, if they want it strung using the conventional method, i do it that way. if they want it done a special way, i'll do it that way as long as it's not detrimental to the racquet. if they don't know how they want it strung, i'll offer to string it up the way i string my racquets.
     
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  23. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    you know what they say about opinions. opinions are like @$$h0le$, everyone has one and they all stink. it's so true. :cool:

    also remember it wasn't that long ago that scientists thought the world was flat. at the end of the day, you don't know what you don't know. :cool:
     
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  24. mad dog1

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    if everyone approached life with this attitude, we'd still be in the stone age.
     
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  25. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    ^ +1 on that.
     
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  26. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    We use it all........no easy answer.

    While the kiss method is sound advice, we have found that with so many player requests, racquet patterns, string types, string stiffness index and head sizes, we have used all of the techniques you listed. We find the technique that best works for the individual customer, standardize on that and track their play/string performance.

    We do this for every customer as part of our Personal Service package. As an example, some college players like the JET method, as it does impact the SBS with poly strings. Some like a firmer SBS so we overtension the outside strings as mentioned.

    There really is no right or wrong as long as you are consistent, however there are many variables in players, racquets and strings so no one system will work best for every player. As JC would say, this is where the ART meets the CRAFT.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
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  27. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Nurse Rachet wants you and Irvin back on the ward to take your meds.

    :)

    Yeah, I know it's so hip to go on forums dedicated to the discussion of hardware and bloviate about "it's technique, not hardware" or "it's just opinion, go try it for yourself". That's mostly idiotic when you think about the purpose of a...discussion...forum.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts.

    ;)

    I do have an opinion on this topic but it's a less informed opinion than the opinions of the many experienced stringers in this particular section of the forum. If you have nothing relevant to add, why spend your time posting here? I've never understood that sort of aberrant behavior. A pysch grad student will probably get his Phd on that subject one day: "Insane Homeless People Who Post Nonsense on Internet Forums: the Therapeutic Benefits".

    The reality is that stringing is part opinion to the extant the facts are not yet known through research. It's also part fact already (yes, kevlar is stiffer than natural gut...no opinion there Irvin and MadDog).

    This issue of tension variation across the stringbed has been around a long time and is being debated...just like some held the uninformed opinion that the world was flat, others thought round, and research established which was fact and which was nonsense.

    Personally, it makes sense to me that varying tension on shorter strings might make for a more consistent SB. But I'm in no position to assert that as fact or even well informed opinion. I've tried my own experiments with the help of stringers and it seems to work. But there are lots of TT members who believe it doesn't make a difference and they have tons of experience. So, I'm interested in their well informed opinions and any facts to the extant they've been established.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
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  28. mad dog1

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    nice post, Larry! good to see you around. it's exactly this sort of willingness to think, learn and adopt which is why we aren't still stuck in the stone age. :cool:
     
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  29. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    the best technique is the one I'm currently using.
     
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  30. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    Nurse Rachet,

    i hope the message you can take away from this discussion is keep an open mind. ask, listen, learn, think, experiment and come away with your own opinions.

    for a pro stringer at a shop, time is money. it's all about speed. the faster you can string a racquet, the more racquets you can string in a given amount of time. the more racquets you can string, the more money you make. if you're busy cranking out 20-40 racquets a day, you can't possibly have time to think about what you're doing. it takes time to stop and think. if you stop to think, you're not stringing as many racquets as you can and therefore aren't making money. so just because a professional stringer has strung over 100,000 racquets in their lifetime doesn't necessarily mean they know everything about stringing. they know everything about the 100,000 racquets they've strung. again, you don't know what you don't know. for someone to say, i've tried something once and it doesn't work so there's nothing to it. that's completely asinine. that just means they don't have or haven't developed the expertise yet. i just had a contractor do some tile work in my bathroom. he was cutting small circles in tiles using techniques and tools that i had never seen anyone else use before. in fact, he was able to do things that other contractors had told me couldn't be done.

    anyways, i know i don't know everything but then again, i don't go around bashing a particular method or technique. like TennezSport said, different things work for different individuals. there's no single solution for everyone. i string for someone who can't feel the difference btwn strings. he feels that syn gut plays the same as poly except that poly has better durability so for him, i string straight tension. there's no sense in doing anything else in his string job if it all feels the same to him. but regardless of what method i use, i am consistent within my technique in that method.

    happy hitting!
     
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  31. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Mad-dog...interesting comments but not relevant to the discussion. You also seem conflicted as to the purpose of a discussion group. One moment you say it's all opinion and doesn't matter and the next one must ask questions to form new opinions.

    Well, thanks for stating the obvious, I guess.

    Good luck to you.
     
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  32. A Defenseless Creature

    A Defenseless Creature Semi-Pro

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    This thread would make a great case study for students studying epistemology-- specifically the Perry scheme that details various stages of learning. The full gamut is at work here. For a summary go to Wikipedia and look up William Perry. It helps explains where posters are coming from as well as their level of decision making.
     
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  33. mad dog1

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    actually i did answer your question.

    your question: Which Technique is "Best", If Any?
    my answer: It depends.

    apparently it wasn't obvious, i guess.

    cheers!
     
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  34. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    This is totally inane as I am not approaching life with this attitude, I approach stringing a racquet with this attitude. I clearly stated that in my post. You chose to extrapolate this into some life vision and therein lies the problem. If you are given the task of filling your car up with gas, assuming your old enough to do so, do you pontificate as grandly on that simple task as well? What should the handle position be? What is the best flow rate? How deep should the fill pipe be inserted for optimum aeration of the gasoline? Is a blend of the 3 octane levels, a hybrid, better than the manufacturer's recommendation? You're not building an engine, your filling a gas tank.

    @TimothyO - the best method is the one that is used by the vast majority of stringers around the world - string at the indicated tension. I agree with what someone said about allowing for differences in machines, that's solid advice. For you to get a consistent string job, use one stringer and tell him to pull it like you want it, no incantations or mumbo jumbo or letting the tension head sit for 5 minutes to allow the string to "breath". I would also encourage you to get into stringing, it is fun, but it turns some folks into pseudo-quantum physicists it appears.
     
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  35. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If the was a 'best method / technique' it would have been tested by the USRSA and every USRSA member on this forum would be quoting the article from RSI magazine racing to tell you all about it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  36. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Well actually.........

    I do not want to tell anyone how to do the job as you know what works best for you. However, even with your gas tank example you have to deal with options, which you learn to do to get the best result. If you are driving a friends car or a new car you have to adapt again.

    The same thing goes for the craft of stringing. I have worked or studied with a number of the best stringers in the world and I can tell you they all use different techniques; I watched a stringer from Korea that weaves his string with his tools. The one thing that brings them together is that they all can use all of the best techniques. This is especially evident when they work on stringing teams for the bigger events. This is where you are told to use certain patterns for consistency and to minimize issues.

    I have always believed that you should learn it all and use what works best for you and your customer to deliver outstanding service. I just learned a new technique from Parnell that produces a consistent SBS and a beautifully clean string on the outside of the frame. No one method is good for all situations, so we adapt to be better. Just an opinion.

    Cheers, TennezSport Stay :cool: Breathe
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  37. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    But you may well be like me and find it to be one super pain in the rear !! Which is why I limit my stringing to myself only.
     
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  38. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    Timothy, that wouldn't be Ed M., would it ?
     
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  39. fortun8son

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    The closest thing to an 'industry standard' is that which is tested for USRSA certification and many stringers, sadly, fall short of this minimum standard (even when they have access to the Digest).

    There is a lot of leeway even there, however. For example, the test is usually given on a NEOS, but there is no requirement for how long each string is pulled on the crank, as long as you finish within the time limit.

    Those other methods are more advanced (and debatable as to their efficacy).
    I do believe that the stringer should tell the customer that they are using one of these as their default method to avoid possible confusion when getting restrung by someone else who does not use these methods.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
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  40. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    I haven't been to TT in a while, but I also agree it's consistancy above all.
    I've actually never understood why one would increase outside M's or X's. they are shorter than the rest.
    I also agree stringing isn't a science. As my boy Drake put it, it's a craft.
    Anyway.....nice to see (read) everyone. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  41. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Yup! He strung both of my Tours today in fact with VS mains and Focus Hex crosses.

    He does absolutely amazing work. He is truly a craftsman and student of stringing. We live in the same neighborhood and he's my favorite stringer even though he tends to string tighter than other guys. Sometimes I use others since my family gives me gift certificates to various shops or he might not be available but he's definitely the man. Dropping off and picking up a frame is never quick. I love chatting with him about all things tennis.

    He's also a good hearted and collects frames for kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them. We've given him a number of frames as our kids have grown up and he re-strings them and hands them over to a charity.

    One of Ed's wife's relatives (Pam F) lived across the road from us and we were friends. I often walked her kids home from school with my boys and my wife was in a neighborhood ladies' club with her. Pam and her family have moved to FL but stay in contact when visiting.

    Today Ed told me about a shop in Atlanta that sold both Dunlop tires AND wooden Dunlop frames. The frames were in a barrel and customers simply rumaged around to find something they liked. The guys manning the shop had no interest in tennis and knew nothing about the frames that HQ sent them to sell.

    Today I also asked Ed to string one Tour frame at 57/52 and the other at 52/49 as an experiment. I hit with them tonight and the 57/52 frame was clearly the winner. Far more spin and control. Very comfy too. Was a no brainer. He did the job "flat" with no varience in tension across strings.

    Next I'm going to cut out the 52/49 strings and have Ed string it with VS/4G at 57/52 for a head to head test.

    How do you know Ed? Are you near Dunwoody?

    EDIT: just looked at the website in your signature....looks like you're in Ed's senior group. IIRC he played on Wednesday this week. Did you have a chance to hit with him?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  42. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    You guys are killin' me! :) I was an 'Ed'(actually a 'Rick') in Sandy Springs for many years, with some clients working with me for well over a dozen years....some over 20! We left in '08 and I really miss the 'gang' of customers and friends.

    I'll say a good 90% of the rackets I worked on were strung 'straight up' with consistent tension on mains and crosses. This was changing after 2005 or so as many more folks were experimenting with hybrids and quite a few of my regulars were using aramid fiber mains mixed will all sorts of cross string types. Even with the mix of string types for one string job, the general goal was to apply consistent tension for each.

    Exceptions would be for frames designed to be strung with some specialty approach to tension. I had a couple of Weed customers and would string according to the recommended 'perimeter' adjustment for that model or make other adjustments for other specialty frames.

    One of the advantages of working with a consistent stringer or 'style' is the ability to make changes with more predictable results. If a regular customer wanted to change tension or type of string, the results were easier to forecast when dealing with a baseline already established. While I don't subscribe to the 'change only ONE variable at a time' theory, I do believe it's easier to achieve the desired results when there is a 'constant' from which to work.

    All this 'back and forth' regarding stringing as an art or craft or appliance installation can actually be constructive...as long as we keep an open mind and consider other methods for what they might 'bring to the table'. Then just dismiss them as silly and be on your way :) . Ba-zin-ga!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
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  43. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    I worked with him at WE for years, when I retired he went with Bellsouth ..... Played with him every day for many years in our senior group ..... he helped me get started stringing (only for myself-because I hate it) and is my "fall back" stringer those times I cannot bring myself to do it.

    John Mc is also in your neighborhood and plays in the senior group 3-4 times a week (when he's not travelling) ...... you should come over and join us one morning. Ed dropped out of the group last year when the Blackburn contractee was changed, but he still strings for most of the guys so I see him every 2-3 weeks.

    I'm just inside the perimeter ... about a mile or so from Blackburn.
     
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