Why is Natural Gut Bad??

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Japan Tennis, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Japan Tennis

    Japan Tennis Rookie

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    Hey

    Whhy does nobody buy natural gut if it does not lose tension until it breaks??? What are the pro's and con's of natural gut?

    Jap tennis
     
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  2. Rookie

    Rookie Rookie

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    Do you know how many has to be killed to make a full set of natural gut?
     
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  3. Japan Tennis

    Japan Tennis Rookie

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    other then that
     
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  4. tennis-skater

    tennis-skater Semi-Pro

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    its not like they just go kill cows for gut there cows that were already gunna die and they just use up stuff that normally isnt used

    but not many people use it because its so expensive and its quite low in durability
     
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  5. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    $$$$$$$$$$$$
     
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  6. Japan Tennis

    Japan Tennis Rookie

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    SO it costs alot and lasts for a short amount of time but they can retain tension.
     
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  7. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I'll bite.

    I lasts longer than any other string-period.
     
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  8. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    So can Signum Pro Poly Plasma :p
     
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  9. armand

    armand Banned

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    Yeah, polyester has more control, spin and durability(not tension retension) and costs less than natural gut. Plain and simple.

    Natural gut was the choice of string in the days of smaller sized racquets, but these days, with everything bigger and more powerful, one needs the chracteristics that polys provide.
     
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  10. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    You know what I don't like about the new racquets, they are so powerful that people are stringing with cheaper to manufacture single core poly strings at tensions that make the sweet spot even smaller than most flexible mid-size racquets with soft string or soft main hybrid combos. More often than not I see more people shanking shots off of larger racquets with stiff strings at high tensions than anything. String manufacturers have done a good job marketing junk strings in overly powerful racquets, cheap to make, higher profit margins.

    Natural gut has the longest playability if you don't get it wet. They are easily at least twice as durable of anything short of kevlar and polys.
     
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  11. Japan Tennis

    Japan Tennis Rookie

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    Is the SPPP arm friendly?
     
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  12. armand

    armand Banned

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    I guess you see more shanking because polys need a faster swing. I was just watching Lendl vs. Sampras and they were swinging in slo-mo!

    But anyway, I was a natural gut user but now that I use full poly, I won't be going back, even though I'm not a string breaker.

    What polys have you tried?

    Japan Tennis: yes, I'm finding SPPP to be ok for the arm. I have somewhat of a sensitive arm and it's only given me a very, very little trouble. But I also take precautions in not overdoing it, and taking a nice and gradual warm up. Helps a lot.
     
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  13. Japan Tennis

    Japan Tennis Rookie

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    Why did you switch to poly if u don't break strings?

    and could you tell me abount your change? how did it feel?
     
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  14. armand

    armand Banned

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    Like I already said: more control and spin.

    It actually didn't feel extremely different. SPPP is soft and I strung it lower anyway, so it wasn't that different from natural gut at a considerably higher tension. Poly feels more solid at impact and the real difference is you get more control when swinging hard+fast. The strings deflect less, flattening out the ball more, giving you more control.

    Only thing about SPPP is that it has unremarkable spin for a poly. Still more than gut.
     
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  15. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    Hi Adely, at the moment I've been playing on faster surface courts so I'm using full gut and soft synthetic on my backup racquet. Normally I use ALU in crosses, helps more with spin serves and balls above my shoulder.

    I've tried out the 22mm+ beam tweeners with full ALU years ago, it was nice to effortlessly hit heavy spin from the base line, but I really felt my backhand slices / volleys / droppers went to the crapper. Played a few doubles sets and immediately went back to the 6.0 95 and Tour 90 hybrid setup.

    I think most people can still swing for the fences with a low powered, flexible racquet with a hybrid string job.
     
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  16. armand

    armand Banned

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    Well, I'm not using a tweener either, but if I were, I'd make sure they weren't light. You mention the slices / volleys / droppers. Certainly slices and volleys(not sure about drop shots) rely on a racquet's mass more than anything to be good, in my opinion.

    If you ever have an opportunity, give the Yonex RD-Ti80 a whirl: It's a great compromise between a player's racquet and a tweener. Of course string it up with poly, you'll see.
     
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  17. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    I play with one string and nothing else: 17 gauge Babolat gut. If there's another brand that's just as good I might consider it. Even with a flexible racquet, 16 gauge hurts my elbow. It's really sensitive now. Plus, 16 gauge has much lower playability. It does last longer, though.

    The key with gut is to avoid string with a knot in it. If it has a knot, it will break quickly, at the knot.
     
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  18. shirsen

    shirsen New User

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    If comfort is my most important consideration, although I do not suffer from TE, is there anything better than gut? I have tried full poly (Topspin Cyberflash) at low tensions but just didn't seem as sweet as full gut (even at a much higher tension), of course it was 1/3 of the price. And maybe I should know, but what is SPPP? Thanks.
     
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  19. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    If feel is your priority, then gut is the way to go. With most juniors playing with a LOT of spin these days, durability is a factor and therefore many go with synthetics.

    I remember as early as 2000 when golf pros were using natural rubber, or balata-coated golf balls for the feel on their puts and spin on their short irons. Balata golf balls had the downside of being short-lived and expensive. That period in golf was also known as the catch-up to Tiger era. Other golfers wanted to hit longer drives and one method was to change the compression of their golf balls. The new golf ball technology (Titleist Pro V1) offered longer tee shots but with a slightly reduced spin found in the balata balls. Today, I don't know of any top pro (including Tiger) that uses a balata ball.

    Here's my take on the future of Natty Gut: there will be an artificially made string that will come close to the softness and playability of natural gut -- and with more power. Take the leap and stop using gut as a crutch for your spin game or your tennis elbow. Buy synthetic, string lower, and challenge your game. You're closer to that ideal synthetic than you realize.
     
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  20. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Your elbow can seriously tell the difference between 16 and 17 gauge natural gut? Can you elaborate on your experiences with this?

    Also, to the guy who said gut gets ruined when it gets wet -- is that still true today? I thought most natural gut now has coating on it that protects it from damage from rain and moisture. Any know for sure about this?
     
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  21. neo

    neo Banned

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    Natural Gut Pros:
    Great comfort, very arm friendly
    Holds tension very well

    Natural Gut Cons:
    Expensive
    Too powerful for large head size frames

    Polyester Pros:
    Very durable
    Less power, great control
    Great spin generation

    Polyester Cons:
    Bad comfort, very stiff
    Loses a lot of tension

    There are newer polyesters (SPPP, Polylon SP) which are better, but general rule still stands.
     
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  22. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    It has a coating that wears off. Do it in the wet and it wears off faster.
     
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  23. alan-n

    alan-n Professional

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    I don't think you can draw that many parallels between the two sports. The catch up to Tiger era resulted in everyone switching to graphite shaft drivers at the expense of driving accuracy.... and its ironic that Tiger has had the success he's had lately by going the opposite direction. Which is change his driving technique to be less violent, much smoother rotation and playing a more accurate tactical game over the golf course rather than drive the ball record distances that he used to.

    One day there will be an artificially made string that will exceed natural gut, but the question is will it be affordable to produce in mass quantities. I just can't see this happening in the next 50 years.
     
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  24. ryohazuki222

    ryohazuki222 Semi-Pro

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    no one's mentioned this at all..... but once they start cloning all the cows.... wont gut finally come down in price :)
     
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  25. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    Oh, because a string hasn't been invented yet gut today is a crutch? Interesting logic.
     
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  26. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    Tiger has been able to drop back to hitting long irons because recent synthetic ball compression and cover technology, concurrent in use of graphite shafts and larger heads on drivers, has allowed him to hit the ball longer. If Tiger used the same 2-iron to whack a Titleist Balata (used in 1997) and a Nike One (currently in use) I am certain that the Nike ball would stop closer to the target.
    What I'm saying is that athletes can easily adjust their games to take advantage of technology. For some younger tennis players, it would be financially beneficial to adjust to the feel of consistent synthetic strings rather than rely on a natural gut string that drops off significantly in playability after the first week.
     
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  27. bagung

    bagung Hall of Fame

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    try the klip armourpro n gut , it last longer than vs team, it is more crisp and stiff . but with reducing 2-3lbs from your normal tensions, it gives you twice the life time compare to vs team
     
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  28. Keifers

    Keifers Legend

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    Sorry, sloe, but I have to disagree with your assertion that nat gut's playability drops off significantly after the first week. That has not been my experience -- in fact, nat gut maintains its playability longer than most synthetics, and of course, much longer than polys.

    Are you refering to the drop in tension in the strings after the first week?

    (That drop happens with synthetics too, btw.)
     
    #28
  29. tennis_nerd22

    tennis_nerd22 Hall of Fame

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    and has no feel :)
     
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  30. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    I don't have any figures, but I believe that a synthetic (like Luxilon Big Banger) keeps tension better than a natural gut string well after the first week. Players like Federer, Blake, Agassi, et al. have switched to synthetic because the tension keeps and control is what keeps the ball in play.

    If tension is a factor in one's playability then I suggest using a synthetic string. I have nothing against natural gut, it's just impractical for me to spend $60 every month or more to restring my racquets. I don't have the time nor the money.
     
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  31. neo

    neo Banned

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    Players like "Federer, Blake, Agassi, et al" don't have to worry about tension loss because they restring for every match. They switched to polyester type strings because it provides more control and more spin compared to natural gut.
     
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  32. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    These guys are professionals that are sensitive changes in their equipment. Agassi would be lucky to have ALL 4-10 of racquets strung with natural gut within 20 minutes of his matches. Even if that were the case the unused racquets would probably lose tension during the 2-4 hours of the match. I'm sure there are figures that prove that synthetic gut strings maintain tension better than natural gut strings during the critical first 24 hours after a string job.

    As a side note, I remember Agassi making 1/2-pound changes to his string tension in preparation for his match against Pavel. He noticed 8 ounces -- the same pull of an ultra-lightweight racquet. I'm curios to know how long natural gut can keep its tension once strung in the 60-70 lb. range. I'm sure the Luxilon people wouldn't mind giving us a demonstration.
     
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  33. BigServer1

    BigServer1 Legend

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    Federer uses natural gut mains. He only uses poly in his crosses.
     
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  34. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    For those who haven't seen it, here's an excerpt from TW's Learning Center "Natural Gut 101" article:

    WHAT MAKES NATURAL GUT SO SPECIAL?

    The structural design of natural gut makes it unique and gives it superior performance qualities for a tennis string. The collagen found in serosa has a molecular make-up that is designed to withstand the stretching and contraction of the intestine. Collagen is a major fibrous component of many types of connective tissue and it is the elasticity of the material that makes it a good source for tennis string. The collagen in the serosa is made up of a triple helix molecular structure. A triple helix features three bands of ribbons that are braided in a rope like fashion. The braided formation of the helix not only provides good elasticity; it also manages to provide a cushioning aspect to the material. The result is that a natural gut tennis string not only offers good power and elasticity when at tension in a racquet, but it is also very easy on the arm.

    According to Rod Cross' article in "The Physics and Technology of Tennis" natural gut, when strung at tensions above 50lbs, will result in a softer impact than a nylon tennis string. By testing equal lengths of string in a laboratory, Cross showed that nylon increases in tension more than natural gut when a player strikes the ball. Therefore, a racquet strung with nylon will play with a stiffer and less forgiving stringbed than one strung with natural gut. With less tension increase natural gut will be more forgiving in play, placing less stress on a player's arm and shoulder. The cushioning aspects that are built into the molecular structure of natural gut makes it the most arm friendly string available, and it is often recommended for players suffering from tennis elbow.

    The fact that natural gut plays softer than synthetic strings creates another advantage in the playability characteristics of natural gut. What players call 'ball pocketing' - a sense of prolonged dwell time of the ball on the strings - leads to a greater sense of control when playing with natural gut. Many players like the feel of natural gut because they feel more connected to what is happening with the ball as it impacts the stringbed.

    Natural gut is also better than synthetic strings at holding tension. Do you like that fresh strung feeling? You'll get to enjoy it longer with natural gut in your racquet. Here the appeal to professional players becomes more obvious. When professional players break a gut string they can reach for a new racquet and be confident that it will play and feel similar to the one they were just using.

    Because it maintains tension so well, natural gut will continue to offer its superior playability characteristics for the duration of its life. Players who do not frequently break strings may find natural gut to be a better value than synthetic strings. Rather than having to cut out and replace 'bagged-out' synthetic strings, a player using natural gut can continue to benefit from the playability of the string until it breaks.

    The durability of natural gut has come under question from modern strikers of the ball. Although natural gut isn't as durable as polyester or Kevlar strings, it is comparable to most performance synthetics.

    SOGGY WHEN WET

    Back in the day, getting natural gut wet could mean ruining a good string job. This was a bigger concern for players living in areas with a humid climate, where moisture in the air could penetrate the string and adversely affect its playability. However, today's natural gut strings are coated with a protective layer to prevent water and weather damage.

    Even players who are hard on their strings can prolong the life of natural gut to get good value from the string. Several manufacturers recommend players in humid climates apply wax to their strings between usage. As well as keeping moisture out, cleaning the strings down with a cloth and rubbing wax on the stringbed prolongs string life by reducing friction and notching between strings. During play on clay, and even hard courts, dirt and grit lodged between the strings can increase friction. Friction creates notches on the surface of the string, leading to premature breakage. A little care taken to keep the strings waxed-up and grit free will lead to a much longer string life.

    Natural gut manufacturers continue to improve their production processes in an effort to increase durability. For instance, Babolat currently uses a high-temperature finishing process in its Thermogut line of strings. The Thermogut treatment is designed to increase the cohesion of the string's fibers all the way down to the core.

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  35. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    This is both good and bad. When the tension goes down with use, the pocketing causes loss of control, at least for me with my flat shots. That's why I play better with freshly strung racquets. Less pocketing allows me more accuracy, but does cut down the power and spin, particularly slice, which I use a lot against some players.
     
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  36. shirsen

    shirsen New User

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    I agree with those above that tension is not a consideration of Fed, et al. Sloe - you say a synthetic or poly will come to match gut, and I will be the first to try it, but again I simply ask, is there any string more comfortable with a better feel than gut. This has nothing to do with TE, spin, or cost. And certainly not as a crutch or to challenge my game, whatever you meant there is lost on me. Thanks.
     
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  37. shovel99

    shovel99 New User

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    Strings are like women, we don't all love the same one but I like Nat gut.

    You owe it to yourself to try natural gut once in your tennis playing. It has more power and at the same time more control than any other synthetic string. Your stringer has to string it "tighter" for equivalent tension. It actually ends up at the same tension.... I don't know but think it has to do with the nat gut "slipping" in the stringing machine. Mine needed to be 63# (Volkl DNX V1 OS) to feel the same and measure the same with a string tester as 55# with gamma gut 3.

    I spent $4000 chasing racquets to find what for me was the perfect player feeling and playing racquet... but slightly more than 10 ounces and then discovered natural gut. I'd probably have saved $3000 of it and be playing with a different stick.. and would have played some decent tennis over that five lost years of the sport! However, I now have the great stick and natural gut! Once the racquet got below 11 ounces, where it needed to be for my older reflexes, I could not find both enough power and control until I discovered natural gut. I chose babolat tonic 16+ because good things were said about it and it was "only" $25. Natural gut for me was like a MIRACLE EVENT. I cannot describe how important it is. Literally kept me from giving up the sport.

    I have just gotten this tension where I want it, so I haven't had the string in the racquet very long, so can't verify the loss of tension and string breakage issues. I haven't broken a string in 10 years, though, so for me it will likely not be an issue.

    For me natural gut strings was an improvement factor many times the difference in various racquets, and I have bought or demoed over a hundred of all the best names over the past 6 years.

    Remember to start out at least 5 pounds higher than your current tension. Unfortunately, grooving any new string requires experimentation, it hurts more when each job costs $35... and not $15 or $20.

    good luck. shovel
     
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  38. neo

    neo Banned

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    Indeed there are a lot of figures for tension holding among different strings. And all of the figures have always shown that natural gut maintains tension much better then synthetic gut which in turn maintains tension much better then polyester type strings like Luxilon which most pros use.

    Where did you get the idea that it was the other way around?

    Here is one such study:
    http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/issues/200609/200609stringselector.html
     
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  39. tennis_nerd22

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    haha good one. but in all honesty, when i went to poly's i didnt care much about the lack of feel thing, but it really did make a bit difference in my touch, which is one of my strengths. so now i only hybrid poly mains and syn gut crosses. im thinking of doing gut crosses or even gut mains and syn gut crosses...
     
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  40. sloe_torture

    sloe_torture Rookie

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    Very resourceful string information, neo. Thanks.
    My reasoning for natural gut strings losing tension or their range in maintain elasticity is from stories of strings popping on pro's racquets like Borg and Sampras immediately after stringjobs. It may be true that gut returns closer to a 62 lb. tension faster than but the data on gut shows that it is a softer string than and effectively loses tension faster than a synthetic during impact.

    My opininion is that hard-striking pros (like Agassi and Borg) prefer stiffer string beds for more control and to generate more spin on the ball.
     
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  41. Wondertoy

    Wondertoy Professional

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    ..............................
     
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