Worst rackets of all time

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Autodidactic player, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Joe's thread about the greatest rackets of all time got me thinking about some of the worst rackets I've tried. For me I think it's the Rossignol F-150; it's a complete noodle and I played with the David Classic II in the 70's. Any racket head speed at all and the thing feels like it's going to fold in half! It might be OK if you specialized in drop shots, dinks and lobs but for me two thumbs way down. Here's a picture. Anyone else got other contenders?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    That's not a racquet, that's a shovel with strings!
     
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  3. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    It could be sacrilige for me to suggest it, but in the early 80's, there was a preponderance of truly awful wood/graphite composite Donnays sold at chain sporting goods stores in California. As a beginner in 1982 with visions of Bjorn Borg in my head, I had one of these, a "Wimbledon Mid" I think it was called. The "Horizon Mid" and "ITT" series of frames were others. Very modern 90 square inch midsize head, lovely black with the orange/red graphics and white lettering that made Donnay frames look so cool. However... it must have been made of some very soft wood (balsa? Laminated with cedar with carbon charcoal briquette reinforcement??), it felt as though it would certainly fold in two when hitting a ball. It was impossible to serve with (I could throw the ball, baseball pitch-style, faster), and it had absolutely awful ball control ("Honest, Coach: I'm really trying to keep it in the alley!!"). Within a couple months, it began to warp (with its soft factory string job, which must have been 40 pounds tension on the finest 15L nylon money could buy by the union truckload in Flanders) across its face. One well executed pubescent racquet throw sent it to the Big Pro Shop in the Sky.

    It was much easier to learn tennis with the AMF Head Graphite Vector that replaced it.
     
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  4. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    Funny you mention the "charcoal briquette reinforcement".
    That Borg mid Joe Sch is talking about. It honestly has "braided graphite" written on the shaft. Where did they put it?
    The black layer of paint has the thickness of a mosquito whisker, no sign of graphite fibers anywhere. Or was Donnay ahead of it's time in using "nano" technology 30 years ago?
     
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  5. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure about the presence of nanotechnology in the old Donnay frames, but I'm suspicious that mine, being as flexible and easily warped as it was, had Bananotechnology. :lol:
     
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  6. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    LOL............. :)
     
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  7. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    #7
  8. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    nice! good stuff indeed... :lol:
     
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  9. ItalianStallion

    ItalianStallion New User

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    Rossignol F200...flexed worse than almost any wood racquet I've tried. I wanted to like it so much cause I wanted to be like Mats Wilander, but alas - it wasn't meant to be.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    #10
  11. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Good thing many of the board members don't know where you live :) . Some consider the F200 to be the GROAT. (I'm NOT one and I was in on the final design of the darned thing, having play-tested it when it was nothing but a white-fiber 'ghost' of a frame). For its day, certainly not the worst; but pretty lame compared to later offerings.

    I don't know how many folks saw the early LEACH graphite racket. Our demo lasted about 7 minutes, until I got to hit ONE overhead. Snapped like a pretzel just above the handle. Apparently, the graphite construction didn't extend into the handle area!(Anybody got a 'smack' emoticon?)
     
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  12. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that I had about 4 of those Tensor steel rackets back in the mid-70s. I would break the welds (throat meets hoops), on average, in 4 months. I would take it back to the store and they would replace it for free. After the 4th one, I switched to a sturdier aluminum racket.

    Agreed, the Wilson T2000 and the T3000, also steel frames, are certainly contenders for worst of all time.
     
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  13. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Reading this was like looking into a mirror at my soul.
     
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  14. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Just about anything metal.

    Oh, and I will never forget laughing out loud while reading one of David Foster Wallace's pieces ... in which the footnote referred to the Wilson T-2000 as the single sh!ttiest piece of tennis equipment ever made.
     
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  15. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Believe it of not, the F-150 flexed even more! The only racket I've tried that was close was the Spalding La Vitesse, a thin wooden racket with a slit cut through the handle to make it even more flexible.
     
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  16. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I never liked the metals for playing either but there are many who do love them and still play them, probably connors fans :)

    It is also interesting that several have mentioned the rossi f200 since this is also a racket that is much loved by many old school players. Guess you have to appreciate flex and have the strokes to enjoy the spin capabilities.

    I agree that many of the initial graphite composites were design flaws and could break. Generally braided graphite is highly sought after. Another racket that is generally loved by most old school players is the max 200g but some have reported warping and breaking of those models. I have played many of all the max 200g models and never had that problem. Maybe because I like low tension ?

    I also enjoy the flex with all fiberglass rackets but many players hated the small head yamahas, like the yf20s/30s.

    Its good to have this wroat thread to help air out the dirty laundry. Also love hearing reports like coaches prototyping testing for some of these rackets.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
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  17. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Good post. I loved the Rossignol f200 and the Dunlop Max 200g. I still do.

    Somebody's going to mention some of the gimmicky stuff:
    the Hammer/Sledgehammer,
    the silly stuff like the Handler,
    the Rocker,
    the Ergonom,
    The Longstring,
    Blackburn double stringed thing,
    the one with the thing sticking out of the handle,
    the one with the piezoelectric fibers,
    the one with the little flex point holes.

    But for me, it's that metal trend that stands out as a low point in racquet technology.

    Although, remember Pioline and Cash played some great tennis with metal frames into the late 80s and early 90s.
    I guess there must've been some good ones. I just went from wood to a Max 200g.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
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  18. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    One of my early part-time coaches in the mid-1980's still had a Leach tennis racquet... and I can still remember playing a practice set with it, so awful it was! Seriously, it looked as though Leach had taken one of their popular plastic or fiberglass (could never tell what they were made of) racquetball racquets, chopped off the grip, and glued it onto a very rudimentary shaft! It was really, really flexible... Almost as if an x-ray of it would show that the hoop was made of hollow plastic, the throat rubber, and the shaft fiberglass.

    Thanks for reminding me, Coach; that was an ugly trip down Memory Lane! :)
     
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  19. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Actually, believe it or not, the Handler is really pretty good. Good balance, very stiff and good power. If you could get rid of the second handle - which definitely gets in the way - it would be a really nice racket.

    [​IMG]

    The Blackburn is also not bad. It plays like all the other wide-body rackets made 10-15 years ago. Other than being a complete disaster from a stringers perspective, you might recommend this racket to someone who likes the wide bodies.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. TCTEN

    TCTEN Rookie

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    My personal least favorite was the Wilson Hammer 2.7, when it first came out I decided to give it a try believing that it was the next big advance in racquet technology, which it may have been but not for me. Turned out that a lightweight, head heavy, stiff racquet was the exact opposite of what I like.
     
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  21. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Interesting question, if you were to put a dampener on only one side, would it only dampen that side?
     
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  22. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    The Blackburn actually has two separate stringing surfaces and uses two sets of string so the dampener should only affect the string on the side with the dampener. This is unlike the Intertennis "Twin" which also has two string surfaces but uses only one set of string. I suppose that since there is only one set of string one dampener might have some effect on both sides of string. The Twin is so flexible and stringing it is so difficult that it rates as truly awful. I didn't mention it in my original post because it quite rare.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Can't help but notice that it's strung off-center:)

    Also, I know it uses 2 sets of string. I was actually talking to a friend about it today and he thought it was weird:p

    Also talked to him about the Ergonom, and we both agreed that it was a serious headmesser in the right hands!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
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  24. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    So that's why I was missing shots with it! ;)
     
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  25. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Well... the good thing about that Twin racquet (apart from being a boon for racquet string manufacturing company stockholders!) is that a player simply can't "shank" a shot off the frame... he's absolutely guaranteed some string! :shock: :)

    It just cracks me up how some inventor somewhere once thought, "Hey, this tennis racquet thing could really be improved upon - they've been doing it all wrong for [insert random number] decades! What would really make tennis easier for all would be a racquet with [pick one: <double stringing> <user-servicable tensioning system> <rollers around the grommet system> <two grips> <movable parts> <interchangable heads>]!"
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
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  26. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Or twisted handles that can only lead to twisted strokes!

    [​IMG]
     
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  27. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    I could sit here and comment on these frames all day, but I probably shouldn't as I'm inadvertedly derailing the thread:D

    The Erge just looks physically impossible to play with...
     
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  28. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    A special mention must go to the Bancroft fiberglass overlay rackets of the late '60s into the '70s. The FRS, ESC and Professional ALL had delamination problems in the early years. The overlay would separate from the frame, but the trim strings would hold the laminate in place, making it difficult to determine the source of that HORRIBLE slapping, cracking sound. WE knew, of course, after a few were returned, but the unaware customer likely thought they had broken a bone or that the world was coming to an end every time they hit a ball the least bit off-center! Bancroft got it together in the early '70s, but it was still hard to sell that series of rackets with any confidence.

    Those catchy names, BTW, were for Epoxi-Steel Composite and Fiberglass Reinforced w/Steel. Actually looked pretty cool with the steel wire mesh embedded into the red(or black) colored 'epoxi-glass' overlay. The matching red 'power pads' tied it all together for a snazzy look, indeed! :)
     
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  29. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Bancroft also marketed a pretty cool looking steel racket during that time called the "Slingshot."

    [​IMG]
     
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  30. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    That's a licensed Markill Mosquito.........:)
     
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  31. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    And reading the fine print on the racquet, obviously made to celebrate the future brilliance of Federer.
     
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  32. I.M. Weasel

    I.M. Weasel New User

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    Now I've seen everything...
     
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  33. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    I haven't seen many Markills on this side of the pond! :)
     
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  34. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Not even close! :twisted:

    [​IMG]
     
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  35. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Isn't that the one Salvador Dali endorsed? You figure he must have been pretty good on clay.

    The thread has sort of morphed into "Weirdest Frames" – and I'm not complaining; that too is an interesting topic, and I'm loving the photos – but while the ones in that category that I hit with did not revolutionize the game for me, they weren't particularly bad either.

    It's the T-2000 and its siblings for me. The T-2000 is the first thing Wilson execs will think of when Satan asks if they know why they are here.* There may have been frames out there that I'd dislike even more, but I never hit with one.


    * Disclaimer: I borrowed that phrase from some writer, can't recall who, who is a lot funnier than I am.
     
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  36. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    for me it is the wilson profile 2.7 i think, the stiffest racquet i ever tried to play with, thought my arm was going to fall off, had lots of power but oh, my arm still hurts!!!!!
     
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  37. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Excellent point - mostly my fault too! Anyone got other, non-gimmicky, duds? :)
     
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  38. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i have to go with the T2000. i never sell rackets after i buy, but i got rid of that one quick
     
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  39. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    i used to have a Head ti Elite XL, that thing was:

    head heavy yet unstable. causing many shanks and having terrible control

    light & stiff yet powerless. cause for extreme elbow pain (bad execution might also have a part here) and lack of depth in the shots. the very small sweet spot makes it quite powerlss when you hit slightly of center. as opposed to when you hit the exact ss, the thing lauches rockets to the moon. very bipolar...


    16 x19 without the extra spin. because of the tighter center pattern, the 16x19 pattern was useless as to spin generation....

    plus no market value of you want to get rid of it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
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  40. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    I was a little late to the party with the T-2000. In 1973 I had just gotten used to the added flex in my new Davis Classic IIs after changing rackets from the Jack Kramer Autograph. A friend convinced me to a least try the T-2000. The thing was a revelation! I felt like I seriously could hit the ball twice as hard. Passing shots were Laver-like and I actually hit some winners from the backcourt (which all you old-timers will remember didn't happen much in the late 60's early 70's). The good shots felt so good that it actually took me the rest of the day to figure out that I was missing every other shot. At 16 years old I felt like I finally got a date with the prettiest girl in school only to learn that she has bad breath. This ended my flirtation with the T-2000.
     
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  41. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I actually liked some of the metal rackets. My favorite was the PDP Open. I even liked the t3000 for a while, but the wood composites were my favorite. I hit a lot of topspin even back when rackets were small. The extruded aluminum rackets eventually came out of round--their heads drooped to one side. But, I never found a racket that I could serve with as well as the PDP. Obviously, designed for Roscoe Tanner.
     
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  42. wendersfan

    wendersfan New User

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    Gotta be the T-2000. Only racket I ever sold.
     
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  43. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    I refuse to believe that the T2000 was that bad. Sure, I've never played with it, but it can't be THAT bad!
     
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  44. Yinger

    Yinger New User

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    prince precision equippe... the racquet that started all my arm pains
     
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  45. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    HEAD Premier Tour 600 and the LiquidMetal Prestige.
     
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  46. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    I played competitive racquetball back in the mid to late 80's with a racquet like that! Was fantastic. Now for tennis....NO!
     
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  47. MomentumGT

    MomentumGT Semi-Pro

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    Are you referring to the twin tube racquet? I actually have 4 of those and still like hitting with them :)

    -Jon
     
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  48. Herdsman76

    Herdsman76 Rookie

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    Although to me the Profile was not bad but it definitely was a stiff one. I wonder how that racquet would have done with the current "softer" strings and lower tensions. I'd love to campare it with the '12 Pure Drive Roddicks as the Babolat is really stiff!
     
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  49. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    the wilson profile 3.0 was even more stiff than the 2.7. the 2.7 had a rating of 79 i think and the 3.0 had a rating of 81.
    i don't think the softer strings would help with a stiffness rating that high. i even tried a profile last year and even though the power was great, my arm hurt for a week after using the darn thing!!!!
     
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  50. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Wasn't supposed to be that way, but the denser string pattern could have an effect. My roommate 'back then' was one of my first poly customers, stringing his 3.0 mid pretty much as tight as I dared to go. What a sound that combo would make! That set-up gave you some real incentive to hit the middle of the strings...anything outside was an arm wrecker!
     
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