Originally Posted by netguy
So, it seems that you don't enjoy full bed Tough as much as in a hybrid setup...Can you tell us the pros and cons of both setups?
Pros of full gut: feel, power, comfort & touch. By far, natural gut is amazing in a full bed for those seeking maximum comfort, power and ball-feel. The pocketing of gut is unmatched by any string, it is the most elastic string material, especially when strung in the 60-plus range, control should not be an issue, but a full gut setup lends itself better to certain frames than others.
Cons of full gut: durability, cost and when compared to any setup that incorporates poly, less spin too. Control can be an issue for some, especially using oversized and/or high stiffness, high power, & very open patterned racquets. Generally speaking, the stiffer and more open your string pattern, the more power, less control and less durability you will get from gut.
Pros of Gut/Poly: spin, control, and second place to full gut for feel & power (unless using very stiff polys). Comfort drops when any poly is introduced, but control and spin definitely become easier to manage, as those poly crosses help 'tame' the power of your gut mains. Also, the gut mains still impart a great deal of feel and playability, overall. This can depend on which cross you use: ALU will greatly add to control and spin capabilities while seriously diminishing the comfort and feel, while a very soft poly like WC MB will allow the feel and power of the gut to still be felt as much as possible. Using a soft poly, for me, allows for the added control and spin of poly crosses, with the least impact to overall feel of the gut mains. Heavier hitters will prefer a stiffer ALU-like string as it will simulate the feel of full poly, with solid control and some added power & feel from the gut mains.
Cons of Gut/Poly: durability (for some)...for those using open string patterns- you may not get good durability, but for dense pattern mid to midplus users, this may not be an issue. Playability over time can be non-linear, while a full gut holds strong for the duration, incorporating co-polys which are known to be fast-dying strings can add a feature to your stringbed that some will not like: changing playability over time (loss of control, loss of feel, etc). Personally, I have a hard time listing any "big" negative features. It is my preferred setup, so I do truly find it to bring the best features of both gut and poly together. If you have any arm issues, comfort will be a factor, as even poly in the crosses to gut will still transmit more shock to the arm than a full gut or full multi.
See durability thoughts below:
Originally Posted by netguy
... also, when you said "hybriding helps keep the strings alive", could you say a bit more about it?.....how long does the aliveness last for in your experience? thanks
In my trials with Tough Gut 16L in a full bed, it lasted about 11 hours of court time (singles match play @ 4.5 level), in a dense, 18x20 midplus. I've also tried Prime 17 and Classic 17 in full beds, which lasted 11.5 hours and 5.5 hours, respectively. As a reference, using the old 'pre-BT7' VS 17 in a full bed lasted me 7.5 hours.
While my trials are not exactly 'scientific' or fool-proof (as I only tried each of these strings once in a full bed, cost being a big factor), I have since been on a hybrid testing 'rampage' if you will. With Tough Gut coming in at the best price/performance of the 4 above, I chose Tough Gut 16L to be my go-to main, and have continually been experimenting with every cross that peaks my interest.
On average, Tough Gut 16L crossed with most polys in 16L to 17 gauge, survives for 20-30 hours before breaking or going completely dead, for me in the dense, flexy PT280 18x20.
The key, imho, is that coupling a smooth & slick poly cross to natural gut allows the gut to slide across the strings with less friction, thereby preventing notching that occurs in a gut on gut stringbed. Much like a full syn gut or full multi starts to notch and fray upon itself over time, Gut/Poly frays over time, but without the destructive notching from 'sticking together' you would similarly get with full syn or multi. Even after 20+ hours, my gut mains never require re-straightening or adjusting. So my search has been to find a poly that remains consistent as long as possible. So far, WC MB is that cross.