2015 Blade 104 - Strings. Mark?

Discussion in 'TW Questions/Comments' started by skeeter, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Just started playing with the 2015 version of the 104. Love the mix of control/power, low flex, and large sweet spot. Looking for some good strings for this stick. I'm a 4.0/4.5 all courter, singles/doubles, good physical shape. In my upper 50's so not too crazy about poly; looking for something that maximizes the traits of this racquet but still easy on the arm. Suggestions? Thanks!
     
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  2. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Hi Skeeter,

    Thanks for taking the time to write in with the question regarding what sort of string/ tension combination will best complement your choice of the newer Wilson Blade 104, along with your personal game style/ needs. Hopefully the information that we can provide is of assistance to you.

    I will guess that I received this question due to the fact that I play with the SW Blade 104. Accurately speaking, I first realized that I favored longer than standard frames using the 27.5 inch version of the Blade 104. Prior to that, I never really gravitated towards anything but a 27 inch length frame.

    Now that you know most everything there is to know about my frame choices, on to the more important stuff; answering your question. You did mention that you are an advanced level of player who is in their fifties, and at a least so far, are not exactly enamored with the mono-filament string type. I have to say that most players apply too high of a tension to this string type, they tend to feel stiff at any tension, lots of frames are actually designed around this string type, and in the end, not every player is going to be complemented by them.

    In the end, you will benefit greatly from experimenting with some different set ups, to gain a better point of reference for what actually works best for you. The Blade 104, with its semi-tight 18x19 pattern, extra length, and firm beam trait, results in a frame that will work great with the full bed of a polyester/ mono-filament, the hybrid of one, or a full bed of the stranded string type.

    With all that said, I will leave you with a short list of some high quality string options, that I feel will work well for you, and that I also rely heavily on myself. Try taking a peek at these strings:

    *Gosen AK Pro CX (a unique string that is very spin friendly/ durable/ comfortable; a personal favorite)
    *Gosen AK Power (very close to the natural version of the TNT2)
    *Gamma TNT2 (the black is a bit softer than the natural color)

    All three of the strings on the list are of the synthetic gut variety, which I feel will work very well for your needs. They are a little livelier, and easier on the arm than any mono-filament, yet they still offer easy access to spin, along with a high degree of durability; like a polyester. My hope is that this set up, at maybe 55-56 pounds of tension (if we are using our machines to pull tension), will offer a comfortable string bed, with a predictable level of power.

    I hope the details help out, and as always, the communications are valued, as is the fact that you chose Tennis Warehouse as a credible source of product information. Any further questions are certainly welcomed.

    Cheers,

    Mark, TW
     
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  3. skydog

    skydog Semi-Pro

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    I was quite happy playing a Kevlar / Monogut ZX hybrid in my 2015 Blade 104's. Similar, if not better, properties of a Poly hybrid that you can leave in the racquet until it breaks (which could be a long time.). While Kevlar is a "stiffer" string than most polys, it is safer on the arm due to Kevlar's properties and shock absorption. Cross string choice is important with Kevlar, most other strings will end up notching and locking up the stringbed. Monogut ZX will not.

    Plenty of threads in the String section if you wish to investigate further.
     
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  4. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    I tried my niece's with Black Code at about 50 lbs. It was great.

    Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Thanks, Mark, and the others who chimed in; very helpful and appreciate your insights. I look forward to trying some of those strings. This is also my first foray into extended racquets, and with anything above 100 sq inches. Have you, or any others, leaded this racquet up? If so, where and how much?
     
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  6. skydog

    skydog Semi-Pro

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    I added a ton of weight to it as it was a bit light stock. Leather grip, blue tac in the tubes. Several strips of lead and 3&9. Final specs were 380 g, 10 points Head light.

    I like a stable racquet, so the 3&9 weight was a must for me. I did move approximately 4 grams from 3&9 and put it at 12 in my last few frames and enjoyed the responsiveness of the frame, but still had several strips of lead @ 3&9.

    There is a thread with some discussion on making mods to the 2015 104 here:
    https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/wilson-blade-104-2015-customized.536502/
     
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  7. CosmosMpower

    CosmosMpower Professional

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    I like volkl cyclone tour 16g in my blade 104 it's a poly but one of the softest most lively polys you can get.
     
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  8. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Thanks, Skydog. Very helpful insights. Nice to see you continued to enjoy the racquet on that thread, even way past the honeymoon period! Maybe I didn't catch it, but what guage strings have you been using?
     
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  9. skydog

    skydog Semi-Pro

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    I started off with 17g (BHS is listed as 16g but was the old 17g before they updated their sizes) poly in the cross and 16g Monogut ZX in the mains, but ended up 16g on both when switching to the Kevlar/Monogut ZX hybrid.

    I would still be gaming the Blade 104 if I did not transition into the Prince 98 Tour ESP. I still have 8 Blade 104's in the collection and will return to them at some point if I desire a bit more power. It's a great but under appreciated frame.
     
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  10. 2nd Serve Ace

    2nd Serve Ace Professional

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    I demoed the 104 with the recommended string: NXT, and it was the plushest experience I've ever had in tennis. Felt like playing badminton! The spin wasn't great, however, and I didn't have it long enough to comment on durability.

    Was impressed enough to buy a couple 104s and put my normal full poly strings in. Really liked it, but the tension loss was too high plus alot of notching and denting of mains and crosses.

    Decided to make a change to Ashaway Kevlar mains a few mths ago, and once I got the tension right, it solved every problem for me with this racquet. :)

    Anyway, I would suggest looking in the NXT family to start, as there are multiple options to enhance spin or durability based on need.
     
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  11. CosmosMpower

    CosmosMpower Professional

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    Yep blade 104 has 59 RA, feels super plush and soft. Tension loss with poly really depends on the string. If you're worried about that try 4G, it feels kind of stiff and dead though.
     
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  12. 2nd Serve Ace

    2nd Serve Ace Professional

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    Thought about using 4G as a cross string, but nothing is gonna push the Kev mains out for me.
     
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  13. The Big Kahuna

    The Big Kahuna Professional

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    Hey Mark Boone:

    Do you and the other Racquet Specialists have any thoughts on the Wilson Blade 104 (2015) string tensions?

    I was planning on sticking with the string set-up for the last two years - 18g Solinco Hyper-G mains and L-TEC Flex 17 syn gut crosses.

    I know the 2015 Blade 104 is pretty soft and flexible, so I thought I would drop the tension down from the 48/52 I was playing with in the Prince Extreme 107 Warrior (as there is not as much power and a smaller head). I am currently playing with this setup at 32/36 and it’s not too bad. How low do you think I can go and what would be the benefits?

    Is there some kind of general consensus among you all as to the optimum range for the 2015 Blade 104 with a hybrid set-up?

    I play DOUBLES almost exclusively, so my main concerns are serves and volleys.

    Any thoughts?



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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
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  14. NRMM

    NRMM Rookie

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    Hi Mark, nice to find someone who plays with a SW104 as I just moved from a Blade 104 to SW104 and it feels great... I was wondering how has been your experience for the past 6 months and also if you tested any polys with it?
    I'm a 4.0+ (I think) playing double handed forehand and backhand (!!). I'm a 3-5 shots kind of guy who can generate a lot power .. I'm conscious that, based on the specs of SW104 (dense pattern, high power, etc..) that strings and tension can make a difference... I strung them at 55lbs with Babolat Pro Hurricane 17 (natural as I'm a bit fussy - again !!!) - with colored strings.. white is OK though). On my previous blades 104 I had Adrenaline 16 and Revolve 17. Adrenaline was a bit harsh on the arm (never got any injury though). Revolve felt good too perhaps became livelier and more unpredictable after let's say 10-15 sets doubles/singles.
     
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  15. The Big Kahuna

    The Big Kahuna Professional

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    Due to the denser string pattern in my 2015 Blade 104, I find that I can use much thinner gauge poly and benefit from the increased spin and feel that I get from them. After spending about six months tinkering with different set ups I think I finally found one that has great combination of spin, control, feel, and playability for me.

    I am currently stringing with a hybrid of Solinco HYPER-G 20 at 36# in the mains and LTEC Flex 17 synthetic gut in the crosses at 40# based on an average tension suggested by Sergetti.

    LOVE IT.


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  16. NRMM

    NRMM Rookie

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    Hi Mark, nice to find someone who plays with a SW104 as I just moved from a Blade 104 to SW104 and it feels great... I was wondering how has been your experience for the past 6 months and also if you tested any polys with it? I'm a 4.0 playing double handed forehand and backhand (!!). I'm a 3-5 shots kind of guy who can generate a lot power .. I'm conscious that, based on the specs of SW104 (extended lenght, dense pattern, high power, etc..) that strings and tension can make a difference... I strung them at 55lbs with Babolat Pro Hurricane 17 (natural as I'm a bit fussy - again !!!) - with colored strings.. white is OK though). On my previous blades 104 I had Adrenaline 16 and Revolve 17. Adrenaline was a bit harsh on the arm (never got any injury though). Revolve felt good too perhaps became livelier and more unpredictable after let's say 10-15 sets doubles/singles. Now going for Revolve 17 white at either at 55 or 57, how have you been doing with polys?
     
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  17. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Hi NRMM,

    Many thanks for writing in with the questions as to my current impressions of the Wilson SW Blade 104, after playing with it for approximately a year now, plus some insight as to how I am most often stringing it.

    You mentioned that your are a pretty advanced level of player, have recently made a switch to the SW Blade 104 (from standard Blade 104), play with two hands off of both wings (love that, ala' Andre Dome!), and are enough of a source of power on the ball yourself, to keep rally lengths limited to the 3-5 shot range. Andre is a local tennis hero who plays with two hands on both sides, effectively utilizing that style all the way to becoming an D1 All-American, then marching to the mid 400’s on the ATP rankings. He has a Ninja like disguise on his groundstrokes.

    You also indicated that string/ tension choice has a very noticeable effect on how any frame is going to play/ feel in strung form, which I agree with. I suppose the crux of it all is the fact that there is such an expanse menu of string choices, it is difficult to narrow down which are going to work best for you. Just looking on the surface of our string menu, it can be a little overwhelming, and once you dive down the rabbit hole of string details a little further, you begin to realize other little differences between strings. For instance, many strings companies offer string equivalents in different colors, and we feel that the ink/ dye actually changes the trait of a string a little.

    The Luxilon ALU Power 16L string is a good example of this, as it is available in either a silver, or ice (light blue) color, and unanimously players feel that the silver is a bit firmer than the light blue. I made reference to the color/ ink aspect of strings since you said that you consider yourself to be picky with string colors. Another aspect is that gear shaped/ profiled polyesters launch the ball off the string bed at a little different angle than will a round/ smooth mono-filament. Suffice it to say that a little trial and error, on your part, will be required to find out what really works the best for you.

    String bed durability wise, I measure mine by how many hours I am playing before I either break it, or more often, when the string bed goes dead. I expect, and do get approximately 10-12 hours of play, which sounds about the same as your assessment of 10-15 sets for your string beds.

    Overall, my game is still benefited by playing with this stick. The SW Blade 104 has not only improved my game, it has also provided me with an improved point of reference for what, and why a particular frame type works well for my game, along with a better idea as to the sort of string/ tension that will be a good match.

    I have tried several different full beds of polyester strings in my SW Blade 104, and I seem to get a good result off of our mechanical Prince NEOS 1000 machines, with a 53-55 pound pull. If the tension were to be derived from an electronic machine, I might drop the reference tension number by 3-4 pounds to mimic a similar level of string bed stiffness. The Wilson Revolve (any of the three color options) works well for me, along with the Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution, and Tecnifibre Razor Code (blue is a bit softer than silver), Volkl V-Star/ V-Pro. If you like firmer polyester strings, then maybe try the Pro Red Code from Tecnifibre, or the Kirschbaum Pro Line X (they are very similar to each other).

    The other direction I go is with a hybrid of one of my favorite polyester strings with the Gosen AK Pro CX, or the AK Power, which I refer to as, “high end” synthetic gut strings. I like the hybrid option, particularly in extreme heat, where high temperatures turn full beds of polyester strings in to full beds of “gummy worms”. The half set of a stranded string keeps the tension truer, longer in any climate; especially in the hotter temps. The AK Power is actually the slightly lower powered of the two, and what I find with either one, is that they behave, by themselves, almost like a hybrid-in-one string. Their thick, solid core lowers the string’s inherent power, the multi-wrap livens both of those strings up a little, and the slick, exterior shell that wraps around the outside of these strings, keeps them spin friendly and durable.

    We hope the details help refine what the SW Blade 104 is capable of delivering to your game, and if any of my suggestions/ answers should lead to further questions, feel free to post another message, and I will certainly reply.

    Cheers,

    Mark, TW
     
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  18. NRMM

    NRMM Rookie

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    Wow, thanks Mark, very comprehensive insights, much appreciated! At this stage - and despite having moved from a BLX Blade to Blade 104 and then over to the SW104 - I feel I'm sill learning how to play with a heavier racquet, w/ heavier swingweight and that extra 0.5 length. I'm enjoying it. The SW104 were strung with Babolat Pro Hurricane 17 at 55 lbs. Although I immediately noticed the power of the "beast", as well as the advantage of the extra length (namely the extra reach on my forehand side), subsequent sessions made me wonder where the control was... I started to struggle with balls going long, an unusual increment of unforced errors on shots which I wouldn't traditionally have problems with (I must say that given my style of play I can get a similar proportion of unforced errors and winners though)..

    So I decided to get it strung with RipSpin 17 at 55lbs so that I could get closer to the familiar Adrenaline at 55lbs and Revolve 17 at 55lbs (which I used on my BLX and Blade, respectively). Today I just tried this new setup and I'm very happy to feel that muted feel and sound back and I was actually showing much better control than with Revolve 17, so it seems.
    I felt in control of the swings, not scared to hit the ball, I even noticed an improvement on some minor wrist pain I got while playing with Blade 104 and Revolve 17 at 55lbs.. I guess this the way moving forward.. going for stiffer, high tension polys.. as Ripspin is discontinued and difficult to find.. I think I may try Revolve 17 white at 57lbs next, what would you think based on these findings? Many thanks, Mark!
     
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