Babolat Tonic/ Gosen AK Pro CX (NatGut/SynGut)

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Some people might have seen that I have been raving on about Gosen AK Pro CX in a few threads lately. It is an extremely good string and leagues above other SynGuts. Probably the closest thing to real Natural Gut I have ever tried (tried a lot of multifilaments and things like Zyex or Bab Origin, none come close). I really like it in a full bed, as well as in a poly hybrid.

Anyway, I had half a set of Babolat Tonic and half a set of Gosen AK Pro CX left after trying each with Max Power crosses recently, so I decided to hybrid the Natural Gut in the mains with the Synthetic Gut in the crosses. Yes, it sounds like a huge waste of Natural Gut and I would agree with you if you used any other synthetic gut.

It plays extremely well, and is perhaps the most linear responding string setup I have ever tried except for Kevlar/Zyex. It is soft, muted, and doesn't punish you for slowing down your swing speed like Natural Gut/Poly hybrids do. It doesn't feel like a frying pan either like Kevlar hybrids do. Honestly, I could do no wrong tonight with this string setup and I am very amazed.

The closest thing I would compare it to is a full bed of Natural Gut but slightly lower powered. The spin potential is the same as full Gut. If you cannot afford a full bed of Gut but like how it plays, try this hybrid out. The tension maintenance of the AK Pro CX is unreal as well, so it will likely last as long as a full bed of Gut.

The racquet was a Vcore Duel G 97 and tensions were 64/60lb 10% prestretch.
 
Interesting... Thanks for sharing.

To my taste, those seem like rather high tensions for Duel G, even for full gut — I’ve strung that racquet with gut @50-55 lbs, and while 55 wasn’t too boardy, that racquet is stiffer than one would imagine.

Anyways, very curious about your impressions of this set up over the longer term — say >10 hrs of hitting on the same bed.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Interesting... Thanks for sharing.

To my taste, those seem like rather high tensions for Duel G, even for full gut — I’ve strung that racquet with gut @50-55 lbs, and while 55 wasn’t too boardy, that racquet is stiffer than one would imagine.

Anyways, very curious about your impressions of this set up over the longer term — say >10 hrs of hitting on the same bed.
I will keep this thread updated. Tonight's effort was 3 hours and it was so terrific I had to make a thread about it.

I am constantly in search of the 'perfect' string setup. The launch angle of this Gut/AK Pro CX combo was perfect for me. Low-medium and very linear and predictable.

They are fairly high tensions yeah, it's just I have gotten so used to stringing Gut, Multis and SynGuts at 60+ that I am not too interested in going lower anymore. The only times I go lower than the 60 mark is if poly gets involved. My poly crosses tend to be 56-58, and full bed poly I string at 50. I gotta be honest though, I can't see myself ever trying a full bed of poly again. Some play great (love Alu full bed) but it's only for a very short time, and I find that unless you really put 100% effort into your strokes you don't get much out of them and they turn into rocket launchers with high launch angles.



My main sticks are actually Vcore Pro's at the moment, however they still have relatively fresh stringjobs so I decided to use an older Duel G.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
What gauges are you using. Have you noticed a difference between black and natural in AK Pro CX?
Have been using 17 gauge AK Pro CX, and the Tonic is 16.

I tried Black AK Pro CX 16 gauge originally but all my experiments from there on after have been natural 17 gauge. At the time I didn't perceive much difference at all between Black 16 and Natural 17, but It has been my experience with just about every other string I have ever tried that black variants play a bit stiffer. I have read it is to due with the chemical required to dye them black.

For example, Black Prince SynGut Duraflex plays sooooooo much stiffer than the White version it is like they are totally different strings.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
3 more hours tonight. Played exactly the same as last week when I used it. Zero tension drop or playability differences that I could notice. Still feeling amazing and I am still very happy with this string combo.

The entire last hour was raining though and I only had this racquet on me. I was a bit annoyed at first because of how rain/moisture can allegedly 'ruin' Natural Gut. I guess we will find out in the coming days/ next time I hit with it. The stringjob got absolutely soaked so I guess this will put to bed the rumours around rain and modern Natural Guts. I've played with Gut in a bit of drizzle in the past with no side effects but today it was extremely wet.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
3 hours last Tuesday. Still playing exactly the same as day 1, remarkable really. Any other string job would be playing a bit more powerful after ~10 hours. The gut mains are about 30% worn through.

The gut is totally fine despite being saturated with rain for hours a week ago. The coatings on these modern gut strings work really well.
 

blai212

Professional
i also use vcore pro as my main racquet...i have found that volkl cyclone tour 16g mains are the best. For reference, I am a 4.5 hard hitting aggressive baseliner with a sensitive arm so I require comfort above all else. I have fiddled with poly -> copoly -> gut/poly (multis break in an hour so just gave up on those). I have to say VCT 16g mains with slippery thin gauge copoly cross feels better than gut/poly to me. I have 8 racquets, half strung with gut/poly that I dont even use anymore because VCT mains is just that good! One thing to note is that VCT tension maintenance is a bit subpar, the shapedness starts to wear off after about 5-6 hrs and the string feels a but heavier than other strings (believe me, you will feel the extra weight in the hoop). It almost feels like leaded up natural gut. I string in the low 40s and it feels great in combination with the control oriented characteristics of the vcore pro. In more powerful racquets, it would definitely be better to string it a bit tighter to tame the power of VCT.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
I just picked up a pack of the AK Pro because my first syngut packs were Gosen and Ive liked putting it in crosses with poly. This interests me and I also have a Duel G as my secondary racquet - might give it a shot when the hot/humid season is over. I'd probably go 58 or 57 for the mains.
 

moon shot

Hall of Fame
3 hours last Tuesday. Still playing exactly the same as day 1, remarkable really. Any other string job would be playing a bit more powerful after ~10 hours. The gut mains are about 30% worn through.

The gut is totally fine despite being saturated with rain for hours a week ago. The coatings on these modern gut strings work really well.
have you continued to play with this setup, Any updates?
 

aaron_h27

Professional
Some people might have seen that I have been raving on about Gosen AK Pro CX in a few threads lately. It is an extremely good string and leagues above other SynGuts. Probably the closest thing to real Natural Gut I have ever tried (tried a lot of multifilaments and things like Zyex or Bab Origin, none come close). I really like it in a full bed, as well as in a poly hybrid.

Anyway, I had half a set of Babolat Tonic and half a set of Gosen AK Pro CX left after trying each with Max Power crosses recently, so I decided to hybrid the Natural Gut in the mains with the Synthetic Gut in the crosses. Yes, it sounds like a huge waste of Natural Gut and I would agree with you if you used any other synthetic gut.

It plays extremely well, and is perhaps the most linear responding string setup I have ever tried except for Kevlar/Zyex. It is soft, muted, and doesn't punish you for slowing down your swing speed like Natural Gut/Poly hybrids do. It doesn't feel like a frying pan either like Kevlar hybrids do. Honestly, I could do no wrong tonight with this string setup and I am very amazed.

The closest thing I would compare it to is a full bed of Natural Gut but slightly lower powered. The spin potential is the same as full Gut. If you cannot afford a full bed of Gut but like how it plays, try this hybrid out. The tension maintenance of the AK Pro CX is unreal as well, so it will likely last as long as a full bed of Gut.

The racquet was a Vcore Duel G 97 and tensions were 64/60lb 10% prestretch.
This is exactly my thought process behind Natural gut / synthetic gut hybrid, less power than full NG, but no high launch angle like with gut/poly. I haven't been able to play recently, but I had my racket strung with VS Touch / Gamma TNT2, will let you know how it plays, and you're right gut/poly does punish you for slowing down your swing which for me makes it hard to play with as the string bed ages.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Still playing on this combo I cannot believe it, probably 25 hours now and it plays JUST AS GOOD AS DAY ONE!

The gut mains seem to have 'stopped' sawing through with about 50% left which is weird and for the past 6 or so hours they have begun to fray here and there. They still have excellent snapback and the overall stringbed tension has barely decreased at all. I would say it has held tension better than full gut. When tapping the strings, they are still a very high pitch. Zero loss of control, excellent low launch angle and extremely predictable to play with.

I think I have found my holy grail string setup! I am winning more matches, making less errors and have a consistency that I have never been able to maintain with other string setups. For my game this hybrid is perfect.

Also, this stringbed has been played in the rain too and it has had zero effect on the natural gut at all. I think I can personally put the natural gut + moisture theory to rest. The modern coatings work well.


I plan on getting some Vcore Pro HD's soon. I trialled them when they came out and really liked them. I have come to prefer the Duel G 16x20 over the Vcore Pro 16x19, so I am hoping that this string setup + the Pro HD's 18x20 pattern will be the next progression in gear for me.
 

Jster

Professional
Some people might have seen that I have been raving on about Gosen AK Pro CX in a few threads lately. It is an extremely good string and leagues above other SynGuts. Probably the closest thing to real Natural Gut I have ever tried (tried a lot of multifilaments and things like Zyex or Bab Origin, none come close). I really like it in a full bed, as well as in a poly hybrid.

Anyway, I had half a set of Babolat Tonic and half a set of Gosen AK Pro CX left after trying each with Max Power crosses recently, so I decided to hybrid the Natural Gut in the mains with the Synthetic Gut in the crosses. Yes, it sounds like a huge waste of Natural Gut and I would agree with you if you used any other synthetic gut.

It plays extremely well, and is perhaps the most linear responding string setup I have ever tried except for Kevlar/Zyex. It is soft, muted, and doesn't punish you for slowing down your swing speed like Natural Gut/Poly hybrids do. It doesn't feel like a frying pan either like Kevlar hybrids do. Honestly, I could do no wrong tonight with this string setup and I am very amazed.

The closest thing I would compare it to is a full bed of Natural Gut but slightly lower powered. The spin potential is the same as full Gut. If you cannot afford a full bed of Gut but like how it plays, try this hybrid out. The tension maintenance of the AK Pro CX is unreal as well, so it will likely last as long as a full bed of Gut.

The racquet was a Vcore Duel G 97 and tensions were 64/60lb 10% prestretch.
Japanese 's Syn gut is the gold standard. (prince syn gut duraflex included, cause MIJ)
 

moon shot

Hall of Fame
Very interested to see how it plays at that low a tension. Mine was strung at 64/60 which is on the higher end but it's not very jarring at all because both strings are relatively soft.
My early years were spent playing OS Radicals so I feel low tension gives me some of the familiar feeling of long strings. I’ll be interested as well to see how it ages over 2-3 weeks of play.
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
My early years were spent playing OS Radicals so I feel low tension gives me some of the familiar feeling of long strings. I’ll be interested as well to see how it ages over 2-3 weeks of play.
With my tensions this string setup has been the most consistent for me playability wise out of anything I have ever tried. I honestly can't notice any real difference at all between fresh and 25 hours in.

Any other string setup I have tried has been at least somewhat more powerful/ less easy to control that far in. The closest has been full gut but after this long it's been fairly sawn through / harder to control.

What is really great about this setup that I hope translates to your tensions is the extremely predictable launch angle. It feels like no matter how you hit it you won't be surprised. For example when I get lazy with Gut/Poly the high launch angle really kicks me in the ass... but I can get away with being lazier with this.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
I know it isn't Gosen AK PRO CX, but I really enjoyed Vs Touch 1.30 / Gamma TNT 1.27 hybrid strung at 64 lbs in my DR 98. Launch angle was perfect, good power & feel. Spin is always good with 16x19.

Gamma TNT 1.27 and Gosen AK PRO CX 1.24 have the same stiffness rating and tension loss & im sure they don't play the exact same, but i feel like they are pretty close in specs.

Gosen AK Pro CX they don't sell at my local tennis shop, and i already had some TNT 1.27 lying around so i wanted to try the natural gut/synthetic combo.

It's definitely a bit lower powered than a full set of gut, with a lower launch angle. Feel isn't as good, but its VERY close. This will be my new combo if the launch angle doesn't get to high after a few sessions
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Very interested to see how it plays at that low a tension. Mine was strung at 64/60 which is on the higher end but it's not very jarring at all because both strings are relatively soft.
Chomping at the bit to try this out but maybe 61lb mains. When you say 10%, do you mean pull at 66 then re-pull at 60? Also what is the reasoning for the 4lb differential?
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Chomping at the bit to try this out but maybe 61lb mains. When you say 10%, do you mean pull at 66 then re-pull at 60? Also what is the reasoning for the 4lb differential?
That is basically what it means but it is not in seperate pulls. I have an electronic machine so for example a 10% prestretch will pull it to 66lb then relax to 60lb in the one pull.

The differential is due to different string types. The gut is less stiff, and it can be strung tighter to contain some of it's power without sacrificing comfort. With a syn gut I would not go over 60lb. Poly I would stay under 58lb for a soft poly or more around 54lb for stiffer options. Just personal preference really!
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
I know it isn't Gosen AK PRO CX, but I really enjoyed Vs Touch 1.30 / Gamma TNT 1.27 hybrid strung at 64 lbs in my DR 98. Launch angle was perfect, good power & feel. Spin is always good with 16x19.

Gamma TNT 1.27 and Gosen AK PRO CX 1.24 have the same stiffness rating and tension loss & im sure they don't play the exact same, but i feel like they are pretty close in specs.

Gosen AK Pro CX they don't sell at my local tennis shop, and i already had some TNT 1.27 lying around so i wanted to try the natural gut/synthetic combo.

It's definitely a bit lower powered than a full set of gut, with a lower launch angle. Feel isn't as good, but its VERY close. This will be my new combo if the launch angle doesn't get to high after a few sessions
Sounds like a good combo. I think any high-end syn gut would work well as a cross. Modern high-end syn guts are leagues apart from older generation syn guts which are more gummy and lock-up fast.

Another string that I would say would work very well as a cross to natural gut would be Tecnifibre HDX Tour. It is a nylon/poly blend multifilament but has very similar characteristics to AK Pro CX. It is just more expensive and a touch stiffer is all.
 

moon shot

Hall of Fame
I've got about 4 hours of mindless ball bashing on VS/AK-CX-17 @ 42 lbs. in the Yonex 97HD. Initially it played quite similar to a poly hybrid, my opponents obviously needing to adjust to a higher contact zone. Around 1-2 hours my Orthodontist Compulsive Disorder began to kick in as I noticed mains and occasionally crosses stuck out of place -- not with the regularity of syn gut but more than I'd see on a full bed of velocity at that age. Around 3 hours I A/B tested it against a matched 97HD strung full bed with VS @ 4lbs. and found shot production to be very similar. The only notable disparity I could put my finger on was the hybrid was slightly more muted in feedback. I should note the full bed of gut has around 10-12 hours on it vs the 3 hours on the hybrid but they played remarkably similar.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
Sounds like a good combo. I think any high-end syn gut would work well as a cross. Modern high-end syn guts are leagues apart from older generation syn guts which are more gummy and lock-up fast.

Another string that I would say would work very well as a cross to natural gut would be Tecnifibre HDX Tour. It is a nylon/poly blend multifilament but has very similar characteristics to AK Pro CX. It is just more expensive and a touch stiffer is all.
Oh wow great find! A little expensive though, but definitely worth trying based on the specs.

I wish I could find AK Pro CX in 1.30 gauge. I have a preference for 16 gauge strings
 

Pneumated1

Hall of Fame
I've got about 4 hours of mindless ball bashing on VS/AK-CX-17 @ 42 lbs. in the Yonex 97HD. Initially it played quite similar to a poly hybrid, my opponents obviously needing to adjust to a higher contact zone. Around 1-2 hours my Orthodontist Compulsive Disorder began to kick in as I noticed mains and occasionally crosses stuck out of place -- not with the regularity of syn gut but more than I'd see on a full bed of velocity at that age. Around 3 hours I A/B tested it against a matched 97HD strung full bed with VS @ 4lbs. and found shot production to be very similar. The only notable disparity I could put my finger on was the hybrid was slightly more muted in feedback. I should note the full bed of gut has around 10-12 hours on it vs the 3 hours on the hybrid but they played remarkably similar.
:laughing:
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Oh wow great find! A little expensive though, but definitely worth trying based on the specs.

I wish I could find AK Pro CX in 1.30 gauge. I have a preference for 16 gauge strings
I bought an AK PRO that is 16g/1.31mm but I think it is a little different than the CX. TW also has an "AK Power" and "AK Control" in 16g.
 

Pneumated1

Hall of Fame
I know right! That may be the single greatest phrase I've coined. I don't think I have it bad -- I do wonder however how many people play old poly for weeks on end only because they never have to straighten it.
I usually play gut/poly, so string movement is not a real issue, but a recent hybrid of Gosen/V-star unsettled me a bit as the mains started moving just before busting. And that is a good phrase;)
 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
I bought an AK PRO that is 16g/1.31mm but I think it is a little different than the CX. TW also has an "AK Power" and "AK Control" in 16g.
The regular AK Pro is more 'old school' compared to the CX version. For me it was fairly similar to Prince Syngut Duraflex. Not a bad string, just less longevity and a less slick coating on it.
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Everything kind of fell into place for me with this one because the Duel G was my first GOOD racquet (still my favorite) and I was looking into trying a full gut setup after only using gut with poly a number of times. I just hit with it for about 15 minutes and I immediately understood what you meant by predictable launch angle without surprises. I was swinging out and balls were staying in with a good amount of pace. These are both outstanding strings (first time Ive used either). I also went a little bit lower but kept the same differential - 61/57. Its a great setup and Im looking forward to breaking it in some more. Might also give this a try in my HD with a 1.20 OR 1.25 gut main.

 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Everything kind of fell into place for me with this one because the Duel G was my first GOOD racquet (still my favorite) and I was looking into trying a full gut setup after only using gut with poly a number of times. I just hit with it for about 15 minutes and I immediately understood what you meant by predictable launch angle without surprises. I was swinging out and balls were staying in with a good amount of pace. These are both outstanding strings (first time Ive used either). I also went a little bit lower but kept the same differential - 61/57. Its a great setup and Im looking forward to breaking it in some more. Might also give this a try in my HD with a 1.20 OR 1.25 gut main.

Nice! I want to get some HD's soon. Can't wait to try this setup in them too.
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Oh wow great find! A little expensive though, but definitely worth trying based on the specs.

I wish I could find AK Pro CX in 1.30 gauge. I have a preference for 16 gauge strings
Update: According to Gosen America on Amzn, they have AK Pro CX 16g in Natural AND AK Pro CX 17g in Natural and Black. They also have a graphic that shows it exists.
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Nice! I want to get some HD's soon. Can't wait to try this setup in them too.
(Errr nm you said you demo'd them)? I think the HD is more of a departure from the Duel G than the VCP 16x19s are and for someone that is constantly switching between racquets, thats a problem. Maybe I just havent gotten the strings right.
 
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Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
(Errr nm you said you demo'd them)? I think the HD is more of a departure from the Duel G than the VCP 16x19s are and for someone that is constantly switching between racquets, thats a problem. Maybe I just havent gotten the strings right.
Yeah when I demoed it, it just had regular Poly Tour Pro in it at some unknown tension... not my exact cup of tea at all but I quite liked the time I had with it, so I imagine with a string setup I like it will be a winner. We will see!
 

moon shot

Hall of Fame
Update: According to Gosen America on Amzn, they have AK Pro CX 16g in Natural AND AK Pro CX 17g in Natural and Black. They also have a graphic that shows it exists.
Yes, I've received a few sets from there.

You are correct that the HD is different in more than just string pattern. Some time ago I played the Tour G 330 which people were fairly opinionated about. I demoed the Duel G 330 but found the mass distribution I liked on the Tour G (and others hated) was gone. I currently have a VCP 310 and HD matched at 31cm balance and 325sw ... both weighing around 350g. The HD to me seems sort of a middle point between the VCP and Tour G in weight distribution, but that may just be because I liked that sherbet scimitar. It is interesting that the 18x20 is a smidge less dense than the old 16x20 from what I can tell.
 
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Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
The "sherbet scimitar" might be the best racquet nickname Ive ever heard. I still have my 310 version which was the first racquet I ever used!
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
Well, the Klip gut/4g Soft hybrid in my Vcore HD isnt doing it for me right now so Im going to replace the crosses and experiment on the original formula with a few different variables.

1. 18x20 Vcore HD instead of 16x20 Duel G
2. 17g Klip gut mains instead of 16g Babolat VS Touch
3. Significantly lower tension @ 54/51
4. AK Pro CX 17g in black instead of natural

Hate to cut out gut after a few hours so if this can salvage it for a while, I'll be incredibly impressed. The black looks pretty nice too:

 

Yoneyama

Hall of Fame
Well, the Klip gut/4g Soft hybrid in my Vcore HD isnt doing it for me right now so Im going to replace the crosses and experiment on the original formula with a few different variables.

1. 18x20 Vcore HD instead of 16x20 Duel G
2. 17g Klip gut mains instead of 16g Babolat VS Touch
3. Significantly lower tension @ 54/51
4. AK Pro CX 17g in black instead of natural

Hate to cut out gut after a few hours so if this can salvage it for a while, I'll be incredibly impressed. The black looks pretty nice too:

Post up a picture when you are done!

As soon as I get my hands on a Vcore HD I am going to use some Black VS Gut and Black AK Pro CX. I think it will look great!
 

Conrads

Rookie
seems to be not available on amazn in 16g? shows in there but can't add to cart. Has anyone bought 16g pro cx in packs on there? you can buy a reel of 16g for
the low price of 446 bucks?
 

Conrads

Rookie
For those who have used this how does it handle the heat? Does it get mushy? Been using 16g syn gut beds but at medium tensions and over 80 degrees tends to get
too soft and i lose control especially serving. I don't like high tensions so want something that i can keep my 54-55 lb tension range and still have good control. Gamma syn gut 16 and PSGD 16 get too soft. currently using topspin 15L and it plays nice in 85 up temps but feel is not that great for drop shots and other kind of touch/angle shots
 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
I cut out the 4G Soft crosses in my HD and replaced them with AK Pro CX Black and just played the best Ive ever played with this racquet. I feel like this setup unlocks its full potential - controlled power and accuracy in spades. If I was stringing it fresh I would probably go a touch higher but 54/51 plays incredibly well and the comfort of the racquet combined with the strings is absolutely outstanding. If you're a VCore Pro series enthusiast and like natural gut, this is a must try setup.

 

Nate7-5

Semi-Pro
3 hours into the Klip17g/CX17g 54/51 and the strings are getting stuck out of place. :( I attribute this to the tension being too low. Id do the same strings 59/55 next time. Also my girlfriend is about to try Klip18g/CX17g at 62/58 in a Vcore Pro 310g.
 
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