Entry level machine or go for Stringway (opinions needed)

Mxdv2

New User
Hi - I'm relatively new to stringing and recently joined a stringing course to learn how to string. I realy enjoyed stringing. Now I'm planning to buy my own machine as I like to expiriment with different tensions and different string setups. Most of the time I will string for myself and maybe some friends/family.

I have been reading a lot and know the differnces between sorts of machines (drop weight, crank, automatic), the pro's and cons of it and sort of clamps (flying, fixed).

I'm curious -based on your experience when you started strining- should I buy an entry level machine or invest some more moneys and go for a Stringway ML100? The entry level machine in my case would be the Penta Premium Stringer 3600 (which costs EUR 360). The Stringway costs around 1K.

Many thanks!
 

ARNICOLINI

Rookie
Stringway has a following on here, but for the $ I would go Penta. Heck for the difference you could come close to the Penta with a Wise. I see some shops have options with the Penta fitted with a Wise right out of the gate. Would not be a terrible option to start. Generalizing here since I don't know much about the Penta brand.

Fixed clamps and the mounting system are better with the Penta vs Stringway. And with time you will increase your speed with the Penta drop weight, but there is definitely a learning curve up front with it.

Ultimately depends on how much $ you actually want to spend and how important ROI is or how long it takes to get there. And if you even think you might upgrade your machine in the future.

I started with a cheaper drop weight until I was sure this was something I wanted to do more of, and then took the time to upgrade to a really nice electronic machine. Couldn't be happier with where I ended up (Prince 5000)
 

Arzivu

Rookie
You can also check pro's pro. They have a wide variety of machines aiming for the low-budget customers.
 

Mxdv2

New User
Stringway has a following on here, but for the $ I would go Penta. Heck for the difference you could come close to the Penta with a Wise. I see some shops have options with the Penta fitted with a Wise right out of the gate. Would not be a terrible option to start. Generalizing here since I don't know much about the Penta brand.

Fixed clamps and the mounting system are better with the Penta vs Stringway. And with time you will increase your speed with the Penta drop weight, but there is definitely a learning curve up front with it.

Ultimately depends on how much $ you actually want to spend and how important ROI is or how long it takes to get there. And if you even think you might upgrade your machine in the future.

I started with a cheaper drop weight until I was sure this was something I wanted to do more of, and then took the time to upgrade to a really nice electronic machine. Couldn't be happier with where I ended up (Prince 5000)
Thanks for the response! The Prince 5000 is indeed a really nice machine!

I think one of my main priorities is accuracy. I read that the accuracy of the Stringway (without the intention to start a discussion) comes close to the accuracy of a good auto stringer. Therefore, no update in the near future is needed. My concern with the Penta is that if it lacks accuracy I won't use it and subsequently it will be a waist of money.

Obiously, when I keep enjoying stringing I would upgrade to a better model if I buy the Penta now. But will it be a smart option is to skip the entry level model and invest in a Stringway?

The Penta with the Wise option comes close to the costs of a Stringway.

Thanks!
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Good rule of thumb:

Buy the best machine you can afford once. That is, don’t buy something that you will be upgrading a year or two later.

Stringway makes quality products. But, their marketing too often consists of pseudo science “mumbo jumbo” to justify their claims of superiority over all of their competitors. Lots of other manufacturers offer machines of equal or better quality, which can just as easily produce accurate results. Don’t fall into the trap that you can’t get an accurate string job if you don’t buy a Stringway machine. The accuracy you seek has a lot less to do with the machine you choose, and a whole lot more to do with your developing good habits and technique.
 

brownbearfalling

Hall of Fame
Similar to am1899 I would advise to buy the "best" machine that you can. It's beneficial to save your money and wait to buy the best machine within your means.

Also do not forget to budget for quality hand tools. It won't cost much but they are necessary to do the job right.

After having strung for so many years and on a wide variety of machines I think the only features I can't live without are fixed clamps and standup stand. Doesn't matter the exact style of fixed clamps but just as long as they don't use a second string to anchor the clamp. Flying clamps increase string wear and are cumbersome to use. The second feature a stand just makes the machine easier to maneuver around. I can't stand stringing on a table. Most machines that are designed for table tops have a stand that can be bought separately. There are a ton of other features that are very nice but in my mind none are necessary.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I have had a Stringway ML90 now for about 10 years.
I started off stringing with my friends Klippermate years ago, then later got a Gamma XST lockout machine, and later the Stringway.

I think if I had started off with the Stringway I would still be using it today.
Things I like about it:
  • The flying clamps are amazing! They hold the strings with very little pressure
  • the angle of the dropweight does not seem to matter that much. I actually did a test out of curiosity.
  • It is built like a tank and will probably last forever.
  • I like simple, efficient designs, where pretty much nothing can break.
  • Great customer service for any questions
On the other hand, if you don't like having to exert any physical effort, then an electronic machine would be better for you.
Tension-wise, the Stringway is more consistent than my XST was. If I were to make the purchase again today, I would probably pick the new portable Stringway machine as I don't have an area dedicated to stringing where I live. I bring it out when I string. The portable machine would be easier to do this as it is lighter.
 

Mxdv2

New User
Too add, decide on the features you want and buy a machine based on those.
I think the mechanic machines are most suitable for me as I won't string that much rackets and don't care to much about speed. Also I like the idea of a (more or less) maintainance free machine. Because constant pull is one of my requirements I'll end up with the drop weights and not a crank. If I lived in the States I definitely went for an Alpha drop weight. Unfortunately in Europe it seems that there are only a few decent choices:

-the Penta machines (3600 or 3800)
-the Pro's pro machines (of which I don't like the quality)
-with some effort a Gamma progression ii 602fc
-the Stringway machines.

Following this list I think the Stringway meets all my requirements and is of the highest quality, compared to the others. That's the reason why I'm considering a Stringway. On the other hand since I'm new to stringing perhaps I should go for the basic Penta and save a few bucks until I mastered stringing.

Is it true that with your own skills, accuracy and consistency you can get the same results on a basic model as on a higher end model?

Many thanks for the responses so far!
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Penta Premium Stringer 3600 (which costs EUR 360). The Stringway costs around 1K.
IMO, if you are stringing for just yourself, family and a few friends, I strongly suggest you purchase a Penta.

I am a huge fan of Stringway products - its Cross Strings Stringing tool is simply superb.

But the Penta will save you 600 Euros. That is a lot of money. You can buy a lot of strings for 600 Euros.

Think about it. If you get bored with stringing racquets, you have saved yourself 600 Euros. You can probably onsell the Penta for at least 200 Euros. So the whole experience would have cost you 150 odd Euros - which would have been easily covered by the savings in labour costs you made.

However, if you love stringing, you can then purchase a more expensive machine. You keep the Penta as a backup machine. Or you sell it for 200 Euros. Again the experience cost you 150 odd Euros - but you covered that with the savings in labour costs you made.

If you go with the Stringway, you spend the 1000 Euros up front. If you like stringing, you have a great machine that will serve you well for many many years. So you will be laughing. However, if you decide that stringing isn't for you, you will probably sell the Stringway. What are you likely to get for it? 600 Euros maybe? Hmmm.

(For what it is worth. I wanted to start stringing racquets. Where I am, the cheapest new machine I could purchase was around 400 Euros. There was no way I was going to spend that much money without being sure I would be able to string racquets or that I would like doing it. In the end a friend of a friend offered me a very old working LO Crank machine for about 80 Euros. I purchased it, cleaned it up, spent about 80 Euros on new fixed clamps. I learned how to string with it and intended to upgrade to a "decent" machine at some point.
300 Racquets later ... I'm still using the same machine and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. Keep in mind, the accuracy of a good string job is as much about the quality of the Stringer as it is about the Stringing Machine!)
 
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Mxdv2

New User
IMO, if you are stringing for just yourself, family and a few friends, I strongly suggest you purchase a Penta.

I am a huge fan of Stringway products - its Cross Strings Stringing tool is simply superb.

But the Penta will save you 600 Euros
I think you are right Karma. I should practice on the Penta until I'm sure I will keep stringing rackets. I spoke with the retailer and they offered a pretty good price including the tools, a starting clamp and a string reel.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that when I get familiar with the Penta and with the right amount of time, effort, practice and accuracy I should come close to the accuracy of a Stringway.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I think the mechanic machines are most suitable for me as I won't string that much rackets and don't care to much about speed. Also I like the idea of a (more or less) maintainance free machine. Because constant pull is one of my requirements I'll end up with the drop weights and not a crank. If I lived in the States I definitely went for an Alpha drop weight. Unfortunately in Europe it seems that there are only a few decent choices:

-the Penta machines (3600 or 3800)
-the Pro's pro machines (of which I don't like the quality)
-with some effort a Gamma progression ii 602fc
-the Stringway machines.

Following this list I think the Stringway meets all my requirements and is of the highest quality, compared to the others. That's the reason why I'm considering a Stringway. On the other hand since I'm new to stringing perhaps I should go for the basic Penta and save a few bucks until I mastered stringing.

Is it true that with your own skills, accuracy and consistency you can get the same results on a basic model as on a higher end model?

Many thanks for the responses so far!
IMHO, Stringway’s quality isn’t miles better than Gamma (if at all). Cant say the same for Pro’s Pro. I don’t have any experience with Penta, so I can’t comment there.

Bottom line, don’t pay premium money for a Stringway machine because you read/heard that their quality is superior and therefore will make for the most accurate string jobs. This is nonsense.

Rather, decide what features are important to you. Then set a budget. Consider all the machines that fit your needs and are within budget. Pick the one that gives you the best bang for the buck.

A competent stringer would be able to produce repeatable results on a wide range of machines - entry level, all the way through flagship eCP machines. But, there is still an element of, “you get what you pay for,” with stringing machines. Which is in part why you won’t see an X-2 being used to string racquets at the US Open. At the same time, most people won’t shell out several thousand dollars for a flagship machine, just to string 5 racquets a year in their living room.
 
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jim e

Legend
If you are planning to string for the long haul, then get as much machine as you can afford. You will be happier, enjoy the process better, and won't have to upgrade later
 

Mxdv2

New User
If you are planning to string for the long haul, then get as much machine as you can afford. You will be happier, enjoy the process better, and won't have to upgrade later
Which one will that be from the list above?


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ARNICOLINI

Rookie
There is no easy answer to that. :)

I am not familiar at all with the quality of Penta, but assuming its a decent brand, hands down the Penta.


Ultimately it comes down to clamps, tensioning mechanism and mounting system (in that order for me). To me the fixed clamps are better on the Penta, tensioning is slightly better on Stringway and mounting is better on the Penta. Better in 2/3, pretty close in the 1 its not better plus it much cheaper and you can easily add a Wise later.
 

jim e

Legend
Don't know if I would get any from your short list. Myself, my minimum requirements would be a 6 point mounting system, good fixed clamps, a sturdy turntable, and a decent brake, as I string a decent amount of OPorts, and a constant pull, and not a drop weight.Many machines do fit that requirement of mine, but they do come at a cost.
Years ago, back in the 60's I used a peddle automatic drop weight that served it's purpose back then as at that time it was an industry standard. Now I use a high end electronic, and it makes stringing more relaxing and enjoyable.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
IMHO, Stringway’s quality isn’t miles better than Gamma (if at all)..
I’ve owned the gamma 6004 with the switch action swivel clamps and the stringway with the dual action clamps. I’ve also used my friend’s stringway with the single action clamps.

based on my experience, here are the pros and cons of each brand. These are listed in the order of what qualities and features are most important to me.

1. turntable: stringway is better - more rigid and less flex. The gamma turntable and tension bar exhibited noticeable flex

2. tensioning system: lock out vs constant pull. Stringway’s constant pull is better than the gamma lock out.

it would be more even if you replace the gamma lock out with a wise tension head, but that would add a lot more cost.

3. string clamps: I preferred the gamma switch action swivel clamps over stringway single or double action clamps.

#1 and #2 being most important to me, I would say stringway is a better machine.
 
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Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that when I get familiar with the Penta and with the right amount of time, effort, practice and accuracy I should come close to the accuracy of a Stringway.
I will answer it this way.

I was paying a Stringer with 30 years of experience to string our racquets on a Wilson Baiardo machine. I watched him string many of those racquets. He is a great Stringer and could do our racquets in around 25 minutes (each one!).

When I got my very old machine. Took me nearly 3 hours to do the first racquet and it was terrible. But by the 5th racquet, I was stringing them in around 70 minutes and producing a result that was indiscernable from the Pro Stringer's one. As I mentioned, I've done about 300 string jobs now. I've got my time down to about 40 minutes, but I stick to a repeatable process. It is pretty easy for me because I string a very limited range of racquets so it is easy to be consistent.

I have not doubt that upgrading to an automatic DW machine (eg. Stringway) or an Electronic machine (Wise etc.) would probably save me about 10 minutes. But it would not make my job any easier given my current needs so I cannot justify spending the additional money.

HOWEVER, if I started to string a diverse range of racquets for a large group of players (eg. A Tennis Club), I would seriously consider upgrading to a better machine. But then I would be recovering the cost a lot more quickly. As it happens, I'm already several thousands of Euros ahead based on the labour cost savings of doing it myself. I could probably go out and purchase a Baiardo today with the savings I have made over the past few years.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I’ve owned the gamma 6004 with the spring action swivel clamps and the stringway with the dual action clamps. I’ve also used my friend’s stringway with the single action clamps.

based on my experience, here are the pros and cons of each brand. These are listed in the order of what qualities and features are most important to me.

1. turntable: stringway is better - more rigid and less flex. The gamma turntable and tension bar exhibited noticeable flex

2. tensioning system: lock out vs constant pull. Stringway’s constant pull is better than the gamma lock out.

it would be more even if you replace the gamma lock out with a wise tension head.

3. string clamps: I preferred the gamma swivel clamps over stringway single or double action clamps.

#1 and #2 being most important to me, I would say stringway is a better machine.
Not surprised by your observations, conclusions, and what you decided to go with - it all makes logical sense.

For me, the order of importance would be a little different...just as a matter of personal preference:

1. Clamps
2. Tensioning mechanism
3. Turn table

IMHO there’s no right or wrong way to prioritize those. I would just encourage OP to figure his or her own priorities along these lines, and not let us or anyone else tell him or her what they are.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Not surprised by your observations, conclusions, and what you decided to go with - it all makes logical sense.

For me, the order of importance would be a little different...just as a matter of personal preference:

1. Clamps
2. Tensioning mechanism
3. Turn table

IMHO there’s no right or wrong way to prioritize those. I would just encourage OP to figure his or her own priorities along these lines, and not let us or anyone else tell him or her what they are.
I string on a Babolat sensor. :)
 

Tennis_dude101

Semi-Pro
I will answer it this way.

I was paying a Stringer with 30 years of experience to string our racquets on a Wilson Baiardo machine. I watched him string many of those racquets. He is a great Stringer and could do our racquets in around 25 minutes (each one!).

When I got my very old machine. Took me nearly 3 hours to do the first racquet and it was terrible. But by the 5th racquet, I was stringing them in around 70 minutes and producing a result that was indiscernable from the Pro Stringer's one. As I mentioned, I've done about 300 string jobs now. I've got my time down to about 40 minutes, but I stick to a repeatable process. It is pretty easy for me because I string a very limited range of racquets so it is easy to be consistent.
I also went from having my racquets professionally strung on a Wilson Baiardo at $50 a pop to doing them myself on my Pro Stringer with flying clamps. I can't honestly tell the difference. ;)
My machine has paid for its self long ago as well. :cool:

BIW
 

MathieuR

Professional
I also went from having my racquets professionally strung on a Wilson Baiardo at $50 a pop to doing them myself on my Pro Stringer with flying clamps. I can't honestly tell the difference. ;)
My machine has paid for its self long ago as well. :cool:

BIW
Stringing now for ~10 years. Started on a worndown Klippermate, then a "Tyger" (local brand generic ratchet dropweight) and then a "Rucanor" (Dutch brand of which Stringway is offspring), and then a "real" Stringway (all secondhand)
Stringway starts with a 10 year warranty, but is indestructable. Mine is 30 years old, still going strong (glidebars!)

I love the mountingsystem: never blocked holes, optimization of balancing the 400kg squeezing forces of the mains.
 
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Mxdv2

New User
@Alll, Thanks for the opinions and thinking along!

I took some time to consider and decided to go for the Stringway! On the website they offered a promotion on the ML100 models. I received the machine within 1 day (because it was a shipment within the Netherlands). I placed the order directly at the Stringway site and they are very helpfull with answering queries (also after the purchase).

I strung 2 rackets sofar. Probably you can watch a full movie in the time I need to string a racket (and no, not the short ones), however the result is pretty accurarte and satisfcatory! The machine is very solid so I think I will enjoy it for many years.
 

esm

Professional
I strung 2 rackets sofar. Probably you can watch a full movie in the time I need to string a racket (and no, not the short ones), however the result is pretty accurarte and satisfcatory! The machine is very solid so I think I will enjoy it for many years.
Congrats.
The first few is the best learning curve.
I remembered my first attempt was on a 18x20 On an X-2 and took me just over 2 hours, that’s with trying a few times with the knots on a 2 piece job.
I have done quite a few now and I always take my time as I don’t need to speed up for the sake of speeding up (I do for myself and friends for now) and I make sure to be as consistent as possible.
I always check with iOS RacquetTune and StringMeter afterwards.
My last one was a 16x19 PAT in a 2 piece job which took me 55mins - this did not include mounting the racquet or cutting the strings, but I don’t really care tbh. lol
Good luck and have loads of fun!
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
Congrats.
The first few is the best learning curve.
I remembered my first attempt was on a 18x20 On an X-2 and took me just over 2 hours, that’s with trying a few times with the knots on a 2 piece job.
I have done quite a few now and I always take my time as I don’t need to speed up for the sake of speeding up (I do for myself and friends for now) and I make sure to be as consistent as possible.
I always check with iOS RacquetTune and StringMeter afterwards.
My last one was a 16x19 PAT in a 2 piece job which took me 55mins - this did not include mounting the racquet or cutting the strings, but I don’t really care tbh. lol
Good luck and have loads of fun!
I recall hours and hours on my first racquet. My son used Luxilon Element at the time and my son's coach pushed me to string it like a mother bird pushing a chick out of the nest....

I had the string kinked up all over the place... I snapped the string while trying to tie the final knot and so eked out enough for a half hitch.

I took the racquet to my son's coach and he looked at like ... "What the heck did you do to this thing???"
 

onehandbh

Legend
Congrats on getting your new machine! Just take your time in the beginning to get it right. Lots of good youtube tutorials also and to learn all the different knots.

I'm not a fast stringer but only string for myself a few friends. I usually listen to music while I string.

I would not suggest stringing a thick, textured poly on a Kennex Micro Mid as your first racquet...
Or a Head Head Prestige 600 with CAPS grommets with a thick poly...
 
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Chadalina

Guest
@Alll, Thanks for the opinions and thinking along!

I took some time to consider and decided to go for the Stringway! On the website they offered a promotion on the ML100 models. I received the machine within 1 day (because it was a shipment within the Netherlands). I placed the order directly at the Stringway site and they are very helpfull with answering queries (also after the purchase).

I strung 2 rackets sofar. Probably you can watch a full movie in the time I need to string a racket (and no, not the short ones), however the result is pretty accurarte and satisfcatory! The machine is very solid so I think I will enjoy it for many years.
I assume this is it? Do you like the string gripper? I dont like to wrap it, I like the two sided one (forget name), like on cranks and elec

 

FedMex

Rookie
Got a NEOS 1000 from TM for $900 or looked at $675 from Clarke's out of Houston and am very happy. Standing up and moving around the machine is useful.

The swivel clamps will allow you to more easily do Around the World stringing but other than that, been very happy and see no issues.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I assume this is it? Do you like the string gripper? I dont like to wrap it, I like the two sided one (forget name), like on cranks and elec

This is the exact same string gripper (assuming you mean the red thing on the post with the drop weight) as my ML90 and it doesn't require any wrapping. Just slide it through. Plus it pulls the same tension at multiple angles and doesn't have to be perfectly parallel.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
This is the exact same string gripper (assuming you mean the red thing on the post with the drop weight) as my ML90 and it doesn't require any wrapping. Just slide it through. Plus it pulls the same tension at multiple angles and doesn't have to be perfectly parallel.
Was looking into them, do you like it better than the old style drop weight?
 

onehandbh

Legend
Was looking into them, do you like it better than the old style drop weight?
Love it.
Much better. Don't have to worry about getting the darn dropweight parallel everytime.
I got the flying clamps version because I prefer able to sometimes clap from above and I have more space to weave.

I've had mine for about 10 years. The thing is built like a tank and has few things that can go wrong or break. The clamps are also the best flying clamps I've ever used. Seem to be able to grip the strings with minimal pressure and easy to adjust.

The only other dropweights I've used in the past was a Klipper and a Gamma dropweight. Also used an electronic machine a couple crank machines.

I've even strung some of my wood racquets with it and a friend's T2000.
Also strung my 110+ year-old, wooden racquet and it survived.
 

max

Legend
For me, the use-cost proportionate answer was Klippermate. I string 8-10 frames a year.
 

Mxdv2

New User
I assume this is it? Do you like the string gripper? I dont like to wrap it, I like the two sided one (forget name), like on cranks and elec

Yes this is the machine. You don’t have to wrap the string. You can just pull it in the throug the tensioning mechanism. At that point te weight will be released automatically and you can guide it untill it reached its balance. I think its as fast as the gripper you refer to.


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MathieuR

Professional
You can just pull it in the throug the tensioning mechanism. At that point te weight will be released automatically and you can guide it untill it reached its balance.
I actually think it's the fastest and most reliable gripper on the market, faster then a linear gripper.
 
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