Entry Level Stringing Machine Question

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Znak, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Was looking to purchase my first stringing machine, and naturally was looking at Gamma's Progression ii 200/ X-2, but being in Europe I found 4 other interesting options that are in my budget but I don't see much written up about them:
    • Challenger I
    • Premium Stringer 3600
    • Pro's Pro Pilot
    • Pro's Pro Comet
    If you have any experience with any of them would love to hear about it, otherwise, I may default to the Gamma series.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Imago

    Imago Hall of Fame

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  3. deuser

    deuser New User

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    Actually, the Pro's Pro machines are mentioned quite a lot here. The first two are DWs and the second two options are cranks. Cranks make your life a lot easier as in not having to level the DW every time. I don't have any experience withe the Premium Stringer but it looks like a rebranded version of the Challenger at about double the price.

    The Pilot is the crank version of the Challenger otherwise it is the exact same machine. The Comet has curved rails and better bases/clamps. Don't expect Neos or 6004 level clamps, but they are definitely better than the Pilot's. Or you can order the Pilot with the upgraded clamps. I would pick the Comet for the curved rails, I think it's a nice touch, but it's only a personal preference. The price comes out about the same for both cranks if you calculate the better clamps.

    Quality wise I never talked to anyone who actually used/owned a Pro's Pro machine for an extended period and had any trouble with them. Only heard from people saying "they heard" of quality issues. I used my coach's Challenger for years to string my racquets (I was only allowed to try the Star 5 just a couple of times bwahah...) and never seen any real issues between the two. The Bab was much more comfortable of course, but that's about it. However my coach's Challenger (a predecessor of the Challenger really) dates back to the 80s... Still rocking solid. This does not go for their electrical machines where I've seen a lot of issues with the motor. So in an electrical I'd definitely look elsewhere.

    I'm also in Europe and have looked at the options here extensively. I came to the conclusion that a €300 Pilot or a €360 Comet is much better bang for the buck than €500 or more for a comparable machine. I would however consider a Neos but they sell for €1200-1400 and it's impossible to find it used in Europe, so it's always an option once you really get into stringing and your weekly volume increases.

    One thing that irks me with Gamma machines though is that you have to wrap the string around a knob and then pull it through. I'm sure they're just fine but I prefer the break-pads of the Pro's Pro.
     
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  4. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Wow, thanks so much for breaking this down for me. What did you end up going with? I didn't consider using a crank system before this thread, been doing all my reserach on drop weight systems. So pros for the crank system is that they're faster, but how about things like tension and maintenance? Will both hold up over time? Is the learning curve the same for a beginner? I think at this point I'll either get the Challenger I or jump to getting the Comet. I think the Neos looks awesome, but out of my budget range. Also is Stringway a brand you considered?

    Was trying to figure this one out too, what's the difference in the upgraded clamps?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  5. deuser

    deuser New User

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    Stringways are the same price range as the Neos and both are solid choices. So much so that for that kind of money I still would go with a Neos rather than an electric. Cranks are not harder to maintain you just calibrate it every 20 stringings or so. There's a tension calibrator for €15 available from Pro's Pro. For the tension you either overcompensate a little or double pull, both of which was discussed in Imago's thread. The universal clamps are good for squash as well so I definitely need those, but beyond that I have a feel of them grabbing the string a little more gently and also a little better craftsmanship but again, don't expect wonders as this is bottom of the range.

    Oh yeah, I went with the Comet and am glad to made the switch to a crank. :)
     
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  6. letplaytennis

    letplaytennis Rookie

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    As someone who just purchased a stringing machine used, get a quality machine. I have an Eagnas Flex 940 and I'm already regretting not buying a Gamma 6004. There's nothing wrong with the Eagnas, just a few nuances that I didn't expect that a few $100 more would've taken care of.
     
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  7. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Really appreciate you giving me your input, I think it's a toss up between the Challenger and the Pilot (both with the upgraded clamps, starter clamp and tension calibrator for the crank). Is a string tension reader an important tool to have as well?
     
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  8. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Really, what don't you like about it? What would you have gotten with the Gamma machine?
     
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  9. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    So I've made the purchase and bought the Pros Pro Comet lockout machine. This thing is great I'm on my fourth restring (I'm practising on old racquets), but I'm noticing a trend of ending up with really low tension. Example the last 2 racquets I inputted around 55lbs and ended up with 40. I've calibrated the machine so it must be me. I've watched a ton of youtube videos, so I'm unsure of what I'm doing wrong, the only thing I can really think of is my knots, I'm unsure if they're tight enough or if I have slack and the string slides back a bit. Sometimes on crosses I notice my clamp moving inwards when releasing tension anywhere from an 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch, (even though the grippers are tight enough and the base is secured).

    Am I cranking too fast maybe? I'm trying to do a slow even pull... I'm wondering if I should just record myself and have you guys critique what I'm doing incorrectly (although it'd be a very boring 60 minutes since I'm super slow haha)

    Any advice is welcome! Thanks!
     
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  10. MathieuR

    MathieuR Professional

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    A lock-out "locks out", is not a constant pull.
    So, your ref.tension is not the tension of your tensioned string (only for a split second, then the tension drops by creep)

    You just should increase the ref.tension till you like the result.
    (and check that the string does not slip through your clamps when you release tension on the lock-out)
     
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  11. Wolfie1

    Wolfie1 New User

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    Znak - what device did you use to measure your tension with after you took the racquet off the machine? If you used something like RacquetTune, don't expect that to provide an accurate measure. (it's more to tell you when to restring once those values drop off by 6 lbs or so).

    Instead, what did the racquet feel like when playing? Stiff like a board, or too soft that you had less control and were blasting the ball long.
     
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  12. Wolfie1

    Wolfie1 New User

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    That's normal 'draw back'. It can vary though with the quality of the clamps with your machine. It all becomes a part of 'you' and your string job, as long as it is consistent.
    On my first string job, I think I worried about this too much on the crosses as well, and compensated by pushing the clamps slightly when closing the levers. In effect, I really was just tensioning the crosses an extra few pounds.
    Instead, worry more about straightening the crosses as much as possible as you tension if you're not doing that already.
     
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  13. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    15# difference between ref tension and what RT measures is a real issue. I suspect that you are using a default value for the string you are using and that it is inaccurate. I use RT and get ± 0.1 - 0.5 # using measured string factors for the strings I frequently use. You may also have another issue if your drawback is ⅛-¼ inch. That is a lot of lost tension which is not recovered completely when you tension the next string. A CP machine will recover that, but a LO, not so much. See if the clamp bases move back as you tension the next strings.
     
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  14. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    I have a Comet...for 2 days now. I looked long and hard at a lot of other lock out machines up to 1600 euro, and kept coming back to the comet. I know a guy who has the pilot lock out for a few years and he loves his. I think for the price difference, the upgraded clamps and base alone is worth it. The lock out head is also different as well.

    I have used a CP. I do not feel any difference in tension between the comet and the tx2K I used to use. But I haven't done anything scientific to make sure they are the same. Though I am no pro, I do string fairly quickly, and use all the tricks I have seen Irvin share with us. I just did a couple of Dunlop 18X20's at 54lbsX51lbs, and the stringbed feels rather tight like it should. Unlike my t2K, this Comet is very fast and easy to use. It's also built like a tank. It came in 3 pieces that were very quick to put together as well.The table also has a locking lever for those exo ports, or if ya simply want it to stop wandering, tie knots, etc.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  15. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    There are a couple of issues you could be experiencing. First at lockout the complete tension assembly should stay in one spot and never move. If the brake is slipping the unit will move toward the racket and cause a loss of tension. Another thing could be your clamps, If you have a lot of drawback or string slippage in the clamp you loose tension.

    A lockout will continue to pull after lockout but as the string relaxes you will loose a little tension. It is not normal to loose 15 lbs. though. If you are not having issues with the brake or clamps I would try pulling a second time after a 5 second wait. This will give you a tension which will be as good as a CP machine.

    To check the brake pull tension on a scale and watch the tension. If the tension drops 15 lbs I would make sure the brake is calibrated. To check the clamp put a paper clip on the string next to the clamp and see if it moves when you release tension. Put the paper clip on the string on the opposite side of the clamp from the tensioner.
     
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  16. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    Good luck finding a used machine near you in Europe unless you live in a major city. I know I tried. Here in Europe the 6004 is $1,400 more than the Pros Pro Comet. The NEOS is 1,100 more. I was also considering Stringway, but didn't like the table top offers. The Progression lockout, the nearest table top competitor from Gamma, is $500 more. We can buy direct from the ProsPro site, and shipping is very cheap if you live on the continent($9 if you live in Germany or Austria!). If I were buying for our pro shop, I would have gone with the 6004. But for home use, I just couldn't justify the extra dough. That is a LOT of string, racquets, and stuff for my Harley ;)
     
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  17. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Wow that’s funny, $1,400 is the price of the 6004 in the states w/free shipping. The Prince machines are $200 more.
     
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  18. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    :(

    Keep in mind the sales taxes are usually 21-23% as well. So if you go up $1000, add in another $230 in taxes...

    The best I could do on a 6004 was 1699 plus 50 euros shipping. :( But I live in a suburb of Dublin. If you live in Frankfurt, I am sure it would be different.
     
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  19. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    No sales / VAT here in the states when you buy online out of state.
     
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  20. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    True, I'm just worried that it's so far off from the value that it's got to be me.

    Yeah that's what I've been using. Usually from my pro shop when I get my strings done on their LO machine, say I ask for 53 and with Racquettune it usually reads 49, so it's not far off. Here's it's 15lbs, so I'm worried it's me.

    I didn't realize I could input different strings, I just checked and it came out even lower (man I feel so useless haha) 36lbs... Which I'm hoping somewhat of it is static tension loss. I'm going to string up another to pay attention to the clamp bases.

    When you mean brake you mean the base of the clamps or the break of the turntable? I'm going to string up another and see how it goes, I'll try also the paper clip method too.

    thanks to all so far, to be continued..
     
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  21. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Neither, the tension assembly right on an arm that has a gear track attached to one side. The crank is attached an axle that goes through the a brake disc and a gear that rides on the gear track. When lockout occurs brake pads stop the brake disc from turning which stops the gear from turning which holds the tension assembly in place.
     
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  22. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    @Znak here is a picture of a LO stringer they all work the same the round object is the brake I’m talking about. You can also see the gear and gear track on the arm. When the brake engages the assembly is locked from moving back and forth on the arm.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    @Znak most people don’t actually use the LO machine properly (yes I was guilty of that too.) When you first turn the crank you’re putting the LO in what’s referred to as a pre-stretching mode. After a period of time you should release the LO and set the final tension, but that takes a little longer. Because more often than not most people just use the pre-stretch mode they end up with a low tension and just adjust for it. Because all strings don’t stretch the same though you end up with a different final tension for different strings.
     
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  24. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I was just thinking, if you use a very stretchy string like ZX and do not set the final tension (just use the pre-stretch mode) you could end up with an very soft racket depending on how fast your turn the crank.
     
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  25. WYK

    WYK Professional

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  26. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    I'm thinking he's setting the tension, then stringing, then testing the string bed, right? Wouldn't the actual stringbed stiffness be completely different from the reference from the tension head? It's not like a tyre where you put in 2.1bar, come back to it in a day, and it's still 2.1bar, right?
     
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  27. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    What you’re saying is correct but when I string a racket let’s say at 55 lbs the stringbed measures around 55 lbs immediately after stringing. String bed stiffness or DT is something different, that’s the amount of deflection the stringbed has with a given force. For instance a DT of 34 means it takes 34 Kg of force to deflect the stringbed 1 cm.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  28. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    ZNAK, if yer up for it, you could up load a vid of your stringing and I think that will clear things up pretty quickly. If you don't want others to see, I think you could PM me or Irvin and we'd be happy to help. Not saying I have anywhere near the expertise of Irvin, tho! ;)
     
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  29. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    So I technically I should double pull my strings?

    It's a reel of Babolat synthetic gut 1.30

    Good call, I just strung another up at 57 and it read out as 46. So something is a little better, but yeah I think I could use some input. After Xmas I'll give a record a try and post it here. Appreciate it!

    How hard do you tug on your knots when tying off the mains and crosses? I'm wondering if I'm getting rid of enough slack.
     
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  30. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If you want to do a single pull that’s fine. But you will need to adjust your tension up higher to get it where you want it. If you want to pull each string two times you’ll get a much stiffer string bed with the same reference tension.
     
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  31. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Feeling disheartened. I just restrung twice, once at 60lbs and it came out to 48 and another double pulled at 57 and came out roughly the same. I'm really thinking I'm not cinching well on the knots and or something's going awry when I'm doing my crosses.

    Will film in a few days to get some feedback.
     
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  32. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If you’re measuring the tension near the center of the frame (where you should) the knots won’t have anything to do with it. The important thing is how does the racket play. If it’s too tight lower the tension if it’s too mushy raise the tension. Put your gauge somewhere it belongs and leave it there until you need it. I put mine away and keep forgetting where it is. LOL One of the many benefits of old age.
     
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  33. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    The important factors are:

    a.) do you like how the stringbed plays?
    b.) are your string jobs consistent?

    a.) is obviously personal preference. Strings too loose? Increase the reference tension. Too tight? Decrease it.

    b.) is where you get some value out of racquetTune. Same strings in the same racquet at the same reference tension should provide you with the same reading. I've seen some subtle variations due to weather conditions, but broadly speaking, they should be the same. It doesn't really matter what the number is, provided it's consistent.

    In terms of why the racquetTune reading doesn't match your reference tension, there are a number of things that could be at play other than sloppy technique.

    - Did you measure the string factor yourself?
    - Did you enter the racquet details correctly?
    - How did you calibrate your machine? Could there have been a mistake here? Or could the calibration device be inaccurate?
    - What are you using to tap the stringbed?
    - Do you experience the same for different types of string? I find that with some strings (Head RIP Control springs to mind), I can't get a clean reading at all.
    - Are you taking enough readings to close the circle on racquetTune? You have to hit it a minimum of two times, often more. (this is how it works on the iOS version. I've never see the Android one, so it may be different)
     
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  34. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    I just saw you were using racquettune - a smart phone app. Uh, stop that. Go out and play with the sticks and see how they feel before you panic.
     
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  35. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    You're all very right, I was practicing on friend's racquets they don't use, I think it's time to start with mine and play and see how it feels. Will report back.
     
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  36. Wolfie1

    Wolfie1 New User

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    Good! And remember the golden rule, only change one factor, those being:

    1. Racquet - your good/best stick (the one you know)
    2. String - the one you usually use WITH #1 above (is that your Babolat syn gut?); not best to mess with hybrids at this point
    3. Tension - the usual tension you're accustomed to with #1 and #2 (*** see note below); think you stated that was normally 53#
    4. Stringer and machine

    Obviously, #4 has changed. I think you mentioned that the shop where you normally took your racquets used a lockout. If that's the case, and you now have a lockout, perhaps no adjustment for tension is required. If rather they had a CP, you could either go a couple of lbs higher (56?), or double pull at 53# again.

    Now go out and hit and provide your assessment after each session. NO RACQUETTUNE. It'll likely influence your assessment (and incorrectly, since you likely won't have used the proper string factor). If you must use RT, have someone else perform the tests and not show you the results until after say 6 sessions.
     
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  37. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for this wolfie, will report back!
     
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  38. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    You'll also note on your Comet stringer that the adjustment dial has a 0,1,2 setting. If you fear you are taking too long to tie off a knot, you can try setting this to 1 or 2(KG's extra tension) and see if it makes a difference. I set mine to 1KG to tie off, and 0 for stringing.

    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Oh you have a Comet too! That's a good idea, I also tried my last racquet to string my last main/tie off 3 lbs more, but as I'm new to this I'm not sure if it helped or not. Question for you, how do you align your bases of your clamps for minimal drawback when stringing the crosses? On my mains I get almost none because they're in line with the direction of the string, but as soon as I get to the crosses I run into this issue... was thinking of sending Pros Pro an email to see if they had suggested practices
     
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  40. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    Well, unless your racquet has 'parallel drilling' it will always kink a bit. So, I wouldn't worry too much about that.
    Here's a pic of Irvin pulling tension a PD:

    [​IMG]
     
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  41. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    Oops, sorry, forgot to answer your question. I usually string at least 2-3KG less in my crosses. I mostly string for myself, so if it is a lb or two off, I don't mind at all. But I'll check it next time to see how much the drawback is. If you feel it is a bit much, then maybe trying to add a kg or half a kg will work for you?
     
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  42. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    The dial is related to tension, but not quite in the way you describe. You'll notice that if your read the lbs side of the tension head, the marks increase in increments of 3lbs. The dial adds 0, 1 or 2 lbs to this... it basically 'fills in the gaps' between the marks.
     
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  43. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    Ahh, OK, thanks.

    Just remember to set it before you pull tensions, Znak?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  44. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    That’s right the 0-1-2 are for pounds not Kg.
     
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  45. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Just an FYI this is the kind of drawback I'm getting. I'm noticing it's only on the one clamp, I have to secure the base suuuupper tightly for it not to move otherwise it does this (it was clamped at the grommet). Is this a normal kind of drawback?
    [​IMG]
     
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  46. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    That's maybe like 1/4", maybe 1cm? You may have to reset the ref tension there if they aren't coming out as stiff as you'd like, or double pull. Maybe get another tooth before the mains? That's babo nylon there?
     
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  47. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    @Znak all that drawback should be pulled out on the subsequent so why worry about it? On the tie off strings it is a different matter, but if you’re hitting on the strings you tie off that’s another matter too. If the drawback is bothering you just twist the base so the clamp is slightly pushed toward the grommet before locking the base. That’s called pre-setting the clamp, and should eliminate of lot of your drawback. I would not do that on every string.

    As far as why that happening on only one clamp is either the two clamps are not adjusted the same or there is too much play between the hosel and stem. Try swapping the clamps to the opposite bases and see if you notice any difference.
     
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  48. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

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    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yeah it's about 6-7mm, yup babo nylon.

    Okay good idea I'll give it a try. As I'm new to stringing it was more to see if I'm doing things right or to see if these things are normal.
     
    #48
  49. Znak

    Znak Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2017
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Toronto
    Strung up a full bed of Velocity at #57 (read out as 46 on RT) and played for about 6 hours on it. Felt great the first 30 minutes then it felt either mushy or trampoliney (not sure which word to use) for the rest of the test. Cut it out and tossed in a fb of Yonex Super Tour 850 Pro at #60 (read out 48 on RT) going to test it out tomorrow. I'm getting better at the drawback thanks to your suggestions, hoping this outing will prove better.

    Question, what's worse having my racquet secured too loose or too tight in my 6 point mounting system. I'm having trouble finding that happy medium (even after following YuLites video on YouTube)?
     
    #49
  50. Wolfie1

    Wolfie1 New User

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2017
    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I usually discount what it feels like in the first 30 minutes - the results I got from the string job come out after that point.

    I think both are just as bad. Instead, just make sure all your points are contacting the frame, then tighten slightly once in each area, and you're usually good to go.

    And you broke the golden rule too I'd noted above. You changed the string AND tension in your following string job. ;) Difficult to determine what you like after you test the racquet tomorrow.

    Cheers
     
    #50

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