Gamma X-ELS (or Progression ELS): questions to current and past owners

AndI

Rookie
Background: Looking to buy a stringing machine for my son and I. We do not plan to do a lot of stringing jobs, just as many as our own needs and perhaps needs of our friends would warrant. Motivation is not as much to save money on stringing, but to be able to install any strings we want when we want them, without 2-5 days wait.

Constraints
: Price is not a critical factor, albeit an expensive commercial machine makes no sense for a few racquets per month (if not less). Storage space is a concern - therefore tabletop is somewhat preferred, as long as it can be stored somewhere on a shelf.

Concerns: I am an avid DYI-er. My experience with tools (from Harbor Freight and Ryobi to Makita, Dewalt and Bosch, to Festool) taught me that one usually gets what one paid for... there is no free cheese... and cheap stuff usually becomes wasted money and gets replaced. I no longer consider myself rich enough to buy cheap tools. Likewise, I do not want to make an error of buying a low end machine which I would regret about. But I also do not want to spend more money than I need to (the usual dilemma). Good quality, reliability, and good basic functionality is all that is needed.

Prior stringing experience
: unfortunately, none. Therefore, I am asking for help.

I am considering tabletop Gamma X-ELS (or Progression ELS) electronic constant pull machines.

QUESTIONS:
1. What is the size of these tabletop machines? [I understand they are only differ by color and tools drawers, and assume their size is the same]. If I were to store it on a shelf, what is the depth, width, and vertical space on the shelf is needed for it to fit?

2. Has anyone of you had regrets that you did not buy a higher end machine? Has anyone of you sold ELS or X-ELS to buy a higher end machine, and why?

3. Is there anything in its functionality that you think is missing (compared to higher end machines) that you feel like you need and wish your machine would have it?

4. Are there obvious areas where Gamma cut costs with these machines? For example, Gamma 6900 costs almost $800 more, although looks fairly similar (aside from the included stand and pedals which are probably worth $200-250 maximum). I have hard times understanding what differences between machines account for rapidly increasing price as one moves towards upper models, and if these differences are worth the cost (in non-production environment).

Thank you in advance for guidance and help!
 
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Herb

Semi-Pro
I am considering tabletop Gamma X-ELS (or Progression ELS) electronic constant pull machines.

QUESTIONS:
1. What is the size of these tabletop machines? [I understand they are only differ by color and tools drawers, and assume their size is the same]. If I were to store it on a shelf, what is the depth, width, and vertical space on the shelf is needed for it to fit?

The Progression is a good 15 inches wide, 30 inches long, and fairly heavy. Measurements are not exact as I am not around mine. It is around 10 inches tall. I store mine in a spare room, but it is also on a stand.


2. Has anyone of you had regrets that you did not buy a higher end machine? Has anyone of you sold ELS or X-ELS to buy a higher end machine, and why?

No regrets, it does a fine job. I have sold one and purchased a Wilson Baiardo, but I still have a Progression ELS machine (had 2). I still use it as a backup for tournaments when I cant keep up on the Baiardo, and have to call someone in. I also use it as an onsite machine during the Spring season at the University. I leave it set up onsite to string during play.

3. Is there anything in its functionality that you think is missing (compared to higher end machines) that you feel like you need and wish your machine would have it?

No. It does not tilt, adjust height, have gravity release base clamps, or a touch screen. But, I do not need all of that to string a racquet.

4. Are there obvious areas where Gamma cut costs with these machines? For example, Gamma 6900 costs almost $800 more, although looks fairly similar (aside from the included stand and pedals which are probably worth $200-250 maximum). I have hard times understanding what differences between machines account for rapidly increasing price as one moves towards upper models, and if these differences are worth the cost (in non-production environment).

The 6900 and X-ELS/Progression use the exact same tension head. The 6900 has self centering post (not needed), single knob to adjust arms instead of 2, stand, and a string measurer. I use a 6900 at my kids school when I go there to string their racquets. I do not miss any of the features and see the string measurer as pointless. I can measure quicker and just as accurately using my arms. The only thing I added was a stand, and again I place it in the corner of a spare room.

It is a good machine that you can string thousands of racquets on. You will enjoy either one you get. I did not like the blue aluminum base so I went with the Progression.
 

AndI

Rookie
Herb - thank you so much! Opinion of a person who has recent experience with stringing machines which cover the whole range, from low-mid level to high end, is extremely valuable. I appreciate that you took the time to share your experience. This moved me a step closer towards making a purchasing decision.

I am still hoping that other members of this forum chime in and perhaps someone can measure storage dimensions of the machine. Unfortunately, Gamma does not care to specify them.
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
13.25" wide, 36" long, and 15.75" tall. That is with the turn table in line with the base, and the feet as short as possible. Give yourself a few inches to get it on and off your shelf.
 

AndI

Rookie
Thanks a lot for the measurements and for your great help! It is very much appreciated!
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Given what you are looking for... Unless you are really cramped for space, I would skip the Gamma Eletronic stringers, gather $150 more and get the Gamma 6004 (I prefer the 2 point direct mount - which is actually a 6 point).

Why?

Because the 6004 has a better turntable and much better base clamps. You can add an electronic tensioner (Wise) to the 6004 at a later date but I don't think it's possible to upgrade the turntable on either of these machines. You can update the base clamps to the switch action ones for get this.... $700 at a later date. BTW... The 7900 ELS does not have the switch action clamps either. IMO 6004+Wise > 79000 and is cheaper.

All parts of a stringing machine are important but IMO the upgraded turntable, mounting mechanism and clamps are more important than the electronic tensioner.

Also... the X-ELS, Progression ELS are not light machines... To go from shelf to table back/forth several times a month might get old after a while and the more times you move the machine, the more chance of something bad happening.


Edit...

Gamma Switch Action Cam Lock Base Clamps (Comes with the 6004, $350 each x 2 to upgrade afterwards on X-ELS or 7900 ELS)


Gamma Quick Action (Comes with X-ELS and 7900 ELS)
 
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AndI

Rookie
eelhc, thank you for pictures of the clamps, I am aware of the difference and it was on my list of factors to consider... Even though it was hard, and still hard, without practical experience, to judge how important this difference is. I did not know, though, that the price difference between these two types of clamps was so significant! I did not even know that it is possible to upgrade (i.e., that they were compatible). It is a good point that similarly priced crank tools oftentimes come with better clamps and turntable. Also, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience and for suggesting alternatives.

Machine on a stand (e.g., Gamma 6004 which you suggested), if I understand it correctly, has to be at least a foot from the wall (if not more) to allow unobstructed rotation of the turntable with the sticking out racquet handle. It appears that the same clearance is required on the left, for the same reason. Consequently, the actual footprint of a machine on a stand is quite a bit larger than the physical dimensions of the stringer. You cannot put one against the wall in a corner. Since I don't remember seeing lockable wheels on any stringing machine that I've seen, I assume that one cannot roll one into a corner for storage and roll it out when it is needed. I am not sure if lifting and moving a full size machine with a stand is a one-man job. A few days ago I looked at stringing machines at a local racquet store, they have a couple of Baiardos which they use for stringing and they also had on display used shabby looking Prince Neos 1000 and Gamma 7800 which they put on sale for someone. These are not small "toys". I do not know where you guys put them in your homes. I fully anticipate that my wife can get quite angry if I bring home yet another large tool and, even worse, put it in a well visible spot where she can stumble upon it.

It is true that they are not light... Gamma does not bother listing weight of their machines. I found weight of X-ELS on a European web site which popped up in Google listed as 18 kg, but it is not clear if it is shipping weight with the carton and packaging or the actual weight. Yes, it is heavy, but not unreasonably so. Weight is not a showstopper.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
eelhc, thank you for pictures of the clamps, I am aware of the difference and it was on my list of factors to consider... Even though it was hard, and still hard, without practical experience, to judge how important this difference is. I did not know, though, that the price difference between these two types of clamps was so significant! I did not even know that it is possible to upgrade (i.e., that they were compatible). It is a good point that similarly priced crank tools oftentimes come with better clamps and turntable. Also, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience and for suggesting alternatives.

Machine on a stand (e.g., Gamma 6004 which you suggested), if I understand it correctly, has to be at least a foot from the wall (if not more) to allow unobstructed rotation of the turntable with the sticking out racquet handle. It appears that the same clearance is required on the left, for the same reason. Consequently, the actual footprint of a machine on a stand is quite a bit larger than the physical dimensions of the stringer. You cannot put one against the wall in a corner. Since I don't remember seeing lockable wheels on any stringing machine that I've seen, I assume that one cannot roll one into a corner for storage and roll it out when it is needed. I am not sure if lifting and moving a full size machine with a stand is a one-man job. A few days ago I looked at stringing machines at a local racquet store, they have a couple of Baiardos which they use for stringing and they also had on display used shabby looking Prince Neos 1000 and Gamma 7800 which they put on sale for someone. These are not small "toys". I do not know where you guys put them in your homes. I fully anticipate that my wife can get quite angry if I bring home yet another large tool and, even worse, put it in a well visible spot where she can stumble upon it.

It is true that they are not light... Gamma does not bother listing weight of their machines. I found weight of X-ELS on a European web site which popped up in Google listed as 18 kg, but it is not clear if it is shipping weight with the carton and packaging or the actual weight. Yes, it is heavy, but not unreasonably so. Weight is not a showstopper.
To set up the 6004 on the corner, one would point the the rail the tensioner rides on to the corner so the turntable end is pointing towards the room (diagonally). You'll need about 4 feet (measured diagonally from the corner). I believe it comes with a cover.

The stand is threaded on the 4 corners (the feet thread into them). You can get locking casters that thread into these and roll it into a closet when done stringing.

I have my machine set up in the basement next to my ski tuning table and exercise equipment... The garage is not an option since it's not heated and I live in the Northeast.

If the Neos 1000 is FS at a good price, you might want to consider it. It is by far the most popular machine. TW uses it for their stringing. Built like a tank.
 

AndI

Rookie
eelhc, thank you for the interesting thought. Indeed, I found a Gamma accessory, floor stand caster, for about $35 each (a typical caster is from $1.50 to $15, the threaded screw on this one must be made of gold). It is uncommon for casters to have threaded screws, but in this case it is available and compatible with all Gamma stands. I did not expect that it would be available, but it is. Good to know.

The topic of clamps takes me back to where I started... Are better clamps are "nice to have" or "necessary to get a good job done"? I know there is no definitive answer to this question. Herb, who was the first to reply and who has a Progression and Baiardo side by side, believes that he can do a good job on either tool. Maybe the results depend on the operator's skills or what you learned on.

Did you have experience with both types of clamps?
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
The clamps make for easier stringing, but you can get the same string job. Gravity release clamps are faster since you do not have release them by hand. I am about 2 minutes slower on the Gamma than the Baiardo, but I can get a good consistent job on both. As for moving the machine around. The Gamma I pick up and move all the time by myself on the stand.
 

AndI

Rookie
Thank you! I placed an order through Tennis Warehouse as of this morning. My son and I after some consideration decided to get an X-ELS. It might have a little more compact base than the Progression, and tool drawers with latches is a plus for us. It probably will take a couple of weeks to get it. I will share our experiences with the machine in a couple of months, after we gain some experience.

I wrote a very detailed review of Playmate Volley ball machine about 3 years ago

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/playmate-volley-tennis-ball-machine-extended-review.503899/

We'll see if I can make something similar to share my experience with the X-ELS.
 

H22 fan

Rookie
Hi
Did you get the X-ELS? Ar you satisfied? How much did you pay?
I am planning to buy the same machine and I have no experience in stringing.
Cheers
 

Suge

New User
I purchased the X-ELS and the stand (MAY2015) just to string my own racquets. I Refused to by a lockout. Very happy with my machine. I have had no problems with the cheaper grippers. The only problem is my stringing speed is kinda stuck due to the grippers. I purchased a electronic fish scale to make sure things do not go wrong. IT's been pretty much on the mark.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Hi
Did you get the X-ELS? Ar you satisfied? How much did you pay?
I am planning to buy the same machine and I have no experience in stringing.
Cheers
I bought a Gamma Prog. II ELS brand new through TW about five years ago as an upgrade from a table-top drop weight machine.

The electric machine I got to use a little bit that summer (before my upgrade) was a Gamma 5800 ELS, which preceded their current model 6900 floor stand. This machine gave me some familiarity with an electric option, but I preferred a table-top that wouldn't require its own footprint in one room or another.

Having used both machines, I can honestly say that I have zero regrets with my Prog. II ELS. There are absolutely no features on the 5800 that I wish I could have on my machine and my Prog. II ELS has given me absolutely no issues since I started using it. I have no idea how many hundred frames I've restrung since purchasing it, but it's been exactly what I've needed.

If you have any particular questions, I'd be happy to help with any further insights you may want.
 

H22 fan

Rookie
Thanks for your reply, I have decided already, I will buy next month X ELS, for the moment I will string just for me ( about 2 frames/week) and latter, as I will gain experience, I will do for some friends.
After the research, I belive that Gamma X ELS / Prog. II ELS are best options for me.

For the moment I don’t have many questions as I am new to stringing, after I will get the stringer the questions will arrive...
Lots of them...

Cheers
 

Navig8tor

New User
Hi,

I have a Gamma X-ELS. I enjoy stringing my racquets. I wish the machine did not "beep" so loudly or had a volume control knob. Any ideas?

Nav
 

Navig8tor

New User
Hi,

I have a Gamma X-ELS. I enjoy stringing my racquets. I wish the machine did not "beep" so loudly or had a volume control knob. Any ideas?

Nav
 

esgee48

Legend
You can turn the beep or buzzer on or off when setting up your machine for stringing. No volume control exists. The instruction for this is in the manual. Don't know if this is the same as the beep you cited. Maybe @Gamma Tech can "chime in."
 

Navig8tor

New User
Hi Esgee48,

Thank you for the note. The X-ELS machine emits a loud beeping sound every time I press the tension button. I did search the manual if a sound level option was available without success. I truly wish to eliminate or reduce the beeping sound...HELP!!!
 

AndI

Rookie
Manual from what machine did you search?

If you open manual from Gamma X-ELS, which what you should be looking at, on page 14 there are clear instructions:

Switching the Buzzer Off and On
The stringing machine is equipped with a buzzer that sounds when any key or button is
pressed or when there is a problem with some function of the machine. The buzzer can be
disabled if desired for normal keypad entries.

To disable the buzzer, turn the machine on and while the display is counting down from 9 to
0, press and hold the Enter/Clear button for at least 5 seconds. The buzzer will be disabled
and will remain disabled. It can be enabled again by following the same steps listed above.

Note: Even when disabled, the buzzer will sound if the tensioner has a problem and the
machine requires attention. This is meant to alert the user of a problem, and can not be
disabled.



Did you try doing it?
 

Navig8tor

New User
Manual from what machine did you search?

If you open manual from Gamma X-ELS, which what you should be looking at, on page 14 there are clear instructions:

Switching the Buzzer Off and On
The stringing machine is equipped with a buzzer that sounds when any key or button is
pressed or when there is a problem with some function of the machine. The buzzer can be
disabled if desired for normal keypad entries.

To disable the buzzer, turn the machine on and while the display is counting down from 9 to
0, press and hold the Enter/Clear button for at least 5 seconds. The buzzer will be disabled
and will remain disabled. It can be enabled again by following the same steps listed above.

Note: Even when disabled, the buzzer will sound if the tensioner has a problem and the
machine requires attention. This is meant to alert the user of a problem, and can not be
disabled.



Did you try doing it?
AndI,

Thank you very much. You advice did the trick and I am on my way.
 
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