Gauge and tension (for poly)

When going to a thinner gauge (full bed poly), how should one change tension?

  • Increase the tension

    Votes: 14 60.9%
  • Lower the tension

    Votes: 9 39.1%

  • Total voters
    23

Fugazi

Professional
I hate to irritate everybody with yet another gauge VS tension thread, but there seems to be quite a bit of confusion on this issue. I read many threads about the topic, and it seems a slight majority of people think that tension should be lowered a little when using a thinner gauge. What do you think? Please answer the poll... (BTW, I will soon change from a gauge 16 full bed of poly to a gauge 17).
 
Last edited:

Up&comer

Hall of Fame
Increase simply because higher gauges are more powerful. A bigger thing would be to drop the tension when you go to a lower gauge. You don't necessarily have to change the tension when going to a thinner string, but I would definitely drop it for a lower gauge.
 

Fugazi

Professional
Increase simply because higher gauges are more powerful. A bigger thing would be to drop the tension when you go to a lower gauge. You don't necessarily have to change the tension when going to a thinner string, but I would definitely drop it for a lower gauge.
Most comments I've read seemed to suggest just the opposite...
 

Fugazi

Professional
How so?

10 chars
The most popular explanation is this: at equal tension, the thinner gauge has the same tension distributed on less material, which produces a stiffer string bed. Not sure if that's entirely true or if it oversimplifies things, but that's what I read on several occasions.
 

Irakli

Rookie
The most popular explanation is this: at equal tension, the thinner gauge has the same tension distributed on less material, which produces a stiffer string bed. Not sure if that's entirely true or if it oversimplifies things, but that's what I read on several occasions.
+1.

Irakli
 

MambaT

Rookie
Thinner material is stiffer at equal tension. So, the normal advice is that if you are stringing two different gauges of poly together (and all else being equal), you would want to lower the tension of the thinner poly to match the stiffness of the heavier one.

How that relates specifically to two different gauges of the same string each strung full bed is really up to the preference of the player... but the thinner at equal tension will likely test stiffer.
 

Fugazi

Professional
Thinner material is stiffer at equal tension. So, the normal advice is that if you are stringing two different gauges of poly together (and all else being equal), you would want to lower the tension of the thinner poly to match the stiffness of the heavier one.

How that relates specifically to two different gauges of the same string each strung full bed is really up to the preference of the player... but the thinner at equal tension will likely test stiffer.
Thanks for that. I never really understood why people strung poly so low (I usually play with full poly at 59 lbs), but now it makes more sense: most of these players probably play with 17 gauge, which is more compatible with lower tensions than 16 gauge.
 

chaddles

Semi-Pro
Thinner strings at equal tension are more powerful as they stretch and contract further & faster than the thicker gauge. The thinner string is definitely not stiffer. The power difference is noticeable when you have them side by side.

Thicker is definitely stiffer, less powerful & more durable. Try putting the same tension on a thin rubber band v thicker rubber band & u can see the difference.
 

Fugazi

Professional
Thinner strings at equal tension are more powerful as they stretch and contract further & faster than the thicker gauge. The thinner string is definitely not stiffer. The power difference is noticeable when you have them side by side.

Thicker is definitely stiffer, less powerful & more durable. Try putting the same tension on a thin rubber band v thicker rubber band & u can see the difference.
Now I'm confused again... There seems to be contradictory POVs here.
 

BigT

Professional
Thinner strings at equal tension are more powerful as they stretch and contract further & faster than the thicker gauge. The thinner string is definitely not stiffer. The power difference is noticeable when you have them side by side.

Thicker is definitely stiffer, less powerful & more durable. Try putting the same tension on a thin rubber band v thicker rubber band & u can see the difference.
I agree with this^. However, from my experience, thinner polys also provide more spin, and when strung too tight, have too much spin and cause balls to land short.
 

MambaT

Rookie
Now I'm confused again... There seems to be contradictory POVs here.
Of course there are :) This is Talk Tennis!

But I stand by what I said. There is less mass in a thinner string and it will stiffen at a lower tension. I disagree with the above rubber band test conclusion. A thicker rubber band at the same tension will be softer.

I think it is probably a more pronounced effect in syngut than in poly.

But that's just me...
 

rufusbgood

Semi-Pro
The poll is missing option #3= no change in tension. If you are planning a change in gauge and you also change the tension you have changed 2 variables. If you dislike the outcome you can't be sure which variable is responsible.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Thinner strings at equal tension are more powerful as they stretch and contract further & faster than the thicker gauge. The thinner string is definitely not stiffer. The power difference is noticeable when you have them side by side.

Thicker is definitely stiffer, less powerful & more durable. Try putting the same tension on a thin rubber band v thicker rubber band & u can see the difference.

This is exactly right, people who claim different have not compared the same 2 rackets with the same string and tension but having one racket with 18 gauge and the other with 16 gauge.

If you have not tried this then you really have no idea, the thicker string is always more stiff and lower powered every time. So instead of talking about what you think the difference should be and going by what you heard, try the 2 side by side and then tell us what you think.
 

Fugazi

Professional
The poll is missing option #3= no change in tension. If you are planning a change in gauge and you also change the tension you have changed 2 variables. If you dislike the outcome you can't be sure which variable is responsible.
I didn't put that option on purpose, because I'd really like to understand the physics behind it all. If there is indeed a relationship between gauge and tension, then it's either lowering tension when increasing gauge or the opposite, not in between. (theoretically at least...)
 

Fugazi

Professional
This is exactly right, people who claim different have not compared the same 2 rackets with the same string and tension but having one racket with 18 gauge and the other with 16 gauge.

If you have not tried this then you really have no idea, the thicker string is always more stiff and lower powered every time. So instead of talking about what you think the difference should be and going by what you heard, try the 2 side by side and then tell us what you think.
I just might try that. If you're right, then my ideal tension for a full bed of poly (17 gauge) should be around 61-62 lbs...
 
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