How do you know when strings are "dead"

Discussion in 'Strings' started by pe3brain, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. pe3brain

    pe3brain New User

    Apr 19, 2010
    I have been using pro hurricane tour since may? I think and haven't restrung it its tension is still fine and it hasn't broken, but how do I know if their dead or not?
  2. 1stVolley

    1stVolley Rookie

    Apr 18, 2010
    Actually, "dead" is a misnomer regarding most older string beds. As the string bed ages, it loses tension. This increases the depth of your shots and, to some extent, deadens the sound made as the ball is struck. A less crisp sound is probably why people refer to their strings as going "dead" although it would be more correct to say that they're getting more lively.

    A rule of thumb is to replace your strings the same number of times, yearly, as you play weekly. So, playing 4 x weekly would result in restringing every 3 months (4 x yearly).

    However, this is only an approximate guide. Poly strings lose more tension right after restringing than multi and gut, so you might want to restring them a bit more often than the rule of thumb even though they are more durable than the other two string types mentioned. Gut will degrade quickly if it gets wet and, so, will need to be restrung sooner rather than later.

    You can buy string tension meters for around $20 if you want more precision. You'll find that it's common for some strings to lose 10-15% of their original tension just a few hrs after restringing, so keep that in mind.
  3. SliceForehand

    SliceForehand New User

    Jul 21, 2010
    I would say 'going dead' is the name for what happens to strings after a certain period of time, depending on the type of string, which is that they stop offering any feel, spin, or anything else that good strings have. I don't know how or why, but 'going dead' is definitely a real thing.

    Your strings are dead by this point. Kevlar almost never goes dead, gut usually lasts until it breaks, multis and syn guts usually last until a little before they break unless you don't hit with them for a very long time, and poly goes dead very quickly (~10 hours of play, give or take 5 hours, depending on the poly).
  4. High Roller

    High Roller Banned

    Oct 27, 2009
    Parts Unknown
    Tension loss and loss of elasticity are two distinctively different things. "Dead" is not a misnomer.
  5. kevoT

    kevoT Semi-Pro

    Jun 5, 2010
    I have heard that if you tap the string bed with another racquet it would make a thud if it's dead and a 'ping' if it's okay. If my strings go dead I don't bother (even though I do play serious tennis) because with the correct technique and enough spin it should stay in.
  6. kevin345

    kevin345 New User

    Aug 5, 2010
    I consider my strings dead when all of my topspin shots go into the net, even shots from feeds. By then, they have no feel at all.
  7. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

    Nov 22, 2006
    Houston, TX
    After a couple of hours they start to smell funny ;)
  8. cmf

    cmf New User

    Jun 19, 2010
    Tampa, FL
    I'm with High Roller on this, it has nothing to do with tension. It's simply the loss of elasticity or coating or some other factor of the string that causes it to play differently.
  9. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

    Jul 28, 2007
    Taunton, MA
    it feels more dull after a while. this is very noticeable if you have a racquet that you've been playing with for a few weeks compared to one that was just recently strung.

    and as others have said, it's more about loss of elasticity than tension loss.
  10. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

    Jun 4, 2009

    ok, you mentioned that this should only serve as an approximate guide.... but NO

    Average polys lasts between 8-12 hours for the typical 3.5-4.0 player. PHT loses tension fast but does not break, so it goes dead in about 8 hours for an intermediate player, and should not stay in a racket for more than 12. OP, you might not experience any pain or problem now but remember the WHOLE process has only been 2,3 months, and the real trouble come in the long run.
  11. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

    Jun 4, 2009
    Search the other "dead string" threads - I'm telling you this because there is simply so much info that what we post here will never trump - read them and filter out what method will work for you. Generally, the most popular signs are trampoline effect, shots (esp serves) are just off and you know it's not you (yea I know, pretty freakin vague)...
  12. Tennis_Crazed

    Tennis_Crazed Semi-Pro

    Sep 23, 2008
    Grind City
    I agree to a certain extent....I think strings feel dead primarily from this, but also tension loss
  13. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

    Jan 26, 2010
    About 10 hours of hitting. Even less if you are practicing serves because you slug the ball harder.

    Otherwise, it is really hard to tell because you can compensate for the trampoline effect by spinning it more so it may seem off at first but you can play your way into feeling better with dead strings but this will really really mess up your form especially for feely strokes like topspin forehands and slice backhands.

    The best way to tell is the sound. You get that nice crisp crunch sound with fresh poly and a thud with dead strings.

    I have to admit though i have a slight case of dead string-phobia now. at $40 a pop to restring and each string job only worth 4-5 hitting sessions, I dont even like practicing strokes anymore. Am seriously thinking about switching back to synth gut.
  14. Zefer

    Zefer Rookie

    Feb 12, 2010
    Greater-Liverpool, England.
    I don't think it's just about string tension. Yes, the tension loss will change the playability over time, but if anything, it will make the racquet more (unpredictably) lively. A dead string, or at least to me it is, just a string that is worn out through usage.
  15. federalprassi

    federalprassi Rookie

    Aug 11, 2010
    I think dead in my book is when you feel like you no control of your shot, hitting out when you know normally it would have went in etc...
  16. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    May 3, 2004
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida

    This is a very good rule of thumb. If they smell rotten, and have maggots, they are most likely dead. :)

    seriously though, there is a combination of things that change when strings go dead. Most obvious is the tension loss, but this doesn't necessarily mean they are dead. They also start to feel harsher/muted.
    They are not as lively feeling, and have lost some of the "spring". The effect on the ball is not the same (topspin, power, etc).
  17. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2010

    I think that's a rule from before polys became popular and should still be fine for synthetics. Some multi's do go dead though.
  18. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

    Jul 24, 2007
    Put simply, if poly is starting to move on your racket and not return, you better start thinking about restringing. It is real close to the end of it's life. Multi's and gut will start to move almost immediately and will usually break before they go dead. I have a few old woodies that have had gut in them for almost 30 years and they still aren't dead.
  19. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Apr 29, 2008
    It all depends on what strings and gauge you start with. Agreed, that polys tend to 'die' quicker than other types.

    BigBanger Ace (IMO) strung above 55lbs. starts to lose it's 'magic' after 3 hours of solid hitting.. after 6 hours is tolerable.. the next day it is a completely different string... very unpredictable and 'muted'.

    The same BigBanger Ace with an initial tension of 40lbs. seems to keep it's characteristics for double the time.. true it is muted from the get-go but it starts to lose it's 'magic' after 6hours of play as opposed to 3.

    I believe that at low tensions (40lbs. and under) strings are less stressed and therefore more resilient. This depends on style of play, string-pattern/density and the flex of the racquet also plays a role.
  20. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

    Mar 2, 2009
    lol my 10 month old poly still pings in my 18by20 90in mid. :lol:
  21. tlm

    tlm Legend

    Jul 21, 2004
    Since May you have got to be kidding.The amount of time that people leave strings in their rackets is unbelievable.

    Natural gut,laserfibre prostock+kevlar are the only strings that should be left in a racket until they break.For me anything else is 10-12 hours max., with poly being half of that.

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