How many stringings before you find the proper tension?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TonyB, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

    Sep 6, 2006
    Just out of curiosity, how many string sets do you typically go through in order to find the proper tension?

    I bought 2 sets each of a variety of strings (synth gut, poly, multi) and I have yet to find the right tension for any of them. I came close with the poly, but after a short time, the tension got lower and the control started to fade away. I was hoping to find out which type of string I prefer, but all that's happened is that I've been struggling to find the right tension -- I haven't even gotten a real chance to evaluate each string on its own merits.

    It seems like I should have bought at least 4 or 5 sets of strings just so I would be able to find the right tension for each particular one. But that's crazy. So how do you do it?

    For instance, the middle of the recommended range for my racquet is around 58. I installed a set of Ashaway Dynamite 17g at 50 and it's like hitting with a piece of steel. Sure, it's got some nice pop and decent control (nothing special in either case), but my arm felt like it was going to fall off after 15 minutes of hitting. And here I thought it was supposed to be a "comfortable" multifilament!

    The closest I came to finding something that was in the right tension range was the SPPP 17. But after around 30 minutes of hitting, I could feel the strings getting looser and the balls started flying on me. So there's no doubt that I'll have to install yet another set of SPPP in that racquet at a higher tension just to find out how good the string really is.

    Is there some method I should be using to go through these strings? I thought at first I could just build off of my current setup and vary the tension slightly from there, but it seems that when I go lower by 4-6 lb., it's just WAY too low, and when tried the Dynamite even 8 lb. lower, it was WAY too high.

    I sometimes wonder if that's what makes people love or hate a particular string: the fact that they didn't quite use the right tension. That is, people who hate one string while another person loves it might just be due to a couple of pounds of tension. And how many people go through 4 or 5 sets of the same string at different tensions just to try out a new string??

    Sorry for the long post, but this is getting a bit expensive and I'm still no closer to finding the proper tension for any of the strings that I've tried... I originally started with 8 and I've only got 2 sets left!
  2. bsandy

    bsandy Hall of Fame

    Mar 25, 2004
    In my experience . . . you're no doing yourself any favors by changing string types. Composition make WAY more difference than tension. Settle on the string that gives you the best fit an make it work.

    Welcome to string hell.

    . . . Bud
  3. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

    Sep 6, 2006
    I'm not so sure about that. Tension can make a huge difference. As I said, everyone seems to like the Dynamite at the lower tensions, but it feels hard as a rock to me. I'm sure if I drop the tension another 4 lb. or so, the feel will totally change.

    But that's my point: at what point do you stop and just say, "Well, I just can't get any more out of this string." And either you like it or you don't.

    I'm not necessarily changing string types, either. I'm just trying to find one that fits my racquet and playing style the best, which is why I chose a "sampler pack." Since my arm was feeling a little sore and my wrist joint was hurting after playing with my old setup, I figured I'd try to get a softer type of string (like a multi) and some highly-rated synthetics as well. Then, I just took a shot in the dark on the SPPP because I've read good things about it. But in all honesty, I figured it would be the worst choice, as I've read that polys can be murder on the arm.

    Well, after trying the various strings (pretty much all of them strung at very low tension), it turns out that the SPPP was the *BEST* for my arm... I played almost 2 hours without a single ounce of pain. In fact, my arm/wrist wasn't feeling so great all day before I played, but after I played, my arm was instantly better. And the day after, nearly all the pain was gone.

    So from my initial tests, it seems that the SPPP is definitely in the lead in terms of overall performance (and comfort). But I don't want to discount the fact that the Ashaway Dynamite (and I still have a pack of Klip Venom) might in fact be even better, when strung at the right tension.
  4. Midlife crisis

    Midlife crisis Hall of Fame

    Sep 24, 2005
    Probably the first thing you want to ask when moving from one string type to another is what it is you're looking for in a string. For instance, if I'm just batting the ball back and forth, almost any string will do. However, I like to have a firm response when I hit the ball hard, so I need a string with low elasticity, like kevlar or poly. Then, once you know that, there's a pretty general rule of thumb for moving from one string type to another, i.e., you drop 10% going from synthetic gut to kevlar, you drop 5% going from synthetic gut to poly, and so on. That should get you into the general ballpark.

    For most strings, I find that a 5% tension increase or decrease results in a significant enough difference that if the string feels close but not quite there, I never adjust by more than that. If you have a string that just doesn't feel right at all, it might just not be the right kind of string.

    So, if you find the SPPP to feel okay but just not quite right, try about a 3 pound increase or decrease. Since you find the Ashaway to be just incredibly bad, maybe you'd want to give it up, or try a 10% decrease in tension.

    As bsandy says, don't change too many things at once or you'll never know why or what caused the change in feel, either favorably or unfavorably.

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