Is the good natural gut officially extinct?

Booger

Hall of Fame
I still have 4 sets of the really good natural gut that I've had stashed away for a few years. The only other natural gut I see for sale now is the cheap(er) stuff. This is 12 strands, made in France, no BS coating slathered on "for durability" or whatever they're doing now to cheap out on cost. This is the string that won countless grand salamies, the one that pros bought out of their pocket.

Is it gone now (except for Fed and other pros)? I was thinking of stringing some up, but if this is the last of its kind, maybe I'll just keep it locked away for a few more years.


 

mctennis

Legend
The really good natural gut is long,long gone. I am so tired of buying string labeled "gut" yet not really playing, feeling, nor giving feedback like the really good gut from years ago.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
In 25 years............... I have NEVER tried natural gut.................................................

Should I put it on my bucket list??????
 

GummiiBear

Rookie
In 25 years............... I have NEVER tried natural gut.................................................

Should I put it on my bucket list??????
I will say, after trying VS Natural Gut for the first time last December, I don’t know if I can truly turn back. Luckily my stringjobs last a long enough while to make the purchase feel less pricey, as for me poly goes dead fast, thus is the reason for my restringing usually. Also by then the shaped edges on ‘em also are worn down as well. But I digress.

I love it. Haven’t tried uncoated or older gut (probably can’t) but for me, I mean what I’ve tried is more than good enough.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
In 25 years............... I have NEVER tried natural gut.................................................

Should I put it on my bucket list??????

It's fun to hit with, like a pillow, but not without its drawbacks. No extra spin, can't get it wet at all, frays, and of course $$$$$.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
The really good natural gut is long,long gone. I am so tired of buying string labeled "gut" yet not really playing, feeling, nor giving feedback like the really good gut from years ago.

So now what do I with this, the holy grail of gut? Would you stash it away for a special occasion or just string it up?
 

Nate7-5

Professional
It's fun to hit with, like a pillow, but not without its drawbacks. No extra spin, can't get it wet at all, frays, and of course $$$$$.
You can generate plenty of spin with good technique and a slick poly cross.

The sensitivity to water is a bit overblown - there are plenty of reports on this board about getting gut wet and not having it cause any issues. Pretty easy to have a backup racquet with synthetic in case of damp weather.

I have a VCP HD that I strung with a full bed of uncoated gut (58 lbs) and it was completely frayed from the start. Ive still used it for hours just fine. My stringer said this was because the package had been sitting a while. Not a lot of fraying with coated gut until it has been used a long time.

You get what you pay for. IMO the feel of gut is unmatched, the tension maintenance is excellent and it's playable a long time until it breaks.
 
You can generate plenty of spin with good technique and a slick poly cross.

The sensitivity to water is a bit overblown - there are plenty of reports on this board about getting gut wet and not having it cause any issues.
Agree, I once dropped my full bed gut into a puddle where the strings were completely submerged in water and once they dried out it played fine for quite a while
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
You can generate plenty of spin with good technique and a slick poly cross.

The sensitivity to water is a bit overblown - there are plenty of reports on this board about getting gut wet and not having it cause any issues. Pretty easy to have a backup racquet with synthetic in case of damp weather.

I have a VCP HD that I strung with a full bed of uncoated gut (58 lbs) and it was completely frayed from the start. Ive still used it for hours just fine. My stringer said this was because the package had been sitting a while. Not a lot of fraying with coated gut until it has been used a long time.

You get what you pay for. IMO the feel of gut is unmatched, the tension maintenance is excellent and it's playable a long time until it breaks.

Bro, gut is already expensive enough and hard to find. Don't go turning other people onto it.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think the fancier guts are nice but they shred faster and so I'm not a big fan merely for longevity reasons. I'm not winning grand slams. So finding a balance between economical and performance is always the rec player's quest.

Klip is my solution. No it's not as nice as Lux Gut or VS or their older versions. But it's better than all multis for tension maintenance and feel and when paired with poly crosses, it provides excellent spin and longevity.

I think people are delusional if they think one brand of gut is going to turn them from a 4.0 to Pete Sampras.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
I will say, after trying VS Natural Gut for the first time last December, I don’t know if I can truly turn back. Luckily my stringjobs last a long enough while to make the purchase feel less pricey, as for me poly goes dead fast, thus is the reason for my restringing usually. Also by then the shaped edges on ‘em also are worn down as well. But I digress.

I love it. Haven’t tried uncoated or older gut (probably can’t) but for me, I mean what I’ve tried is more than good enough.
I restring my poly’s only in my gut/poly string jobs. It actually is very good, never warped a frame. Unless someone else strings for you or you are a beginner, I would look around on the forum for advice how to restring poly crosses only.
 

uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
I'm assuming they still make it just for Fed, Djokovic, Murray, etc. No way they made those guys switch to the BT7 gut. I'll get a group text going with Fed and the boys.
You know what they they say when you assume something.

All Babolat gut is coated, as is Wilson white packaged (made by Babolat) gut. No different to what you can buy retail, other than you cant buy Wilson white packaged gut.

I thought VS was uncoated?
Nope; all coated
 

jim e

Legend
The only uncoated gut I know of is Klip.
Klip uncoated hits real well, reminds me of the old Victor Imperial gut of years ago.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
No different to what you can buy retail, other than you cant buy Wilson white packaged gut.
The new BT7 gut is not the same as the original VS/Wilson gut. Totally different (inferior) string, which is why pros don't use it.

I paid about $60/set for this gut, years ago. All the new gut is cheaper, because they use less strands and a thick coating, from what I understand.
 

uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
The new BT7 gut is not the same as the original VS/Wilson gut. Totally different (inferior) string, which is why pros don't use it.

I paid about $60/set for this gut, years ago. All the new gut is cheaper, because they use less strands and a thick coating, from what I understand.
I know that BT7 is not the same as older Babolat gut; and therefore the defacto Wilson gut, but Pros do use the BT7 gut. There is no pro stock version of the pre BT7 gut going around. The last pro stock Babolat gut was the 1.22mm that was made for special clients; and the last one to use that was Bartoli.

What I don't know is the exact difference, if any, between white packaged WIlson gut and Babolat gut. Clearly Babolat have made gut for Wilson for sometime, but would they make a different version of it for a rival/competitor? That would incur a higher cost. Is it a lower QC version of BT7? Could be. But my feeling is that its the same. And having used both versions I find no discernible difference.

Gut prices are going up, but they have remained quite constant over the years. But even before the change to BT7 I dont ever recall the (Babolat) gut being near the prices they are now.

I also know for a fact that the Murray's buy their gut from retail distributors. For non-Babolat players, Babolat gut is the most popular gut. Some may use Luxilon gut, but I cant recall any that use either version of Wilson gut. Only top Wilson sponsored players (Fed, Serena, Kei, Evans) use white packaged (i.e Babolat) Wilson gut.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
I know that BT7 is not the same as older Babolat gut; and therefore the defacto Wilson gut, but Pros do use the BT7 gut. There is no pro stock version of the pre BT7 gut going around. The last pro stock Babolat gut was the 1.22mm that was made for special clients; and the last one to use that was Bartoli.

What I don't know is the exact difference, if any, between white packaged WIlson gut and Babolat gut. Clearly Babolat have made gut for Wilson for sometime, but would they make a different version of it for a rival/competitor? That would incur a higher cost. Is it a lower QC version of BT7? Could be. But my feeling is that its the same. And having used both versions I find no discernible difference.

Gut prices are going up, but they have remained quite constant over the years. But even before the change to BT7 I dont ever recall the (Babolat) gut being near the prices they are now.

I also know for a fact that the Murray's buy their gut from retail distributors. For non-Babolat players, Babolat gut is the most popular gut. Some may use Luxilon gut, but I cant recall any that use either version of Wilson gut. Only top Wilson sponsored players (Fed, Serena, Kei, Evans) use white packaged (i.e Babolat) Wilson gut.

I suppose it's a moot point since you can't buy either, but the Wilson white package NG (discontinued 2016) looks and feels indistinguishable from the old VS gut (discontinued in 2011) to me. BT7 feels different, even in your hand or on the stringer.

I have both, so maybe I'll string up a frame with each just out of curiosity. I'm surprised that Murray (and other pros) uses BT7, so maybe I'm overstating the difference.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
BTW the Red Wilson gut retail package is Made in Belgium (likely by Luxilon) and is less coated and softer than the Luxilon packaged gut.
Definitely not the same feeling as the Luxilon gut and definitely not the current VS.
 

uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
I suppose it's a moot point since you can't buy either, but the Wilson white package NG (discontinued 2016) looks and feels indistinguishable from the old VS gut (discontinued in 2011) to me. BT7 feels different, even in your hand or on the stringer.
Since Wilson's top players are still using the white packaged gut either 1) Babolat made a ton load of it for Wilson, and its 'old' stock, or 2) Babolat still make it for Wilson. Considering how much Fed, Serena, & kei get through I'm more of the latter thinking.

And why would Babolat make different version of the same string, since the costings would go up.

I have some white Wilson gut that I got this year, and that shows a copyright of 2013. So in theory it could still be old gut
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
There is a major difference if you have to make it in volume for the masses (Joe Public) vs for select pros. On a per unit basis, costs for select pros are probably 3-5x what it would cost for if made in volume, but they do not care since that is the basis for their liveihood. And if you have internal R&D setups, it should not be difficult to pump out several hundred sets annually for these pros. It's not like they need to make several hundred miles of the stuff. IIRC, the current Lux NG has even more strands than the current Wilson NG which are less than the number of strands in the old Wilson NG.
 

Frankc

Professional
Yes, the lively old school gut is gone - unless you hop across to the EU and grab some pacific prime off the local stringer's shelf. Generally available and sweet...

Seems for VS and others, the labor intensive costs were too much and the "new" game of larger frames, more open patterns and swinging out of your socks made that gorgeously dynamic and soft gut not as marketable. By the way, a VS rep let on that BT7 has been in place since 2011 (If memory serves me). I have strung the white packaged Wilson VS side by side with preBT7 VS and I suspect that Wilson VS is also BT7ized. it stretches out and plays very close to the BT7 gut that was contemporary at that time, IMO.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
The really good natural gut is long,long gone. I am so tired of buying string labeled "gut" yet not really playing, feeling, nor giving feedback like the really good gut from years ago.
Indeed! I remember when natural gut had real feel through the frame even. There was a sensation you got from playing with gut that was indescribable. The newer products feel dead compared to what I grew up with.

So now what do I with this, the holy grail of gut? Would you stash it away for a special occasion or just string it up?
I believe what he's saying is that is not the holy grail of gut. The holy grail of gut passed away with the advent of oversized rackets. That's when they stopped using sheep intestine and started using cow because it was tougher and stronger (@uk_skippy have I got this right?). The old gut never heard of a coating. When you strung it while pulling crosses, it actually sounded kinda like a violin. TW got in some "discount" gut one time and sent it out for playtesting. It was made from sheep and I tell you it brought back all the memories I had playing with gut growing up. It played sublimely. I was all set to write TW back and tell them to buy buy BUY and I would stock it with all the dollars I could afford. And I would have too. But, alas, the next day when I went to hit again, just to make sure I hadn't dreamt it, the gut had broken overnight in my frame.....and I was playing the PS85 back then.

The closest thing now is Pacific Prime. I have a few sets, but am reticent to string it up. I guess there's no point in saving it though.
 
Last edited:

Booger

Hall of Fame
I believe what he's saying is that is not the holy grail of gut. The holy grail of gut passed away with the advent of oversized rackets.
I started playing with Babolat VS gut around ~2001, so I guess you'd have to go way back to find its precursor.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
I was digging through my stash and found this. I think I purchased it right around 2011, so not sure which VS is in here. Anyone know?


 

uk_skippy

Hall of Fame
I was digging through my stash and found this. I think I purchased it right around 2011, so not sure which VS is in here. Anyone know?


Going by the images of Roddick wearing Lacoste (he signed with them in 2005), and that the PD he's holding is 2nd gen version i.e the woofer version which was supercede by the version that had the 1st Roddick branded 1 (1st with cortex at the top of the handle); then I would say 2006. Of course the packaging may use older images, but I would say its before the all blue GT PD version which was 2008/9. So while not nailed down as to the the exact year, the gut wont be BT7.

IIRC, the BT7 gut was 1st introduced when Babolat moved to a mainly white packaging for their gut, from a dark coloured (like the image above). And if that was in 2011, then the above package should be between 2006 & 2011.

Before WIlson moved to a white pack such as in the OP photo, it was in a blue, shiny foil packing. This I believe was the Babolat Thermogut version
 

Bambooman

Semi-Pro
Indeed! I remember when natural gut had real feel through the frame even. There was a sensation you got from playing with gut that was indescribable. The newer products feel dead compared to what I grew up with.



I believe what he's saying is that is not the holy grail of gut. The holy grail of gut passed away with the advent of oversized rackets. That's when they stopped using sheep intestine and started using cow because it was tougher and stronger (@uk_skippy have I got this right?). The old gut never heard of a coating. When you strung it while pulling crosses, it actually sounded kinda like a violin. TW got in some "discount" gut one time and sent it out for playtesting. It was made from sheep and I tell you it brought back all the memories I had playing with gut growing up. It played sublimely. I was all set to write TW back and tell them to buy buy BUY and I would stock it with all the dollars I could afford. And I would have too. But, alas, the next day when I went to hit again, just to make sure I hadn't dreamt it, the gut had broken overnight in my frame.....and I was playing the PS85 back then.

The closest thing now is Pacific Prime. I have a few sets, but am reticent to string it up. I guess there's no point in saving it though.
Cow gut replaced sheep gut long before oversized racquets emerged.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Going by the images of Roddick wearing Lacoste (he signed with them in 2005), and that the PD he's holding is 2nd gen version i.e the woofer version which was supercede by the version that had the 1st Roddick branded 1 (1st with cortex at the top of the handle); then I would say 2006. Of course the packaging may use older images, but I would say its before the all blue GT PD version which was 2008/9. So while not nailed down as to the the exact year, the gut wont be BT7.

IIRC, the BT7 gut was 1st introduced when Babolat moved to a mainly white packaging for their gut, from a dark coloured (like the image above). And if that was in 2011, then the above package should be between 2006 & 2011.

Before WIlson moved to a white pack such as in the OP photo, it was in a blue, shiny foil packing. This I believe was the Babolat Thermogut version
Ok, thanks. I will forever continue my search for pre-2011 gut. Roger isn't returning my calls.
 

Frankc

Professional
I remember some comments from post WW II pros that they envied the better gut available to earlier players. Whether the issue was sheep/cow or the gradual increase in wood racquet heads that caused the change, not sure.

I do miss the days (not that long ago) when 17L and 18 gauge top line gut was available to all of us. Those in a smaller head with tight patterns were just too much feel. From my reading, Rosewall used Klip 17L during his career.
 

silentkman

Professional
I'm using gut because of my rotator cuff. I'm going to try the 18 gauge Klip. I was a hybrid person for a long time. I'm still trying to figure out the price point on Klip versus Babolat. i did try the 16 gauge Blue Babolat gut and liked it.
 
Top