Low, low tensions. 30lbs feels great. 20lbs pretty good, too

pvaudio

Legend
After over a year of Focus Hex @60# and much experimentation with 55 and 50, I have made a strategic decision to transition to 50# for the foreseeable future. It is an important step in my life and I appreciate everyone's support in advance.
I have done this as well. The poly just comes alive at lower tensions.
 

TonyB

Hall of Fame
Update on Polystar Energy 17 strung at 30 lb. in a Vantage 90:

After about 10 hours of play over 4 or 5 sessions, the tension loss has rendered the strings unplayable. I would guess the tension is around 20 lb. or maybe even lower, who knows. Spin is almost gone, the feel is gone, power is unpredictable, and the pocketing is erratic. I should have cut these out at least 4 hours ago, maybe more, but I wanted to see what happened. Now I know.

Getting 6 hours (or less) out of a stringbed is new to me. I usually play for about 3 weeks before restringing with poly mains and gut crosses.

All in all, a good experiment, but I have to find something that holds tension a bit better. I was thinking Cyber Blue or Scorpion. I think the Cyber Blue is softer, so I might start with that one first.
 

Maui19

Hall of Fame
Update on Polystar Energy 17 strung at 30 lb. in a Vantage 90:

After about 10 hours of play over 4 or 5 sessions, the tension loss has rendered the strings unplayable. I would guess the tension is around 20 lb. or maybe even lower, who knows. Spin is almost gone, the feel is gone, power is unpredictable, and the pocketing is erratic. I should have cut these out at least 4 hours ago, maybe more, but I wanted to see what happened. Now I know.

Getting 6 hours (or less) out of a stringbed is new to me. I usually play for about 3 weeks before restringing with poly mains and gut crosses.

All in all, a good experiment, but I have to find something that holds tension a bit better. I was thinking Cyber Blue or Scorpion. I think the Cyber Blue is softer, so I might start with that one first.
I had the same experience stringing at 30#. Once I bumped it up to 38#, the stringbed was much more playable (however I've since gone back up to mid-50s).
 

TonyB

Hall of Fame
There is no reason to string a poly below 50 pounds. In a week it will be at 40 pounds anyway.

Not true. poly will experience wear and notching just like any other string. Its spin potential will also drop as it wears and loses lubricity.

Just because the tension drops doesn't mean that's the only thing that is affected. For me, poly at 50 lb. is too harsh and lacks feel and touch. Poly at 30 lb. is a completely different animal.
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
I had the same experience stringing at 30#. Once I bumped it up to 38#, the stringbed was much more playable (however I've since gone back up to mid-50s).
Not true. poly will experience wear and notching just like any other string. Its spin potential will also drop as it wears and loses lubricity.

Just because the tension drops doesn't mean that's the only thing that is affected. For me, poly at 50 lb. is too harsh and lacks feel and touch. Poly at 30 lb. is a completely different animal.
Yeah,..for me 50 is somewhat harsh too,...but i also find that it 'drops in place' as it loses tension,....I guess it gets to be a matter of 'timing' regarding your stringjob, when You will use it, and what tension You use.
 

TonyB

Hall of Fame
Anyone still playing low tensions? I bumped mine from 30 to 34 and I definitely notice a difference. I can feel the extra stringbed tightness in the additional 4 lb. of tension, but it's manageable. I played one match so far and it felt good. The only question is whether or not that extra 4 lb. will translate into more playing time before the strings lose too much tension to be playable.

I also noticed that it's not just the tension loss that renders the strings unplayable, but it's the loss of SPIN that results from string notching. I can easily handle the extra power when the strings drop from 30 lb. down to <20 lb., but the spin also drops down to zero at the same time. So the playing characteristics totally change.

A fresh stringbed at 20 lb. may be better than a fresh one at 30 lb. for all I know. I just haven't tried it to find out. Another issue with really low tensions (<20 lb.) is that even without the strings notching, there might not be enough "spring-back" of the strings, so spin may be compromised even with a fresh set of strings.

All in all, I like the 34 lb. so far. We'll see how the stringbed deteriorates over time.
 

icarus180

New User
I've read this thread with great interest, and really hope it does not die. I'll add a two quick reviews of my own, but mostly hope just to bump the topic back onto TT contributors radar.

I play with a PB10 Mid, and am a 4.5 aggressive baseliner who is mostly confined to playing doubles these days. I'm experimenting with lots of setups, and do not have a reference string. I love polys, but have been developing TE issues. I'm trying the low tension route largely to protect my arm.

Cyclone 17 @ 37 lbs. I have roughly 5 hours on these strings. Perfect it ain't, but playing with this setup has just opened up the court a great deal.The spin is downright evil. I've been able to hit balls with this racket that were heretofore inaccessible to me. Groundstrokes hit from deep down the middle angled back inside the opponents service line for clean winners. Fairly hard topspin lobs hit from well inside the baseline. Serves going in at angles that make even opponents laugh out loud. There is so much spin available that it's has changed my understanding of court geometry. On top of this, generating pace is trivial.

But all is not milk and honey. I find this setup unstable on defensive shots. The little wristy flicks I like so much when running out of court in doubles fail often. And they don't even tend to fail in one direction. Sometimes they arc to the bottom of the net, other times they just launch. The same is true for blocked shots of many times. My return of serve, never a great shot against big servers, is just ridiculously bad at this tension. Blocked slice returns leap off the racket wildly. I've taken to standing well behind the baseline and taking a full swing just to keep the ball anywhere near the court.

Directed volleys, while not dialed in responsive, were fine, even good as long as have time to drill the sucker. Reflex volleys are problematic.

I plan on giving this setup another go. It's a hoot to play with. There is much joy to be had watching your opponents double- and triple-take views on the ball as it's approaching. If I were exclusively playing singles, I would absolutely consider using this as my main configuration. Doubles, not so much.

Silverstring 42/40. My first time out with this string. Have about an hour on it so far, mostly b/c I just keep throwing it back in bag out of frustration. Based on reviews and postings about SS, I expected the heavens to open. I don't know if these tensions are a no man's land for Silverstring, if it just can't take low tensions very well (I'd love to hear other experiences), or if this is just not the string for me period. I just liked the Cyclone better in ALL respects. Feel, touch (yes, touch), comfort (mild TE paid from SS), power, and spin. People keep writing that this string has fairly linear response characteristics. I didn't find this true at all. I'd be in a nice groundie rally bringing out the heavy timber, and blang, the string bed seemed to give way and would launch the ball right into the back curtain. This just hasn't happened with the Cyclone. Spin was fine. Volleys, the pièce de résistance of this string? Meh. I did like SS for serving. Or, better said, I didn't abhor it. This is all personal preference, obviously, but muted strings just aren't for me, it seems.

I have sets of B5E and Scorp ready for rotation. My expectations for WC strings have fallen off considerably. I still want to love them.

Thanks one and all for your posts. Keep this thread alive!
 

TonyB

Hall of Fame
Note that all poly is not created equal.

I loved Polystar Energy in my frame at 34 lb. or so. But I restrung with Big Hitter Blue at 35 lb. and I do not like it nearly as much. Felt waaaaay stiffer. Not as much spin. Ball pocketing is much worse. Power level is much lower.

I may have to try 25-30 lb. with Big Hitter Blue to see if I can recreate the feel of the Polystar.
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
i am looking to do a low tension experiment with my kps88. i usually play with 45-48 lbs full poly bed (lux alu fluoro).

i am going to try 35 lbs this time around. any string suggestions pse?

tks.
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
ok, i have just got my kps strung with polystar energy 17g @ 35 lbs. i have couple of league games this weekend and i am looking forward to the 'experience'.
 

nickarnold2000

Hall of Fame
I absolutely love low tension in the mid 30s with the setup below. However, it's only good for 1-2 hrs and then the tension goes south and against heavy hitters it's very difficult to keep up.
I need to earn a lot more $ and then I'll be able to play with fresh strings every match! :)
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
I manged to play 4 sets over the weekend with kps and polystar energy @ 35 lbs.

I liked the soft feel. I was getting a lot of pop on my serves. I don't think i sprayed more forehands than what i would otherwise. On the other hand i was getting good depth and that kept the opponent on defense most of the time. Couple of half volley backhand pickups (federeresque!) at the baseline landed pretty deep.

I am not sure about higher spin potential though (possibly because my usual tension range is 42-45 lbs and i cannot see much difference).

I have more tennis coming up this week.
 

Solat

Professional
After reading this thread about 6 months back I strung my Extreme MP at 30lbs with Ultra Tour and loved it for my coaching, so soft and easy to feed yet could easily be controlled against the better players. The only downside was infact increased spin so i sometimes it had a bit too much bite for my clients.

One of the guys who works with me strung his one at 52 or so with a syn gut and we both easily preferred my setup when we had a knock around at a reasonable pace. Since then he has played matches with my stick and is going to now string at 25 like my latest restring of the racquet after a string break.

This has been a mind bending experience for me being someone who strings at about 60 and have been up to 63 previously. I don't know if really low tensions would suit my S&V game but certainly if I was a baseliner i would be very tempted
 

Gasolina

Professional
I thought I'd post comments after I've strung some of them at 42 lbs. Namely Black Code, Black Magic, Pro Line 2, Optic Nerve, Barb Wire.

It was a good experiment. My first foray into polys was with Alu Flouro and it wasn't fun. Just tells you not to go by the norm and just string as you feel like it. If it works for you, then good, at least you're one better than everyone still searching for their "one" string.

The only thing I didn't like was the variability of touch shots at the net as sometimes, drop shots would just fly up. Especially when volleying passing shots.

My experiment might be over for now, as I found a string that would give me the power/spin of polys at low tension, but not the loose feel of the stringbed. In any case, this article helped me indirectly find my string of choice.
 

GlenK

Professional
Getting that low only feels "ok" on groundies but volley's just lose control. I ended up with gut/poly and it's a perfect combination for ground strokes and controlled volleys for me..
 

rp42195

New User
After heading this tread I've decided to sting my Rebel with Beast XP 17g @ 30 lbf. I'll come up with my impressions soon.
 

Carolina Racquet

Professional
Going Low Again..

After a few months at a higher tension I've gone low again... 41 lbs using Volkl Cyclone 17g, the best poly for such low tension IMO.

Man, I've missed the feeling of great ball cupping, mule-kick serves and more power on demand. It works especially well with my game of taking the ball early and finding the open court (poor man's Agassi if you will).

I've seen many comments about volley and drop-shot problems with low tension. I don't think it's that big of issue, especially considering that I'll have many more aggressive volleys set up by better ground strokes.

Another comment on string. I think that those who experiment with going low using the same string that feels good to them at a higher tension are missing the boat. For me, I prefer Isospeed Baseline Speed when I string it high. However, when I go low, it feels awful. A complete experiment involves looking not only at tension, but the right string.
 
Silverstring 42/40. My first time out with this string. Have about an hour on it so far, mostly b/c I just keep throwing it back in bag out of frustration. Based on reviews and postings about SS, I expected the heavens to open. I don't know if these tensions are a no man's land for Silverstring, if it just can't take low tensions very well (I'd love to hear other experiences), or if this is just not the string for me period. I just liked the Cyclone better in ALL respects. Feel, touch (yes, touch), comfort (mild TE paid from SS), power, and spin. People keep writing that this string has fairly linear response characteristics. I didn't find this true at all. I'd be in a nice groundie rally bringing out the heavy timber, and blang, the string bed seemed to give way and would launch the ball right into the back curtain. This just hasn't happened with the Cyclone. Spin was fine. Volleys, the pièce de résistance of this string? Meh. I did like SS for serving. Or, better said, I didn't abhor it. This is all personal preference, obviously, but muted strings just aren't for me, it seems.

I have sets of B5E and Scorp ready for rotation. My expectations for WC strings have fallen off considerably. I still want to love them.
I've used SS at around 40 pounds quite a bit. I think it feels and plays great. I thought Cyclone played very similarly to SS but felt a little harsher. Lots of polys play great. To me, it's the feel that makes the real difference.

I also really like Scorpion. Scorpion and SS are currently my favorites. I've been trying to decide which I like better. Scorpion is a little livelier but maybe a touch less controlled as a result. I will try B5E soon.

You might also want to try Pro Line 2, which is a great all-around poly but doesn't last as long as the WC strings. Tour Bite is very similar to Cyclone, also.
 

icarus180

New User
I've used SS at around 40 pounds quite a bit. I think it feels and plays great. I thought Cyclone played very similarly to SS but felt a little harsher. Lots of polys play great. To me, it's the feel that makes the real difference.

I also really like Scorpion. Scorpion and SS are currently my favorites. I've been trying to decide which I like better. Scorpion is a little livelier but maybe a touch less controlled as a result. I will try B5E soon.

You might also want to try Pro Line 2, which is a great all-around poly but doesn't last as long as the WC strings. Tour Bite is very similar to Cyclone, also.
Thanks CM. It is useful to know that SS at 40 is not a no man's land for tension. Guess it's just not the string for me. Lots of love around for PL2. I used at as a cross with some ####y Luxilon main (the stringer had very limited inventory), so I can't really comment on it. The setup nearly took my arm off.

I am currently testing Scorpion/Mantis Comfort and BE5/MC both at 51/53. I'm liking both these set ups. This is not the proper forum, so I'll withhold my "review".

I've been thinking of giving Cyclone another go 'round at a high 40s tension. Since you said Tour Bite is similar, which of the two do you like better and why? Does TB maintain playability longer, spin, power, etc? Thanks much. Take care.
 

rp42195

New User
15 min. of practice and the string gone broken. The Rebel has been re-stringed and I'll try it gain tomorrow.
2.5 h of practicing today + 1 set played (6/4) and no sting breakage.

1st impressions are:

I like playing @ 30 lbf, the improvement in comfort is evident. My strikes are deeper on the court and I found no problem in controlling ball direction but the ball bounce distance need to be fine-tuned. I think its not an issue since it it’s the 1st time hitting @ 30lbf.

I didn’t notice a huge increase on my forehand topspin, but I hit more winners today than usual. On the outher side, my backhand topspin was coming much easier and continuing this way it will be a real weapon.

I also found easier to hit deeper slices and overheads (serve and smash) are much powerful. Serve requires being dial but I think it is a matter of time too.

In general I like the experience and I will remain @ 30 lbf for while to see where I can go.
 

rp42195

New User
2.5 h of practicing today + 1 set played (6/4) and no sting breakage.

1st impressions are:

I like playing @ 30 lbf, the improvement in comfort is evident. My strikes are deeper on the court and I found no problem in controlling ball direction but the ball bounce distance need to be fine-tuned. I think its not an issue since it it’s the 1st time hitting @ 30lbf.

I didn’t notice a huge increase on my forehand topspin, but I hit more winners today than usual. On the outher side, my backhand topspin was coming much easier and continuing this way it will be a real weapon.

I also found easier to hit deeper slices and overheads (serve and smash) are much powerful. Serve requires being dial but I think it is a matter of time too.

In general I like the experience and I will remain @ 30 lbf for while to see where I can go.
Some comments on the negative side:

Volleys are a bit weird, its nice to hit deep volleys but the short ones are strange. I don’t known if such a low tension will fit to a doubles game.

There is a strange noise when the ball and the stringbed hit. For me it is ok, but some may don’t like it.
 

rp42195

New User
I have been tested a Rebel with string hole system with low-tension poly. I wonder if someone tested low-tension poly with Prince’s port system?
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
I played two more sets last night. The set up (polystar energy @35lb on kps88 ) was 5 days and 4 sets old. So tension must have been < 30lb last night.
I won both sets 6-4 6-2. Apart from volleys I enjoyed every other aspect. I loved the depth I was getting on on-the-run-defensive slices. I had my customary f/h shanks like fed, but nothing to do with strings.

I am going to get couple more sticks strung at the same specs.
 
Thanks CM. It is useful to know that SS at 40 is not a no man's land for tension. Guess it's just not the string for me. Lots of love around for PL2. I used at as a cross with some ####y Luxilon main (the stringer had very limited inventory), so I can't really comment on it. The setup nearly took my arm off.

I am currently testing Scorpion/Mantis Comfort and BE5/MC both at 51/53. I'm liking both these set ups. This is not the proper forum, so I'll withhold my "review".

I've been thinking of giving Cyclone another go 'round at a high 40s tension. Since you said Tour Bite is similar, which of the two do you like better and why? Does TB maintain playability longer, spin, power, etc? Thanks much. Take care.

Hard to be sure about cyclone vs. TB. I used them both quite a while ago, but I recall thinking they both felt a lot like SS but not as soft. I wasn't so impressed by cyclone. TB has some nice pop and spin to it.

While I still haven't done a proper side-by-side comparison, I think I might like scorpion slightly more than SS, at least for singles. I use a low-powered setup, so the extra pop can be useful. I think SS might last a bit longer, though. Tension maintenance is a big reason I like WC strings so much. I just don't like stringing racquets that often. I'm looking forward to trying B5E and Mosquito Bite, but it may be a month or more before I get around to it.
 

steve260z

Rookie
I don't know about you guys. Low tension the balls sails without a ton/excessive topspin IMO. I certainly cannot block back hard 1st serves. I'll stick with mid to low 50s.
 

rp42195

New User
2nd day out @ 30 lbf and I am absolutely loving the low tension. It was a 1h of hitting practice and a set played (lost 36). Not an excuse, but I am completed tired from the practice when starting playing. I had hit with my coach and my game is changing, my balls are deeper and fast and as my coach is a much better player than me they also return fast so I have less time to prepare to the next stroke. That increment in the speed get me tire before 1h but I see that could help me when I face player in my level.

I am just wondering if it is worth to go to 35 lbf to see that happens? Does anyone have an "educated guess”?
 

TonyB

Hall of Fame
I don't know about you guys. Low tension the balls sails without a ton/excessive topspin IMO. I certainly cannot block back hard 1st serves. I'll stick with mid to low 50s.

So, have you actually tried low tensions or are you just afraid that you won't be able to control it? The science behind low tension poly says that the power level doesn't increase all that much, even down to 20-30 lb. I've played down to 20 lb. and I can honestly say that the power is still controllable. In fact, at 35 lb. on a 94 sq. in. frame, the power level is actually TOO low for me.

I think people who string in the 50s and 60s are just afraid to go lower. And by "lower", I don't mean in the upper 40s, I mean in the low 30s. 30, 32, 34 at most. Give it a try.
 

MavsTennis

New User
How do I say this?

Bad idea. Multis strung low almost always become rocket launchers. I dunno, maybe you'll like it.
I guess you're right. At the beginning, my shots were sailing. But I kinda adjusted my shots and liked the feel better than my usual 48-52 lbs.

I'll try some polys strung around the low 30's as soon as I can get my hands on some.
 

steve260z

Rookie
So, have you actually tried low tensions or are you just afraid that you won't be able to control it? The science behind low tension poly says that the power level doesn't increase all that much, even down to 20-30 lb. I've played down to 20 lb. and I can honestly say that the power is still controllable. In fact, at 35 lb. on a 94 sq. in. frame, the power level is actually TOO low for me.

I think people who string in the 50s and 60s are just afraid to go lower. And by "lower", I don't mean in the upper 40s, I mean in the low 30s. 30, 32, 34 at most. Give it a try.
Yep, I tried varying tensions down to 39/41 with Polystar 17g in my Dunlop 300 AG4D Tour. I hit moderate topspin but I like to flatten out forehands when I have the opportunity. Flat shots just sail. I had to increase the amount of topspin to keep the forehands in. Blocking back hard 1st serves? No control on either side. Maybe its just my swing style and or combo of frame and string. But, its not like I'm typically stringing in the 60s. I prefer a softer string bed, hence BHBR. But I have a hard time believing someone with a fairly fast swing speed can play with a sub 35lb string job without altering the swing plan. ie....gross topspin or underspin to bring back some degree of control.
 

Fuji

Legend
Hey all!

Has anyone tried that Alien String @ 30ish lbs? It seems like a pretty interesting string, and it seems it would shine at that lower tension.

Any input would be great! :D Thanks!

-Fuji
 

rp42195

New User
I will give a try on my Prince Black 100 with low-tension string. I’ll have it string with Beast XP @ 35 lbf. I’ll come up with the results soon.
 

guy_o

New User
Yep, I tried varying tensions down to 39/41 with Polystar 17g in my Dunlop 300 AG4D Tour. I hit moderate topspin but I like to flatten out forehands when I have the opportunity. Flat shots just sail. I had to increase the amount of topspin to keep the forehands in. Blocking back hard 1st serves? No control on either side. Maybe its just my swing style and or combo of frame and string. But, its not like I'm typically stringing in the 60s. I prefer a softer string bed, hence BHBR. But I have a hard time believing someone with a fairly fast swing speed can play with a sub 35lb string job without altering the swing plan. ie....gross topspin or underspin to bring back some degree of control.
Steve- 39 is not 30. There is a big difference. Polys are very efficient around 38-48. Above and below that range, the string absorbs more energy. So you either go 50 and above or 35 and below. The only thing I don't like with the lower range is the sound it makes upon impact.
 

Avadia

Rookie
I just strung up BHBR at 40 lbs on my Dunlop AG 4D200 Tour. This was my first experiment with poly strung at a lower tension. I usually string a gut/poly hybrid at a much higher tension. I have to say it felt pretty good in my combo match tonight.

Lots of power in the sweet spot, but also a lot of spin giving a fair amount of control. I could hit hard topspin deep in the court, and I could hit good short angle winners. The only area I was a little uncomfortable was with volleys, which could launch if you didn't angle the racket just right. But for put-away volleys, the extra power was sweet.

Unfortunately, I lost my match. But only because my partner couldn't get a serve in play. I never lost my serve all night, which is a testament to the power and control of this string. I was bombing some first serves in and hitting nice kickers on the second.
 

Rogael Naderer

Semi-Pro
I just strung up BHBR at 40 lbs on my Dunlop AG 4D200 Tour. This was my first experiment with poly strung at a lower tension. I usually string a gut/poly hybrid at a much higher tension. I have to say it felt pretty good in my combo match tonight.

Lots of power in the sweet spot, but also a lot of spin giving a fair amount of control. I could hit hard topspin deep in the court, and I could hit good short angle winners. The only area I was a little uncomfortable was with volleys, which could launch if you didn't angle the racket just right. But for put-away volleys, the extra power was sweet.

Unfortunately, I lost my match. But only because my partner couldn't get a serve in play. I never lost my serve all night, which is a testament to the power and control of this string. I was bombing some first serves in and hitting nice kickers on the second.
My racquet (weighted 200 4D 16 x 19) and string (Weisscannon Silverstring 1.25mm) are quite similar to yours and so I'm very interested in how these tensions play with your setup. Do let us know how long you get good play out of it, and how it behaves as it loses some tension.

I am at the moment at 53lbs with the Silverstring and not really liking it, I played with a set of Alu in my other framse that was WEEKS old (strung at 53) and DID like it! Maybe it's the tension loss, I felt a bigger sweetspot, more forgiveness and power, serves were BOMBS! So maybe I'll take the plunge and go to 45lbs? 40lbs? The 16 x 19 stringbed plus weight at 12 in these sticks can produce some flyers even at 53lbs, so where to go from here?!
 
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adventure

Banned
I'm a little late to this thread.

What about synthetic or natural gut? Will these work well at low tensions, say around 40 lbs.?
 

Rogael Naderer

Semi-Pro
I'm a little late to this thread.

What about synthetic or natural gut? Will these work well at low tensions, say around 40 lbs.?
These low tensions somehow seem to bring out the unique characteristics of polyester strings.

Chris from TW found that Gut/poly hybrids felt great at 40lbs and full poly at 35lbs.

Check out his blogs on TW.

By the way Chris where do you stand now on full poly tension?

How is your arm taking it?
 

Sardines

Hall of Fame
no this thread is only about poly/kevlar i think. gut at such low tensions will be like a catapult
Not if you use the right kind of gut. The lower powered gut like the Performaxx XHT are great for low tension as a cross/main with poly, in my case, I use RPM 17.
I routinely string from 35-38lbs depending on how I feel. I hit a flatter ball but the lower tension allows me to spin a bit more, esp on serve.
 
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