Mains 40 lbs tighter than crosses. The SECRET to preventing poly from "going dead."

#1
Yes. This really works.

My favorite racquet (my leaded-up, shortened BLX 6.1 95 18x20) is now strung with full-bed Silverstring 1.20, 80 lbs in the mains and 40 lbs in the crosses.

To make this work so that it maintains the tension differential, you must prestretch the string thoroughly. And even then, when pulling the mains at 80 lbs, you need to let the drop-weight fall for at least 10 seconds after each pull to let the string creep out. Otherwise, you will lose most of the advantage of stringing at extreme differential.

What is the advantage?

It gives you the precise launch angle control, sharp-shooting, and targeting on flat shots, blocked returns, slices, and volleys of a stiff stringbed. But at the same time, it gives you tremendous spin potential, snapback, and grab when you want to shape your shot with heavy spin, American twists, or nasty drop shots. In other words, it combines the advantages of a tight/dense stringbed with the advantages of a loose/open stringbed, without having to compromise.

Full disclosure: I'm not usually a fan of full poly (my favorite string type is kevlar/ZX hybrid, also strung at extreme differential). But stringing with mains 40 lbs tighter than crosses makes full poly a satisfactory option with excellent control and all-around performance. Plays similar to my Kevlar/ZX, although the kevlar/ZX is more arm-friendly and (and I expect more durable).
 
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#4
Why not you show us a short video clip of how you hit the ball ?
I've been interested in stuffs that you posted, eventhough its always the extreme stuffs that people not usually try.

Because everyone style is different, so if i can see how you hit the ball without problems maybe it will be safe to copy (provided i find that we hit with similar style)
 
#6
Could you try this 18g multifilament string next: http://www.amazon.com/Hoisting-Diameter-Stainless-Flexible-32-8Ft/dp/B00GYTWM4I
It has great reviews! Really curious about its performance as main.
Actually, several years ago I bought both a reel of steel monofilament wire and a reel of steel cable. Both of them broke at the knot when I attempted to prestretch them, and I never ended up actually stringing up a frame with with the steel. Might be worth an experiment though.
 
#8
Why not you show us a short video clip of how you hit the ball ?
I've been interested in stuffs that you posted, eventhough its always the extreme stuffs that people not usually try.

Because everyone style is different, so if i can see how you hit the ball without problems maybe it will be safe to copy (provided i find that we hit with similar style)
I posted a clip of some serves a couple of years ago, but haven't recorded anything else.
 
#9
Not concerned with wrecking your racquets from the tension differential?
Not concerned at all.

The hoop squashes by a few mm, but this amount of deformation seems to be within the elastic limit of the materials, as it snaps back to full length when you cut out the strings. The squashing is how you know that you have a differential, and the differential is key to the improved performance. It works better with smaller headed frames and frames that have a narrower head shape, as these are better able to provide a resistance to the squashing for greater differential at equilibrium.
 
#10
I wonder why we don't hear about pros doing this. I know. I know. Just because we don't hear about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

But c'mon man, 80/40?
 

Big_Dangerous

Talk Tennis Guru
#12
Not concerned with wrecking your racquets from the tension differential?
Well not only that, but stringing at 80 pounds is way over the recommended range, plus I don't see how you can get much power with mains string at 80 pounds, that seems ridiculous. I'm also certain that most tennis racket specific stringers won't even go that high either. He's probably using a machine that allows you to string other rackets like badminton and stuff. I know mine has a range that high because you can use it for other rackets besides tennis, but I refuse to string poly above 55 in my rackets. Hell, I prefer it around 48-52.
 

drak

Professional
#13
Yes. This really works.

My favorite racquet (my leaded-up, shortened BLX 6.1 95 18x20) is now strung with full-bed Silverstring 1.20, 80 lbs in the mains and 40 lbs in the crosses.

To make this work so that it maintains the tension differential, you must prestretch the string thoroughly. And even then, when pulling the mains at 80 lbs, you need to let the drop-weight fall for at least 10 seconds after each pull to let the string creep out. Otherwise, you will lose most of the advantage of stringing at extreme differential.

What is the advantage?

It gives you the precise launch angle control, sharp-shooting, and targeting on flat shots, blocked returns, slices, and volleys of a stiff stringbed. But at the same time, it gives you tremendous spin potential, snapback, and grab when you want to shape your shot with heavy spin, American twists, or nasty drop shots. In other words, it combines the advantages of a tight/dense stringbed with the advantages of a loose/open stringbed, without having to compromise.

Full disclosure: I'm not usually a fan of full poly (my favorite string type is kevlar/ZX hybrid, also strung at extreme differential). But stringing with mains 40 lbs tighter than crosses makes full poly a satisfactory option with excellent control and all-around performance. Plays similar to my Kevlar/ZX, although the kevlar/ZX is more arm-friendly and (and I expect more durable).
TJ, I thought you hurt your arm and this Poly ESP stringing might have been part of that? Are you now healed? If you are how long have you been playing with this set up since recuperating? I am concerned about this set up causing arm issues as I don't quite buy into the Poly not going dead scenario. I'd give this more time before I would recommend this set up - just my opinion.
 
#14
Well not only that, but stringing at 80 pounds is way over the recommended range, plus I don't see how you can get much power with mains string at 80 pounds, that seems ridiculous. I'm also certain that most tennis racket specific stringers won't even go that high either. He's probably using a machine that allows you to string other rackets like badminton and stuff. I know mine has a range that high because you can use it for other rackets besides tennis, but I refuse to string poly above 55 in my rackets. Hell, I prefer it around 48-52.
A couple of things:
1. After you remove the frame from the stringer, the tension on the mains drops by 20 lbs or so a lot because the hoop squashes by several mm. It's more like 65 mains / 55 crosses in equilibrium.
2. The stringbed is low-powered and on the stiffer side (because that's how I like it for max control of launch angle), but since my racquet has 23g of lead tape added to the upper hoop on 95si head, this racquet has a lot of concentrated mass behind the ball and can pack a wallop like a sledge hammer when you get it moving.
 
#15
yeah I agree with trav. It works and well there are no issues for the frame I have run into.

I like a stiff string bed so I have been doing Kev/poly. And I was using a 110" racket that is stiff and powerful. Have been stringing kev/poly at 86/86lbs. Today I replaced the crosses with 4g at 86. Cant wait to try it. Those rackets are fine.

But in the last few weeks I have 3 new rackets that are 100" - 95". I strung them all up at 86/46lbs. 2 were brand new and 1 was a 20 year old Profile that is not replaceable. So you see just how unconcerned I am with the tensions or differential.

Question for @travlerajm , the 86/46 kev+/poly in the profile was great. I was getting good spin and I liked it. Its now a bit loose. The other rackets: Burn 95 FST and Gamma Rzr 100t were just too powerful with that combo. I need to get it stiffer.

What is more important? Should i go up to 86/66 with some differential or should I keep the same 40lbs differential but use a stiffer poly? What would still give the ESP experience but a more solid and stiff stringbed? Prince Tournament Poly is pretty stiff but its no 4g or RPM Team. Would a stiffer cross with more differential like 86/56 be a good compromise? The profile I think would work great at 86/56 with a stiffer string (I was using mosquitobite which is less stiff than the Prince I can put in it)

Thanks.
 
#17
TJ, I thought you hurt your arm and this Poly ESP stringing might have been part of that? Are you now healed? If you are how long have you been playing with this set up since recuperating? I am concerned about this set up causing arm issues as I don't quite buy into the Poly not going dead scenario. I'd give this more time before I would recommend this set up - just my opinion.
The racquet injured my arm when I first got my 6.1 95 racquet. It was strung conventionally with full poly by the previous owner (which was less arm-friendly than the ESP setup). Multiple factors contributed to the injury (dead poly strings, swinging all-out on serves for first time in awhile, and nerve damage from whiplash neck injury).
My elbow is still recovering, and it still hurts on certain shots - I still can't serve full-out without pain. For singles my most effective injured-elbow-recovery-period serve is the sidewinder dropshot serve (which is remarkably effective even against 5.0 guys). And I'm still cautious to hit 1hb volleys. But I can hit my regular groundstrokes pain-free now as long as my MgR/I is tuned perfectly so that I can relax the wrist at contact.
 
#18
yeah I agree with trav. It works and well there are no issues for the frame I have run into.

I like a stiff string bed so I have been doing Kev/poly. And I was using a 110" racket that is stiff and powerful. Have been stringing kev/poly at 86/86lbs. Today I replaced the crosses with 4g at 86. Cant wait to try it. Those rackets are fine.

But in the last few weeks I have 3 new rackets that are 100" - 95". I strung them all up at 86/46lbs. 2 were brand new and 1 was a 20 year old Profile that is not replaceable. So you see just how unconcerned I am with the tensions or differential.

Question for @travlerajm , the 86/46 kev+/poly in the profile was great. I was getting good spin and I liked it. Its now a bit loose. The other rackets: Burn 95 FST and Gamma Rzr 100t were just too powerful with that combo. I need to get it stiffer.

What is more important? Should i go up to 86/66 with some differential or should I keep the same 40lbs differential but use a stiffer poly? What would still give the ESP experience but a more solid and stiff stringbed? Prince Tournament Poly is pretty stiff but its no 4g or RPM Team. Would a stiffer cross with more differential like 86/56 be a good compromise? The profile I think would work great at 86/56 with a stiffer string (I was using mosquitobite which is less stiff than the Prince I can put in it)

Thanks.
I don't know the answer to your question without having done the experiment, but 86/56 sounds about right in the Profile 95, which is a pretty open 16x18 pattern.
If you PM your address, I'll send you a free used shortened Profile.
 
#20
A couple of things:
1. After you remove the frame from the stringer, the tension on the mains drops by 20 lbs or so a lot because the hoop squashes by several mm. It's more like 65 mains / 55 crosses in equilibrium.
Question regarding this note of yours. If you prestretch like H@#!, then why not just do 65/55? Or 65/50? [Working on my 2nd cocktail.] :confused: I do remember you saying that the stringbed's tensions stabilize so that the differential is not so big.
 
#21
Question regarding this note of yours. If you prestretch like H@#!, then why not just do 65/55? Or 65/50? [Working on my 2nd cocktail.] :confused: I do remember you saying that the stringbed's tensions stabilize so that the differential is not so big.
The hoop squashing relaxes most of the tension differential no matter what you start at. So if 80/40 reference becomes 65/55 (assuming 75% of the differential relaxes), then 65/55 reference becomes 61/59.
 

BlueB

Hall of Fame
#22
There is something else at play too:
As the hoop compresses along the long axis and expands on the short existing to somewhat equalize the tensions of the strings, it becomes preloaded - wants to regain the natural shape. This also preloads the strings - mains "want" to get tighter while crosses "want" to get looser, as the hoop wants to pull in those directions. Upon impact and further deformation of the hoop and strings, the mains would be reacting quicker to regain the original state, thus increasing snap-back / spin.

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#23
There is something else at play too:
As the hoop compresses along the long axis and expands on the short existing to somewhat equalize the tensions of the strings, it becomes preloaded - wants to regain the natural shape. This also preloads the strings - mains "want" to get tighter while crosses "want" to get looser, as the hoop wants to pull in those directions. Upon impact and further deformation of the hoop and strings, the mains would be reacting quicker to regain the original state, thus increasing snap-back / spin.

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When reading these threads about extreme tension differentials, I've had this idea too. I think this effect might be having as much or more influence than the tension differential itself. But I'm too conservative to experiment with tension differentials myself so I can't speak from experience!
 
#24
There is something else at play too:
As the hoop compresses along the long axis and expands on the short existing to somewhat equalize the tensions of the strings, it becomes preloaded - wants to regain the natural shape. This also preloads the strings - mains "want" to get tighter while crosses "want" to get looser, as the hoop wants to pull in those directions. Upon impact and further deformation of the hoop and strings, the mains would be reacting quicker to regain the original state, thus increasing snap-back / spin.

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I have noticed this especially on soft rackets. I only have stiff rackets these days, but when I put kev/zx in a PS85 at 60/40 it was pretty amazing. You could feel the strings move and then WHAM, its like they hit a brick wall and shot the other way. I am guessing this was what I was experiencing, like the "archers bow effect"
 
#25
When reading these threads about extreme tension differentials, I've had this idea too. I think this effect might be having as much or more influence than the tension differential itself. But I'm too conservative to experiment with tension differentials myself so I can't speak from experience!
Come on BA. Live a little!

FWIW here are rackets I have done 20lbs differential on:

Dunlop S5.0 lite,
6.1 95
6.1 95s
PS 85
Hyper hammer 5.3 stretch
Technifiber T something 255
Prince Warrior 100L
BLX 2
POG Mid

Ones I have done 40 on:

Profile 95
Burn FST 95
Gamma RZR 100t
BLX 2

Ones I have done 50 on:
BLX2

There are probably others I am forgetting. Anyhow No issue at all. Its not exactly risky if many have done it before.
 
#28
Update:
I have been using this fully-prestretched 80/40 full poly in dense pattern as my main racquet for past 6 weeks. Still hasn't broken. Mains are halfway sawed through, but unlike with a conventionally strung full poly bed, the crosses are still smooth with no dent.
Mains are still straight as an arrow with nice snapback. Performance characteristics are still excellent. The feel is still firm, with terrific control, with slightly more spin and power than on day one. The tension drop is probably mostly due to the notching of the mains. On absolute scale, spin potential is now higher than with conventionally strung full poly bed, yet it still volleys crisply like a champ.

Yes, this really does keep poly from going dead! Probably have close to 40h on it.
 
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#30
So using a poly crossed with poly at "esp" tensions works because its not as abrasive as zx in the cross.
What would be your reasoning from moving away from the Kevlar/zx esp?
For me, I have stopped using kev/zx, whilst durability is unmatched, I concluded there was just that bit to much arm shock with the Kevlar over the long haul.
 
#31
So using a poly crossed with poly at "esp" tensions works because its not as abrasive as zx in the cross.
What would be your reasoning from moving away from the Kevlar/zx esp?
For me, I have stopped using kev/zx, whilst durability is unmatched, I concluded there was just that bit to much arm shock with the Kevlar over the long haul.
I haven't had a chance to compare kev/zx vs poly/poly in my 6.1 95 18x20 yet. I only tried poly because I was out of kevlar, but was surprised to find that I liked it too.

Both of these setups are nice. I still expect the poly/poly to break faster then the kevlar. But I'm surprised to find that the poly mains are holding tension with a large differential better than the kevlar does, as the poly doesn't seem to have the big initial drop that kevlar has (when I string it prestretched at 80-lbs with 40-lb differnential, so that it settles at about 65/55 after squashing). One disadvantage to the poly/poly is that the poly mains are much more difficult to string at high tension, because I have to wait a long time for the tension bar to settle even after prestretching. And the 17g poly can't really go up to 90 lbs in mains without high risk of breaking during stringing. I had to back off to 80. With kevlar mains, I can pre-weave all the mains before I pull any tension on them, then work my way up to 90 lbs.
 
#31
So using a poly crossed with poly at "esp" tensions works because its not as abrasive as zx in the cross.
What would be your reasoning from moving away from the Kevlar/zx esp?
For me, I have stopped using kev/zx, whilst durability is unmatched, I concluded there was just that bit to much arm shock with the Kevlar over the long haul.
I haven't had a chance to compare kev/zx vs poly/poly in my 6.1 95 18x20 yet. I only tried poly because I was out of kevlar, but was surprised to find that I liked it too.

Both of these setups are nice. I still expect the poly/poly to break faster than the kevlar. But I'm surprised to find that the poly mains are holding tension with a large differential better than the kevlar does, as the poly doesn't seem to have the big initial drop that kevlar has. One disadvantage to the poly/poly is that the poly mains are much more difficult to string at high tension, because I have to wait a long time for the tension bar to settle even after prestretching. And the 17g poly can't really go up to 90 lbs in mains without high risk of breaking during stringing. I had to back off to 80. With kevlar mains, I can pre-weave all the mains before I pull any tension on them, then work my way up to 90 lbs.
 
#32
So using a poly crossed with poly at "esp" tensions works because its not as abrasive as zx in the cross.
What would be your reasoning from moving away from the Kevlar/zx esp?
For me, I have stopped using kev/zx, whilst durability is unmatched, I concluded there was just that bit to much arm shock with the Kevlar over the long haul.
I haven't had a chance to compare kev/zx vs poly/poly in my 6.1 95 18x20 yet. I only tried poly because I was out of kevlar, but was surprised to find that I liked it too.

Both of these setups are nice. I still expect the poly/poly to break faster than the kevlar. But I'm surprised to find that the poly mains are holding tension with a large differential better than the kevlar does, as the poly doesn't seem to have the big initial drop that kevlar has. One disadvantage to the poly/poly is that the poly mains are much more difficult to string at high tension, because I have to wait a long time for the tension bar to settle even after prestretching. And the 17g poly can't really go up to 90 lbs in mains without high risk of breaking during stringing. I had to back off to 80. With kevlar mains, I can pre-weave all the mains before I pull any tension on them, then work my way up to 90 lbs.

I had previously tried full poly esp at 75/50 in my blade. I liked it initially, but the tension differential went away after a couple of hours. But when I upped the differential to 40lbs, it seems to hold much, much better (probably because the 80/40 becomes ~65/55 after hoop squashing, so it's getting a much more effective prestretch).
 
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#34
What happens to the shape of the racquet head when you use such a high tension differential between the mains and crosses?


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#35
What happens to the shape of the racquet head when you use such a high tension differential between the mains and crosses?


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#35
What happens to the shape of the racquet head when you use such a high tension differential between the mains and crosses?


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#39
Update. Stringbed still playing nice.
But this week, the racquet started elongating overnight. It regained 1/8" in 1 week. From 26.5" to 26-5/8". Probably going to pop soon.
The SW is now measuring 372 (serves nice at this swingweight). But had to retune MgR/I by adding a couple of grams to top of handle.

Will be playing my first singles tournament match in a year tonight - not ideal to have my main racquet ready to snap.
But more concern than the racquet - I tweaked my knee on Wednesday. Will be playing 18-yr-old junior with lots of tournies under his belt - worried that my knee won't hold up.
 
#40
Update. Stringbed still playing nice.
But this week, the racquet started elongating overnight. It regained 1/8" in 1 week. From 26.5" to 26-5/8". Probably going to pop soon.
The SW is now measuring 372 (serves nice at this swingweight). But had to retune MgR/I by adding a couple of grams to top of handle.

Will be playing my first singles tournament match in a year tonight - not ideal to have my main racquet ready to snap.
But more concern than the racquet - I tweaked my knee on Wednesday. Will be playing 18-yr-old junior with lots of tournies under his belt - worried that my knee won't hold up.
Yikes. Sorry to be a downer but knees arent worth a tournament match. Its been a whole year, whats a bit more time. Trust me when your knee is jacked its amazing how it affects every part of life!
 
#41
Well, my knee held up, but I have no skin on the ball of my left foot. Should have gone with the Barricades instead of the Big5 knockoffs today.

My opponent was a 19-year-old college player. 6'4". Big serve. Big second serve. Big forehand. Decent athlete.
I was playing crappy. Just wasn't hitting the ball clean. First set went my way pretty routine, as my crappy defensive game was good enough if I could make him hit 6-8 balls.
But my opponent's forehand got better as the match wore on, and my foot blistering started to hamper my movement. I had trouble getting much depth on my shots. I went down in the supertiebreak.
The strings didn't pop, but the racquet shape changing shape might have had something to do with me never getting comfortable with my strokes today.
 
#42
Well, my knee held up, but I have no skin on the ball of my left foot. Should have gone with the Barricades instead of the Big5 knockoffs today.

My opponent was a 19-year-old college player. 6'4". Big serve. Big second serve. Big forehand. Decent athlete.
I was playing crappy. Just wasn't hitting the ball clean. First set went my way pretty routine, as my crappy defensive game was good enough if I could make him hit 6-8 balls.
But my opponent's forehand got better as the match wore on, and my foot blistering started to hamper my movement. I had trouble getting much depth on my shots. I went down in the supertiebreak.
The strings didn't pop, but the racquet shape changing shape might have had something to do with me never getting comfortable with my strokes today.
Glad you survived! Sounds like a great match.
 
#46
My full poly job snapped on my second service game today in my consolation match.

Plasyed the rest of the match with my Blade, which was strung with Poly/ZX prestretched at 90/40 back in April. Played much better than yesterday. Double-bageled a 30-yr-old 4.0 teaching pro. Probably would have won yesterday's match against the 5.0 college kid if I'd used my Blade for that one. Mainly because I had the balance nailed perfectly so I had great command on my groundies today. Of course, yesterday's match, my Isner-style opponent's serve was bouncing up above my head, so all my forehand returns were slices. Today's opponent was 5'9", and his serve stayed at waist level where I could use my regular forehand on returns.

The extra pop of the poly/zx stringbed helped get me depth on my groundies without needing to swing hard.

When I restring my 6.1 95, I think I'll give the kevlar/ZX at 90/40 a try. The full poly ESP works, but's definitely lower powered than using ZX crosses.
 
#47
@travlerajm ;

How did you arrive at 40lbs as the magic differential?
If youve tried "everything else" (differential-wise) what's your take on 30bs?, 50lbs, 10lbs?
If you havent tried "everything else", what haven't you tried yet? (still regarding tension differentials between crosses and mains)

Ive read some of your other stuff on tuning etc and always found the information very useful and well presented so if you cant be bothered to digress on this I must at least thank you for your earlier musings/info.

cheers.
 
#48
I've tried everything from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55-pound differentials. The higher the better, with the limiting factor that my drop-weight stringer only goes up to 90 pounds. So if the crosses need to be 40 pounds, then 50-pound differential is the most my stringer will handle. With the poly, only reason I didn't go up to 90 in the mains is that the 17-gauge poly kept breaking before I finished stringing the mains. So I backed off to 80.

With kevlar I can probably go much higher. The feel and perormance with 50-pound differential feels about the same as 20-pound differential (initially). They both are terrific at first. But since the main strings will lose more tension over time, the 20-pound differential will eventually start to feel like a conventionally string stringbed after a few sessions of use, while the 50-lb differential will still have a favorable amount of differential months later, even after the tension loss. With 10-lb differential, the advantage will only last for an hour or so.

One thing to realize is that a 50-lb differential is not really a 50-lb differential once it comes off the stringer. The tensions partially equilibrate immediately after removing from the stringer, because the hoop squashes a little bit. The key is you want the differential to be high enough to maintain the squash - the squash is key to the better performance. The squash doesn't hurt the frame, because the graphite composite material is generally very elastic and can deform a lot more than several mm of squash.

I'm about to restring my BLX 6.1 95 with kevlar/ZX. I'm thinking of going with about 90/35.
 
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drak

Professional
#49
I've tried everything from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55-pound differentials. The higher the better, with the limiting factor that my drop-weight stringer only goes up to 90 pounds. So if the crosses need to be 40 pounds, then 50-pound differential is the most my stringer will handle. With the poly, only reason I didn't go up to 90 in the mains is that the 17-gauge poly kept breaking before I finished stringing the mains. So I backed off to 80.

With kevlar I can probably go much higher. The feel and perormance with 50-pound differential feels about the same as 20-pound differential (initially). They both are terrific at first. But since the main strings will lose more tension over time, the 20-pound differential will eventually start to feel like a conventionally string stringbed after a few sessions of use, while the 50-lb differential will still have a favorable amount of differential months later, even after the tension loss. With 10-lb differential, the advantage will only last for an hour or so.

One thing to realize is that a 50-lb differential is not really a 50-lb differential once it comes off the stringer. The tensions partially equilibrate immediately after removing from the stringer, because the hoop squashes a little bit. The key is you want the differential to be high enough to maintain the squash - the squash is key to the better performance. The squash doesn't hurt the frame, because the graphite composite material is generally very elastic and can deform a lot more than several mm of squash.

I'm about to restring my BLX 6.1 95 with kevlar/ZX. I'm thinking of going with about 90/35.
Okay, as much as I love the 64/46 Kev/ZX my next stringing will be 80/40. WTF I may as well give that a try just to check it out. BTW have you noticed any racket fatigue on frames you continually string at these tension extremes?

BTW I now have 3 buddies now hooked on the 64/46 Kev/ZX set up, I'm sorta back in the part time stringing biz, not sure if I want that...lol
 
#50
Okay, as much as I love the 64/46 Kev/ZX my next stringing will be 80/40. WTF I may as well give that a try just to check it out. BTW have you noticed any racket fatigue on frames you continually string at these tension extremes?

BTW I now have 3 buddies now hooked on the 64/46 Kev/ZX set up, I'm sorta back in the part time stringing biz, not sure if I want that...lol
I strung a 20 year old Profile at 86/56lbs which isnt extreme, but that should tell you how much I am concerned about the frame
 
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