Narrowing my choices:Neos 1000 w/Wise or Alpha Ghost/or Prog II ELS

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Mirdad, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Neos 1000, Option 1) I don't like the idea of the Neos 1500 because the racquet is mounted higher relative to the tension head (for 360-degree rotation), pulling tension from a lower position means the string encounters more friction in the grommets than it does in the Neos 1000.....and I will be stringing a lot with multis and natural gut. My intentions are to use the Neos 1000 for my own personal use, then eventually upgrade to a Wise if/when I'm ready to branch out and string racquets for more than just friends. I can't seem to find a good used one and a new one costs $1,399. I'm also leery about the availability of spare parts. Is this a real concern?

    Neos 1000 w/Wise, Option 1A) Let's say in two years from now I decide to spend $650 on a Wise. That brings the total cost to just over $2K. I really like the speed and simplicity of the Neos 1000.

    Alpha Ghost, Option 2)I'm drooling over the Alpha as it is only about $700 more and it an be used as a table top if I want to bring it on the road. It is a fantastic deal in comparison to what is out there for higher end machines.

    How does the Neos 1000 with a Wise compare to an Alpha Ghost? Am I crazy for pursuing this line of thinking?

    Gamma Progression II ELS, Option 3)I've seriously considered the Gamma Progression II ELS but I don't like the rotational gripper although I will have to say this machine is probably the best deal out there in it's price range. I seem to have a mental block in regards to the rotational gripper. However, despite my concerns the user reviews from several posters don't seem to have an issue with it.

    Is my concern regarding the rotational gripper on the Gamma Progression II ELS overblown? I guess I'm ultra sensitive about it because I use multis and natural gut and feel a linear gripper is more gentle on softer strings. If it wasn't for that I'd be pulling the trigger on the Gamma Progression II ELS.
     
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  2. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    out of those 3 Alpha Ghost would get my instant vote!

    I have a used Gamma 5800 ELS which is pretty good but if I ever had 3k burning a hole in my pocket I'd swap it for the Ghost without thinking.
     
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  3. jim e

    jim e Legend

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    If anything happened to my machine in future, my choice would be the Ghost as you get a lot of features for the $.
     
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  4. am1899

    am1899 Professional

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    If you can afford the Ghost, do it.
     
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  5. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Spare parts are not a real concern for the Neos--I think there is a temporary glitch on supply but a new one for a home stringer is not going to need new parts for a verrrrry loonnnnng time. If you weren't going to add the Wise, I'd suggest the Neos (it's more than enough for the average home stringer--the LO versus CP argument is a tempest in a tea pot for the home stringer (even if you do decide to branch out and string some for others--the Neos is more than suitable for TW)), but if that's the route you're going, get the Ghost if you have the money and the room. Good luck.
     
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  6. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Neos or Ghost you cant go wrong
     
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  7. graycrait

    graycrait Hall of Fame

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    http://www.tennismachines.com/product-category/stringing-machines/

    Have you called TM (if you are CONUS)?

    I got my Neos 1000 from TM used with all the parts for less than 800.00 several years ago. I typically do my rackets in about 20 minutes. Strange, exotic, vintage or ones with poor planning on blocked holes take longer while muttering bad words. The local college has a Gamma ELS and a Gamma LO. That LO hasn't been used but once or twice the past 5 years I bet. The ELS gets a real workout and the kids can usually knock out one of their rackets in 20-something minutes.
     
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  8. AndI

    AndI Rookie

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    I own Gamma X-ELS (same thing as Progression ELS, but blue instead of red and with tool trays) since about a year. I string for myself and a couple of friends full bed natural gut, my son uses natural gut based hybrids (gut + RPM blast or Alu Power Rough). This is pretty much all that we string, natural gut with a little bit of poly. Nothing is more sensitive than natural gut. Other types of strings we strung just as experiment to see how they feel. Absolutely no issues with natural gut and rotational gripper. The main advantage of a linear gripper is that it is more ergonomic, i.e., the movement required to get a string into the gripper is more natural for the hand which makes it a tad faster. If you use the linear gripper correctly, you wind the string around that little wheel attached to the gripper unit in front of it, its technical name escapes me at the moment. It is a fairly small radius wheel. Rotational gripper has maybe a quarter of a turn with the same small radius, so in a way, it is gentler on the string than the linear gripper because it bends it less (or bends around a wheel with a larger radius). For all practical purposes, they both work just fine.

    You might think that rotational gripper has sharp corners which may be harsh on the strings, but it does not, the string path is nicely rounded around all corners. Also, the surface by which it grips the string is linear, that slot in the middle of rotational gripper.

    It is the third time in the past few weeks that I make a reference to my own old post

    https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-els-review-with-pictures-and-details.599040/

    but it is good because it has all the pictures and a link to youtube video with explanation how rotational gripper works.
     
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  9. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Yes, I've called tennis machines and they don't have any used Neos machines. He said that they are hard to come by:-(

    On a side note, there is a certified stringer and master racquet technician in my area that has a Neos 1000 with a Wise. He charges $40 per hour for training. I'm sure I can easily figure any machine out, but the advantage of going with this guy is he can ensure I don't develop any bad habits. Also, I'll bring a racquet that needs restringing so I'll shave off $15 so the training cost will be only $25.....all in all a good deal. I think I'll hold of buying a machine until I demo his Neos 1000. Also, he can disengage the Wise so I can see how the true manual LO works.

    Thanks to all for your patience and guidance:)
     
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  10. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Andl, thanks for all the detailed information and hard work done on your superb analysis of the Gamma Progression ELS. It's great to hear you are not experiencing any problems at all with the rotational gripper. Also, good to hear you are using natural gut and have zero issues as well. That was my only real issue with the machine. I think Fuzz Nation also has the same machine as yours and he has had no problems at all.

    I think the best way for me to go right now is buy the Gamma unless a great deal on a Neos shows up within the next two weeks. And.......if one of my stocks gets bought out, I'll buy the Alpha Ghost......doubt that's gonna happen over the next two weeks.

    Thanks to all for your help!
     
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  11. AndI

    AndI Rookie

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    I am glad that I was able to help. All small issues which I bitched about in my review are no longer relevant - the smell of the rubber tool tray padding has worn out in three months, the notes on level of details of the manual are also no longer important. The machine is going strong without any issues. My son from time to time volunteers at the local tennis shop and helps stringing their demo racquets on their Baiardo (he is too young to be paid, so he does it for free for fun). The likes the ergonomics of the Baiardo (how it goes up and down and tilts, and gravity release of the clamps), but the outcome is the same, as much as we can tell or measure with ERT-300. He strung one of his racquets at the shop, but now he prefers to string his racquets at home because we maintain an accurate calibration of the machine and he trusts our home machine accuracy more.

    After a year of ownership followed by a month of research (we also considered a Baiardo, but my wife was opposed, and my son for whatever reason wanted a Neos, we also looked at high end Gammas), I am more and more convinced that X-ELS (or progression ELS) is in a perfect sweet spot between capability and price for home stringers. It has a 6 point mount, accurate electronic constant pull tensioner, all adjustments that are needed, decent clamps, it is fairly compact, easy to operate, simple intuitive controls, and it does not cost as much as shop-grade machines designed for people who work full day shifts.

    If you asked me what one thing I would like to have upgraded, it would be not the tensioner but gravity release clamps :) But this is something that is nice to have, not that is really needed.

    For a home stringer who strings mainly for himself and maybe a couple of friends occasionally, this machine has everything that one needs. I would not hesitate a moment to buy it again, if I had to make the same decision over again.

    I am very glad that we did not make a mistake of buying a crank machine because we are now into proportional stringing which would not be possible with a crank machine.

    By the way, one can buy an accessory stand for either of these Gamma desktop machine if you want it on a stand.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  12. AndI

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    Training with an instructor is always good. However, as an option, USRSA offeres trial memberships (I believe, just $9 for a month) which give you access to PDF document with instructions how to maintain and string racquets which you can download and print (I think it is over 150 pages) and also access to tutorial videos which show everything explained in the book. The videos were posted on the web when bandwidth was at premium, so resolution of videos is tiny for today's standards, but you can still see everything.

    https://www.racquettech.com/store/memberships/digital-trial.php

    I do believe it is the best summary of information on how to string available. It contains all theoretical knowledge required to pass a USRSA stringer qualification test, and possibly all or most theory required for MRT test. You also get access to practice knowledge tests which are similar to the ones required for certification.

    There are many great videos on youtube. Stringing, at the level most people need, is not rocket science. It does not require a PhD.

    The more sophisticated is the machine, the less the results depend on the stringer. This is one of the reasons why all these sophisticated constant pull tensioners are used.
     
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  13. graycrait

    graycrait Hall of Fame

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    That is the machine I would buy if I didn't have a NEOS 1000. It is compact, easy to transport, and I have never seen the college's ELS quit. THat thing seems as reliable as a NEOS 1000.

    If I had had a viable option for local lessons from a certified MRT I would or would have taken some.
     
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  14. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    The MRT in my area said I can bring my own machine to his place. The ELS will be a cinch to drive it over there.
    Thanks
     
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  15. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    The only reason why I’d employ the MRT guy is to save time and not develop any bad habits. I’m very happy with my decision to buy the ELS.

    It would not be possible to make a rational decision without the help of everyone on this board. Special thanks to those who provided their expertise and guidance.
     
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  16. AndI

    AndI Rookie

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    Based on my initial learning experiences (which I still remember), I would recommend that you order a fair amount of the cheapest synthetic gut strings that you can find. It can either be a 220 meter reel which is good for 18 racquets, or about 15-20 sets, which one can find for something starting from $3. You will need that to practice. Buy them on price, brand and model make no difference as you would string and cut off the strings anyways.

    I recommend that you do not string your primary racquet with premium strings as your first attempt to learn, especially if it is natural gut or gut based hybrid, even under MRT's supervision (unless you are going to watch how he does it). Gut poorly tolerates kinks and requires a gentler touch overall. It is a little more difficult than average to get through the partially covered holes or holes which share two strings (e.g., to make a knot). You may want to string at least 20 racquets before you can start handling gut without excessive risk to damage it and without sweating over it.

    Synthetic gut, besides being the cheapest string available, also has an advantage of being a very soft string which makes it easy to cross-weave. Cheap synthetic gut is totally useless to play, unfortunately - so no chance of using it for anything other than practice in stringing.

    Finally, grommets may take a beating from 20+ training string jobs, so either order replacement grommets for your primary racquet or find an old sacrificial racquet for stringing practice.

    Gamma does not include a starting clamp with the machine, you will need to order one separately as it oftentimes comes handy. Babolat makes very nice starting clamps.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  17. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I really didn't have the learning curve when I got my first stringer , it's seriously not rocket science. Watch some YouTube videos from reputable sources on how to string as well as a couple on how to tie the different knots, maybe string 1 or 2 practice frames, and you should be good to go.

    The starting clamp is one of those things you can get away without until you get one then wonder how you ever got by without it. My gamma starting clamp holds really well, I was about to buy a Babolat when I found the diamond dust?? insert plate that fell out of my Gamma and glued it back in. So … yeah get a starting clamp.
     
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  18. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Great advice!

    I'll be sure to get a starting clamp.
     
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  19. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Hall of Fame

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    I have two older Babolat starting clamps and just acquired a newer Alpha starting clamp. The Alpha clamp is very good too.

    I’d stay away from any starting clamps that have inserts such as Gamma. I have a cheap starting clamp with an insert and it’s virtually worthless.

    The only real difference is the length of the springs in the good ones and both Alpha and Babolat use springs (2) that are over 3” in length. The cheap starting clamp I have has 3 springs and all three are under 3” in length. It looks pretty but it’s weak. Why do I have 4 or 5 starting clamps? I buy and sell used tennis stuff and come across them in lots. It’s a great way to learn about these things.
     
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  20. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    GHost for sure!
    Been a happy owner of one for over two years. Nothing bad about it. Works amazing. Awesome support from New Tech Tennis in Austin.
     
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  21. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Thanks for the recommendation. It’s definitely way over kill for my current stringing needs, but I’m an over kill kind of guy
     
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  22. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Go big or go home lol
     
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  23. Thorswhisper

    Thorswhisper New User

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    Id go for the Neos. Simplier machine.
     
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  24. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Just found out, a one year old Prince 7000 became available in my area for about $2,300. It's hardly been used. I was wondering if the warranty and support was transferable from Prince? I imagine I have to contact Prince.

    Hmmm....is this a better option for me? It's cheaper than the Alpha Ghost. Seems like it might even be a better machine overall.
     
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  25. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I'm voting for The Ghost. I've been wanting one since they came out.
     
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  26. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    2 or 6 mounting points?
     
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  27. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    Prince calls it a 4 point mounting system.....but it's really a 2. The owner claims they've only used it a handful of times
     
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  28. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Prince might be hard to get support/replacement parts if necessary
     
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  29. Mirdad

    Mirdad Rookie

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    I agree, that is a concern. I don’t think a lot of P7000’s were made. The Prince is a slightly better machine (clamps) but you can sleep at night knowing parts and customer service will be a given with the Alpha.
     
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  30. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    The Prince and Alpha are manufactured at the same building on two separate lines. I don't know if the parts are interchangeable. The Prince mounting system is rock solid. The clamps are not as good as the Alpha's, but are good nonetheless. Between the two and based on the current environment, I'd probably spend the extra $'s and get a new Alpha.
     
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