Possible Method for Starting Mains - Flying Clamps, Starting Clamp/Pin

Hi all - I come seeking the wisdom of better stringers than I. I learned to string last year and use a Gamma X-2 (though I dream of upgrading someday).

Up until now, I've started my mains this way:

1) Thread the two center mains
2) Place a starting clamp outside the frame on one main
3) Tension the other main, clamp the two mains near the tensioner
4) Tension the next main away from the starting clamp, move the flying clamp
5) Tension the first main with the starting clamp, remove starting clamp, secure with the other flying clamp, and continue as usual

But those two center mains often ping significantly below their neighbors, even on a Yonex frame. I always wondered if the cause was the initial pull across the first grommet. A possibility for a different method occurred to me, but I hadn't seen this method described anywhere, so thought I'd ask here first. On a frame with six throat mains, it would go something like this:

1) Thread 1LM and 1RM
2) Place starting clamp outside the frame on 1RM (at 1H)
3) Pull enough slack back through the loop to tension 1RM at the throat
4) Put a starting pin (or knotted scrap string) through 2T, use it to clamp 1RM
5) Take the slack out, and tension 1LM
6) Move the flying clamp to clamp 1RM and 1LM near the top

From here, the two center mains should have ref tension, and I can continue as in the first method. The possible advantages I see here are that the first pull isn't across a grommet, and the first two strings to get full tension are the two center mains. I recognize that these are small differences, and maybe I'm making my life needlessly complicated. Has anyone tried this method? Am I missing any obvious flaws? I'm very much still a student in the stringing department, so I appreciate any insight.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I’m not a big fan of putting a starting clamp outside the frame on one of the center mains. When you tension the string with the starting clamp you will loose tension because of the starting clamp rubbing on the bottom of the 6 - 12 rubber pad. If you’re going to use a starting clamp try placing a spacer to hold the starting clamp out past the 6 - 12 pad and protect the string but being held by the seating clamp where it wil be in the grommet.
 
I’m not a big fan of putting a starting clamp outside the frame on one of the center mains. When you tension the string with the starting clamp you will loose tension because of the starting clamp rubbing on the bottom of the 6 - 12 rubber pad. If you’re going to use a starting clamp try placing a spacer to hold the starting clamp out past the 6 - 12 pad and protect the string but being held by the seating clamp where it wil be in the grommet.
That makes sense. Seems like a good practice, I'll start doing that.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
That makes sense. Seems like a good practice, I'll start doing that.
I have a few other methods to try if you're interested. When you start mains using Option #1 above you will have to stack your clamps because both clamps will end up on the same end when you remove your starting clamp. If you were to pull 4 mains on one side that will not happen and you can clamp as close to the frame as possible. You will have 4 mains tensioned on 1 side and 1 on the other when you are ready to remove the starting clamp so you never really get more than 3 mains ahead.

When stringing on a drop weight you will have some clamp twist from drawback. On most pulls that twist is removed on the next pull except for your tie off locations. So if you're not using a hybrid it is best to use an ATW pattern tying off a top cross at the end of stringing. With all the mains and crosses installed there is very minimal twisting from drawback eliminating that issue.
 
I have a few other methods to try if you're interested. When you start mains using Option #1 above you will have to stack your clamps because both clamps will end up on the same end when you remove your starting clamp. If you were to pull 4 mains on one side that will not happen and you can clamp as close to the frame as possible. You will have 4 mains tensioned on 1 side and 1 on the other when you are ready to remove the starting clamp so you never really get more than 3 mains ahead.

When stringing on a drop weight you will have some clamp twist from drawback. On most pulls that twist is removed on the next pull except for your tie off locations. So if you're not using a hybrid it is best to use an ATW pattern tying off a top cross at the end of stringing. With all the mains and crosses installed there is very minimal twisting from drawback eliminating that issue.
I've found that if I flip one clamp upside down, I can place the clamps on adjacent strings without stacking. I haven't noticed any disadvantages to doing so. I did replace the Gamma clamps with Pro Stringer claws, which I think are a huge improvement.

I do string hybrids now and then, and I've stuck to two-piece stringing so far. I would love to upgrade to fixed clamps someday, though.
 
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