Progressive Tension

Discussion in 'Strings' started by tball, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. tball

    tball Semi-Pro

    Sep 3, 2004
    Some people have mentioned this before:
    * Nikolay Davydenko strings his racquets progressively: ie. low tension on the top, and increasing toward the bottom.
    * Wilson Pro Stuff 6.0 95 reportedly has a dead zone in the top part of the face. Some posters recommended progressive stringing to rectify this.

    The question was, though, does the progressive tension work ?

    (or does the tension just redistributes itself and evens everything out ? )

    Since the string had popped on that racquet for me about a month ago, I decided to give progressive tension a go. I strung Wilson with 52 lbs at the top, progressively increasing to 56 lbs at the bottom. Today, I must say that it does work.

    Shots from the upper half of the hoop fly off with much more power and pace than those from the bottom. I thought that the effect was temporary, and that after some heavy hitting, the tensions throughout the face will re-distribute, and the effect will disappear. But now a month had passed, and the effect is still there.

    Second event reinforced my belief today that the effect will last. A string just popped in my other racquet. I played at lunch, but got to the racquet only after dinner. When I started cutting out the old string, I was surprised to see that all neighboring strings maintained their high tension. I would have thought that after ~6 hours in the bag, with one string popped, all strings will become loose. Nothing like this happened. The racquet creaked and sprung each time I cut one level deeper.

    So, it appears that the string tension does not redistribute itself to the adjacent strings.

    Has anyone else notice this? What are your observations?

    I know this comes up pretty often in stringing questions: what if I descrease tension on this pull? what if I pull 2 together? etc. The answer usually is that on the next pull the tension will re-distribute and you should not worry much about the previous pull (or the tension on the last cross, or whether you are pulling at a steep angle through some grommets and thus losing a lot of tension to friction on some pulls).
  2. meowmix

    meowmix Hall of Fame

    Jul 5, 2007
    Hanover, NH
    Friction plays a pretty big role in this. I would bet money that the string adjacent to the broken one was a lot looser than it should have. However, the one next to that one was probably pretty close to normal.

    And yes, progressive tension does work. Don't remember what they were called, but there were certain strings that were meant to be strung with a different tension on each string. There was a formula to figure out what each string should be strung at. However, this fell out of use rather quickly because it was such a PITA adjusting tension for every string. Not to mention trying to figure out what each string was supposed to be strung at in the first place.
  3. Valjean

    Valjean Hall of Fame

    Mar 17, 2004
    North Carolina
    The kind of tension loss here is measurable with a Stringmeter; I've done it.

    I dealt with a loss of tension while stringing, not a break in the stringbed. Then, the preceding *three* strings showed some loss effect but not those before them.

    As to progressive tensioning--it's possible to work up a template for each head size and string pattern (there aren't that many, are there too!?!!!). And, if it's just your own racquet and you trust what you did, you can go from a formula that's unrelated to any such thing, and adjust it. Proportional stringing does work, I'd attest to it.

    In my own experience, too, any tension adjustment after stringing, due to play, has a negligible effect on the distribution of the installed tension, string by string. The important variable I've discovered for this is time in the racquet, too.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  4. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

    Jan 29, 2007
    Vienna, Austria
    yes, progressive stringing (in german they call it dynamic stringing - don't ask me why!) works. we've done that 30 years ago on wooden racquets already, strining the outer 2 mains on each side by almost 2kg lower than the rest of the mains, and 3-4 crosses, top and bottom also lower than the central ones.
    even if the plastic grommets have much lower fricition than the wooden racquets used to have, you still have pretty good tension separation between the strings, so it also works with modern racquets.
    i hit in the upper third, so basically at the outer edge of the sweetspot or slightly outside of it. i string low anyway (23/22kg) but specially on the crosses i go 1kg lower on the last 5 (since i string top to bottom it's first 5 strings) crosses.
    i string the racquets for myself and my son but i could understand that for a pro stringer such a request could be a "pita".
  5. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

    Feb 3, 2005
    I've tried it and it does work. You can feel the difference. I quit doing it though because it didn't really help my game. I feel like hitting more in the sweetspot is better for my shots and progressive stringing does mask the feel of the actual sweetspot of the frame to a degree depending on how much you soften the tension.

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