Rookie mistakes causing lower tension

Hi guys,

I've restrung 10-15 times total on a Gamma X2 drop weight machine. using clamps came with the stringer. the strings are mostly full bed smooth poly. I always feel the tension I got is lower than the tension set on the hammer. I use android app TennisVibe to check tension, but that app doesn't allow you to chose specific string brand and gauge. I know the absolute tension measured straight from it can be quite a bit off. It read like 48 lbs when I got the racquet back from tennis shop where I asked them to string at 58lbs. looks like the uncalibrated reading depends on the chemical recipe of the strings. Is there any good tension tester that can measure absolute tension?

What are the things that I should be checking during stringing that may cause low tension? clamp tightness, loose string at the outside of the frame when making knots? what else?

Thanks
 

struggle

Legend
Also, make sure your weight is set on the correct side of the indicator mark on the bar. Seems simple enough but can also be a very easy mistake to make.

Knot/tie-off issues shouldn't affect the entire stringbed, but is definitely something to learn and get better at (maintaining best possible tension on tieoffs, outer mains/first and last cross, etc)

You can mark the string at the clamps with a sharpie pen to check for slippage in the clamps if that is suspected.
 

ngoster

New User
May not be as obvious but, inconsistencies in keeping the drop bar horizontal can affect the tension. I also recently bought a starting clamp because I never felt clamping the first set of mains was very good.

I've only strung for myself so I never really paid attention to tension accuracy since I can adjust, as needed, in my next string job. On the rare occasions that I string for friends, I forewarn them on the potential that mine may not feel the same as what they're used to (assuming that they string theirs at the same place all the time).
 

esm

Hall of Fame
I've restrung 10-15 times total on a Gamma X2 drop weight machine. using clamps came with the stringer.
to be fair - i still think the X-2 is a decent first stringer. i used one (still have it, somewhere....) and i enjoyed the experience.
i know many people thinks this isnt a good one, but then again, not many people can afford a Baiardo/Lite... lol

Is there any good tension tester that can measure absolute tension?
don't think there is one device can give you measure absolute tension.
i used to use RacquetTune, but can't be bothered to mess with the setup each time.
i find Tourna Stringmetre and the MSV Mini STT are "good enough" grab and go devices for me.
 

struggle

Legend
to be fair - i still think the X-2 is a decent first stringer. i used one (still have it, somewhere....) and i enjoyed the experience.
i know many people thinks this isnt a good one, but then again, not many people can afford a Baiardo/Lite... lol


don't think there is one device can give you measure absolute tension.
i used to use RacquetTune, but can't be bothered to mess with the setup each time.
i find Tourna Stringmetre and the MSV Mini STT are "good enough" grab and go devices for me.
Irvin even prefers the X-2 over a Babolat Star whatever he has, so that's really saying something!!

I've never cared for the RacquetTune app, would rather just use a Stringmeter (But I also have an ERT-300
which rarely sees any use......just don't really need it).
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
One issue you could have is the clamps are slipping. Hold the string as close to the clamp as possible on the DW side of the clamp. As you lift the DW bar if there is any slipping you will feel it.
 

jim e

Legend
Irvin even prefers the X-2 over a Babolat Star whatever he has, so that's really saying something!!
That's because his Star 5 is broken down, and the x-2 most likely still functions.
That said, if I had to string on an x-2 , I would give up stringing.
Will be interested to hear what Irvin does with the star machine. I'm sure it taking up room, as he purchased another machine to take its place.
 

tennisbike

Professional
Hi guys,

I've restrung 10-15 times total on a Gamma X2 drop weight machine. using clamps came with the stringer. the strings are mostly full bed smooth poly. I always feel the tension I got is lower than the tension set on the hammer. I use android app TennisVibe to check tension, but that app doesn't allow you to chose specific string brand and gauge. I know the absolute tension measured straight from it can be quite a bit off. It read like 48 lbs when I got the racquet back from tennis shop where I asked them to string at 58lbs. looks like the uncalibrated reading depends on the chemical recipe of the strings. Is there any good tension tester that can measure absolute tension?

What are the things that I should be checking during stringing that may cause low tension? clamp tightness, loose string at the outside of the frame when making knots? what else?

Thanks
Stringing, learning to string is a journey, so good, you started your journey. Here are a couple of thoughts you might want to focus on. (there are a lot of variables, but here let's focus on just the stringing)

  1. Starting center main on using flying clamps, on the Gamma X2: I string with fixed clamps and I admire those who string with flying clamps. I think it takes a very different way to start the center mains. I had only done a couple of string jobs on Progression 602 w flying clamps and I was not happy with them. Yes, I think it is possible to do a quality string job w/ flying clamps but there are more ways to mess one up than on a fixed clamp machine. I remember I was making a bunch of sketches for the sequence of starting center mains to get myself ready. Well, good luck with that. I am sure Irvin has a tutorial video on YT. I am not going to offer any tip on the sequence of starting center mains using flying clamps.
  2. Use StringMeter and use it consistently: Though many people dismiss the usefulness of SM, there are more than a few source that found them useful and being the most economical and consistent way to check string to string "property" and how that changes over time. I keep a notebook of all my string job, 16+19 or 18+20 numbers, and follow ups. SM give one data point per string, instead of one number per string bed. I use SM to see how differences between main strings, and how those number changes over time. Often, I found the center strings became lower over time. Also Gut and Glory states that using SM can help check the quality of a string job. I agree. When you find a systematic way of using SM, you will be able to make your own judgement about string/string jobs based on data instead of opinions or marketing slogans.
  3. Low tension is not a problem, consistent string property across string bed can be a problem: There really is just one universal rule in tennis strings: String under high tension will permanently stretched out, displaced, creeped at a higher rate than same string under lower tension. And like most material, stretched out string is actually "stronger", can withstand more stress (more force/area) plus the modulus of elasticity will increase. This is why pre-stretched strings have certain advantages. One simple way to "pre-stretch" is actually just to string slow, on a constant pull machine or do double or triple pull on a lock out machine.
 
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Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
If your DW arm falls when you remove a clamp you are losing tension. STOP and find out what is wrong.

Always adjust the DW arm within 5 degrees of level preferably on the high side of being level.

Buy good clamps like Stringway or Pro-Stringer. The stock composite clamps DO work but they must be adjusted tighter, cleaned more often, and will wear out quicker.
 
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Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Will be interested to hear what Irvin does with the star machine. I'm sure it taking up room, as he purchased another machine to take its place.
Not taking up room, I sold it. The issue was a bad connection on one or more of the connectors or an optical sensor. Removed all cable connections, cleaned contacts, blew out connectors and sensors then worked as good as ever.
 

Joe Garfield

Semi-Pro
Mark a clamped string with a felt tip pen and make sure it's not slipping in the clamps. Slight slippage is easy to miss but causes a big difference in tenion.
 

struggle

Legend
Not taking up room, I sold it. The issue was a bad connection on one or more of the connectors or an optical sensor. Removed all cable connections, cleaned contacts, blew out connectors and sensors then worked as good as ever.
I'll give ya $50 for that X-2. Does it still work?
 

jim e

Legend
@Rabbit and I go way back to the Tremont Research tabletop stringer (TR-145?). Makes a dropweight seem like a high-tech marvel, but it wasn't a bad way to get started in 1982.
I started stringing in 1968 with a Serrano machine. It is a peddle operated drop weight, but was an automatic drop weight, as once you release peddle the tension gripper pulled to set tension. Plus it had fixed clamps.
That wasn't a bad way to start back then.
I still have that old beast of a machine, although I have no idea what I will end up doing with it, as rarely ever gets used now, just use now for an occasional woodie, to bring back memories.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I started stringing in 1968 with a Serrano machine. It is a peddle operated drop weight, but was an automatic drop weight, as once you release peddle the tension gripper pulled to set tension. Plus it had fixed clamps.
That wasn't a bad way to start back then.
I still have that old beast of a machine, although I have no idea what I will end up doing with it, as rarely ever gets used now, just use now for an occasional woodie, to bring back memories.
If I take the Serrano, does it come with the Challenger? :)
 

struggle

Legend
My first rig was a Kmate (definitely, same drawer base you still see today rarely), but branded Court & Slope. Linear gripper with ratchet. It even had a crude 6 point “mount”, if you will. It was an add-on, likely aftermarket I think or maybe even home made. Bought it used in 1984 or so. Still have and use the awl that came with it to this day (when needed).
 

esm

Hall of Fame
That includes the claw floating clamps. (Imagine dumping the money on those, then buying a fancy Tourna machine because you didn’t dust off your Star 5..... SMDH...)
Hang on a minute. Is it you paying the 50 or the owner will pay you 50 for you to take “them” off the owners hands? Lol
 

jim e

Legend
@Rabbit
You remember I have an old Dodge Challenger. That stays here, I would be glad to give you the Serrano, but that thing weights a ton. It's extremely heavy, although it works as good as when I first got it, but I never got the upgrades for the larger racquets of today.
 

Wes

Professional
@Rabbit
You remember I have an old Dodge Challenger. That stays here, I would be glad to give you the Serrano, but that thing weights a ton. It's extremely heavy, although it works as good as when I first got it, but I never got the upgrades for the larger racquets of today.

I can't remember exactly who made this suggestion previously, but I thought it was a great one...

See if the Tennis Hall of Fame would be interested in giving the Serrano a rightful place within it's historic halls.
 

KingBugsy

Rookie
I use the Gamma X-2 DW with excellent results! I am also using the floating clamps the machine came with. I think this little machine is great … and have been happier with the job I do then when I had gotten that racket strung at the local shops. Also, I use the Tourna String meter to check tension. Pulling the racket off the machine after a string job, the tension meter is either right on to what i set the bar at, or within a pound or so. I will also mention, I use poly string. Either Solinco Confidential or Hyper G.

I have a friend who also bought the Stringmeter. And we have compared the reading between the meters side by side on the very same racket. And his meter always reads 2 lbs lower than my meter.

Others here have made some great tips in regards to getting accurate tension and consistent string jobs. IMO, the Gamma X-2 is quite capable of producing an excellent string job. So, I would continue to work on improving stringing technique. Aside from this board, there are many great videos on YouTube. And you even have Irvin here to help out. Check out his videos.

Best of luck moving forward!
 
Rookie mistake: in my attempt to not block holes with the 4 side supports I placed the racket so far in one direction between the center posts that I didn't realize the machine itself would get in the way of clamping the last cross. I ended up having to clamp a couple of mains over instead of next to the grommet, so I lost more tension on that last cross since it's the tie-off and I had a longer section of lax string between the clamp and the frame.
 

jugheadfla

Rookie
If your DW arm falls when you remove a clamp you are losing tension. STOP and find out what is wrong.

Always adjust the DW arm within 5 degrees of level preferably on the high side of being level.

Buy good clamps like Stringway or Pro-Stringer. The stock composite clamps DO work but they must be adjusted tighter, cleaned more often, and will wear out quicker.
I can attest that on an X-2 using stingway clamps, the bar never drops after releasing tension, even when using just the doubles.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I can attest that on an X-2 using stingway clamps, the bar never drops after releasing tension, even when using just the doubles.
The bar won’t drop when you release tension unless your string is stretching. when you release the clamp to move to the next main it should not fall either.
 
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