Starting Clamps: Gamma vs. Alpha

ffrpg

Professional
Does anyone have any experience with the Gamma starting clamps? Are they any good? Are the Alpha starting clamps worth the extra $?
 
gamma clamps sucks balls, the diamond dusting pieces are glued to the inside of the clamps, and spit themselves out after a couple monhs of use. Alphas are worth the extra, although you should save yourself the grief and just get a babolat, lasts longer than you will, probably...
 

fantom

Hall of Fame
How about the RAB clamps? Are they better than the Alphas?

Also, the ones on TW are Alphas, correct?
 

theace21

Hall of Fame
Fantom, got to do a search, but it seems to me a read a while back that TW sells alpha starting clamps...The topic had to do with something like why does it say out of stock/available in 9 days...Don't remember all the details...
 

eagle

Hall of Fame
Hi,

I have the Gamma clamp. It works fine. No problems with it holding the string in place.

I can't comment on the the Babolat or the RAB but from what I hear they are excellent.

I chose the Gamma just to see if it will do the job for the infrequent times I string. So far so good. :)

r,
eagle
 

Gaines Hillix

Hall of Fame
fantom said:
How about the RAB clamps? Are they better than the Alphas?

Also, the ones on TW are Alphas, correct?
The Rab and Alpha clamps are the same clamp and are the best for the money, IMO. The Bab clamps are great, but don't hold any better and are much more expensive. If you want to see a test done by Albert Lee jump over to the GSS msg boards and take a look in th tools section. I have one of the RAB clamps I bought from GSS and it's held in every situation, including direct pull on the string it was holding. I also have a clamp I bought from Maxline and it doesn't hold nearly as well and the build quality is poor. Sorry I ever bought it. You get what you pay for on stringing tools.
 

ffrpg

Professional
Thanks for the info guys. I placed my order with TW today for the Alpha starting clamp. The price difference for the Gamma and the Alpha start clamps is about 8 dollars. I figure it was worth the extra 8 bucks.
 

leog

Rookie
Gamma clamps are fine, I've used mine extensively for almost a year and had NO problems. Gamma gets little respect and minimal attention on this forum...it is surprising how few complaints about their machines and tools show up, though. You'd think more people would buy their stuff...guess there is a lot of ignorance and snobbery:

"gamma clamps sucks balls"
 

Gaines Hillix

Hall of Fame
leog said:
Gamma clamps are fine, I've used mine extensively for almost a year and had NO problems. Gamma gets little respect and minimal attention on this forum...it is surprising how few complaints about their machines and tools show up, though. You'd think more people would buy their stuff...guess there is a lot of ignorance and snobbery:

"gamma clamps sucks balls"
Leog, I think Gamma machines and tools are fine and recommend them all the time(especially their machines). Gamma has a bad rep for overpriced strings though and I think this rubs off on the rest of their stuff in many people's minds. Just my $.02 .
 

leog

Rookie
Gaines,
I'm with you on their strings, but their hardware seems fine and VERY reasonably priced...definitely some of the worst feeling synthetic guts come from Gamma, though:(
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
If you can get the gamma ones they'll be good. Not really used the kimony one; but yes they're more expensive and are liked by quite a few tour stringers
I have the Gamma are decent quality I had a pair that lasted over 10 years before the springs got too soft. Ive had a Babolat SC I bought in the early 80s that are still going strong. And I have a Yonex starting clamp which is made by Toyozouki (same as the Kimony) which are the best I’ve ever used hands down and yes they‘re are expensive.

I ordered an Alpha starting clamp on AliExpress recently and a friend says he can’t tell much difference between the Yonex and AliExpress SC. I talked to Mark Gonzales and he said Yonex and Alpha are in no way affiliated with Allpha Sports which is the outfit selling the knockoff Toyozouki clamp on AliExpress.
 

Pumpkin

Professional
I know him, but not met him yet
He taught me to string a racquet. He is a l
I have the Gamma are decent quality I had a pair that lasted over 10 years before the springs got too soft. Ive had a Babolat SC I bought in the early 80s that are still going strong. And I have a Yonex starting clamp which is made by Toyozouki (same as the Kimony) which are the best I’ve ever used hands down and yes they‘re are expensive.

I ordered an Alpha starting clamp on AliExpress recently and a friend says he can’t tell much difference between the Yonex and AliExpress SC. I talked to Mark Gonzales and he said Yonex and Alpha are in no way affiliated with Allpha Sports which is the outfit selling the knockoff Toyozouki clamp on AliExpress.
Thanks Irvin.
 

Pumpkin

Professional
Sorry to bother you again @Irvin . I've just seen a Babolat starting clamp online that is about $50 more than the Gamma. It only has 2 springs instead of 3. The advertisement says it is high quality better than asian made ones ( slightly mysterious description as it does not say where the babolat is made or why asian ones could be inferior)
 

Stefanm

Rookie
I have a Gamma. After a year or two, the plate with the diamond coating fell off. I glued it back and it has been fine since. I subsequently bought a Babolat clamp and the springs are considerably stiffer. I still use the Gamma for things like tightening knots etc, but use the Babolat for things like bridging etc
 

struggle

Legend
I have three.

Gamma works fine, but yeah the springs are seemingly "softer". I usually use it for snugging knots.
My diamond plates have not fallen off, but gluing should be simple.

Eagnas works Great!! The springs are super stiff. Great for true starting clamp use.

Babolat works just dandy. Good all around.

I go back and forth between keeping the Eagnas rigged for a bridge. As it happens so very rarely,
i usually just keep a few cutout pieces of old dead thick poly to thread into a clamp when needed.
The natural bend from the grommets, having already been strung, works GREAT for a bridge string.
They fit right into the clamp eyelets just like they were designed for such. Plus, they are already stretched.
If you want to plan ahead, cut a few of them from one end of the racket, instead of cutting from the
middle of the stringbed. That way they are certainly long enough to use as such (bridge).
 
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USMC-615

Professional
Two Gamma’s here and they’ve worked fine. Of course I haven’t strung near as many racquets as most have, but they certainly seem like they'll last for years.
 
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Wes

Hall of Fame
I go back and forth between keeping the Eagnas rigged for a bridge. As it happens so very rarely,
i usually just keep a few cutout pieces of old dead thick poly to thread into a clamp when needed.
The natural bend from the grommets, having already been strung, works GREAT for a bridge string.
They fit right into the clamp eyelets just like they were designed for such. Plus, they are already stretched.
If you want to plan ahead, cut a few of them from one end of the racket, instead of cutting from the
middle of the stringbed. That way they are certainly long enough to use as such (bridge).

What you've described, almost to the letter, is something I once demonstrated.

 

Binatang

Rookie
I have the Gamma are decent quality I had a pair that lasted over 10 years before the springs got too soft. Ive had a Babolat SC I bought in the early 80s that are still going strong. And I have a Yonex starting clamp which is made by Toyozouki (same as the Kimony) which are the best I’ve ever used hands down and yes they‘re are expensive.

I ordered an Alpha starting clamp on AliExpress recently and a friend says he can’t tell much difference between the Yonex and AliExpress SC. I talked to Mark Gonzales and he said Yonex and Alpha are in no way affiliated with Allpha Sports which is the outfit selling the knockoff Toyozouki clamp on AliExpress.
You decided to bite the bullet on the Toyozouki clones too huh. I'm still waiting for mine to arrive. I have the fixed clamps from the same series (Chinese character on the dial) & they were money so I'm hopeful. I don't think the AliEx store is official Alpha hence the typo in the name but the service from them has been spot on. Alpha China has an official store on Taobao & they stock all the same stuff as the AliEx store & more (eg. Alpha China Stringing machines). The prices are cheaper but you would need to arrange a 3rd party service to get it shipped out of China.
 

Binatang

Rookie
I have three.

Gamma works fine, but yeah the springs are seemingly "softer". I usually use it for snugging knots.
My diamond plates have not fallen off, but gluing should be simple.

Eagnas works Great!! The springs are super stiff. Great for true starting clamp use.

Babolat works just dandy. Good all around.

I go back and forth between keeping the Eagnas rigged for a bridge. As it happens so very rarely,
i usually just keep a few cutout pieces of old dead thick poly to thread into a clamp when needed.
The natural bend from the grommets, having already been strung, works GREAT for a bridge string.
They fit right into the clamp eyelets just like they were designed for such. Plus, they are already stretched.
If you want to plan ahead, cut a few of them from one end of the racket, instead of cutting from the
middle of the stringbed. That way they are certainly long enough to use as such (bridge).
My experience mirrors yours.
My 1st SC was Eagnas & I still use as my main SC to this day but I have gotten a few SC as backups.

Eagnas - 3 spring. Flush mouth & very strong grip to the point of crushing the string. Added a spacer to lessen the pressure but after years of use its no longer necessary.
Pro' Pro - 3 spring. Gap in the mouth. Strong grip. Ok with tennis string but not workable with thinner badminton string due to the gap.
Siboasi - 2 spring. Much lighter grip but works fine. Came free with a Siboasi stringing machine.
AliExpress - 3 spring. No name generic SC with the unique feature of having a very wide gripping head. Cost $18. Very light weight so the metal used may not be the best. Worked fine the several times I used it.
Alpha Toyozouki Clone - Ordered from AliEx & haven't received it yet. A cross between a flying clamp & SC with adjustable gripper.

Apart from the Toyo clone I never bough a SC costing more than $40. Ironically I'm still using my 1st Eagnas SC that I got with my 1st stringer (Eagnas) I got like 20 years ago.
 

guanzishou

G.O.A.T.
Does anyone have any experience with the Gamma starting clamps? Are they any good? Are the Alpha starting clamps worth the extra $?
I've been using a Gamma starting clamp for almost two years now (stringing for about 2 to 4 times a month), and I haven't had any issues with it. It still clamps the string very very well.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
You decided to bite the bullet on the Toyozouki clones too huh.
Yeah just wanted to compare to Toyozouki (Yonex) clamp. I have 5 other starting clamps but I like the way the adjustable clamps are made And operate
 

USMC-615

Professional
Two Gamma’s here and they’ve worked fine. Of course I haven’t strung near as many racquets as most have, but they certainly seem like they'll last for years.
Guess I shoulda added in my previous, which is prob obvious...if the diamond-dusted pads ever slip or come loose, that's what they make epoxy for.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
@Irvin @uk_skippy are gamma starting clamps good quality? What about the kimony ( more expensive)?
I have the alpha (comes with ghost), an alpha I bought separately, a gamma, a wilson (comes with baiardo), and a kimony. On my home machine and for tournament stringing I use the Kimony as my starting clamp for crosses. As my back up clamp for the machine clamp when starting the mains I use the regular wilson clamp (I find the kimony clamp clumsy for one handed use coming from the bottom of the string bed). As some others have said, the gamma clamps tend to have the plates glued in and will give up over time. For a while, I would just dab a bit of superglue on the back of the plate and let the clamp sit closed. It was my first starting clamp and getting heavy use tying knots, starting crosses, bridges, etc. The alpha one that comes with the machines in their tool kit does fine but I don't use it heavily. The other alpha that I have has the alpha symbol on the outside of the clamp and the clamp is almost double the width of the other brands starting clamps. I use it strictly as a bridge due to the extra gripping surface. From my experience, almost any of the clamps you will buy can suffice for most usages. The only time you truly need one that is really, really heavy duty is when you're bridging. There are ways to move the clamps on most machines that make it so you don't truly require one to tie a knot on your crosses.
 

graycrait

Legend
The last time I glued in my Gamma plates I used Bob Smith Industries "super" glue. That was several years ago and they have not come out. I have a pair of Alpha clamps, the ones with the dimpled plate surfaces, dubbed "the crushers." I changed a spring out of one of the crushers and now it is quite decent, while I left the other as a "crusher" with a length of 16g Ash Kev as the bridge string. I also changed a spring out on the Gamma and now it has a bit more pressure.

8 days ago I ordered one of the AliExpress adjustable clamps. I figure I might see it by spring.
 

struggle

Legend
To be fair, HF is hit or miss. BUT, the hits prove that it can be done at that price point.

Years ago (20-ish) i was remodeling our house, hardwood floors. Needed a floor nailer, but long-term
so rental didn't make sense. The Bostitch was damn near $600 (2003 prices) and the HF was maybe $120
and had solid reviews. BAM. Worked like a charm.

I've also bought junk from them.

Seems that some on here liked some of their cutters recently.

Point being, these prices are outrageous for these clamps.
 

struggle

Legend
I'm a beginner but I don't think I would use a clamp to tie knots. I would use pliars.
sounds about right.

make sure to wear some safety glasses. nothing like a needle nose pliers stuck in your eye.

much harder to gouge your eyeball out of your face with a starting clamp than a pair of needlenose pliers. (the starting clamp won't snap the string.....it ALSO doesn't have a nasty pointed end on it.)

Stick around, kid. You may just learn something.

@Pumpkin
 
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Pumpkin

Professional
sounds about right.

make sure to wear some safety glasses. nothing like a needle nose pliers stuck in your eye.

much harder to gouge your eyeball out of your face with a starting clamp than a pair of needlenose pliers. (the starting clamp won't snap the string.....it ALSO doesn't have a nasty pointed end on it.)

Stick around, kid. You may just learn something.

@Pumpkin
Hahaha...always entertaining. It's just that I know a pro stringer and we used pliers. You can squeeze them. You can't squeeze a SC. SC is designed to hold something. Not squeeze and pull. You can prolong the life of your SC.
 

jim e

Legend
I'm a beginner but I don't think I would use a clamp to tie knots. I would use pliars.
If you do use pliers, best to get in habit of pulling towards your shoulder, as pliers in face really does happen if string snaps , or pliers slip.
A number of years back, someone posted on these boards a picture of his face after needle nose pliers jabbed into his face and he was using pliers to tighten knot. Use the search function on this site, as it may still be there.
I just use fingers to cinch knots, but starting clamp is much safer than pliers and works very well. You do not squeeze the handles when you pull as you need to know how to use them properly.
I just did not want another beginner see your post and think pliers are okay.
Then again, what do I know, I have only been stringing since 1968.
 
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Pumpkin

Professional
If you do use pliers, best to get in habit of pulling towards your shoulder, as pliers in face really does happen if string snaps , or pliers slip.
A number of years back, someone posted on these boards a picture of his face after needle nose pliers jabbed into his face and he was using pliers to tighten knot. Use the search function on this site, as it may still be there.
I just use fingers to cinch knots, but starting clamp is much safer than pliers and works very well. You do not squeeze the handles when you pull as you need to know how to use them properly.
I just did not want another beginner see your post and think pliers are okay.
Then again, what do I know, I have only been stringing since 1968.
I'm not worried about being hit in the face by pliers. This is fiction.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
It's just that I know a pro stringer and we used pliers. You can squeeze them. You can't squeeze a SC. SC is designed to hold something. Not squeeze and pull. You can prolong the life of your SC.
If you’re going to use pliers my guess is you will wrap the string around them and pull. In that case you can’t easily squeeze at the same time. With a starting you just clamp the string and pull the same way without having to wrap the string.

EDIT: I’ve used clamps for stringing for years stringing a lot of rackets. If any clamp is going to wear out it will be a machine clamp before a starting clamp.
 
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