String for Old Timer?

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
I don't know what string to get. If any of you String Experts have been playing since the days of WOOD, I'd like your suggestions. (No offense to you youngsters, but I want experienced input.)

I'm 6'2 200 pounds and play all court tennis with an emphasis on attacking the net. At 52, I'm not confident I'm still a 5.0 anymore. I just cannot train enough to have the stamina to hang with the 30 year olds anymore. I still play 2-3 Senior Tourneys a year and win a couple rounds. (I was astonished to learn how -- like me -- every guy who enters a Senior Tourney is thinking, "I'm more fit than those other guys. I can win this thing." Most of us are still wrong....)

This year I've decided I need to focus on being more aggressive on Returns of Serve. I've tended to "play it safe" too much on Returns and my fall back is a chip return. I'm working on swinging more aggressively to get more points off 2nd Serves. I need to make the Bad Guy pay for missing his 1st Serve....

I use a SW FH about 40% of the time; Eastern the rest. I play an All Court game with an emphasis on Attack the Net. On "big points" I'm 90% certain to S&V.

I play with a ProKennex 7G strung with Prince Lightning XX at 48 pounds. (The last two years I've dropped my tension from 64 pounds. I may even get down to the mid-40's....) I am not much of a string breaker. I'd say a set of Prince Lightning XX lasts me about 20 sets.

Back in the '70s and '80s I played with gut (Victor Supreme) and loved it. I haven't used gut since, but I'm thinking about going back to it. I don't see Supreme as a choice anymore...!

I am a bit afraid to try Poly; I had a really bad shoulder back in High School and College. (I even quit tennis for 18 years because it hurt so much. But now that I regularly lift weights I don't have any trouble with it.)

Thanks, in advance. What recommendations do you "older" string experts have?

- KK
 

Valjean

Hall of Fame
If you don't like doing a lot of stroke adjustment all at once, you can ease back to gut. I'd do Babolat's Addiction right away; it's a good first move away from Lightning XX in the direction you yearn to go.

One more move to a premium multifilament (and there are many you should choose, too) with this graduated approach and then you can ease right on into gut with little disruption.

If you're comfortable moving directly back into natural gut, though, you should. As for poly and you--I'd fuggedaboutit if I were that shoulder you had, and that's what TW advises, too, when you've had previous physical trouble.
 
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Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
What don't you like about the Lightning XX?
For a Nylon it's actually pretty good. Decent feel, good durability, economical.

It still doesn't have the *feel* I used to love about Gut. I don't break strings like even my HS Boys Team players do. So, I'm wondering if more feel for a few more dollars a set would be a good investment.

Does that help?

- KK
 

jim e

Legend
Although I am not an old timer as you ask for, as I am only 54. Like you I used gut in the 60's- early 70's, Victor Imperial, and I really liked it. After a 34 year break from tennis, I have tried a great # of strings in the past 1&1/2 years, and my choice of string is VS 16g. at 64 lbs.My game is a little different than yours, all court tennis, with emphasis on baseline. To date I found nothing plays like VS gut.(I guess Bow Brand comes in a close 2nd). I have also been working on an agressive return of 2nd serves. The power, feel and comfort of the gut seems like no other for me. Its at least worth a try. I spent a fortune changing strings in extra racquets just to try them out,as I needed to see for myself how they hit, and I still prefer the nat. gut.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
I guess I should have clarified ... I'd like to know what you guys think is a comparable gut among *today's* choices to Victor Supreme. It didn't have as good feel as the top guts, but was more durable than them, too.

- KK
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Try Natural gut. I use Gamma Pro in the winter. Both are great for old joints. Use regular duty balls and try several brands. Used the Gamma Pro Tour this weekend. Much easier on my arm than other balls like the Pro Penn.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Although I am not an old timer as you ask for, as I am only 54.
I like your attitude! (I figured most of the regulars on TT *might* consider me an Old Timer.....)

I spent a fortune changing strings in extra racquets just to try them out....
I did the "nylon version" of this. Trying to avoid it all over again.

Well Pacific Blue spiral, is the replacement for the Victor Imperial. You may wish to give that a try. I may even try that one soon myself.
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageACPACIFIC-PBS16.html
Thank you for your suggestions ... (young man.)

- KK
 

Valjean

Hall of Fame
I guess I should have clarified ... I'd like to know what you guys think is a comparable gut among *today's* choices to Victor Supreme. It didn't have as good feel as the top guts, but was more durable than them, too.....
Pacific's Classic Gut, and it comes in 17 gauge too, unlike the rest of the middle grades.
 
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Rorsach

Hall of Fame
Try some Global Natural gut. There's a thread on here about its virtues and you can't go much wrong with 7.5 bucks for a stringjob.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I am not old either I was born in the early 40s. We are not going to mention how early. lol

I would try Gamma Professional. It is the only string that I know of that comes with a Guarantee in the package to improve your game or your money back. Just fill in the card you get with the string job along with your receipt and the strings (cut out of the racket) and Gamma sends you your money back.

I have tried Gamma Professional but I like the Gamma XP 17 better. Only the Professional comes with the guarantee though. Makes sure you get the card from your stringer.

Irvin
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I'm with Valjean. If you want to give gut a whirl and not spend an arm and a leg, Pacific Classic is the way to go. They even have a couple of gauges to choose from.

Your OP indicated that you are down to lower tensions which would work well with Pacific or Klip since both player firmer than BDE or Babolat. I prefer Pacific because it has more cushion than Klip and plays more old school.

With regard to the Blue Spiral, it is a very quick gut and has exceptionally good feel, but you'll need to up your tension to compensate.

IMO, none of the guts today have the "feel" that I loved when I played as a kid with wood. The guts of today do play better, but I think they've been toughened up to withstand the demands of today's game and gear at the expense of some of the feel we used to love.

But I agree, gut is the way to go. If you're feeling any fatigue in your arm/shoulder now, it'll disappear when you switch to gut. That part was phenomenal to me.
 

jrod

Hall of Fame
KK- We're the same age, but I'm not a 5.0 and will likely never be (weak 4.5 on a good day). From you post it's not clear what you don't like about your current set-up, and why you believe you need to change it. So it's a little hard to make a meaningful recommendation.

It seems to me that most cued on your age and suggested natural gut. But why? Didn't seem to me like you were seeking more power or better feel. You mentioned you were hesitant to try poly, but also stated that you feel like the shoulder is not at risk.

I tried a number of different strings over the years and have finally settled on a hybrid of Tonic mains (55 lbs) and Weiscannon Silverstring crosses (53 lbs). I settled on this combo because it is soft on my arm, has good power and excellent feel, superb spin, and it allows me to take big cuts at the ball while maintaining decent control.
 

origmarm

Hall of Fame
I'll contribute for you Karl, I'm not in the "old timer" bracket by any means but I've just had a similar experience with my dad (67) trying for something new so I'll give you his findings.

He ended up with Klip Legend 17g in full bed in the mid 50s, changes it summer to winter by a few lbs. This was coming from PSG at 57/58 which he'd used for about 10yrs. When he used to play with wooden racquets he said he used the "gut with the blue spirals in it" which I'm guessing by the posts below is likely the Victor imperial given the name of it's successor. Had a Dunlop Fort that I inherited :).

I picked a selection below for him to try and given what follows you'll probably understand that he didn't dislike any of them. It was really a matter of minor differences for him within most of these. He plays with an Head LM4. He's an average player for his age I would say. You are probably a lot better. What he tried and his thoughts:

- Klip Legend - The winner! Apparently soft but not too much and lasted well.

- VS - Great but "too soft". Broke it on a mishit. Views it as "expensive". Not sure why though as it's about the same as the Klip :). The most "old style" feeling apparently so you may like this better.

- NRG2 - Close second to the guts. He really liked but it didn't last as long as the gut and he thought it expensive also. He said he might use it when it gets wetter apparently if he's going to play outside some.

- X-1 Biphase - Liked it a lot. Apparently was crisper than the gut. He couldn't put his finger on it but NRG2 edged it out. For the money the gut came out on top though in his opinion.

- Yonex 850. "Mushy" feel apparently and "slightly dead". I tend to agree, perhaps my influence.

- Prince Syn Gut Multifilament. Like "cheap X-1" apparently but still "better than that Yonex mush". He liked his PSG more than this.

- Forten Sweet 17. "Muted" compared to the gut but with a nice soft feel and cheaper by a long shot. The budget choice. Better than the Yonex and the Prince in his opinion.

Hope it helps a little.

Cheers, Orig
 
KK- We're the same age, but I'm not a 5.0 and will likely never be (weak 4.5 on a good day). From you post it's not clear what you don't like about your current set-up, and why you believe you need to change it. So it's a little hard to make a meaningful recommendation.

It seems to me that most cued on your age and suggested natural gut. But why? Didn't seem to me like you were seeking more power or better feel. You mentioned you were hesitant to try poly, but also stated that you feel like the shoulder is not at risk.

I tried a number of different strings over the years and have finally settled on a hybrid of Tonic mains (55 lbs) and Weiscannon Silverstring crosses (53 lbs). I settled on this combo because it is soft on my arm, has good power and excellent feel, superb spin, and it allows me to take big cuts at the ball while maintaining decent control.


Hi jrod, on what racquet do you this setup on?
Thanks
Octavianus
 

coloskier

Legend
Since we are about 30 miles apart at altitude, I can tell you that I have been going through the same thing as you the past 4 years. I started trying something like NXT at 58# (no go), then tried a hybrid of VS gut and Alu Rough (too powerful for altitude), then went to all gut, but jacked the tension up to 66# (played pretty good, but WAY to expensive). Finally I decided to try a soft poly. Right now I am switching back and forth between Topspin Cyberblue and Topspin Concept Pure at 55#, depending whether I am playing in Denver or playing higher at Boulder or Steamboat (Cyberblue at high altitude, Concept Pure in Denver, Concept Pure has a lot more power than Cyberblue, but also more spin access). One thing I have done is switch from the K90 to the KPS88, and I am loving the control and plowthrough the KPS88 gives me. Now, if we can just get this rain/snow to stay away for the rest of the spring so I don't have two USTA tournament matches cancelled like this past weekend and today.:(
 
Becker 11 mid. I've also used it on a k90 and a Fischer Mpro #1 98. All relatively "soft" frames (the k90's flex rating seems way higher than it feels).
Thanks for the information, this setup and tension should work well in my KBlade 98.

Octavianus
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Recapping....

VS 16g. ... Bow Brand ... Pacific Blue spiral
Try Natural gut. I use Gamma Pro
Pacific's Classic Gut, and it comes in 17 gauge too, unlike the rest of the middle grades.
Try some Global Natural gut. There's a thread on here about its virtues and you can't go much wrong with 7.5 bucks for a stringjob.
I would try Gamma Professional. It is the only string that I know of that comes with a Guarantee ....

I like the Gamma XP 17 better
You guys have been helpful (even if you *have* recommended more strings than I'd hoped. (I'm trying to narrow my choices, remember?)

So ...
(2) ... Gamma Pro
(2) ... Pacific Classic
... VS 16
... Bow Brand
... Pacific Blue Spiral
... Natural gut (Is this an actual *brand*??? Or a category? I'm asking about "natural gut.")
... Gamma XP
... Global Natural ($7.50 a set??? I'm skeptical already.)
... Klip Legend



Pacific Classic is the way to go.

Your OP indicated that you are down to lower tensions which would work well with Pacific or Klip since both play firmer than BDE or Babolat. I prefer Pacific because it has more cushion than Klip and plays more old school.
I'd like to explore this a bit.... Remember how I posted I liked Victor Supreme better than Imperial (blue spiral)? This was partly because I thought Imperial was *too* lively. Supreme (for me) still seem to "catch" the ball a bit and not have it "rebound" off the string bed as quickly as Imperial did. So ... do you Old Schoolers like the newer guts because they are MORE or LESS like Victor Imperial of 30 years ago?

With regard to the Blue Spiral, it is a very quick gut and has exceptionally good feel, but you'll need to up your tension to compensate.
How much of an increase? (Back in college I had my 65si frames strung at 66 lbs. I *toyed* with the idea of 69 lbs, but I was too afraid of high tension making the strings break too easily.)

IMO, none of the guts today have the "feel" that I loved when I played as a kid with wood. The guts of today do play better, but I think they've been toughened up to withstand the demands of today's game and gear at the expense of some of the feel we used to love.
From what you post here, I suspect I'll like the modern guts...!

From you post it's not clear what you don't like about your current set-up, and why you believe you need to change it.
Yeah. Sorry about that.

I'm not *unhappy* with Lightning XX. I'm just wondering (seriously wondering) if moving back to gut will help me in my efforts to be more aggressive on Returns. (When I try to *swing* more -- instead of chip my Return -- it seems to me the ball has very very little dwell time on my strings. I remember gut affording me that dwell time. (Only a fraction of a second, but it was there.)

Does this help?

You mentioned you were hesitant to try poly, but also stated that you feel like the shoulder is not at risk.
Actually, I am concerned the shoulder *may* be at risk if I go to Poly.


What he tried and his thoughts:

- Klip Legend - The winner! Apparently soft but not too much and lasted well.

- VS - Great but "too soft". Broke it on a mishit. Views it as "expensive". Not sure why though as it's about the same as the Klip :). The most "old style" feeling apparently so you may like this better.
Thanks for the detailed contribution. If I do not switch to gut, I'm stickin' with Lightning XX.

Yonex 850. "Mushy" feel apparently and "slightly dead".
The only string job I cut out of my frame after "Day 2" was this one. People I trusted told me it was comparable to my LXX. (I liked it on Day 1. By Day 2 -- the very next day(!) -- it had gone very very *dead*. (IMO, Wilson Sensation does the same Ding-Dong thing. I can't believe how popular Sensation is. I hate it!)



Thanks everybody. I'm getting there....

- KK
 
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John C

New User
Kaptain, you're just a youngster! I started with steel racket and steel strings. Anyway I'm not a 5.0 anymore either but have played with a lot of stuff. I use a Pro Kennex 15g with NRG 18 at 52/50 and find it plays ad close to VS Team (my favorite gut) as I can get. I used a Wilson ProStaff and/or Tad Davis Imperial with Victor Imperial strung to 55# back in the day. With them I won the NCAA Division 3 ******* regionals and some other titles. I have not used Pacific, but have tried the others.

One of the other posters whose Dad did the same, summed it up pretty well I thought.
 
From this oldster I have 2 simple suggestions for improved feel, power and control. Prince Premier with Softflex 16 will work great in your racquet if you are looking to keep the cost down. Gut will play even better. I would go with BDE Performance 16 for a long lasting gut with better feel and touch than most of the other ones recommended.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I'd like to explore this a bit.... Remember how I posted I liked Victor Supreme better than Imperial (blue spiral)? This was partly because I thought Imperial was *too* lively. Supreme (for me) still seem to "catch" the ball a bit and not have it "rebound" off the string bed as quickly as Imperial did. So ... do you Old Schoolers like the newer guts because they are MORE or LESS like Victor Imperial of 30 years ago?
- KK

Yeah, I suspect you'd love Pacific Classic. I string mine at 60, but suspect that you could go lower. Even at 60, it has great elasticity and feel and that's in the AG100 which is smaller. Hey...it's $26....go ahead...
 

jrod

Hall of Fame
.....

I'm not *unhappy* with Lightning XX. I'm just wondering (seriously wondering) if moving back to gut will help me in my efforts to be more aggressive on Returns. (When I try to *swing* more -- instead of chip my Return -- it seems to me the ball has very very little dwell time on my strings. I remember gut affording me that dwell time. (Only a fraction of a second, but it was there.)

Does this help?
Gut, strung at the right tension, will certainly give you sustained dwell time. The problem is whether you can maintain control while being more aggressive. I felt that adding a soft poly cross helped me maintain control while permitting me to hit very aggressively. A pure gut job requires more restraint in my opinion and tends to reduce ones shot options. However, given your 5.0 NTRP rating, you may not have the same issues with control that I do.

Its definitely worth a try. If you find control to be an issue, then there are lots of soft poly options you can explore (e.g. Weiscannon SS, Kirschbaum Spiky Shark or Pro Line II, PHT, etc.)
 

SunDog

Rookie
KK,

If you decide to go with gut (no matter which brand) - I would suggest that you transition with a hybrid of gut in the mains and a solid core syngut in the crosses.

I personnally do not like the feel of a full gut job - and if you hybrid with the right strings, your cost will essentially be the same as it would with a high end multi filament.

I use Klip Legend (coated or uncoated - whichever is in stock when I order - I cant tell a whole lot of difference) 17g in the mains at 52 lbs and Wilson Stamina in the crosses at 56 lbs. This is in a Volkl DNX 9 - and I am 6' 1" and go at 208 these days.

Good luck.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Interesting, SunDog. Please tell me more about why you prefer the hybrid over full gut? (Feel? Playability? Durability? Power level? What?)

Back in college I *loved* full gut, but I know times (and gear) have changed a lot....

- KK
 

SunDog

Rookie
The first time I tried Gut (Bow Brand) - it was a full job (in a Volkl C10 Pro - very flexible frame), and it just felt very mushy to me. I don't remember a whole lot about the playability etc. because I probably had a hard time getting past the mushy feel. It was such a bad experience that I left the remaining couple of packs that I had purchased on my workbench for a couple of years before trying it again - this time as a desperate attempt to help fix a tennis elbow problem I was experiencing at the time.

On the second go around (still with the C10) - I did a hybrid with gut in the mains - and I was hooked. My elbow pain went away almost immediately - and my stringing frequency also declined.

I think at the time of the switch - I was using a hybrid of Ashaway Monogut in the mains and Gosen OG sheep in the crosses - and had been for quite a while (but had tried almost everything - interestingly enough including a set of lightning that I got as a play test from somebody). I therefore had a pretty big contrast coming into the new set up - as far as feel goes.

Besides the better feel, it was obvious that there was much better tension retention with the new set up and the playability surpassed everything else I had tried.

To be fair - I never have gone back to try a full gut job - but I have heard some other folks relay a similar experience with full gut vs a hybrid. I am also convinced that I have found my ideal set up for my game as it exists right now - so I have stopped experimenting - aside from tweaking the tension now and then).

My string jobs now essentially cost me around $15 (half of $26 for the Klip and a couple of bucks for 16 feet off a reel of Stamina that cost around $50 for 660 feet as I recall) in materials and 25 minutes of my time. I pay for my strings by stringing for a select group of local devotees (skill levels across the board) to essentially the same set up as the one I am using.

Good luck in your quest for your ideal set up. Let us know what you settle on.
 
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