Stringing with the Gamma X-2/Progression 200

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Radicalized, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Stringing with the Gamma X-2/Progression 200 - A Guide

    Basic Stringing Information Included.
    "Wanna be" stringers who want (in this case) entry-level machine information have arrived. Plus, apparently tennis players are getting really strong and can break strings quite fast! A low(er)-cost option is requested. To serve this population, especially those who choose not to search for the tons of information already in place (Someone has to help the lazy.), I decided to copy and paste, and update, some of my previous posts regarding the entry-level Gamma dropweight/composite floating clamp offerings, the X-2 and the Progression 200. Basic information about stringing is shown below, as well.

    Here, I not only present my own explanations and images, but direct you (with proper credit) to the works of others which have been referred to many times in the past and are well known to those on the forum. I have no interests in Gamma other than owning and using a machine. These machines are "popular" because of their price, quality, portability, and ease of use.

    If you have a question, search or start a new thread.

    This thread is NOT about, "Which brand should I get, Gamma ________ or ____________?" Do a SEARCH. There are many, many, many (actually, many^10) threads on this. You will not be getting a singular answer. Do your research. Make your purchase. String. It is also not about, "How good is this product or any of the parts?" For all of those answers, again, SEARCH.

    I won't be doing a supplemental video. I'm not a performer. Also, I have nosey friends and relatives. Links to lots of informative videos are included below. I don't guarantee working links.

    You should read the entire guide before attempting to string.

    The starting and clamping method is slightly different for machines with floating (also called "flying"), rather than fixed clamps, because the clamps are not attached to the base. This is explained below. Also, I am "officially" renaming this category of stringing machines, "Let It Down Slowly" (LIDS) Weight Machines. Don't DROP.

    X-2 vs. Progression 200
    What is the difference between the X-2 and the Progression 200? They have the same dropweight/ratcheting rotational gripper tensioning, clamping (composite floating clamps), and two-point mounting systems. The X-2 has a blue aluminum base with a small drawer and a soft, lined tray. The Progression 200 has a plastic-covered metal base and tray as shown below.

    What is included?
    One should always check with the supplier, but to my knowledge, along with the parts shown below, the following items are included: manual, USRSA stringing guide (Gamma version for inclusion with its products), hex keys, small wrench, racquet adapters, pathfinder awl, pliers, awl, and a razor (Tip #1: Avoid the razor and get cutters as noted in Post #3.). You may also receive sample sets of Gamma string (This may change.).

    How do I assemble my machine?
    The manual contains this information. PDF files of the manuals are available at the Gamma site. However, a picture is worth a thousand words. The machine is properly assembled in the photo below. You will use the 5mm hex key (included) to "lock" and "unlock" the supports. The support posts angle out away from the center (\___/). A few details on this are written below in the "MACHINE USE" section.

    Progression 200

    Important Note: These instructions are for basic stringing with a Gamma machine using floating clamps (X-2 and Progression 200). They are not intended to cover every scenario. Other methods can be used to string a racquet. These can be learned as the stringer gains skill or by necessity. Also note that some racquets may require specific techniques (particularly Prince "port" racquets). Links to helpful videos, images of sample racquet patterns, and other useful information are shown below the following instructions. However, this method can be used with any machine that can mount a racquet and tension, as the main issues in the instructions involve the use of floating clamps, rather than fixed. Your machine applies if you own floating clamps. I simply do not provide information on other mounting and tensioning systems.

    Before you string, check your racquet for any damage. This includes things such as cracks in the frame and damaged or missing grommets.

    Place the tapered racquet support adapters over the threaded posts for the hold down plates. The hold downs go on flat side down and are curved to the shape of the frame.
    Note: In the photo above, the racquet was already strung when the photo was taken. The example of how to use the adapters still applies.

    Choose the tapered adapters with the largest size and side that does not block the grommets. Place your racquet down on the support posts. The adapters should contact the inside of the frame at the head and throat. Be sure the posts are centered between the center grommets, right and left, at the head and throat. Adjust the support posts as necessary to be sure the adapters properly contact the frame. Secure your racquet with the frame hold down plates. Turn the knobs so they are secure but not too tight as to damage the frame.

    You should choose an adapter (there are four: two thin and two thick for wide body racquets) with the thickness that gets as much frame contact as possible without blocking the grommets.

    Place the weight on the bar so the knob is on the side facing the gripper. Set your desired tension by aligning the face closest the gripper with the tension number stamped in the bar.

    There are three scales (sets of numbers for pounds or kilograms). With the bar leaning to the left (resting position) when looking at the machine from the front are kilograms (numbered 10-40). With the bar leaning to the right when looking at the front of the machine, as when tensioning, are the pounds (to 90). "Below" that, the scale goes to 26, which are pounds for badminton, used after removing the larger part of the weight using the hex key.

    Determine the pattern for the racquet. I'll write out instructions for stringing two-piece (four knots) here using the basic method for machines with floating clamps. For one-piece, you simply measure enough string to complete one side of the mains and tie off, and when you complete the other side, you do not tie off, but continue to string the crosses and tie off (two knots).

    So, for two-piece, measure your mains. Note: with the Gamma Progression 200/X-2, you'll need enough string to get out of the racquet and around the rotational string gripper to pull tension (about 15") (without using a jumper or using a scrap piece of string and a knot). This becomes important when tensioning the last mains before tying off. Cut the tips of your string to a point so they pass through grommets easily.

    Determine whether the start loop is at the head or throat. If the number of grommets at the throat in the yoke is even when divided by two, the start loop is at the head (8/2=4: head). If the number is odd, the loop is at the throat (6/2=3:throat). Using the basic method shown for floating clamp machines, keeping the tips together to have equal lengths of string on each side, pull the main length of string through the grommets for LM1 (left main one) and RM1 (right main one) from throat to head (or head to throat). Pull the string through so the starting loop is properly set against the frame.

    Pull the strings as not to be loose, and with one floating clamp, clamp the two center mains (RM1 and LM1) together on the side of the start loop, leaving a space between the clamp and frame for the second floating clamp.

    Note: A floating clamp must be clamping two strings, as it is not attached to a base.

    Note: Not to scale. Only for example of holding two strings, as some new stringers didn't understand this part.

    You move the clamp when the string is still held tensioned by the gripper. Otherwise, you will lose all of your tension!

    Now lace one of the sides of string for the next main (It doesn't matter on which side you start.). For example, lace RM2. Place the string for RM2 around the string gripper and in between the gripper jaws. Drop (let down slowly) the arm to pull tension. Use the "ratchet" if needed (Hold the gripper with left hand and lift bar with the right, and only lift a click or two at a time if the bar is only slightly below horizontal.). There are various methods/techniques for doing this, but you'll want to get the bar to about horizontal (+/-2 to 5 degrees. See the link below to the dropweight physics thread for the science and math. Your "personal threshold" may differ depending on your patience and skill! However, be consistent.). Never push down on the bar. When the bar is about horizontal, clamp (in this example) RM1 to RM2 (which is tensioned now) in the space between the first clamp and the frame (the space you left earlier when clamping the two center mains together). Raise the arm after you've clamped the string.

    Note: This is the only time you will double-pull (pull tension on two strings at once.) This is due to the use of floating clamps.

    (Continued in Post #2.)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
    Znak likes this.
  2. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Now rotate the racquet. Tension (in this example) LM1. When the proper tension has been reached, using the FIRST clamp you set (just follow the tensioned string around to the first clamp you come to), clamp LM1 to RM1 as close as possible to the frame on the side of the tensioner. Once clamped, lift the bar to release tension.

    Continue to lace and pull tension on EACH main, alternating left and right as to equalize tension on each side of the frame, never getting more than two ahead. Remember to count the grommets for any main skips (See the pattern. These are grommets through which mains do not pass and are intended for crosses.).

    When you complete the tensioning of the mains, find the grommets where you tie off the mains with finishing knots around strings called the anchor strings. Grommets where you tie off are usually flared (appear larger than other grommets). Note: If you need help with a finishing knot, see the "Parnell Knot" video at There is also a video there on tightening finishing knots and the Parnell. After you've tied the knots, you may release the clamps. There are a variety of knots you can use, including the double half-hitch and the Pro knot.

    Now, you will tie on the crosses with a starting knot. A starting knot is used as it is designed to not slip through the grommet. Do not use a finishing knot in its place (unless you use the "starting crosses with a starting clamp" method noted below). Again, for help, see for the videos on starting crosses with a starting knot, and in his example, he uses the "bulky" starting knot. Another is shown as well. There are, of course, others. Find the grommet at which you tie a starting knot, as noted in the pattern. If you have a starting clamp, you can also use that method and later tie off with a finishing knot instead of a starting knot. Again, there is a video available.

    Note: After you tension the first cross (and clamp), the only thing holding the clamp in place are the mains. Once, you get past the first cross, you will be clamping two crosses together. Also, you will only be clamping one string when you have only the first cross tensioned. Insert a "dummy" piece of string in the other side of the clamp. As you go along, you may use both clamps, with the trailing clamp acting as a backup in the event you release tension on the clamp placed most recently.

    Weave under and over, fanning the string (moving it back and forth as you pull) as you pull it through to avoid friction burns. Again, there are Yulitle videos on pulling crosses and cross weaving. Weave one ahead when doing your crosses (See explanation below in post #3.). Tension each cross. Lay any strings on the outside of the frame parallel (Don't cross over like an "X."). Yulitle also has a video regarding getting through blocked grommets and using the Gamma Pathfinder Awl that comes with the machine.

    When you've completed the crosses, find the grommet where you tie a finishing knot. Again, a knot like the Parnell will be fine.

    Hopefully, you've just completed stringing your racquet. Carefully remove the racquet from the supports.
    I like to count the clicks when adjusting the clamps (Gamma Composite Floating) for use for certain strings/gauges so I know where to set them for a particular string. If using the same string all of the time, it's not an issue. I open the clamps up (lift the lever away from the clamp body), turn the knob clockwise until it stops, counting the clicks to determine the former clamp "setting" (tightness) for a particular string, rather than guessing. Turn it counterclockwise to reset the clamp to its original setting (remember the # of clicks). You'll get the hang of them. Focus on getting enough grip without being too tight. They shouldn't be too hard to open either.

    The clamp "tightness" may change with different strings, even if the gauges are listed as the same. You can figure that out as noted here for whatever your string is and keep it in mind when changing the clamps for other strings, if you do so. First of all, the clamps shouldn't be hard to clamp on or remove--the lever should be fairly easy to open and close. Just as a general number for string, all the way from the position I noted above (open clamp and turn CW until knob stops), and then turn back CCW (counting clicks) might be in the 30-something clicks range or so (-X for "thicker"/+X "thinner" generally). Test on a sample of string to be sure the lever can be closed and you are not "crushing" the string. If they need to be tightened, as you think they may be slipping, remember, right is tight.


    Rotational Gripper: How to Properly Wrap the String to Tension

    I'd stress the fact that "drop weight" means, "let it down slowly weight," not DROP. And never push the bar down.

    When securing the racquet with the hold down plates, turn the knobs evenly and with only enough pressure to hold the racquet securely.

    Users will find it easier to turn the ratcheting gripper so the jaws are on top and about parallel with the table/support surface. The ratchet allows movement in only one direction. The drum of the rotational gripper only turns clockwise.

    There are three scales for choosing a tension: With the bar leaning to the left (resting position) when looking at the machine from the front are kilograms (numbered 10-40). With the bar leaning to the right when looking at the front of the machine, as when tensioning, are the pounds (to 90). "Below" that goes to 26, which are pounds for badminton, used after removing the larger part of the weight using the hex key.

    There have been questions about this before, but the bar being slightly above or below horizontal is acceptable, as noted earlier.

    The weight should consist of both parts for stringing tennis racquets. The knob should be on the side that faces the gripper. Tension is set on the tension bar by aligning the side (face) of the weight closest the string gripper with the appropriate number (tension) on the bar. Make sure you are looking at the correct scale!

    Turntable posts should angle away from the center of the turntable (\___/).

    When the bar is close to horizontal, but still below what might be an acceptable angle, while holding the ratcheting string gripper firmly with your left hand, only lift the bar to go a click of the ratchet (or two at most) to avoid getting the bar too far above horizontal.

    Each person may want to determine where he or she can position the bar before inserting the string in the gripper for little to possibly no use (sometimes) of the ratchet. This will depend on the string.

    A little trick to get the threaded support posts for the racquet hold down plates between the two center grommets: Place short "U" shaped pieces of string (stiffer string works best) that have been cut out of a racquet (usually has nice bends already) through the grommets at the top and bottom, and then place the racquet down on the supports. Screw the plates/plate knobs down. Then remove the old string guides. You can't miss getting the racquet placed properly so the threaded posts don't block the grommets. It also makes it easier to count grommets to points on the frame that will help you find the center.

    Here is one of my works of art previously used to describe a racquet pattern to a new stringer (in this case he had a Yonex 001 mid).
    If you don't know your racquet well, I recommend thinking it out in a way similar to what is shown below.

    Note where the start loop is located, the direction of the lacing and weaving, the weave pattern, the main skips, and the tie offs.


    Pure Drive Roddick example (two-piece):

    Head Liquidmetal 8

    Note: Some manufacturers and sites use different methods for counting grommets. Some say, "TOP" instead of "HEAD" or "BOTTOM" instead of "THROAT."

    (Continued in Post #3.)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
    Znak likes this.
  3. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Q & A
    I need to learn basic techniques. Where do I go?


    If racquet is strung:
    Cutting Strings out of a Racket
    STRINGER USE (FOR X-2 and other flying clamp, 2-point, dropweight machines: see 3-14 below):
    1. Mounting - 6-Point (No YU vid for 2-point--Simple.)
    2. Swivel Clamps - Use and Operation (No YU vid for floating clamps pertaining to these machines specifically--Simple.)
    3. Getting Mains Started - Two-piece (Various methods available. This is different for floating clamps. See instructions above.)
    4. How to Start Your Mains
    5. Parnell Knot (To tie off--one knot of several to choose)--see #6
    6. How to tighten your knots (shows Parnell in vid)
    7. Bulky (starting) knot (there are others on the site to try)
    8. Starting Crosses with a Starting Knot (Note: YULitle weaves his second cross first in the video, then weaves the first cross and puts string through the grommet where he will tie the starting knot around the main. Then he ties the knot, tightens it, and pulls tension.)
    9. Intro to Main Skips and Cross Weaving
    10. How to Pass String thru Blocked Grommets
    11. Why to Pull Hard Weaves Twice
    12. Weaving Crosses
    13. Parnell Knot (To tie off--one of several)
    14. How to tighten your knots
    15. Mounting - 6-Point (remove the racquet properly)

    say thanks, "Yulitle."

    X-2 Videos (Similar to Progression 200)
    And thanks to "Almerickso": Videos on the X-2 (Same working parts as Progression 200).

    See videos 1-5 regarding the X-2.
    Additional Materials
    Videos are also available by members like "Drakulie" (, and of course, "Irvin" (, who has created excellent videos regarding the 50/50 pattern, Prince "port" racquets, and ease-of-stringing techniques, to name a few.
    Official Richard Parnell "Parnell Knot" video ()
    Also, there is this mighty powerful forum tool called SEARCH.

    What other tools might I need while stringing?
    Here is a short list:
    Additional pliers, such as bent nose--pulling/tying
    Micro flush cutters-- fine cutting
    Diagonal cutters--cutting
    Starting clamp (See Yulitle video regarding starting crosses with a starting clamp)--starting crosses, pulling string and tying, "jumping" when string not long enough to reach tensioner (use with additional piece of string), some "specialized" racquet patterns, and backing up another clamp when starting mains

    There are other gadgets, such as ones to measure tension and straighten strings. These are not "stringing" tools that would be a helpful upgrade to those provided (as noted in the beginning of the post) with the machine to be able to complete a job. I will consider those another topic. My intention is simply for you to get the racquet strung. Also, brands and price/quality issues are not the intent of this thread--SEARCH.

    Weave one ahead? One what?
    This is good. Double-pulling is bad (tensioning two strings at once).
    Explanation: As I've previously noted, you should weave one ahead when doing crosses, which means, weave the second and tension the first, weave the third and tension the second, and so on. This reduces time to weave and decreases some of the friction. Just leave a big enough "loop" so you have a long enough run of string to pull tension and to reach the tension head/gripper. Image below as example:
    FULL CREDIT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The following image is from "YULitle" on this TT page:
    08-24-2008, 02:36 PM #19
    Hall Of Fame
    How do I avoid misweaves?
    Clearly, you could spend lots of time checking the under/over pattern of your crosses. A quick tip is if the cross starts under a main, it should end over a main, and vice versa, as long as you didn't do two (an even number) misweaves. Remember, a pattern will appear, as an example:

    One-piece, two-piece? Two knots, four knots?
    One-piece stringing involves a single length of string. You will measure a length of string for one side of the racquet to complete the mains and then tie off. This is called the short side for obvious reasons (knot one of two). On the other side, you will also complete your mains, but you do not tie off. This is called the long side, where you need enough string to complete half of the mains and all of the crosses. You then go on to complete the crosses and tie off (knot two of two). You still alternate when installing mains on the left and right to equalize tension on the frame. Two-piece stringing involves cutting separate lengths of string for the mains and crosses. You use half of the main string for each side of the racquet, tying off on the left and right (knots one and two of four knots). The start loop is the center point. You use the second piece of string to tie on the crosses, weave and tension, and tie off the crosses (knots three and four of four knots). Check the racquet pattern for which to use (Sometimes you have a choice.), and measure the string appropriately.

    How does this thing work?
    It's just a bar and a metal weight. Huh? See (Dropweight physics thread by "lethalfang," et al.)

    I have to keep ratcheting/the string is stretching, and the bar is still below level, or the bar won't drop to level.
    Strings like synthetic gut or multis will stretch. Some will stretch A LOT. Assuming you have the strings clamped securely, if the bar is below level, you will have to keep holding the ratcheting gripper and lift the bar until you get it close to level. Strings like polys stretch very little. For these, start the bar closer to level before inserting the string in the jaws of the gripper and then drop to tension. You will learn how to do this for different strings. String characteristics vary widely.

    So, where do I position the bar when inserting the string in the gripper?
    It depends on the string and in some cases, your preference. It can be the resting position, holding it closer to horizontal at an appropriate angle for the string characteristics, or down, in which case you ratchet up and drop. Again, see the note about strings stretching.

    Do I have to clean my stringer and clamps?
    Hopefully, your stringer is stored in a clean and dry place, and you dust it now and then. There may come a time when residue builds up on the clamping surfaces (jaws/clamps). The common answer to this problem is to use, for example, a pipe cleaner or shoe lace, and clean toothbrush (all soft and non-abrasive items), along with isopropyl alcohol. Also, GOOGLE to find: GAMMA Cleaning Stone MPS-00 String Clamp/Gripper Cleaning Stone.

    How do/can I store my machine?
    If you use it frequently and have the space, leaving it in place with a cover (to keep the dust off) is fine. However, you may choose to put it away when not in use. Aside from cardboard boxes, it is difficult to find a "tool box-type" container in which it will fit without disassembling it completely. Although large, personally I use a Sterilite 1842 Footlocker to hold the stringer and associated tools and supplies. When storing the stringer, it is best to lower the weight toward the gripper or remove it entirely, as to avoid any weight-related accidents. Force=mass X acceleration. Also, I actually store my clamps in a see-through, labeled plastic pencil box. My tools are either in the drawer (of an X-2) or in a small tool box. I keep stringing information in the locker, too.

    Do I have to calibrate my machine?
    No. Unlike machines that use springs and other parts that can change with time and use, there is nothing that changes with the dropweight. There is nothing designed into the machine itself for the user to modify. You simply move the weight along the bar to change tension. Gravity does the rest.

    A dropweight machine is a constant pull machine?
    Yes. A dropweight continues to pull tension and does not "lock out." The string will continue to stretch until the bar stops dropping, and you ratchet and raise the bar so that it maintains a level position. Then you clamp. The machine pulls to your desired tension.

    How do I string a badminton racquet?
    First, remove the large part of the weight using the 5mm hex key, leaving the smaller section with the knob. Use the scale on the bar, as noted above, for badminton. Smaller badminton floating clamps are also available from Gamma and other manufacturers. String as per the recommendations for the racquet.

    I've heard about stringing methods "X," "Y," and "Z." Should I use them?
    This thread isn't about special stringing techniques. Personally, I'm of the opinion that standard stringing methods are more than adequate. Just don't "rush," use proper techniques, and try to be consistent. That is your job in a nutshell. Using a pattern, and you can do the search, like the 50/50 may apply to a racquet like a Prince "port-type" because the racquet itself may require special "handling." Stringing at lower tensions than what is noted as the recommended range on your racquet is simply reducing the tension, and the rest of the stringing procedure can remain the same. This is more common today with poly strings, as they are already stiff. The science of certain string types and tensions is not in the scope of my intent for the thread. Learn the basics first, and then move on to the "latest" and perhaps, or perhaps not, "greatest."

    (Continued in Post #5.)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
    Znak likes this.
  4. mchjhn

    mchjhn Rookie

    Apr 2, 2011
    make this a sticky for all the x2 progression 200 questions.
  5. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    How do I cut the strings out properly?
    Generally, there are two methods. There is a "Yulitle" video. One method entails cutting from the center on an angle, cutting up and then down, alternating as you continue on an angle (cutting both a main and cross simultaneously). The other method entails starting from the center and cutting in a clock-type motion (cross, main, cross, main), moving outward as you go. There are stringbed cutters, but any decent cutter will do (for example, diagonal cutters).

    How do I measure string length?
    All kinds of methods have been suggested. The obvious are rulers and yardsticks. Arm/Racquet/Desk lengths. I even wrap mine around a cookie tin "X" number of times and have a chart how long the string is with "X" wraps (It keeps the string tight to the curve and neat, too. :lol:). Just try to keep the string straight to be as accurate as possible.

    How do I know how much string my racquet needs?
    There are a lot of individual answers. The simplest is check the pattern. However, that alone may not tell the whole story. Some strings stretch (some a lot) and some seemingly not at all. If it is the first time doing a racquet, measure the entire length of string before stringing, and be generous if possible. For the majority of racquets, with this machine, a standard 40' package of synthetic gut or a multifilament, for example, will get the job done. For some racquets, a string that doesn't stretch (much), like a poly, may require a couple of feet more without having to "jump" to reach the tensioner, wrap around, and enter the jaws. I have personally encountered this with my racquet. Keep track of what you have left when you're done (or perhaps what you would have needed).

    Where do I find racquet patterns?
    Racquet manufacturer sites. Some stringing machine manufacturer sites. Basic information on individual sales pages for racquets at TW. Miscellaneous tennis-related sites. Throughout the forum. The USRSA Digest if you're a member or can get your hands on one. In my opinion, they could be more readily available.

    How do I determine how a racquet was previously strung? The strings are still in it.
    Count the knots. Two knots, one-piece job. Four knots, two-piece job. Find the center mains. Where is the start loop on the outside of the frame in the center, head (top) or throat (bottom)? Follow the mains away from the start loop and around the racquet. If two-piece, left and right side mains will both tie off. Count the grommets from the center left and right mains to the tie off points. Note the grommet tie off position. If one-piece, only one main side will tie off. The other will continue around to the crosses. Follow this to the finishing knot of the crosses. For crosses of a two-piece, find the two knots. One is where the crosses begin. The other is where they end. One may be a starting knot, and the other a finishing knot. Most racquets have the crosses begin at the head and end at the throat. This can vary by model. When possible, most stringers find it best to string top-down.

    I've heard I can add tension to the final mains/cross. Is this appropriate or necessary?
    This issue has been debated because of the loss of tension when tying off. Again, threads abound. Personally, I don't add additional tension. Do attempt to cinch your knots tightly to the grommet and remove any slack. Do NOT tighten your knots using the machine's tensioner. This applies too much tension and can break the string or maybe even your precious racquet. The outer mains may move some because there are not main strings on both sides, as with all of the others.

    My pattern says to tie off on a cross. I can do that?
    Yes, if the manufacturer dictates that. I see this often with Babolat racquets, for example.

    Should I straighten my strings?
    Always straighten your strings when you've completed the racquet. This aids in appearance and proper playability. Tools are available for this, but using your fingers as you would on-court is fine as well. Straighten as you string if you wish.

    $@*$%#@! I can't get the string through the grommet! What do I do?
    You should have a Pathfinder awl if you got a Gamma machine. Try that. There is a "Yulitle" video. But even better, make an awl out of your string. Cut the tip of the string to a very sharp point. Maybe even compress the point some with your pliers. You can even apply something to lubricate the tip. Perhaps you can simply push it through now. If not, insert the point into the hole. Grasp the string very close to the frame with pliers (so you don't bend the string trying to push it in). Push it in with the pliers. Repeat with very small lengths of string as appropriate until it is through.

    :mad: I just released all of the tension! What do I do now?
    You will have to start over. If you are doing it for yourself, go ahead and use the same string. If you're doing it for someone else, you should use new string (It's just the right thing to do.:rolleyes:) However, if let's say you were doing crosses with two clamps, just go back and tension to the clamp still holding tension.

    I missed a weave, and I tied off. Can I still use the racquet?
    The racquet will be fine. However, I believe the racquet is not legal for official (USTA, ITF, those who follow the rules) play because of the change from the official definition of how the stringbed should appear.

    I tied off on the wrong grommet. Is this a problem?
    Most likely the racquet and string will be fine. Each occurrence may have its own issues if you undermined the frame or grommet in any way. While stringers sometimes tie off at grommets other than those specified, manufacturers design patterns with intention (Although some may argue with this statement.). In other words, unless you have a need to do so, use the official pattern.

    How long will it take me to string a racquet?
    The first time could range into a few hours. At least some have reported that. Once you get the hang of it (all of the "stuff" mentioned here), you'll probably get down under an hour. How far under depends on how good your weaving skills are, how little you have to check the strings and grommets, how well you tension and clamp, how long it takes for the string to finish stretching, how quickly you can tie knots, and how generally efficient you are with the loose strings and so forth.

    I'm having trouble with weaves. What can I do?
    Practice makes perfect. Aside from that, check your method. Generally, you'll use one of two methods. Push weaving is where you place the tip of the string between a finger over the mains and one under, and push it along as you move the string over and under the mains. Pull weaving is where you create a loop of string and pull it across the mains, one hand over and one hand under the mains, moving the string under and over the mains. Also, weave on an angle rather than straight across. That way there is more space to move the string. Also, our most excellent TT forum member, "Irvin," has two other ideas: pulling the crosses with a string and using a bead. See his videos at:

    How good is the stringjob with this machine as compared to high-end machines?
    I'm not touching that one with a ten-foot pole in this thread. I simply know my strung racquet is quite effective. Do a search. This is another debated topic. You aren't the first or last to ask this question. Make sure you use good technique, as noted earlier. A bad user can ruin any job on any machine.

    Can I do the mains, leave them, and then go back later to do the crosses?
    If you start the racquet, finish the racquet. Don't start if you can't finish. You want to equalize the tension on the frame created by the mains with the crosses as soon as possible. Leaving it not fully strung for long periods can only lead to a damaged frame.

    I'm using a multifilament, and there are marks on the string from the clamp teeth. Are the clamps too tight?
    You could have the clamps too tight, but such marks on a multifilament are common. Just be sure no string is crushed. The clamps do not need to be that tight.

    How high should the machine be when stringing?
    Given it is a portable machine and not all users may have access to a surface with the optimal height, generally you want the machine raised to a height where you can comfortably see the string bed and be able to use the one hand under/one hand over weaving techniques noted earlier. Clearly, your height is a factor.

    Do I have to be able to walk around the machine?
    No. You need enough room for the racquet to rotate, the bar to drop fully, and not be cramped while moving around while performing stringing functions.

    What environmental factors affect stringing?
    Generally, you need good lighting, especially when trying to insert strings in grommets. Also, cool and dry is better, as sweaty hands and tennis strings do not go together.

    Is the machine compatible with all racquets?
    I'm not a racquet or machine historian, so I can't give a definitive answer. The machine will work fine with the common modern racquets you will encounter. If you have some type of older or unusual frame, then request a specific answer from the manufacturer or the forum.

    Will the machine work with all types of string?
    Yes. However, you have to take into account the characteristics of each type of string, as noted above, when stringing, particularly when tensioning, clamping, and weaving.

    What is a hybrid?
    It is simply one type of string as the mains and another as the crosses. This, of course, requires a two-piece job.

    (Continued in Post #6.)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
    Znak likes this.
  6. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    I have a racquet with staggered grommets. Do I string this racquet differently?
    Make sure you weave your first cross as a hard weave, where the string contacts the first main in a manner where there is optimal contact. For example, if the first main string that you encounter is below the grommet for the cross, weave the cross string down under main string and then back up over the next. Continue weaving as normal.

    I have a racquet with a "built-in" dampener. How do I deal with this when clamping?
    I can't comment on all models, nor do I know all of the "dampening systems" available. As an example, you might string the mains through the dampener, and move it toward the center of the mains when clamping nearest the frame. When done, you can slide it into position.

    I'm having a hard time getting knots looking right. What can I do to improve?
    The "handling" of the knot and string is a little tough for me to put in words. This assumes you tie the knot using the proper steps. Be sure you have a long enough length of string to make smooth curves in the string as you perform each step. Support the loop with your fingers as you pull the tip so you don't quickly add kinks. If using poly, try to get the slack out as you go along and close loops. If left open and you're trying to pull to close another loop, the first may not close neatly and may "kink up."

    What do I do if the string kinks?
    The "damage" can vary, but it may create a weak point. You can continue to string, but the result may not be good. If you are stringing for someone else, you know what you should do, right?

    I want to string natural gut. Does it really require special handling?
    You'll want to be more delicate with natural gut. A natural gut mistake is co$tly. Be careful not to kink it. Do not pull it too fast. Be careful when tying knots. Do not use a lot of force. It could break. Watch forum member "Drakulie"'s youtube video.

    I simply want "X" pounds/kilograms. What is this talk about reference tension?
    Reference tension is what you set and the machine initially pulls. However, the string, and this varies with type, will lose a certain amount of tension with time and use. Your string tension will not be exactly the tension at which you set the weight on the bar. If you feel a need in the future, you can adjust the machine's tension setting up or down accordingly. Details on percentages of tension lost, and the relationships of sting tension on a "lock out" machine as opposed to a "constant pull" machine, can be found on the forum and web, in general.

    Is there a way to monitor the tension of the strings?
    There are string "meters" that will measure tension or tension loss over time (Gamma ATS ERT 300, Gamma String Tension Tester, Tourna Stringmeter). There is even an "app for that" (racquetTune). Search for specific opinions on effectiveness.

    How do I stencil my strings?
    Obtain an official stencil template or make your own out of an "ink/colorant resistant" material. Place the template on the strings. Use stencil ink, which can be obtained from tennis suppliers, such as TW. Note: Stencil ink will last longer on some types of string.

    Can I use any floating clamps I want?
    Assuming they are intended for tennis if stringing a tennis racquet, and the same for badminton, the type makes no difference. Again, this thread isn't about which brand to buy. Again, previous threads are plentiful.

    Is there a way to upgrade from two-point to six-point mounting, or to fixed clamps, in the future?
    As far as I know, there is no Gamma upgrade product for these entry-level machines. If you think you want a six-point or fixed clamps, you'll have to buy the entire machine.

    Should I wear eye protection when stringing?
    That is your call. I'll put it this way, there are probably some stringers out there who do, as they follow the advice of "Norm Abram" (Some of you might get it.) or have had an incident. That said, keep control of your strings. And be extremely careful when tightening knots with pliers, as they can unexpectedly release and come the way of your face.

    "My machine slides on the surface I have available." or "I need to place my machine on a surface which CAN NOT get marked." How can I solve this?
    An anti-slip mat might do the trick. You can expand from there to get the surface you need to support the machine.

    Is there an official stand available for these machines?
    Yes. It is height-adjustable.

    I need customer service. Whom do I call?
    Gamma provides customer service. Check the official site. Also, "Gamma Tech," who works at Gamma, visits the forum.

    I need to lower the bar to store the machine. How do I do this?
    Hold the bar. Loosen the 5mm hex bolt at the back of the tensioning unit. Lower the bar.

    How do I get the weight on the bar? There is this black thing in the way.
    You remove the black cap and put the weight on the bar. Then put the cap back on. Someone actually had this problem. I'm trying to think of everything here. :confused:

    I am trying to string with poly, but the bar isn't dropping to horizontal! What can I do?
    As you've probably already heard/read, polys stretch less. Strings vary, but you'll know when you first start trying to pull tension on a certain type. You can hold the bar at an angle, wrap around the rotational gripper, and then let the bar down slowly. Or you can rotate the bar to its lowest position, wrap, and then lift (while holding the gripper) to tension. You may find an angle of the bar at which you can simply wrap the string, and let the bar down to get the bar to (about) horizontal without ever having to ratchet the bar back up (if you have a ratcheting type). NEVER push the bar down. If the bar is too far above horizontal when pulling tension, release the string and try again. Also, remember because polys stretch less that you will need enough string to exit the racquet and reach around the gripper to tension the final mains/cross. Also note, you can feed less string if the bar is above horizontal. Techniques vary slightly based on which gripper type you have on dropweights for those with other types of machines or without a ratcheting gripper.

    (Continued in Post #7.)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
    Znak likes this.
  7. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    When I tension a string, the racquet flexes. Is this normal?
    A racquet may flex a bit depending how flexible the racquet itself is. As long as you've taken the correct steps to adjust the hold down plates, supports, and adapters, it should be fine. Remember, never push the bar down. That will add an extreme amount of tension.

    The racquet head shape becomes distorted when i string it. What happened?
    Remember, you want to string your mains and crosses at or at least very close to the same tension. Again, be sure the racquet is held properly by the supports.

    How big is the machine? How big are the parts? What do they look like up close? Here is a look at the X-2, for example.

    X-2 Close-up (disassembled). The weight of parts shown is about 21 lbs.

    How do I customize my racquet beyond stringing it differently?
    See: Click "CUSTOMIZATION" button.
    Print. Get a dowel or similar tube about 1/2" (12.7mm) in diameter. Note: The 11" distance to the balance point can be achieved simply by using a standard 11" sheet of paper. Use a flat surface.
    To be accurate: The image must be saved. Must be 100 pixels/inch. Must be 700 pixels wide X 748 pixels high. Print size is 7"W X 7.48"H. 206KB.
    Use a digital scale for weights. Scales accurate to 0.01 grams are available for under $20. Digital scales usually switch between grams, ounces, and other common systems.

    How is a starting clamp different from a floating (flying) clamp?

    A starting clamp is spring-loaded to close tightly on a string. The head is relatively small with flat, often "rectangular" clamping surfaces. Starting clamps often have eyelets on the head to use the clamp to "jump" (bridge) a short piece of string to the tensioner.
    A floating clamp has teeth that fit between the strings of a racquet when tensioning strings, and they are closed with some type of lever mechanism. A floating clamp holds two strings as shown in Post #1 of this guide. A floating clamp can be adjusted for different thicknesses of string by turning some type of "knob." How each is used is noted earlier.

    (Continued in Post #8.)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  8. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Understanding the Under/Over pattern and weave patterns that occur.

    Example: Volkl PB 10 Mid

    So what have we learned above to be safe (X-2/Progression 200/some apply in general)?

    DO use the proper racquet adapters at the head and throat.
    DO tighten the hold down plates enough to secure the racquet but not too tight to damage the frame. Firm finger tightening is enough.
    DO properly position and tighten the support posts.
    DO tighten the clamps enough to hold the string but not too much as to crush it.
    DO make sure the weight is tightened to the bar and positioned at the proper tension on the correct scale.
    DO let the bar down slowly.
    DO fan the string when you pull it through the racquet.
    DO hand-tighten your knots (No machine assistance. You may hold the string with a tool.).
    DO alternate installing mains on the left and right sides, never getting more than two ahead.

    DO NOT leave a racquet unfinished for a long period of time.
    DO NOT drop the bar, despite being called a dropweight machine.
    DO NOT under any circumstance press the bar down to get it to horizontal.
    DO NOT pull crosses straight across the mains in a manner to cause burning/notching.
    DO NOT tighten knots with the tensioner/gripper.
    DO NOT damage the string, racquet, or grommets using the awl.


    Center the racquet with the threaded posts for the supports between the grommets (left 1 and right 1) at the head and throat. Use the adapters at the head and throat to protect the inside of the frame. They should not block the grommets. Details on this are in the stringing instructions above.

    Follow these notes and you should get out of your first (and subsequent) string job with an intact racquet and string bed. These are just safety reminders. Details of using the machine are noted above.

    Personal Safety

    DO make sure the machine is on a flat surface where it will not fall or move around.
    DO keep control of your string tips as to not poke yourself or get an eyeful.
    DO use a decent pair of cutters when cutting string.

    DO NOT drop the weight on your foot if you take it off! (About 6lbs. of solid steel pain.) :grin:
    DO NOT pull pliers or other tools toward your face when tightening knots (You'll shoot your eye out, kid!).
    DO NOT use the included (or any other razor blade) to cut the string (Leave your blood, sweat, and tears on the court.).
    DO NOT stab yourself with the awl (or anyone else. If you happen to be a hitman nicknamed, "The Awl," I don't want to know about it.)

    What if I'm short on string to reach around the gripper to tension, but I have enough to tie a finishing knot? I don't have a starting clamp.
    You may be able to tie the string to be tensioned to an extra piece of string (softer is usually easier) and pull tension. Depending on how much string you have, a square knot, or perhaps something more sophisticated can be used. Remember, you need it to remain secure when pulling tension. Get the knot tight before doing so. Also, remember, after pulling tension, you need enough "good" string left to tie off. You don't want any damaged/kinked string. So, take all of that into consideration.

    (Continued in Post #13.)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
    Znak likes this.
  9. ductrung3993

    ductrung3993 Hall of Fame

    Jun 18, 2010
    San Francisco, 94118
    Thank you so much!
  10. EastAngels2014

    EastAngels2014 Rookie

    Jun 28, 2012
    So i just bought this stringer and you seem very advanced with this stringer i seem to be coming up short on my measurements of poly. I will have enough to get through the racquet but not enough to wrap around the jaws to tension it. Do you have any advice for that problem? Should i just give myself another half foot or so?
  11. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    Poly does stretch less that other strings so in order to to complete a racket your will need to use a little more string. You can use a starting clamp for a bridge if you have one.
  12. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

    Aug 9, 2012
    Nice manual, you should do gamma's stringing manual for them. :)
  13. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    The Ever-Prominent Topic of the X-2/Progression 200 and POLY strings

    In my opinion, stringing poly, in terms of tensioning (I'm not talking about weaving and dealing with the the stiffness of the string.), is quicker than say, a synthetic gut, because the string stretches very little. It simply takes you less time to get the bar to horizontal. One can, for example, once one learns how the string stretches (or doesn't seem to stretch):
    Position the bar at a given angle.
    Insert the string in the gripper.
    Let the bar down to horizontal.
    And never have to ratchet up--well, at least not often*. Then you can simply clamp and release tension to move on.

    So, these machines are fine for poly offerings. *Of course, there is a wide variety of strings, many of which I have not used, but in general, at least less ratcheting will be required depending on string type and technique.

    Also, as a dropweight is constant pull, if you use a method for stringing poly where you let the string be tensioned for a certain period of time, this can easily be achieved by letting the bar remain in its "horizontal" position as per the method/time period.

    Just remember, poly stretches less and you'll need enough string with the X-2/Progression 200 to get out of the racquet and around the gripper with enough to hold (about 15")--without "bridging/jumping" (explained earlier).

    Do your racquet/string math if you want to know precisely how much string your racquet requires using one of these machines.

    Generally, those starting out with entry-level machines start with their own racquets. As noted earlier, one can find racquet patterns. I'd recommend, as noted briefly earlier, to measure the string you are going to string with the first time. Note the string type and length out of the package. Be a bit generous to start if using a reel. Just know the true lengths of your "one-piece" or "two-pieces." For something like a synthetic gut or a multifilament string, the standard 40 feet (standard package length) should be adequate for even standard OS frames (Some huge frames may require more.). However, to complete the racquet without "jumping/bridging," more is necesssary with a poly (in relation to the amount of a more "stretchy" string) in the same racquet. Again, take into account that with these rotational gripper machines, you must get out of the racquet and around the gripper with the final mains and cross to pull tension. This was noted earlier. So, know how much you are starting with. Then measure how much you had left when pulling tension on your final mains and cross. You need enough to get around the gripper with each and a bit to hold. Once tension is pulled on each, you can set the clamp and release the string from the gripper. That amount will be plenty with which to tie finishing knots. Anything else is unnecessary. Of course, with a package, this isn't a concern unless you came up short (Then note that figure.). However, you may save some string on a reel. Elongation may vary some with strings of a "similar" type. Also, in some cases you may be better splitting a 40 ft. package, for example, 22' and 18', rather than 20' and 20'. Details of specific racquet models is beyond the scope of this thread. You can SEARCH or start a thread if you are unsure.

    The Confusion Regarding One-Piece Stringing

    Sometimes dropweight users ask (It seems like more often than for other types of machines--perhaps because they are "entry-level.") about "one-piece" strings jobs as though they are something "unusual."

    I already explained these ideas above, but to make it clearer, here it is in more detail:

    Simply, a one-piece job uses ONE piece of string. You complete the mains and crosses with one length of string. You start the mains as normal with a start loop at the head or throat, and then continue on.

    Here is the part that confuses. How do you get the mains and crosses out of one length? With a basic one-piece job (not getting into something called an Around the World (ATW) pattern yet), you measure your entire length of string. You then (do not cut) "note/mark" the point along the length that will be enough for the mains on one side of the racquet. The rest of the length should be enough to complete the mains on the other side AND the crosses.

    Now, the point of the length of string "noted/marked" should be at your start loop. In other other words, you will be lacing the shorter portion of string (and tensioning each) through one side of the racquet for the mains. That is called the "short side" (SS). You will be doing the same on the other side with the longer portion (enough for one side and crosses). That is called--surprise--the "long side" (LS).

    You complete the mains as usual. You tension each string as normal. You alternate installing mains on the left and right sides, never getting more than two ahead (to equalize tension on the frame). You will be pulling more string through on one side because it has the portion for the crosses as well. When you complete the "short side," you tie off with a finishing knot.

    You then go on without tying off the long side to complete the crosses as normal. When you complete the crosses, you tie off with a finishing knot.

    And thus you have TWO knots--both finishing.

    Quickly, had you done a two-piece, you would have had two lengths of string. You would have tied off mains, left and right. You would have tied crosses on and off. Four knots.

    It may be best to use whatever the manufacturer specifies. If you have a choice, then go with what you prefer. If doing a hybrid (two different types of string), then you must do a two-piece.

    The Around the World Pattern: There is a general concensus that stringing crosses from head (top) to throat (bottom) is best for the integrity of the frame. Sometimes a racquet will have mains that end at the throat. The ATW (various exist) addresses this so one can string crosses from the top when doing a one-piece with that situation. You must pay attention to specific instructions, and make sure the information applies to you. ATW is one-piece taking the special note into consideration so it can be applied to many types of racquets.

    For specifics on doing this type of pattern, see below:
    "The Universal ATW" by Richard Parnell:
    Yulitle: (Multiple)
    SEARCH "TT" for more. Others may have produced additional materials.

    I'm not going to address special patterns or techniques. This is more or less basic information to get your racquet strung correctly and safely, with a focus on these machines, with a few added extras.

    What the heck is this? I received it with my machine.
    The Pathfinder Awl. It gets your string through blocked grommets when other methods may not work. Briefly, you push the awl point (with the black handle section against the red end from where the metal tube protrudes) through the blocked grommet. Once through, keep the red end and the tube in the same position as you pull back on the black handle section. The "awl point" will recede into the tube, leaving an empty tube. Insert your string into the tube. Keeping the string in the tube as you do so, slowly pull the awl out of the grommet to get the string tip on the other side of the frame, and thus through the grommet. You may lubricate the tip to help it pass through more easily.
    See the videos regarding its use.

    Racquet "Repair"

    What do I do if my racquet is cracked?
    There's not much you can do. It may be a crack in the paint or an upper layer, but if it is more than "cosmetic," another one bites the dust. In a given period, you may have a warranty claim, but the situation would have to be very specific to a manufacturing/materials defect.

    What if my head guard/grommets are worn out?
    If you have a newer racquet, finding replacement grommet sets should be easy. Sets for older models may be hard to find, if not impossible. Ask around if you can't find any. Other than that, you would need to use small pieces of tubing to protect the string from damaged grommets, or use individual replacement grommets. Check the stringing supplies section. Yulitle, for example, has a video on using tubing. If your guard has seen better days and you can't find a replacement, finding an alternate method of protecting the frame itself in that area is your only option. You may be able to find an alternate set that "sort of " fits. This can be tricky. Again, ask. Warning: Don't remove your grommet/guard set without having a replacement that you are sure will fit. You don't want to end up with just a frame for which you have no grommets that can be installed.

    How do I remove individual grommets for replacement?
    The tool of choice is a "grommet grinder." It is basically an "awl" with a tip that is sharply knurled to act as the "grinding" medium. They generally come in different sizes and are available in the stringing tools section of a seller.

    (Continued in Post #14.)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  14. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    How do I speed up my stringing? I'm new to the process.

    The time it takes to string a racquet will vary. Are you under an hour after some practice? That is reasonable once you get going. Don't try to compare yourself to others. Racquets vary. Strings vary. Machines vary. Your overall ability may not be that of another stringer--ever.

    Just stick to the rules in the "Safety" section and your racquet and strings should remain in good shape when stringing. The details of making it your holy grail of string beds can come with experimentation (within the rules).

    Have the process down. Study the materials in the thread and analyze your racquet as you read/watch. Be efficient. Have your string and tools out and ready. Have your notes ready. Keep in mind several main points about the racquet:
    One-piece or Two-piece?
    Start loop: Head or throat?
    Mains and Crosses: How many of each?
    Main Skips: What grommet holes do you skip for the racquet to leave for crosses?
    Tie-offs: Where do you tie off mains? Where do you tie off crosses?
    Write yourself a note you can easily read to answer these questions. Have it ready if/when you get flustered. You most likely remember main points better if you write them out. Examine your racquet beforehand.
    So, break down the process.
    1) Have the machine ready to go. Don't think about the stringing. Just focus on setting the machine up. Include clamps in this process.
    2) Mount the racquet. This part is important for protecting you and the racquet. Stay focused. Have the procedure worked out. Having bits and pieces scattered isn't helpful.
    3) Use the previously prepared string and lace the two center mains (L & R) accordingly.
    4) Using the guides, get the process going. Remember, the process basically repeats itself to tension each string. Just remember the main skips when you are approaching that grommet number. Alternate tensioning mains left and right, as note above in the stringing instructions.

    Little Things That Save Time
    Weaving takes some practice. Other issues that are more simple to control:
    1) Keep control of your string tips. Searching for them to insert the tip for the following main/cross wastes time.
    2) Have enough light to see where the grommet is to insert the string. Stay calm. Jittery fingers don't help.
    3) Read the stringing notes in advance to get the string through blocked grommets. Don't get lazy here, as you'll waste time bending string tips, blunting them, and making the process even harder.
    4) Don't keep counting. If you know your first main skip is at 8T (8th grommet at the throat, left and right), keep going with the mains 1-7, as an example.
    5) With crosses, as noted earlier, if you start OVER a main string, you'll end UNDER and vice versa. If this doesn't occur, you missed an odd number of weaves.
    6) Weave one-ahead on the crosses as described above.

    Issues That You Can't Control
    1) The string may stretch a lot and take a bit of time to get the bar to horizontal.
    2) The string may be stiff and harder for you to weave.
    3) The string may have a roughness or smoothness that makes it seem more difficult to work with.
    4) The racquet may have more mains/crosses.
    5) It will be more difficult to weave crosses at the end because of string bed stiffness and a lack of space. If you have to, weave a bit, pull some slack, and continue to weave (for the same cross).

    Don't obsess on knots. Don't! Pick a knot in advance, both for a starting knot if using one and a finishing knot. Go with it. There are videos, as noted. Remember knots are always tied on to (around) an ANCHOR string.

    Have in your head (example: final mains (left and right=total mains divided by 2))
    "Finish final main (left/right) by tensioning it and clamping. Insert the tip into the grommet for the anchor string." Check your note for the tie-off string if not sure. Remember, count GROMMETS.
    Just have the knot "mantra" in your head. Write it down in your note if needed. In other words, like, "Over the anchor string. Under the anchor string. Through the loop, etc..."

    Environmental Factors
    For any project, there is the possibility of too much light (or not properly positioned) or too little. Make sure you can always clearly see what you are doing. A bit of glare off the metal parts may be enough to distract you. Grommets you can't see because of poor lighting causes you to poke around. Black string doesn't help this. Temperature matters. Sweaty fingers plus tennis string is not a good combo. Have a towel handy if you're the wet handshake guy.

    And make sure you have a clear head. Also, trying to learn the process while watching your TV or playing with your smartphone should be avoided. Save the multitasking for later.

    My machine has a six-point mounting system but the dropweight and clamps are the same? What are the differences?
    EX: [​IMG]

    Just mount the racquet using the the six-point system. The use of the dropweight and clamps are the same. Just remember to not "block" any holes with the supports. See this yulitle video on Mounting Six-point:

    Help me, too! I have a machine with a dropweight, but I have fixed clamps (Does not apply to the X-2 or Progression 200 or other machines with floating (flying) clamps.). How do I start my mains?

    Here is a simple version. Methods vary. This will get you started with at least basic procedures for clamping, tensioning, and lacing mains in an alternating manner (left and right of center to maintain equal tension on both sides of the racquet). Remember to take your racquet type and string type into consideration. Note: If you have an electric or crank machine, use that tensioning system as is appropriate. The clamping method noted below still works. X-2 and Progression 200 users may skip this section.
    EXAMPLE: Gamma Progression II 602 FC

    A Basic Starting Mains Method for Fixed Clamp Machines
    Lace your center left and right mains (LM1 and RM1) from head to throat or vice versa depending on what your racquet requires. Check your pattern. See information above about one-piece vs. two-piece stringing.

    Note: You can start on the left or right. The following is an example.
    Clamp your RM1 (right main one) near the frame on the side of the starting loop (Loop in the center of the racquet that leads to LM1 and RM1.). Make sure you have the clamps clean and tight enough to hold the string.

    Insert the LM1 (left main one) string in the gripper and pull tension by lowering the drop weight arm (See alternate methods of positioning the arm above.). And I hope you have the weight on and adjusted to a reasonable weight! Drop the bar so it is about horizontal. If above, insert less string. If below, insert more string. If you have a ratcheting model, use it as appropriate to bring the bar to about horizontal depending on your model. You are now pulling tension on LM1.

    WHILE MAINTAINING THE TENSION (bar is horizontal), clamp LM1 (RM1 is still clamped near the side of the start loop near the frame.) on the side opposite the start loop near the frame. YOU MUST maintain tension until you've clamp the string. Then you can release tension. Raise the bar.

    Lace LM2 and tension after you've rotated the racquet. Move the clamp for LM1 to the opposite side on LM2 close to the frame.

    Rotate the racquet. Pull tension on RM1. Move the first clamp you set on RM1 to the opposite side (side of the tensioner) of RM1, and clamp close to the frame. Remember, you must keep the string tensioned (bar horizontal) as you remove and move clamps.

    Lace RM2, rotate and tension. Continue to lace, rotate the racquet, and tension each string, never getting more than two ahead on either side (alternate tensioning string on the left and right of center).

    Remember to skip grommets (called "main skips") when necessary (used for crosses). After you've completed the mains left and right (final mains tensioned and clamped), insert the string in the grommet for the tie off anchor string and tie a finishing knot (Parnell, double half-hitch, Pro/Wilson, etc.).

    As you have fixed clamps in this example, you may apply information from the above mentioned video sites that require fixed clamps. You have the links. You can search those "channels" yourself.

    I have a similar machine (floating or fixed clamps), but my gripper is a ratcheting LINEAR pull model (looks like a rectangular "clamp" that grips the string). What do I do?

    See this: Video by "topanlego":‎
    Other basic stringing info still applies.

    (Continued in Post #15.)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  15. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    You've tried the racquet and it doesn't feel the same as when its been strung by another stringer.
    First, don't go blaming yourself or the machine. It does take some practice to get the process down, but that may not be the whole picture.

    Perhaps your racquet was strung on a lockout machine where the tension may be lower when strung than it would be on a constant pull machine (See the details of these machines in the FAQs section above.) at the same reference tension (Again, see FAQs.).

    Does the string bed feel looser or tighter? Next time, adjust the reference tension on the bar to compensate. Don't dwell on the reference tension number in and of itself.

    Also, check your clamps to be sure they are tight enough to hold tension. Try to get the bar close to horizontal. The bar being off a bit (as noted above in several places) should not affect the tension much.

    Be consistent on each pull. Don't rush. When ratcheting, go a click or two at a time if very close to horizontal.

    It is impossible because of the various factors to tell you exactly why the tension may feel different in your particular case. Follow the basic directions in this thread, and you should be able to avoid adding or removing any tension due to simple machine use errors. For example, when tensioning a string, the bar must extend horizontally on its own. You should never lift it up or push it down to make the bar horizontal (at least fairly close as noted above) before clamping.

    Eventually, you should be more familiar with the characteristics of a particular string. You should have a clamp setting that works in that situation. You should learn how much lifting/ratcheting must be done.

    Of course, if you're using a new string, one that you've never tried before, that could be the reason on its own!

    Other Notes Regarding Modifications to Your Racquet

    I've covered restringing the racquet, the ability to change/repair grommets, and the ability to customize the weight and balance.

    Some minor changes include changing the grip size and adding string savers. Check out Yulitle's Youtube channel regarding both. The link information is noted above.

    String savers are available from your tennis seller. These are inserted at intersections of mains and crosses to reduce friction to prolong string life.

    To change a grip size using what is called a "heat shrink sleeve" requires the use of a decent hair dryer or a heat gun (can be purchased at a "hardware" store).

    On some racquets, you may be able to change the entire grip pallet to change the grip size. These are harder to find for the consumer. They are also not inexpensive. You may be able to scavenge one from another similar, unusable racquet or make a switch. The process to make the change is also more involved.

    If needed, one can also replace the butt cap. They are available for your racquet based on the grip size.

    LOGGING Your Stringing History

    Keep track of your stringing history, even if you are only stringing for yourself. Use a spreadsheet, columnar pad, write it out, but keep something. You'll know what tensions you've used, what string, how much string, dates, string type, and any other notes you want to throw in.
    Strung For (Customer/Owner), Racquet Model, String Type (Mains and Crosses), String Length (Mains and Crosses), Tension (Mains and Crosses), Date, Time, Duration of Job, and other various notes you want to use to monitor your process/progress or string type/racquet type issues.

    Understanding String Types

    The following is not about choosing a string to play. It is about basic stringing factors for each. Some of this information has been noted earlier in the thread.

    There is an entire section of TT devoted to this subject, but in general you should know the five basic string types: natural gut, poly, synthetic gut, multifilament, and aramid (Kevlar).

    Note that strings vary in composition and may have various additives and coatings that change their properties, even if they are in the same general category. However, when stringing them, they often react similarly.
    Important notes about each string when stringing:

    Natural gut is just that, natural. This leads to its high price because of its natural source and the manufacturing process. While it has excellent playing characteristics, it can be delicate. Avoid kinking it, as this may damage it easily. Be gentle when pulling crosses. A method for doing this is noted above. When tying knots, do not apply a lot of force. When storing it, keep it out of extreme temperatures and away from moisture.

    Poly is stiffer than other strings. It tends to stretch less. See the notes above regarding getting the bar to horizontal when using poly. It may be more difficult to weave because of its stiffness. Also, when tying knots, they may not want to close tightly. Try to get the first part of the knot fairly snug, and with poly, you can use a bit more pull to get the knot tight. If it because particularly hard to push weave, try pull weaving or see Irvin's videos (noted above) regarding the use of using a bead when weaving.

    Synthetic gut is generally lower-cost. It is easy to string, but depending on the precise construction it will stretch some or A LOT. With some types, don't be surprised if you have to hold the ratcheting gripper and lift the bar a few times. Just be sure, like with other strings, you cut the tips to a point. It will make it easier to get through grommets, especially blocked ones, as it tends to bend and blunt easily.

    Multifilaments are made of many fibers. This is why they tend to fray. As noted earlier in the thread, "ghosting" from the clamp teeth may show on this string. This is not abnormal, but be sure, like any string, that the clamps are not too tight. Like other "nylon-type" synthetics, they stretch, so expect to be ratcheting some.

    Aramid (Kevlar) is the one string type I've never strung. I guess you'll just have to search! :) I wouldn't want to present information I have no personal knowledge of. ;) It is a durability string, but I don't know how it reacts on one of these Gamma dropweight machines.

    With any string, just don't kink it, "burn" it, fray it, or put undue tension on it. Just be mindful where it is. In other words, don't get lazy and be pulling it fast while a loop catches on the machine, or you end up stepping on it, or a loop is forming a kink as you are pulling a cross through a grommet that you can't see, as examples. String control is a big part of making the process go smoothly. If you want a quality string bed, be mindful of this.

    You haven't bought the machine yet, and you're wondering what you would get out of it.

    1) You have control over your racquet and strings.
    2) You save money in the long run as you don't have to pay someone else. The machine soon pays for itself. You do the math.
    3) You don't have to make a special trip to pick up/drop off the racquet.
    4) You can get a quick turn around--you can string it as long as you have that hour or so (a bit more/less).
    5) You can go crazy experimenting with strings and tensions.
    6) You enjoy hands-on processes or torturing yourself, all depending on your mindset and level of interest . ;)
    7) You add another level of understanding to your tennis knowledge.
    8 ) You can string for others around you, if needed. (You're just starting, and you're NOT a business.)
    9) You like to show off cool new toys to your friends.
    10) You get satisfaction from completing the job yourself.
    11) You have no one else to blame for your bad shots--unless you prefer that.
    12) You are addicted to TT and want to blabber on in the Stringing section. Plus, you're tired of the "GOAT" arguments and you need somewhere else to spend your time.

    REMEMBER: You're not getting everything in the text, diagrams, and photos. You are expected to watch the noted videos where my text was intentionally not specific. There is no sense in reproducing everything that can be seen in pre-produced materials, especially since videos make many topics easier to understand. You have to bring it all together. Clearly, to be honest, questions arise here regarding the most simple points and problems. Some of you out there are not putting in the required effort before attempting to string.

    Also, this thread is intended for new users. Some thoughts are focused on making them comfortable with the process. Again, this is for them to get the racquet strung safely using basic techniques.

    REMINDER: This thread can be SEARCHED using the "Search This Thread" feature at the top or with the browser's FIND/SEARCH function.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  16. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Post #16 held if I ever get around to decent photos of the process.

    Otherwise, "[Stutter] That's All Folks!"

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  17. idono1301

    idono1301 Semi-Pro

    Mar 31, 2007
    Thanks for this post! It definitely helped me get started!
  18. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    The rotational gripper on my Progression 200 started slipping after stringing about 15 racquets. How do I fix this?
  19. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    Clean it, and make sure you wrap the string around the gripper before going through the gripper.
  20. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks! I do wrap the string around the gripper before going through it. If cleaning fails is there a recourse? How many string jobs does the coating usually last?
  21. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Search the thread with your browser. Keyword: clean. Be sure the rotational gripper is set to the optimal gripping position before wrapping and inserting the string as per the picture in the thread. As noted in the thread, if problems arise that are beyond simple maintenance and use issues, contact Gamma or see if the Gamma representative on TT can address your issue.

    In regard to how long the coating lasts, I have no idea (an "average" max number before failure). I've never had a slippage issue with the string gripper.

    If there is a problem with the gripper, whatever that may be, Gamma does sell replacements. At any rate, 15 jobs shouldn't even be "putting a dent in it" if the issue is the gripping surface itself. Again, cleaning is all you can do.

    I can't comment if "string X" because of a coating or its shape causes any issue.

    For information only--I am not saying you need to buy a new gripper, especially with its extremely light use to this point.
    If someone were to need a replacement, copy and Google "GAMMA Composite String Gripper MRSG-12 red each - $29.95." Blue and Black are also available.

    I was thinking about this again. Gamma does sell rotational gripper electronic machines that are about $1,200 (such as the GAMMA X-Els) with metal die cast (rather than composite) grippers that are diamond coated. So, it isn't only its "lowest" end machines that use that type with a coating inside. It is not necessarily for this situation as you only have 15 jobs on the machine when it should be going after hundreds, but I wonder if this new post would help in a relevant situation.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  22. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

    Nov 27, 2012
    I don't believe it is supposed to worn out after a number of stringing jobs.
  23. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    The slipping could be due to me stringing the Wilson Revolve string which is a coated string. Not sure how to clean this coating off. Rubbing alcohol does not seem to help.
  24. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Sep 18, 2010
    When stringing slippery polys with the P-200, I wrap the string around the gripper twice. This has solved the problem every time.
  25. 4-string

    4-string Professional

    Jun 22, 2014
    Hmm, never had an issue with Revolve or other slippery/coated strings. Not with the gripper anyway, the clamps on the other hand..;)

    As mentioned, an extra turn around before you go through will most likely solve the problem.
  26. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    Doesn't the P-200 have a linear gripper
  27. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    If by "P" he means "Progression", one of Gamma's model brands, the Progression 200 is the red machine in the photo at the top of this thread. It is the "same" as the X-2 in working parts. It does say, "Progression II" on the base, but it is referred to for sale as the 200. Get yours for $174.00 today at Tennis Warehouse (Just a little commericial interruption for our sponsor.).
    The Gamma Progression 200 Stringing Machine:
    • 2 Point Mounting System
    • 2 Composite Floating Clamps
    • Ratchet Drop Weight Tensioner
    • Diamond Coated String Gripper
    • Aluminum Frame w/PS Cover
    • Tool Tray
    • Starter String Pack of 3 FREE sets of Gamma performance string
    • USRSA Getting Started Stringing Guide
    • Tools Included: Gamma Pathfinder Awl, Straight Awl, Straight Pliers & Razor Cutter

    The extra turn around the gripper is fine, but I'd check your coating and test with a common (cheap syn. gut) to see if you have the same issue. I wouldn't want to think yours has already failed this early.
  28. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    I have the red Gamma Progression 200, the red one shown in the first post. It has a rotatational gripper.

    Going around twice works. That is what I did to finish the string job when it started slipping. I will keep stringing in this manner from now on. Let me see how long it works.

    Others seem to have had similar problems as well with this gripper.

  29. MixedMaster

    MixedMaster Semi-Pro

    Feb 2, 2014
    Eastern NC
    I have the X-2 and have been using it for over a year and a half. I am sure that I have done many more than a hundred string job's. I clean the grippers occasionally and have never had a problem.
  30. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    Although sometimes you can get a pathfinder past a string blocking a grommet more often than not if you can get the awl past the blocking string you can get a string in there too. You better off putting the pathfinder awl in the grommet before you block the the grommet. Then the awl keeps the path open. Insert the string in the awl and remove the awl and your string is through. The method mentioned above is an easy way to break the tool.
  31. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    I didn't note this earlier. You'll see it noted at the end of the manual and in the parts list.

    GOOGLE to find:
    GAMMA Cleaning Stone MPS-00
    String Clamp/Gripper Cleaning Stone.
    Sold individually. $5.95
  32. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    I will try the cleaning stone. Thanks for that pointer!
  33. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Just to be clear, the manuals (for example, versions of the 200, the x-2, and the x-6) note the MPS Cleaning Stone in the parts lists at the end (such as the
    MP200-MP20010-Issue_1A-Dec2012 version of the Progression 200 manual).
    From the manual:
    With time and use, the clamping surfaces of your machine may become oily or dirty and result
    in string or clamp slippage while stringing. Periodic cleaning of the String Clamps and String
    Gripper is recommended. Knife sharpening stones work well for cleaning the diamond coated
    string clamping surfaces
    . Cleaning with a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol and a mild abrasive
    tool such as a toothbrush also works well to remove oily or greasy build up."

    Again, then they note the company's own stone in the parts list (MPS CLEANING STONE), as noted in the previous post.

    I have not used this method to clean my parts. If in doubt, consult the Gamma Tech on TT if he is available or a representative of Gamma by phone or e-mail.
  34. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    A cleaning stone on a diamond coated surface? If you trying to get the string grit embedded in the diamond grit I would not grind it out with a stone. I'd use alcohol and a brush.

    Why does going around twice work and what are the disadvantages. When using a Diablo on a stringer before going into the linear gripper the tension on the string between the Diablo and the gripper is lowered. This means the gripper will need to apply less crushing action on the string. Actually the string trying to slip out of the gripper applies the pressure as the friction between the string and the gripper moves the gripper forward and the plates move closer together. Almost the same thing happens on the gripper on the 200. The string going over the top portion of the gripper pushes down on the top piece of the gripper clamping the string. Going around the gripper again places just as much downward force though as the one turn as the string between the gripper and racket has the same tension as before so it applies the same force. But the string being wrapped around the gripper two times creates a lot more friction between the string and the outside of the gripper rotational housing so it actually takes more tension to cause a sliding action in the gripper. But that extra turn requires about 6" more string to reach the gripper. If you're using 2 piece stringing that could mean an extra 2' of string for every string job. So you may not want to wrap twice on the outside strings you'll be tying off.

    If I had a slipping issue I would clean clean clean and possibly lubricate. No lube where it may contact the string. And don't forget to make sure the top portion of the gripper if free so it clamps the string and is not binding up on you. I would like to hear from someone like @Gamma Tech for his opinion on this problem.
  35. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    Before I went with the cleaning stone, I thought I would give cleaning with alcohol another shot. This time I disassembled the gripper to get at the gripping surfaces and soaked them in rubbing alcohol over night in an air tight glass jar. Then gave the surfaces a good scrub in the morning with a tooth brush. This did the trick. The gripper now grips with a single turn. I clean with a shoe lace dipped in rubbing alcohol after each string job now and have not had a problem on the subsequent three string jobs with Wilson Revolve and Ripspin coated strings.

    Thanks for the tips Irvin and Radicalized!
  36. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Mar 15, 2007
    Marietta, Ga
    I can't see how a stone can clean down in the diamond dust like a brush cand. Nut I can see how it could bring off the diamond dust coating. OTOH, If you gripping surfaces did not have a diamond dust coating I can see how the stone would be a good idea.
  37. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Ask Gamma. It's in all of the rotational gripper machine manuals. The only string I've used that has clearly left visible residue on the edge of the diamond-coated gripper at one on the corners was Beast XP (and I've used polys in various colors from red to optic yellow). As noted above, I've never used the stone method myself. One would think Gamma has tested this out. As noted above, the replacement gripper is 30 bucks.

    Well, at least bigservesofthands got his gripper back to working "properly" (at least for the moment). A late note on the isopropyl alcohol: Some stores sell it as 50%, most sell it as 70% (~$1-$1.50 16 oz.), and some places also sell it at 90+% (~$1.50-$2.00 16 oz.). I generally use the 70% but use the 91% for cleaning heat sink thermal paste from CPUs/GPUs (occasionally), and the 91% removes it right away. For a smooth wiping surface where you don't want lint, use coffee filters. Just some tips when using your alcohol. ;)
  38. bigservesofthands

    bigservesofthands Semi-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Portland, Oregon
    I was using 70% isopropyl alcohol from Walgreens. 70% isopropyl alcohol is supposed to be a better disinfectant, the reason I have it in the house before this alternate use. I'll pick up some 91% next time I am at Walgreens for gripper and clamp cleaning purposes. I'll try coffee filters as well. Thanks for the tips.
  39. rock76251

    rock76251 New User

    Jun 20, 2016
    Merion, PA
    What a great thread!
  40. Gamma Tech

    Gamma Tech Professional

    Oct 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Keep in mind that the diamond dust coating is real diamond, so it’s really hard. The grinding stone is softer than the diamond so it will be consumed as you rub the surface. Alcohol and a brush is great for removing some build up and I always recommend using that method. However, for stubborn debris that is embedded in the surface texture of the gripper jaws the cleaning stone will get rid of that with ease, and not harm the gripper surfaces. Don't be afraid to use the cleaning stone, then follow up with the rubbing alcohol.

    When I have a gripper in the shop, and while it is apart, I use a very liberal spray of WD-40 on the gripper surfaces and let it soak for a few minutes. Yep WD-40…that’s a lubricant but it is a water based lubricant. So I then scrub with the cleaning stone and then rinse all off with water and a mild dish detergent. Then, for good measure, I scrub one more time with rubbing alcohol. The gripper plates look as good as new.
    Radicalized and Irvin like this.
  41. Radicalized

    Radicalized Semi-Pro

    Aug 10, 2010
    Gamma Tech is addressing the cleaning stone noted in posts 31 and 33 for those not reading above.

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