Tighter Mains vs. Tighter Crosses

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Matt21, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Matt21

    Matt21 Semi-Pro

    Feb 24, 2004
    I've been doing some serious experimentation with strings and tensions since purchasing my RDS002T's. I've heard there are two schools of thought with string tensions:

    1. String crosses 3lbs lower than mains.
    2. String crosses 4-6lbs higher than mains.

    Which is better and why?

    Also, I did two different RDS002T's at the following tensions:
    1. 62m, 59c (16g Technifibre X-One Biphase)
    2. 54m, 52c (17g Technifibre X-One Biphase)

    For some reason, racquet #2 felt more boardy and gave me less control. Why if the tension is lower?
  2. carac

    carac Rookie

    Aug 1, 2007
    1. It is a matter of personal taste - but I personally like better the first approach with mains slightly (2-4 lbs, but depends on string) tighter - the reason is that the mains are longer and the actual tension is simlar with the one in the shorter crosses at a smaller tension. HOWEVER that is different in HYBRIDS - in that case you MUST also take into consideration the stiffness of each string!

    2. It is normal that the second test (54/52) is less precise - however the 'boardy feel' is unusual - it might depend on the tension relative to the balls or something else (like getting too much elasticity or pocketing). Also the string might have an impact - sometimes the same string 1 gauge apart can be quite different !!!

    3. If you want even more precision and you don't mind experimenting you might want to try some hybrids - probably first you should try 16g Technifibre X-One Biphase mains around 60 with something like SPPP Pure 17L crosses around 52 and then if your arm is OK Luxilon ALU Power FLUORO mains around 56 with X-One Biphase crosses around 58-60 !
  3. Gmedlo

    Gmedlo Professional

    Apr 15, 2007
    P-Town, WA
    I'm starting to doubt that stringing the mains higher is really necessary. If anything, stringing the crosses higher makes more sense; sure, the mains are logner, but the friction on the crosses from the mains creates enough resistance that there's no way the string is even getting tensioned at 75% of the set tension.

    Recently I strung my rad at 54/56, and found a more uniform response on the string bed. I also have a feeling that if you string the crosses higher on a hybrid, to the point that they have more actual tension than the mains, then the playing characteristics of the cross string will dominate instead of the mains.

    Next restringing I will try a more extreme tension difference, like 52/57
  4. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Aug 12, 2007
    This is a facinating thread. Does anyone have any info/data on whether the mains affects power more and the crosses affects control more?

    Or is it the other way around? Or do the mains always dominate on both factors?
  5. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

    Aug 6, 2007
    Generally, differences in tension are used to compensate for either differences in the two strings being used, or for differences in the lengths of the string to achieve the same "effective tension" in the mains and crosses. Any time the effective tension is significantly different, it will cause either the mains or crosses to bear more of the load, which isn't good for either power or control. Ultimately, it's all just an effort to make the whole string bed play evenly and well as a unit. Both mains and crosses affect both power and control...it's not a matter of simply separating them out into their functions.
  6. downdaline

    downdaline Professional

    Jul 12, 2007
    ^^^^ agree. I used to naively think that stringing my mains tighter than my crosses would produce "uneveness" of the stringbed and give me more spin. Dumb idea.

    If anything, stringing the mains tighter just made my stringjob less durable.
  7. louis netman

    louis netman Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    I recently started stringing my Xs 4-5 lbs tighter (as advised here) to increase durability. I tear through 17g gut main/synth gut hybrids like water. I've always strung even, or 2-3 lbs lower tension Xs.

    For some reason, I DO NOT like the feel or playabilty/control of the tighter X setup. I'm still experimenting, but my results so far, have not been good. As a reference point, I'm an old-school touchy-feely, S/V'er.
  8. Kostas

    Kostas Semi-Pro

    Jul 7, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    I've been casually wondering about this for a few weeks now.

    Is there any science to the size of the string versus the type of string versus the length of the mains relative to the crosses that can help us newbies determine the appropriate ratio to achieve a uniform stringbed tension? It would be incredibly useful to me.

    Thanks in advance.
  9. rudester

    rudester Professional

    Sep 29, 2009
    Because this controversy seems endless, I pretty much string both the cross and main strings the same tension and have had no issue, Have also strung crosses both higher and lower tension than mains, and really have seen no benefit, although i have strung the cross strings at higher tension and did not like the result. All this while stringing cross and main string with same string. When stringing hybrid using gut or multi, will lower Poly tension 3lbs, if other string is poly.
  10. DavidNERODease

    DavidNERODease Rookie

    Oct 25, 2010
    It is true that no matter what you do, the actual tension on the crosses will be way less than what ends up on the mains. The measurements are really shocking on stringbeds strung with crank style lock out machines. Also the different friction values between different strings has a significant effect on the final numbers (hybrids can really change the results). We know that variying the tension on the crosses does affect the stringbed but it doesn't work the way we think (meaing that the tension on the crosses can be wildly less than we thought and not change much with different set tensions)
  11. tenis1

    tenis1 Banned

    Mar 21, 2011
    I have multi in mains and poly in crosses and string crosses 2-4 lb lower than mains. Seems to work for me.
  12. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Jan 18, 2006
    Northern NJ, USA
    It's out there.......

    Take a look at the Stringway site (stringway.com) for their String Advisor. Some very interesting concepts in stringing the perfect racquet.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
  13. monticore

    monticore Rookie

    Feb 7, 2011
    i know in the badminton world the companies suggest tigher crosses +2lbs , because when you tighten the crosses it actually add force up/down on the mains increasing their tension. so 50/50 actualy gives the main a few pounds more but does having different tensions add stress to the frame maybe reducing life/risking a break.

    but then factor the length and then the frenquency changes, but throw in the overall footprint of the mains less strings mains less strings/tigher pattern, crosses more strings wider apart.

    my point? i have no idea.

  14. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    JC or Jaycee is a pro stringer on stringforum.net and he likes the crosses 4 lbs hi-er than mains due to friction when pulling crosses. There are posts at stringforum with math formulas but it hurts my head. Each cross pulled has a slightly lower actual tension due to the increasing pressure from the tightening stringbed. JC's theory is that raising the x tension offset the friction and you end up with a more uniform feel. I used this approach but only went 2 hi-er on crosses and pull the last x's 4 lbs more to offset tie-off.

    One thing to keep in mind if you hybrid a soft string with a poly, you should string the soft string 3-4 lbs hi-er than the poly. The soft string does not come into play as much if you string it the same or lower than the poly because the poly is so stiff that it will reach maximum flex before the soft string and that's all you will feel. I have been using this approach with hybrids for 4 years now and the results are good. This is true if the poly is in the mains or crosses in my opinion. There's a luxilon site with advice and he also suggest stringing the soft string hi-er - I think he says 10% hi-er but I never go above a 4 lb difference.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  15. dave t

    dave t Rookie

    Sep 9, 2010
    I am planning on trying both setups with same racquet same string. My only concern is that I use a 16x20 pattern - since the crosses are denser i may stick with 2 lbs higher to start. Anyone else try both?
  16. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Oct 5, 2010
    Amen! I initially tried the other way around when first using hybrids and then went to stringing the softer string higher. Better control and less "thwacky".

    Your simple and direct advice should be stickied somewhere as this is such a common question.
  17. teh_firestarter

    teh_firestarter New User

    Mar 30, 2011
    So what about a full poly job?
    I normally ask my stringer to do 52lbs on my Bab PS Ltd on both main/cross. Would I benefit stringing the mains at 52 and the crosses at 50? Main at 52 and crosses at 54 ?

    What's the deal with the "even-ness" of the stringjob lol

    I use the cheap isospeed speed baseline 1.25 mono poly
  18. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

    Aug 6, 2007
    To be honest, you won't feel a difference at all with a 2lb main/cross differential on a full poly job. Especially if it's a one piece job, it will even out very soon and the gain will be nil. Best to just use even tension throughout. Either way, you definitely don't want the crosses tighter than the mains when the crosses are poly.

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