Tips for beginners when picking strings (TLDR Version)

ichaseballs

Semi-Pro
Today there are so many strings it can be a bit daunting to a person new to tennis.
I tried to keep this guide as short and simple. Read this before heading to your local tennis store or stringer.
For those who seek more details and knowledge, check out TW's learning center.

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  • Type of String: Natural Gut $$$ > Multi-filament $$ > Synthetic Gut $
    This is in order of performance, as well as price. Most pre-strung racquets come with synthetic gut strings.
    Polyester ("poly") are not recommended for beginners as it requires to be re-strung often, and can also cause arm pain/issues.
    I recommend Babolat VS Touch for natural gut, Tecnifibre NRG2 for multi-filament, and Prince Original or Duraflex for synthetic.


  • Thickness (Gauge): 1.25 to 1.30mm is a great place to start (also called 16 or 16L)
    And you really do not need to change the string thickness as a beginner.


  • Tension: Start in the middle of your racquet's recommended tension range
    The racquet has the recommendation printed on the racquet throat or head.
    If you can't find it, look up the racquet online to find the "recommended tension range"



My top tips to make you look like a veteran at the tennis store:
  • Most times it will be cheaper if you buy your strings online and pay only for stringing labor.
  • Ask for "Two Piece Stringing". This should be the standard imo, but most places will not do this if you do not ask. A two piece job will have four knots instead of two.
  • When you find your desired tension. Get the crosses 2 lbs lower than the mains. (i.e. Mains 48 lbs. Crosses 46 lbs)
 
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esgee48

G.O.A.T.
I know you are trying to keep things simple. Unfortunately, the real world does not conform to your guidelines. NG comes in a variety of stiffness, from VS to Klip. They should be strung at or towards the upper limit of the recommended range. Multifibers are even worse because some should be strung the same as NG while others should be strung like copolys. Example is your NRG2 vs Velocity/Rip Control. SG for trial purposes can be string at mid range of the recommended tension range. At the very least, you have to consider the stiffness of the string when selecting tension.
 

ichaseballs

Semi-Pro
I know you are trying to keep things simple. Unfortunately, the real world does not conform to your guidelines. NG comes in a variety of stiffness, from VS to Klip. They should be strung at or towards the upper limit of the recommended range. Multifibers are even worse because some should be strung the same as NG while others should be strung like copolys. Example is your NRG2 vs Velocity/Rip Control. SG for trial purposes can be string at mid range of the recommended tension range. At the very least, you have to consider the stiffness of the string when selecting tension.
you do not need to play gut at high tension. the lowest they recommend on the package is 48 lbs.
and this is meant for beginners. too many choices has been proven to cause anxiety and reduce enjoyment.

i know many beginners that just say "i dont care just pick one for me". even a great resource like the TW center which i linked above, some will not want to read all that info.
the nit picking of the string and tension is not going to affect a beginner's ability to play and learn tennis
 

socallefty

Legend
Gut retains its playability twice or thrice as long as Multis if you are not a string-breaker and is a great choice for beginners. They can play with it for many months and will not break it or notice much loss in control. Even cheaper gut like Klip is worth trying for the extended playability compared to the more expensive multis. You want a beginner to start loving tennis and the feel/comfort/power of gut will go a long way to make them enjoy the game.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think you've selected 3 very fine choices for string options for beginners. I think even for intermediates, those are good options although I'd add in head velocity for a multi option for those that want a more muted multi option between NRG2 and PSGD.

I also agree with steering beginners and most intermediates away from polyester. They just generally don't know enough to take those strings out after they've gone dead and put their arms at risk.

I also think that most stringers are so used to hybrids these days that two piece stringings are second nature to them.
 

abhi_trip

Rookie
I also agree with steering beginners and most intermediates away from polyester. They just generally don't know enough to take those strings out after they've gone dead and put their arms at risk.
Absolutely agreed with this point. I am around a UTR 3.5 and tried a full bed of polyester for about 6 months. I could not break those poly strings and had to cut it out every 3 months. While it did force me to improve my strokes by taking fuller swings and increase my racket head speed which in turn helped me develop spinny shots, there were times when I was late and the stringbed felt jarring. Once I'd to rest for 3-4 days because of shoulder and arm pain and I was scared that I'd developed tennis elbow. I switched to Head Velocity and found it to have good spin potential, comfort, and control for my level. My arm felt much better and the best part is I can actually break those strings :p. I've realized that polyester strings are not for me at least in a full bed. I've now started playing with syn-gut/poly hybrid strings in a softer frame and so far the syn-gut crosses are fraying and I hope to break them before the poly goes completely dead
 

ichaseballs

Semi-Pro
I think stringers will do 2 piece instead of 1 if not asked.
So it is the opposite of what you stated.
they will opt to do less work. which means 1 piece, and 2 knots.
most stringers will not do extra work unless they have to.
also i thought asking for different tensions assumed 2 piece, but that is not even the case
 

Folsom_Stringer_Musa

Professional
they will opt to do less work. which means 1 piece, and 2 knots.
most stringers will not do extra work unless they have to.
also i thought asking for different tensions assumed 2 piece, but that is not even the case
I see now.
You are thinking differently.
I will always do extra work (unless customer doesn't want) and go happy with 4 knots. I like extra knots.
 
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Automatix

Hall of Fame
personally i think synthetic gut is best for kids under 10.
NG sounds good if the kid can hit and knows how to treat his/her racquet (cause i usually see kids destroying and mishandling their gear)
On point. This isn't something discussed or mentioned but kids racquets are made of aluminium because it can handle abusing.
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
they will opt to do less work. which means 1 piece, and 2 knots.
most stringers will not do extra work unless they have to.
also i thought asking for different tensions assumed 2 piece, but that is not even the case
1) my experience is most clients have frames from previous strjngers which come to me with two piece stringing.

2) where or how did you get the mindset that two different tensions means two piece?

I strung 21 frames over Easter weekend. 1 of them was one piece and 20 two piece.

IMO, you are too narrowly focused on absolutes instead of being opened minded for the application of one piece stringing for certain frames. When a client gives me a frame, and they use an entire bed of one string, some clients specifically ask for one piece stringing. I am not going to argue with them or explain the pros/cons of one vs two piece stringing.

Then there are frames that naturally work well with one piece stringing and a Babolat Pure Control Tour is one of them. The 5.0 client who has used me as his stringer has never once complained or instructed me how to string his frames. I string frames for his entire family and only his are one piece strung.

There is no way I will two piece an aluminum 25 / 27 frame when a parent asks me to restring it due broken strings. Cheap Aluminum frames rarely have tie-offs for crosses and mains at the throat.. been there many times and for that reason alone, a stringer should know how to string one pierce.. this decision has nothing to do with shortcuts whatsoever, it has to do with the reality that you will find yourself struggling to tie-off a cross and you have to use an awl to "create" a tie off hole. No thanks!
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
On point. This isn't something discussed or mentioned but kids racquets are made of aluminium because it can handle abusing.
I think companies make kid's beginner frames from aluminum because they are very inexpensive and they sell to the masses, which equates to profit. I work with one pro who has lots of younger kids and adults. 90+% show up with aluminum frames. The ones that stick to tennis will move to a better frame. When aluminum frames are hit on the ground frequently, they might not break, but they bend just like an aluminum can, and can no longer be strung when they are the shape of a deformed rhombus.:(

Costs are certainly a major factor when kids are trying so many different sports and artistic activities. Just in my area, you have kids involved with tennis, golf, lacrosse, football, baseball, soccer, and swimming. That gets expensive when a parent is trying out all those sports for multiple kids.

edited incorrect word "expensive " to "inexpensive" thanks @Automatix
 
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Automatix

Hall of Fame
I think companies make kid's beginner frames from aluminum because they are very expensive and they sell to the masses, which equates to profit.
You sure you didn't mean not very expensive?


I work with one pro who has lots of younger kids and adults. 90+% show up with aluminum frames. The ones that stick to tennis will move to a better frame. When aluminum frames are hit on the ground frequently, they might not break, but they bend just like an aluminum can, and can no longer be strung when they are the shape of a deformed rhombus.:(

Costs are certainly a major factor when kids are trying so many different sports and artistic activities. Just in my area, you have kids involved with tennis, golf, lacrosse, football, baseball, soccer, and swimming. That gets expensive when a parent is trying out all those sports for multiple kids.
Maaaaany years back I've talked about this with a guy working for one of the bigger companies. The theme was more or less like, why most junior frames are from alu and not from graphite?
Manufacturing cost was a factor, but he also said that an alu frame is sturdier then a graphite racquet and when a child <10 years old hits pebles from the court with it or bumps it on the surface it won't break. A folks tale as he put it was parents were more likely to introduce young kids to tennis if the equipment was cheaper and sturdier because kids in the 5-8 age group don't treat their toys well and parents didn't want to shell out bigger bucks for something as fragile as a graphite frame - his words, not mine.
 

smithie

Rookie
1) my experience is most clients have frames from previous strjngers which come to me with two piece stringing.

2) where or how did you get the mindset that two different tensions means two piece?

I strung 21 frames over Easter weekend. 1 of them was one piece and 20 two piece.

IMO, you are too narrowly focused on absolutes instead of being opened minded for the application of one piece stringing for certain frames. When a client gives me a frame, and they use an entire bed of one string, some clients specifically ask for one piece stringing. I am not going to argue with them or explain the pros/cons of one vs two piece stringing.

Then there are frames that naturally work well with one piece stringing and a Babolat Pure Control Tour is one of them. The 5.0 client who has used me as his stringer has never once complained or instructed me how to string his frames. I string frames for his entire family and only his are one piece strung.

There is no way I will two piece an aluminum 25 / 27 frame when a parent asks me to restring it due broken strings. Cheap Aluminum frames rarely have tie-offs for crosses and mains at the throat.. been there many times and for that reason alone, a stringer should know how to string one pierce.. this decision has nothing to do with shortcuts whatsoever, it has to do with the reality that you will find yourself struggling to tie-off a cross and you have to use an awl to "create" a tie off hole. No thanks!
On a slight side note, what are the pro's and con's of one and two piece stringing? And why is it better to have one over another with certain frames?
 
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