Tried a bunch of polys - results here: 1. Hyper-G, 2....

rosheem

Rookie
I took a few years away from tennis. Now that I have my game back, I‘m experimenting with strings because I love it. I have a Gamma drop weight stringer at home.

My racquet is the Yonex VCORE 95 Red. I play mostly 4.0 doubles and hit with a ton of spin on ground strokes and serves. String nirvana usually coincides with a false-feel that I get where the racquet head is flexing around the ball through contact. It is really probably just when a string is stiff enough to bring out the flex of a racquet, but still elastic enough to let an incoming ball dig in a little, and wiry enough to grab some fuzz. (Although I like round poly’s, too!)

Here’s my current string rankings. I listed some new ones I’ll be testing at the bottom. If I had to string both racquets for a big tournament tomorrow, I‘d go with Hyper-G right now and string them at 56/54.

1. Solinco Hyper-G 58/56: Unique feel. More plasticy than rubbery, but not as harsh plastic as Cyclone. The combination of crisp springiness with sharpness to bite the ball, but less wiry than Cyclone. More feel of the racquet frame flexing around the ball, especially on serve. The only downside is that I might drift into spinning and grabbing a bit too much, producing a higher-arching, shallower ball. It’s just so easy to shape the ball with this string, that I start over-shaping. Which isn’t the end of the world, there is still plenty of control going on with those shots. Encourages me to snap at the top of my serve and focus on hitting down on the ball. Makes the racquet feel smaller in the hand - encourages a firmer grip with less flair, but still a liquid feel. Easy to grip and shape the ball, but also very predictable when blasting straight through it. Plenty of stability to support a big serve.

2. Dunlop Explosive Red 56/54: Everything I like about Pro Red Code, but better. A little more muted, maybe more of a stable/stiffer feel compared to red code. This stringbed makes me want to hit through the ball a little more, and shape it with more of a compressive strike-and-torque motion vs. a scraping/brushing contact. Plenty of pop on serve, but serve is where I appreciate a more lively feel like Hyper-G. These are a bit more boring to serve with. Predictable, more power than you’d expect from a relatively firm overall bed. Not bad for consistency, but not as fun as Hyper-G.

3. Technifibre Pro Red Code 58/55: Comfortable, predictable. Decent level of pocketing for fine-tuning of full swing contact. Enough pop when you pop it. Great control without the biting/shearing sensation of a shaped poly. This is more of a grabbing-and-slinging spin.

4. Volkl Cyclone 16: This was my go-to string for a while. I think it’s just a bit too harsh and gets a little boring.

5. Volkl V-Square 58/55: Plasticy, but compared to Hyper-G, it’s a wiry feeling instead of a soft and lively plastic. The overall bed had a bit more trampoline than I like. Hard to pin this string down. With lively, wiry strings like this, there needs to be some muting. I think that’s what is unique about Hyper-G.

The others:

Babolat RPM Team 56/54: If it’s going to be stiff, I’d at least like it to be controlled. This one seemed to be stiff, but not controlled. It’s supposed to be shaped, but I didn’t feel the grab on the ball. Nothing shined here, it tended to bring out the worst of poly’s qualities and trade-offs.

Luxilon 4G 56/54: Uniquely soft, but the softness doesn’t seem to pay off at low-speeds, where it just feels boardy. Way more power than I expected as long as the oncoming ball has at least a decent amount of pace. This feels like a string for a flat hitter. You get a great feeling of stability and control when you are rebounding a shot off the sweet spot. I’m more of a slinger than a striker, so this didn’t really reward me. I did not like serving with this string. No grab, and hard to get the feel of the racquet frame flexing through contact.

KLIP Legend Tour natural gut mains and Tourna Big Red crosses 60/55: I wish I would have saved the Tourna Big Red for a full job, this was a waste of a test. I had tried some gut/poly hybrids many years ago, and wanted to give it another shot. I’m just not a fan of natural gut. Maybe someday. It’s unique, but I don’t see anything outstanding that unlocks another level of ball striking for me. If anything, the pocketing and higher launch angle adds another element that I have to think about controlling. On my highest-powered shots, the big serve and the overhead, I actually find natural gut to be less powerful than full poly. Full poly gives me a feel of heavy support behind those shots that are blasted straight through the sweet spot. Sounds like a cannon blast.

KLIP Legend Tour natural gut mains and Solinco Tour Bite 60/55: Like my tennis game, I was trying to get fancy here. I should have saved the Tour Bite for a full job, but I also didn’t want to use an uninteresting poly in a natural gut hybrid and leave any unanswered curiosities out there. This was a fail, nothing to do with the Tour Bite. Not a fan of gut. There should be some next-level control to justify the cost and all of the other trade-offs, but I didn’t find it.

Weisscannon Explosive mains/Pro Red Code crosses: Re-visited an old hybrid here, but realized that there is nothing magical about an ultra-soft or uniquely elastic main string paired with a poly. It’s fun to try, but nothing magical that elevates the stroke performance.

Volkl Cyclone 18: Having never tried an 18g string, I wanted to give it a go. Too harsh and springy.

Kevlar mains, Tourna Big Red crosses 58/56: Yes, I even tried Kevlar. Not my first time ever trying it, but I wanted to give it another shot. Bottom line, it’s just not that interesting. Nothing special in terms of enhanced control, feel, bite, or anything. I think the hybrid concept just doesn’t work here for me. I could see the interest in Kevlar at low tensions, there is some kind of unique feel, like hitting the ball with a piece of carpet. But from an overall performance standpoint, just doesn’t offer anything special. Full poly is more interesting.

Next up:

Hyper G soft: It seems like the softness is what separates Hyper G from the rest of the plasticy, shaped, just-lively-enough polys. Maybe even more softness would be even more fun?
Poly Tour Air: Very curious. The few “soft but dead” comments have me very curious. I also like to explore the extreme ends of the stifness ratings. Tried Lux 4g, now I might as well try the other end.
Wilson Revolve: Somewhat curious. Feedback indicates lots of control with some better pocketing and a little more plushness than Cyclone. That’s up my alley.
Weiss Cannon Ultra Cable: Very curious.
 

jangotango

Semi-Pro
The VCore 95 is a picky eater. Hyper-G Soft has a bit more power than its older brother. TW lab puts it on par with some Synthetic Guts! Local coach has one that he brings out every once in a while, strung with a round poly like Adrenaline or Max Power. He played upper D2 and has super spinny strokes and serve. He's tried shaped polys like Tour Bite and Hyper-G in it, but said that he prefers the consistency and control of round polys.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
-well descrived!! (y)
-and to add to your post
-I've come to realize, not everyone likes the same thing, soo many variations/variables
-some people (shockinly to me!!), like/prefer "arm wrecking" tension/string-combinations
Yeah, I’m a low tension poly guy so I could never see how people use poly above 50, but somehow these guys can deal with 55+ tension.
 

JamesV

Rookie
I took a few years away from tennis. Now that I have my game back, I‘m experimenting with strings because I love it. I have a Gamma drop weight stringer at home.

My racquet is the Yonex VCORE 95 Red. I play mostly 4.0 doubles and hit with a ton of spin on ground strokes and serves. String nirvana usually coincides with a false-feel that I get where the racquet head is flexing around the ball through contact. It is really probably just when a string is stiff enough to bring out the flex of a racquet, but still elastic enough to let an incoming ball dig in a little, and wiry enough to grab some fuzz. (Although I like round poly’s, too!)

Here’s my current string rankings. I listed some new ones I’ll be testing at the bottom. If I had to string both racquets for a big tournament tomorrow, I‘d go with Hyper-G right now and string them at 56/54.

1. Solinco Hyper-G 58/56: Unique feel. More plasticy than rubbery, but not as harsh plastic as Cyclone. The combination of crisp springiness with sharpness to bite the ball, but less wiry than Cyclone. More feel of the racquet frame flexing around the ball, especially on serve. The only downside is that I might drift into spinning and grabbing a bit too much, producing a higher-arching, shallower ball. It’s just so easy to shape the ball with this string, that I start over-shaping. Which isn’t the end of the world, there is still plenty of control going on with those shots. Encourages me to snap at the top of my serve and focus on hitting down on the ball. Makes the racquet feel smaller in the hand - encourages a firmer grip with less flair, but still a liquid feel. Easy to grip and shape the ball, but also very predictable when blasting straight through it. Plenty of stability to support a big serve.

2. Dunlop Explosive Red 56/54: Everything I like about Pro Red Code, but better. A little more muted, maybe more of a stable/stiffer feel compared to red code. This stringbed makes me want to hit through the ball a little more, and shape it with more of a compressive strike-and-torque motion vs. a scraping/brushing contact. Plenty of pop on serve, but serve is where I appreciate a more lively feel like Hyper-G. These are a bit more boring to serve with. Predictable, more power than you’d expect from a relatively firm overall bed. Not bad for consistency, but not as fun as Hyper-G.

3. Technifibre Pro Red Code 58/55: Comfortable, predictable. Decent level of pocketing for fine-tuning of full swing contact. Enough pop when you pop it. Great control without the biting/shearing sensation of a shaped poly. This is more of a grabbing-and-slinging spin.

4. Volkl Cyclone 16: This was my go-to string for a while. I think it’s just a bit too harsh and gets a little boring.

5. Volkl V-Square 58/55: Plasticy, but compared to Hyper-G, it’s a wiry feeling instead of a soft and lively plastic. The overall bed had a bit more trampoline than I like. Hard to pin this string down. With lively, wiry strings like this, there needs to be some muting. I think that’s what is unique about Hyper-G.

The others:

Babolat RPM Team 56/54: If it’s going to be stiff, I’d at least like it to be controlled. This one seemed to be stiff, but not controlled. It’s supposed to be shaped, but I didn’t feel the grab on the ball. Nothing shined here, it tended to bring out the worst of poly’s qualities and trade-offs.

Luxilon 4G 56/54: Uniquely soft, but the softness doesn’t seem to pay off at low-speeds, where it just feels boardy. Way more power than I expected as long as the oncoming ball has at least a decent amount of pace. This feels like a string for a flat hitter. You get a great feeling of stability and control when you are rebounding a shot off the sweet spot. I’m more of a slinger than a striker, so this didn’t really reward me. I did not like serving with this string. No grab, and hard to get the feel of the racquet frame flexing through contact.

KLIP Legend Tour natural gut mains and Tourna Big Red crosses 60/55: I wish I would have saved the Tourna Big Red for a full job, this was a waste of a test. I had tried some gut/poly hybrids many years ago, and wanted to give it another shot. I’m just not a fan of natural gut. Maybe someday. It’s unique, but I don’t see anything outstanding that unlocks another level of ball striking for me. If anything, the pocketing and higher launch angle adds another element that I have to think about controlling. On my highest-powered shots, the big serve and the overhead, I actually find natural gut to be less powerful than full poly. Full poly gives me a feel of heavy support behind those shots that are blasted straight through the sweet spot. Sounds like a cannon blast.

KLIP Legend Tour natural gut mains and Solinco Tour Bite 60/55: Like my tennis game, I was trying to get fancy here. I should have saved the Tour Bite for a full job, but I also didn’t want to use an uninteresting poly in a natural gut hybrid and leave any unanswered curiosities out there. This was a fail, nothing to do with the Tour Bite. Not a fan of gut. There should be some next-level control to justify the cost and all of the other trade-offs, but I didn’t find it.

Weisscannon Explosive mains/Pro Red Code crosses: Re-visited an old hybrid here, but realized that there is nothing magical about an ultra-soft or uniquely elastic main string paired with a poly. It’s fun to try, but nothing magical that elevates the stroke performance.

Volkl Cyclone 18: Having never tried an 18g string, I wanted to give it a go. Too harsh and springy.

Kevlar mains, Tourna Big Red crosses 58/56: Yes, I even tried Kevlar. Not my first time ever trying it, but I wanted to give it another shot. Bottom line, it’s just not that interesting. Nothing special in terms of enhanced control, feel, bite, or anything. I think the hybrid concept just doesn’t work here for me. I could see the interest in Kevlar at low tensions, there is some kind of unique feel, like hitting the ball with a piece of carpet. But from an overall performance standpoint, just doesn’t offer anything special. Full poly is more interesting.

Next up:

Hyper G soft: It seems like the softness is what separates Hyper G from the rest of the plasticy, shaped, just-lively-enough polys. Maybe even more softness would be even more fun?
Poly Tour Air: Very curious. The few “soft but dead” comments have me very curious. I also like to explore the extreme ends of the stifness ratings. Tried Lux 4g, now I might as well try the other end.
Wilson Revolve: Somewhat curious. Feedback indicates lots of control with some better pocketing and a little more plushness than Cyclone. That’s up my alley.
Weiss Cannon Ultra Cable: Very curious.
If you like Hyper-G, try Gamma Moto, I like 17g. Very similar to Hyper-G and slightly less expensive. Moto also comes in a soft version, like Hyper-G. You might like to try that, too.
 

rosheem

Rookie
I tried Hyper-G Soft and Yonex POLYTOUR AIR during two hours of doubles this morning. Strung both at 58/56. The POLYTOUR AIR felt like a firmer stringbed and pinged out at a higher pitch than the Hyper-G right off the stringer. I'm guessing this is due to the stretching of the POLYTOUR air during stringing, vs. Hyper-G, which doesn't stretch a ton during stringing.

Polytour Air is too plush for me. Fun to hit with, but I think I like strings that are more on the plastic-y side vs. rubbery. Unique in that it is soft but doesn't really trampoline and launch the ball. I just didn't find enough feedback or crispness. I like to feel the characteristics of my frame come through...I like the sensation of my frame bending around the ball. This string didn't offer that for me.

Hyper-G Soft was very similar to Hyper-G for me. The difference might be in the tension maintenance and maybe elbow pain for some people. Too early to tell on the tension maintenance. As for elbow pain, I only have issues when poly goes dead and starts notching. I don't see those issues happening with either normal Hyper-G or Hyper-G soft. I also restring before that happens.

My favorite things about both Hyper-G and Hyper-G soft: There is enough stiffness in this string to be able hit hard, keep it low, and feel the characteristics of my frame come through. It's lively, but without the trampoline effect. Lots of bite, but not as harsh as Cyclone for me.

If you like Hyper-G, give this a try...might be best to do a side-by-side comparison though...they are similar enough that it's hard to tease apart the differences if you test them sequentially instead of side-by-side.

I love serving with Hyper-G. I get more pop, but without the loss of depth control that can happen when a string has too much pop.

I think Hyper-G has at least helped me zero-in on the general type of poly that I like: shaped, plastic-feeling without being harsh, firm enough to feel the frame qualities come through, lively without any trampoline issues. Tons of bit without sacrificing launch angle control. When I'm in the groove with my serve and really snapping at the top, both Hyper-G and Hyper-G soft are amazing. Responsive enough to generate some pop, but also enough bite to make the ball explode off the bounce and enough control to nail my targets.
 

1HBHfanatic

Legend
If you like Hyper-G, try Gamma Moto, I like 17g. Very similar to Hyper-G and slightly less expensive. Moto also comes in a soft version, like Hyper-G. You might like to try that, too.
-good suggestion about the g.moto (y)
-i would also add dunlop.black-widow and/or MSV.focus.HEX (now it is just the soft version, it use to have a hard version too,, years ago!!)
 

smboogie

Semi-Pro
Have you tried a standard poly/gut hybrid? I know b/c of Fed and other pros the reverse is popular, just curious? I'm thinking of adding guy to my hybrid setup with HyperG, but keeping it standard for the first try. When I have tried a reverse hybrid with poly/multi I did not like it at all. Racket felt unpredictable with regards to spin and launch angles.
 

rosheem

Rookie
Man, your list reads like a who's who of mediocre polys!

Time to try some top tier stuff!

J
Mediocre polys. I might agree with that. It might also be the who's who of hyped/overhyped polys that have emerged since I took a few years off from tennis.

Either way...I'm assuming by top tier, you mean Luxilon? It's on my list. It was the first poly I ever used back when I started playing about 13 years ago and I loved it.

I also have the Tier One sample pack and will be trying some of those - not sure if those are considered top tier. What else comes to mind for "top tier" polys?

Thanks.
 

rosheem

Rookie
Have you tried a standard poly/gut hybrid? I know b/c of Fed and other pros the reverse is popular, just curious? I'm thinking of adding guy to my hybrid setup with HyperG, but keeping it standard for the first try. When I have tried a reverse hybrid with poly/multi I did not like it at all. Racket felt unpredictable with regards to spin and launch angles.
I've tried a few gut/poly hybrids, and I've tried them both standard and reverse. It's a fun setup to play with, but it doesn't offer anything magical that really elevates my game or makes any of my shots drastically more effective. It kind of feeds my addiction to feeling, slinging, pocketing, cupping the ball. Those things are fun, but when my doubles partner is counting on me to pinpoint my serve and return, nothing works better for me than full poly.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Mediocre polys. I might agree with that. It might also be the who's who of hyped/overhyped polys that have emerged since I took a few years off from tennis.

Either way...I'm assuming by top tier, you mean Luxilon? It's on my list. It was the first poly I ever used back when I started playing about 13 years ago and I loved it.

I also have the Tier One sample pack and will be trying some of those - not sure if those are considered top tier. What else comes to mind for "top tier" polys?

Thanks.
I will boldly anoint Tier 1 Black Knight as dollar for dollar the greatest string on earth.

J
 

smboogie

Semi-Pro
I've tried a few gut/poly hybrids, and I've tried them both standard and reverse. It's a fun setup to play with, but it doesn't offer anything magical that really elevates my game or makes any of my shots drastically more effective. It kind of feeds my addiction to feeling, slinging, pocketing, cupping the ball. Those things are fun, but when my doubles partner is counting on me to pinpoint my serve and return, nothing works better for me than full poly.
Interesting, a full poly is out for me as I've played with it in the past and got some arm soreness, hence the swap to hybrids. The reason for the gut would be further comfort and feel.
 

rosheem

Rookie
Interesting, a full poly is out for me as I've played with it in the past and got some arm soreness, hence the swap to hybrids. The reason for the gut would be further comfort and feel.
Yep, I'm lucky enough that I don't have elbow issues as long as I keep my tensions below 58 ish, and as long as the poly isn't super harsh. I tried Ultra Cable today and it is the perfect example, in my opinion, of a harsh poly that doesn't offer enough benefits to make up for the harshness. It's getting cut out immediately.
 

rosheem

Rookie
Try ALU Power, Element & ALU/Element.
At 40-45lbs not 60!
I would like to gradually decrease my standard tension, but I need to figure out how to be more patient with the transition. I've strung lower before and it wasn't too hard to adjust to lower tensions on full swings and on my serve.

What kills me is that the lower tensions require a total recalibration on some of my other shots like defensive reflex shots, non-topspin defensive lobs, and the deep slice that has more penetration than spin. When I lower my tensions, it feels like I have to finesse the crap out of those shots. With my standard tension, it's more like just letting the ball rebound off the strings - not so much finesse required.

Maybe as I start to weed out all of these mediocre polys, the next thing I can do is some side-by-side tests with the same strings at different tensions.

It's crazy, though...I'm going to cut out this Ultra Cable today and put a set of Black Knight in for my doubles match and my lesson tomorrow. I can easily imagine just stringing at 48 instead of 58, but then when my hand actually starts to adjust the knob on the drop weight, I think about what a waste of time it would be to string it up and hate it at that tension, leaving me with only one racquet and without knowing if Black Knight sucked because 48 sucked or because the string wasn't a good fit for me. Next thing you know, I'm stringing at 58!

Anyone have suggestions on the next best Tier One string to try after Black Knight? I'm thinking Durafluxx or Tour Status, but all of them intrigue me so I'll probably end up trying them all eventually. Except maybe Ghost Wire as a full job? The feedback I'm reading seems to indicate it might be too soft and powerful and could be better suited in a hybrid. When I'm testing strings, though, I always like to try them in a full job first so I can get a true feel for what they offer.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I would like to gradually decrease my standard tension, but I need to figure out how to be more patient with the transition. I've strung lower before and it wasn't too hard to adjust to lower tensions on full swings and on my serve.

What kills me is that the lower tensions require a total recalibration on some of my other shots like defensive reflex shots, non-topspin defensive lobs, and the deep slice that has more penetration than spin. When I lower my tensions, it feels like I have to finesse the crap out of those shots. With my standard tension, it's more like just letting the ball rebound off the strings - not so much finesse required.

Maybe as I start to weed out all of these mediocre polys, the next thing I can do is some side-by-side tests with the same strings at different tensions.

It's crazy, though...I'm going to cut out this Ultra Cable today and put a set of Black Knight in for my doubles match and my lesson tomorrow. I can easily imagine just stringing at 48 instead of 58, but then when my hand actually starts to adjust the knob on the drop weight, I think about what a waste of time it would be to string it up and hate it at that tension, leaving me with only one racquet and without knowing if Black Knight sucked because 48 sucked or because the string wasn't a good fit for me. Next thing you know, I'm stringing at 58!

Anyone have suggestions on the next best Tier One string to try after Black Knight? I'm thinking Durafluxx or Tour Status, but all of them intrigue me so I'll probably end up trying them all eventually. Except maybe Ghost Wire as a full job? The feedback I'm reading seems to indicate it might be too soft and powerful and could be better suited in a hybrid. When I'm testing strings, though, I always like to try them in a full job first so I can get a true feel for what they offer.
The rest of the tier 1 strings kind of suck.

That's harsh, but I don't know what is one click below mediocre.

Lackluster?

J
 

FIRETennis

Professional
I would like to gradually decrease my standard tension, but I need to figure out how to be more patient with the transition. I've strung lower before and it wasn't too hard to adjust to lower tensions on full swings and on my serve.

What kills me is that the lower tensions require a total recalibration on some of my other shots like defensive reflex shots, non-topspin defensive lobs, and the deep slice that has more penetration than spin. When I lower my tensions, it feels like I have to finesse the crap out of those shots. With my standard tension, it's more like just letting the ball rebound off the strings - not so much finesse required.

Maybe as I start to weed out all of these mediocre polys, the next thing I can do is some side-by-side tests with the same strings at different tensions.

It's crazy, though...I'm going to cut out this Ultra Cable today and put a set of Black Knight in for my doubles match and my lesson tomorrow. I can easily imagine just stringing at 48 instead of 58, but then when my hand actually starts to adjust the knob on the drop weight, I think about what a waste of time it would be to string it up and hate it at that tension, leaving me with only one racquet and without knowing if Black Knight sucked because 48 sucked or because the string wasn't a good fit for me. Next thing you know, I'm stringing at 58!

Anyone have suggestions on the next best Tier One string to try after Black Knight? I'm thinking Durafluxx or Tour Status, but all of them intrigue me so I'll probably end up trying them all eventually. Except maybe Ghost Wire as a full job? The feedback I'm reading seems to indicate it might be too soft and powerful and could be better suited in a hybrid. When I'm testing strings, though, I always like to try them in a full job first so I can get a true feel for what they offer.
At 4.0, there's absolutely no reason to play with 60lbs poly! 56, 58, 60.. kinda the same thing. Especially in a 95 62RA frame. That's like 70lbs+ in a Pure Aero.
It's just a recipe for spending a lot of money on your arm and on strings always having fresh high tension frames ready for matches.
It is an illusion of control that masks issues with footwork and technique. There is always room to improve those, at any level, so might as well get used to play with lower tension.
With low tension, you just have to close your racquet face more, and swing more down to up to add more topspin to the ball. Can't get away with pushing the ball with an open racquet face like with high tension.
I play at the 5.0 / 9 UTR level & I string ALU/Element pings 45lbs off the stringer and settles to around 36-38lbs after 2-3h of hitting and stays there till breakage or cut out.

PS. What you described " just letting the ball rebound off the strings" is pushing. You are using your opponent power and spin back against him. That works fine at the 4.0 level but if you want to improve you'll need to hit the ball more.
I think you need to go cold turkey on the low tension. You can't just adjust down 2lbs every month for a year. Take some time off matches, drill more, practice more, lose some matches (a lot initially).
Hit those lobs up rather than forward, always add backspin on slice and close your racquet face more, and swing more down to up on topspin shots.

Please do not take the above as an insult, but as constructive criticism. I was there also, we all were, and I realized the only way to improve and play this sport for a lifetime is to take care of the body and learn good technique.
 
Last edited:

rosheem

Rookie
I play at the 5.0 / 9 UTR level & I string ALU/Element pings 45lbs off the stringer and settles to around 36-38lbs after 2-3h of hitting and stays there till breakage or cut out.

PS. What you described " just letting the ball rebound off the strings" is pushing. You are using your opponent power and spin back against him. That works fine at the 4.0 level but if you want to improve you'll need to hit the ball more.
I think you need to go cold turkey on the low tension.
Thanks for taking the time to share this advice.

I had been wondering if my stringing technique (2-piece with a Gamma drop weight machine) is resulting in tensions that are closer to 50 than 60. You dropped a clue that might confirm my suspicion. My racquet tune app reads out at about 45 lbs off the stringer when I set the tension in the 56-58 range. I didn’t have this app last time I tried stringing low.

Last night I strung one with Black Knight at 50lbs. Racquet tune is reading 43. My other stick has 2-hour old Hyper-G soft and it’s pinging at 45. It was strung at 58.
I’m a self-taught stringer, so I’m sure there is a ton of tension leakage in my technique. Examples: I don’t always set my clamps up all the way against the inner edge of the frame, my upper/lower crosses and outer mains are probably way too loose, I only use one clamp when stringing crosses instead of two.
Could be why I’m not having elbow issues? I’m actually stringing closer to 50 than 60?

Will report back after a few hours with the Black Knight at 50.
 

rosheem

Rookie
I hit for about three hours with a fresh set of Black Knight at 50lbs. RacquetTune read 43.1 lbs. off the stringer and 39.0 after playing.

I like these strings. A crisp, but not harsh, response. Plenty of control. I had zero trouble adjusting to the lower tension compared to my other racquet, which is strung with Hyper-G soft and pinging at 46.5lbs. Hyper-G feels a little mushy and cheap compared to Black Knight. Black Knight is not on the plastic-feeling side, but it’s also not on the rubbery-feeling side. It’s in the middle.

Serves were easy to locate with plenty of heaviness. I feared I might have trouble controlling the depth on my serve at the lower tension, but it was not a problem at all.

Lots of pop on squarely-struck shots like overheads and high volleys. Not a trampoline-like pop, but more of a just-enough-elasticity pop.

I’ll keep these in for a while, no doubt. I’ll also consider this my “switch flipping” moment for an immediate drop in standard reference tension from 58 down to 50. I might even go a bit lower.

One of the hours was a session with my coach today. We’ve been working on some basic patterns...deep forehands to the backhand corner, looking for a short ball to approach on. Sometimes I try to over-shape my approach shots, but with my setup today, I was able to keep a looser wrist and grip and just hit through those shots, instead of tightening my grip and adding too much of a wrist-driven wiper-torque...which is what I tend to do on sorter balls.

The Black Knight was great at achieving the feel of the ball riding the strings through contact without having to add a bunch of manual hand rotation. Almost like the strings are moving across the top edge of the ball and the ball is magnetized to the bottom as the racquet flings forward along the path of the shot. This created a flatter flight path that didn’t really dive until the end of the court, instead of an arc. Instead of pulling off the ball or brushing up the back to control my depth, I was controlling it more by just keep the racquet face loose and closed and just lifting a bit more from the shoulder and finishing just a bit higher. Not making huge adjustments to alter my depth...just keeping the hand a bit more relaxed and lifting slightly more...or riding the ball just ever-so-slightly longer through the path of the shot.

Really fun session. My coach makes me earn my approach shots, and with this ability to hit an aggressive deep shot without too much arc, I was earning a bunch of them today and finishing lots of points with easy volleys.
 

megamind

Legend
At 4.0, there's absolutely no reason to play with 60lbs poly! 56, 58, 60.. kinda the same thing. Especially in a 95 62RA frame. That's like 70lbs+ in a Pure Aero.
It's just a recipe for spending a lot of money on your arm and on strings always having fresh high tension frames ready for matches.
It is an illusion of control that masks issues with footwork and technique. There is always room to improve those, at any level, so might as well get used to play with lower tension.
With low tension, you just have to close your racquet face more, and swing more down to up to add more topspin to the ball. Can't get away with pushing the ball with an open racquet face like with high tension.
I play at the 5.0 / 9 UTR level & I string ALU/Element pings 45lbs off the stringer and settles to around 36-38lbs after 2-3h of hitting and stays there till breakage or cut out.

PS. What you described " just letting the ball rebound off the strings" is pushing. You are using your opponent power and spin back against him. That works fine at the 4.0 level but if you want to improve you'll need to hit the ball more.
I think you need to go cold turkey on the low tension. You can't just adjust down 2lbs every month for a year. Take some time off matches, drill more, practice more, lose some matches (a lot initially).
Hit those lobs up rather than forward, always add backspin on slice and close your racquet face more, and swing more down to up on topspin shots.

Please do not take the above as an insult, but as constructive criticism. I was there also, we all were, and I realized the only way to improve and play this sport for a lifetime is to take care of the body and learn good technique.
How long did it take you you to go from 4.0 to 5.0
 

FIRETennis

Professional
Thanks for taking the time to share this advice.

I had been wondering if my stringing technique (2-piece with a Gamma drop weight machine) is resulting in tensions that are closer to 50 than 60. You dropped a clue that might confirm my suspicion. My racquet tune app reads out at about 45 lbs off the stringer when I set the tension in the 56-58 range. I didn’t have this app last time I tried stringing low.

Last night I strung one with Black Knight at 50lbs. Racquet tune is reading 43. My other stick has 2-hour old Hyper-G soft and it’s pinging at 45. It was strung at 58.
I’m a self-taught stringer, so I’m sure there is a ton of tension leakage in my technique. Examples: I don’t always set my clamps up all the way against the inner edge of the frame, my upper/lower crosses and outer mains are probably way too loose, I only use one clamp when stringing crosses instead of two.
Could be why I’m not having elbow issues? I’m actually stringing closer to 50 than 60?

Will report back after a few hours with the Black Knight at 50.
Reference tension (what you pull) matches RacquetTune for me when using a fixed diamond clamp electronic constant pull machine or a drop weight with fixed diamond clamps. The drop weight even overshoots reference sometimes.
My usually stringing setup though is a portable stringing machine with flying metal clamps. I have to pull 5lbs more than I want the end result. So to get a 45lb tension on RacquetTune I pull 50lbs. Now the string factor has a huge impact but I am comparing to the same string factor/same string when stringing on the other types of stringing machines. Still the only outliers I found were Luxilon strings, but most strings should match even the generic string factors so a difference of 10lbs is quite a lot. If you aren't clamping close to the frame, using plastic clamps and using one clamp for crosses, not pulling extra tension on the top/bottom and the last mains, that's enough to cause the difference.

Do you have a pro shop nearby that uses a high quality constant pull electronic machine? Drop off a frame and your favorite string you already strung on your own and ask them to pull 60lbs. Try to wait while they do it or arrange to pick up the racquet right after they finish.... You can ping it right away on RacquetTune and see.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
damn, with the amount of tennis I play, that’ll take me 9 years or so

maybe 5 if I learn the sureshian drop volley
Absolute hour count can be misleading as, say, 2000h as an adult in 10 years is not the same improvement as a junior doing it in 3 years.
The more realistic path is 3.0 to high 4.5.
Adults could do it in 5-7 years counting in life.
Playing 3-4x a week 2h for most of the year with some breaks here and there, injuries etc.
I think the hours need to be specific, purposeful and in most cases compacted in a shorter period of time.
 

rosheem

Rookie

Here’s a clip from my ball machine session today. I was hitting with Black Knight, which I strung at 50 lbs and was reading about 39 lbs on RacquetTune at the time of this session.

I also tried Tier One Strike Force Rip today, which came with the Tier One sample pack. I had never tried a textured string before.

The Strike Force Rip was strung at 48lbs, and measured 40lbs on RacquetTune right off the stringer.

Holy cow, WAY too much power with those textured strings. The ball was flying and launching like a rocket, with the same exact swing I was using in this video. I knew after one hit that it was a waste of time to even string these up.

I cut ‘em out already and replaced them with a set of 16g Kirschbaum Max Power, strung at 55lbs and reading 40.0 off the stringer.

I still have a few more sets of string to test, but so far, Black Knight seems to be emerging as my favorite. I’m not sure if there is one attribute that I like most, it just seems more balanced. Great sense of depth and trajectory control without needing to be boardy or harsh. Smooth.
 

FIRETennis

Professional

Here’s a clip from my ball machine session today. I was hitting with Black Knight, which I strung at 50 lbs and was reading about 39 lbs on RacquetTune at the time of this session.

I also tried Tier One Strike Force Rip today, which came with the Tier One sample pack. I had never tried a textured string before.

The Strike Force Rip was strung at 48lbs, and measured 40lbs on RacquetTune right off the stringer.

Holy cow, WAY too much power with those textured strings. The ball was flying and launching like a rocket, with the same exact swing I was using in this video. I knew after one hit that it was a waste of time to even string these up.

I cut ‘em out already and replaced them with a set of 16g Kirschbaum Max Power, strung at 55lbs and reading 40.0 off the stringer.

I still have a few more sets of string to test, but so far, Black Knight seems to be emerging as my favorite. I’m not sure if there is one attribute that I like most, it just seems more balanced. Great sense of depth and trajectory control without needing to be boardy or harsh. Smooth.
Texture strings, imho, have erratic launch angles.
The "same swing" yields wildly different launch angles of the ball. Sometimes it launches higher, sometimes lower.
It's especially bad on short put away balls because it might sail long or go into the net with the same swing path.
It gets worse as you play more with the string and it loses tension and the 'edges' get flat or rounded. Then if the contact isn't clean, I get some texture and some flat string action on the ball causing really weird shots.
I think players love them because thin textured strings can give nice spin on slower shots, blocking shots or flat swing paths.
I gave up on textured strings for the above reasons and stayed with round strings.
I just focus on starting the swing a bit earlier to have time to drop the racquet lower on the take back and swing low to high very loosely.

BTW. I admire your courage to post a video on here. Your technique looks very good. Very strong shots. If you were to drop the racquet head lower before starting the forward part of the swing, I think you'd get fantastic topspin and heavy balls with your stroke.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Texture strings, imho, have erratic launch angles.
The "same swing" yields wildly different launch angles of the ball. Sometimes it launches higher, sometimes lower.
It's especially bad on short put away balls because it might sail long or go into the net with the same swing path.
Uhhhh, I don't notice this at all.

J
 
Anyone have suggestions on the next best Tier One string to try after Black Knight? I'm thinking Durafluxx or Tour Status, but all of them intrigue me so I'll probably end up trying them all eventually. Except maybe Ghost Wire as a full job? The feedback I'm reading seems to indicate it might be too soft and powerful and could be better suited in a hybrid. When I'm testing strings, though, I always like to try them in a full job first so I can get a true feel for what they offer.
Although, many players use Ghost Wire as a cross string to soften up their string bed and reduce friction due to its slick surface, in general, GW does not feel springy or powerful. At least that is the response from many of our customers. Hope that helps!
 
The rest of the tier 1 strings kind of suck.
That's harsh! lol

BTW, if you like a full set of Black Knight you might want to consider to hybrid BK with GW in the crosses (if you have not tried it yet). Many of us at Tier One switched from a full set of BK to BK/GW hybrid.
 
Last edited:

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
That's harsh! lol

BTW, if you like a full set of Black Knight you might want to consider to hybrid BK with GW in the crosses (if you have not tried it yet). Many of us at Tier One switched from a full set of BK to BK/GW hybrid.
I have a bunch of ghost wire in the pro shop, I'll give it a shot. Currently loving Isospeed Grey Fire as a cross with BK mains.

I go through about 5 reels of Black Knight a year.

J
 

rosheem

Rookie
Although, many players use Ghost Wire as a cross string to soften up their string bed and reduce friction due to its slick surface, in general, GW does not feel springy or powerful. At least that is the response from many of our customers. Hope that helps!
Appreciate your input, thanks! While I’ve got ya....

I did string up a racquet with a full set of ghost wire and will test tonight. I feel like before trying in a hybrid, I need to fully understand the characteristics in a full bed.

Can I expect it to have less explosive trampoline power compared to the Strike Force RIP string I tried? The power off that stringbed was off the charts.
 

Happi

Professional
Appreciate your input, thanks! While I’ve got ya....

I did string up a racquet with a full set of ghost wire and will test tonight. I feel like before trying in a hybrid, I need to fully understand the characteristics in a full bed.

Can I expect it to have less explosive trampoline power compared to the Strike Force RIP string I tried? The power off that stringbed was off the charts.
Yes GW is much more muted than RIP, I also tried RIP/GW hybrid but still too erratic. RIP is a very very soft string and powerfull like a multi and strings move around like multis does.

Full bed of GW is great, enjoy and let us know what you think. Holds tension quite well, and can be strung at lower tension too.
 

rosheem

Rookie
I’ve been comparing Black Knight to Kirschbaum Max Power for a few sessions. Currently both reading about 38 lbs on RacquetTune.

I like them both. It’s been drill play, so not the best conditions to draw conclusions. They both create a nice, stable stringbed with a good blend of feel and control. Black Knight plays a bit thinner than most 16g strings I’ve tried, whereas Max Power feels a bit more substantial.

Black Knight has a bit more character and it’s feel can be experienced across a broader range of swing speeds and contact types.
Max Power might be a bit more dull on slow shots or square collisions. Not always a bad thing. I hit a few defensive half-volley lobs tonight where I didn’t have time to shape the shot. The Max Power kept those in. Black Knight may have been a tad to springy to keep those in.
On full swings, both allowed for precision trajectory and depth control across a wide range of contact heights and incoming ball speeds.
There were a few balls I was late on, aiming down the ride sideline, that slid off the racquet and went wide right. I don’t think either string was great at mitigating that error, but I’d rather learn from the error than fool myself into thinking I should expect my strings to mitigate major mis-timing errors.

These are the kind of strings that really shine on all-out swings. Massively dipping passing shots from the baseline, deep dip-drives, higher-arcing heavy balls...so much spin.
If you like hitting the flattish-trajectory drive that still has maximum RPM, you can appreciate those shots where the bounce is unexpectedly high compared to the flight path before the bounce. The bounce that explodes and accelerates. That. Both strings were great at generating that ball.
I could see myself landing on either of these as my go-to string.

But first I have to finish up a few more tests. Next up: Luxilon BBO vs ALU. It’s been about ten years since I last tried those, so it will be like the first time all over again.

Please chime in if you have an opinion on tension for ALU vs BBO. I plan to string both at 55, which typically reads around 41 in RacquetTech off the machine. But curious to hear if folks think that BBO is so much stiffer that I should go lower so I can make sure tension is not a confounding factor. I’m not tied to any specific target tension, I’ll go as low as a string’s control properties allow, as long as I still have a stable-feeling stringbed the big booming shots like the overhead and the rare first serve flat bomb.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I’ve been comparing Black Knight to Kirschbaum Max Power for a few sessions. Currently both reading about 38 lbs on RacquetTune.

I like them both. It’s been drill play, so not the best conditions to draw conclusions. They both create a nice, stable stringbed with a good blend of feel and control. Black Knight plays a bit thinner than most 16g strings I’ve tried, whereas Max Power feels a bit more substantial.

Black Knight has a bit more character and it’s feel can be experienced across a broader range of swing speeds and contact types.
Max Power might be a bit more dull on slow shots or square collisions. Not always a bad thing. I hit a few defensive half-volley lobs tonight where I didn’t have time to shape the shot. The Max Power kept those in. Black Knight may have been a tad to springy to keep those in.
On full swings, both allowed for precision trajectory and depth control across a wide range of contact heights and incoming ball speeds.
There were a few balls I was late on, aiming down the ride sideline, that slid off the racquet and went wide right. I don’t think either string was great at mitigating that error, but I’d rather learn from the error than fool myself into thinking I should expect my strings to mitigate major mis-timing errors.

These are the kind of strings that really shine on all-out swings. Massively dipping passing shots from the baseline, deep dip-drives, higher-arcing heavy balls...so much spin.
If you like hitting the flattish-trajectory drive that still has maximum RPM, you can appreciate those shots where the bounce is unexpectedly high compared to the flight path before the bounce. The bounce that explodes and accelerates. That. Both strings were great at generating that ball.
I could see myself landing on either of these as my go-to string.

But first I have to finish up a few more tests. Next up: Luxilon BBO vs ALU. It’s been about ten years since I last tried those, so it will be like the first time all over again.

Please chime in if you have an opinion on tension for ALU vs BBO. I plan to string both at 55, which typically reads around 41 in RacquetTech off the machine. But curious to hear if folks think that BBO is so much stiffer that I should go lower so I can make sure tension is not a confounding factor. I’m not tied to any specific target tension, I’ll go as low as a string’s control properties allow, as long as I still have a stable-feeling stringbed the big booming shots like the overhead and the rare first serve flat bomb.
String BBO 5lb looser than ALU.

J
 

rosheem

Rookie
Update on the ongoing comparison between Kirschbaum Max Power and Tier One Black Knight:

I'm still loving both of them. Slight difference in feel, but the power and control are very similar with these across a variety of shot types.

Tension maintenance seems very similar. Both were strung at the same reference tension on my Gamma drop weight, and both are now reading 37.9 on the RaquetTune app. Minor notching on a few of the mains, but pretty minimal. I've logged about 6-8 hours with each racquet.

ALU Power vs. BBO next!
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
1- 4G soft
2- cyclone
3- head lynx
4- rpm
5- revolve

Other: weisscanon, hyperG, alu power, signum pro.... Not bad strings but nothing exceptionnal
 

rosheem

Rookie
Luxilon Big Banger Original 16 vs. Luxilon ALU Power 16: Initial Impressions

I strung the ALU up about 5 pounds tighter than the BBO. My reference tension was 55 for the ALU and 50 for BBO. This is in my Yonex VCORE 95 Red. I use a drop weight stringer with plastic floating clamps, so my RaquetTune readings are usually about 10 pounds lower than my reference tension. In this case, the ALU racquet was reading 49 off the stringer and 45 after the drill. BBO was reading 45 off the stringer and 40 after the drill. The drill was two days after the racquets were strung, so each lost about 5 pounds of tension from sitting around for a few days and one hour of hitting.

I played for an hour with each in a pretty fast-paced drill with just two players and one coach. Plenty of balls were hit.

I’m glad I tested these out for myself instead of just trying to form an impression based on all the different reviews and opinions. I would have bet that ALU Power would have less control and more power compared to BBO, but for me, it was just the opposite.

They are similar on full-speed, well-struck ground strokes. I’d say ALU is more comfortable, but it doesn’t shoot the ball off any deeper or higher than BBO.

One shot where I can really tell the difference in control level between strings is when I’m returning overheads during the warmup. With the ALU setup, I hitting absolutely perfect shots back. This guy was hitting his overheads hard, and I was just popping lobs back up that were better than any drop-fed lob I could ever hit. Just perfectly meeting the ball off the bounce of his overhead and putting it right back up in his strike zone for the next overhead.

With the BBO, I was getting a more unpredictable response with that shot, having to finesse it a little bit more. I suppose the 5 pound tension difference contributed, but from what I heard, BBO plays a lot stiffer, so I’m not sure if that’s the only factor. I felt it this difference in control level on volleys, too. With the ALU, I just could not miss. Just totally dialed-in. Sometimes when I’m really trying to stick my volleys by hitting them square and hitting a deep, penetrating shot, it feels like there’s a big risk of hitting too deep. With the ALU, I didn’t have to add any shape or spin to those volleys to keep them in. No trade off. Still hit the ball square in the middle of the strings, but no worry about it going too deep.

Not sure ALU is that much more impressive than Kirschbaum Max Power or Tier One Black Knight, though. If my goal is to settle on a string and buy reels to save money, I’d probably pass on ALU. But right now my goal is to experiment with strings. Maybe forever.

I do think I’ve found my sweet spot for tension, though. String the mains at 55. I string the middle 4 mains at 65 to make up the shortcuts and shortcomings I’m dealing with with my plastic floating clamps. I string the next 3 mains at 55, and then the outer main at 65. This seems to be helping me mitigate the losses inherent to my technique and equipment. I’ve been stringing the top two crosses at about 60, the rest of the crosses at 55, and then the bottom cross at 65.

I still have two new string jobs that I haven’t tested...that’s because I put them in my Prince Phantoms, and I’m not willing to take those out in a drill or match play. I need to have some time to “just hit” with those, because those racquets swing nothing like the VCORE 95s and it’s just too much of a transition to play around with while I’m trying to win points. One of them is strung with Revolve, and the other is Ghost Wire. I know the Ghost Wire is going to be a fail already, based on just a few hits with it, but I just love trying things at the extremes, so I had to see what all the hype was about with how soft this string is. Will report later when I have a chance to just hit or maybe get a good session in with the ball machine. More curious about Revolve, as it felt kind of similar to Ghost Wire when I was stringing it. Maybe more elastic? Feels very interesting.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Luxilon Big Banger Original 16 vs. Luxilon ALU Power 16: Initial Impressions

I strung the ALU up about 5 pounds tighter than the BBO. My reference tension was 55 for the ALU and 50 for BBO. This is in my Yonex VCORE 95 Red. I use a drop weight stringer with plastic floating clamps, so my RaquetTune readings are usually about 10 pounds lower than my reference tension. In this case, the ALU racquet was reading 49 off the stringer and 45 after the drill. BBO was reading 45 off the stringer and 40 after the drill. The drill was two days after the racquets were strung, so each lost about 5 pounds of tension from sitting around for a few days and one hour of hitting.

I played for an hour with each in a pretty fast-paced drill with just two players and one coach. Plenty of balls were hit.

I’m glad I tested these out for myself instead of just trying to form an impression based on all the different reviews and opinions. I would have bet that ALU Power would have less control and more power compared to BBO, but for me, it was just the opposite.

They are similar on full-speed, well-struck ground strokes. I’d say ALU is more comfortable, but it doesn’t shoot the ball off any deeper or higher than BBO.

One shot where I can really tell the difference in control level between strings is when I’m returning overheads during the warmup. With the ALU setup, I hitting absolutely perfect shots back. This guy was hitting his overheads hard, and I was just popping lobs back up that were better than any drop-fed lob I could ever hit. Just perfectly meeting the ball off the bounce of his overhead and putting it right back up in his strike zone for the next overhead.

With the BBO, I was getting a more unpredictable response with that shot, having to finesse it a little bit more. I suppose the 5 pound tension difference contributed, but from what I heard, BBO plays a lot stiffer, so I’m not sure if that’s the only factor. I felt it this difference in control level on volleys, too. With the ALU, I just could not miss. Just totally dialed-in. Sometimes when I’m really trying to stick my volleys by hitting them square and hitting a deep, penetrating shot, it feels like there’s a big risk of hitting too deep. With the ALU, I didn’t have to add any shape or spin to those volleys to keep them in. No trade off. Still hit the ball square in the middle of the strings, but no worry about it going too deep.

Not sure ALU is that much more impressive than Kirschbaum Max Power or Tier One Black Knight, though. If my goal is to settle on a string and buy reels to save money, I’d probably pass on ALU. But right now my goal is to experiment with strings. Maybe forever.

I do think I’ve found my sweet spot for tension, though. String the mains at 55. I string the middle 4 mains at 65 to make up the shortcuts and shortcomings I’m dealing with with my plastic floating clamps. I string the next 3 mains at 55, and then the outer main at 65. This seems to be helping me mitigate the losses inherent to my technique and equipment. I’ve been stringing the top two crosses at about 60, the rest of the crosses at 55, and then the bottom cross at 65.

I still have two new string jobs that I haven’t tested...that’s because I put them in my Prince Phantoms, and I’m not willing to take those out in a drill or match play. I need to have some time to “just hit” with those, because those racquets swing nothing like the VCORE 95s and it’s just too much of a transition to play around with while I’m trying to win points. One of them is strung with Revolve, and the other is Ghost Wire. I know the Ghost Wire is going to be a fail already, based on just a few hits with it, but I just love trying things at the extremes, so I had to see what all the hype was about with how soft this string is. Will report later when I have a chance to just hit or maybe get a good session in with the ball machine. More curious about Revolve, as it felt kind of similar to Ghost Wire when I was stringing it. Maybe more elastic? Feels very interesting.
ALU is magic in the beginning, then takes a turn for the worse. Dead ALU is still better than most other strings though.

J
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
It is interesting though I don't really have friends that use ALU. It seems like the better players and kids are using more modern strings and the older players like me that use hybrids are using cheaper ALU type knock offs for crosses as there really is no need to spend that much for that purpose.
 
Top