"Unknown Classic" ? : Prince Graphtech DB 90 (ca. 1988) : A buttery soft POG Mid

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by monologuist, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. monologuist

    monologuist Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2004
    I just posted some of this in a thread about "what was your first racquet?"...

    For kicks, I decided to raise my "first racquet" from high school from the dead for an afternoon....the Prince Graphtech DB 90. I figured it might of interest to people interested in unearthing lesser-known classic racquets, people who have a penchant for graphite/fiberglass composite frames, or to those who have often complained that the POG Mid is just a little too stiff, and "why can't it be as buttery as the OS"?

    It has a nice understated dark grey and gold paintjob, with a little sparkle to it, as was the fashion for Princes of the time (unlike the sad pj's from the TT line and on). It came out around 1988 or so I believe, around the time of the CTS series and the DB 26. I decided to go and demo a dozen or so racquets at the pro shop while at a Tennis summer camp when I was 16 or so, and fell in love with the soft, dampened feel of the Graphtech. I got the 90 instead of the 110, because OS racquets were for sissys back then, although it's funny in retrospect, because I play with 98 or 100 " heads now and I'm 10 times better a player! Of course, at the time, you didn't have the choice of a "midplus" yet.

    It had either a 90 or 93" head like a POG mid (One would assume 90 from the model number, but I've heard that Prince midsize is actually closer to 93"), but was made of graphite and fiberglass, like the CTS frames, but it had an additional "Double Bridge" dampening system which later showed up in the Precision Response, TT Warrior, DB 850 etc. It also had the "Cushion Grip System", which resurfaced last year in the Turbo Shark model. It weighed about 12 oz., was about 6-8 pts. headlight, 14x18 pattern, standard length, and had a 20 or 21 mm. beam, but is not a constant taper design like the CTS models I believe. The flex was probably in the high 50's, low 60's. THe swingweight was probably somewhere between 320-330.

    I strung this baby up with Tecnigibre X-One Biphase 17 at around 58 lbs. All I can say is, if Prince re-released this in a midplus 97-100 " head, I'd be playing it! The feel of the graphite/fiberglass + DB + Cushion Grip gives it the smoothest ride of any racquet I've played to date, and I've tried all the usual suspects out today. The balance and profile of it made one-handed backhands a dream, and I was able to generate just plain dumb spin on my forehands and serves. Of course with a 90-93" head, you have to be a very good ballstriker to hit the sweetspot consistently, but when you do, the accuracy is pinpoint, and the power is plentiful. It plays closest to some of the heavier current Volkl offerings, although I've never actually tried a Volkl in midsize, on midplus. I picked up another one as a backup on **** a little while back, and was surprised to find that it didn't have the "Cushion Grip". So I'm gonna assume that this might have been a technology that they added to later prodution runs of the Graphtech. It also plays simiarly to the Prince CTS Graduate 90 whcih came out around the same time, but without a constant taper beam, and with the dampening technologies added.

    Anyway, if anyone is wondering what a POG mid would be like with no "crossbar", some flexible fiberglass thrown in the mix, and the DB and Cushion Grip to give it a more plush dampened ride, try to get your hands on one of these rare "Unknown Classics"! I think there's actually one on **** right now in a 4 5/8; I bet it'll go for under 30$ (I got my second one for like 15$ !). Actually I don't know if it is unknown or not, but it seems that references to it are few and far between anywhere online, and most people who have seen it have been like "whoah! what's that?!" Ironically, even though it's the racquet I basically learned Tennis on as a teenager, I don't think I'm gonna have the game to play with this beauty for a little while yet (that is if I want to beat anyone good!).
    made_in_austria likes this.
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

    Feb 13, 2004
    A not so parallel universe...
    Further evidence that, despite what the racquet companies constantly tell us, racquets have not "gotten better" in the past 20 years - they've only "gotten different".

    Well... ok... they've "gotten worse".
    vsbabolat likes this.
  3. benjaboston

    benjaboston Guest

    I have a Prince Graphtech DB Oversize that I just unearthed. It was one of my early racquets from middle school. I've been playing on it regularly for the past two weeks and its has a great feel! I agree with everything you said. I also recall that when I got mine, nobody had heard of it back then either! I wonder just how rare this racquet is?
  4. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Dec 11, 2004
    Don't know what the situation was in the States but the Graphtech DB - mainly the mid- was quite popular out here in Australia. I remember Mark Kratzmann using one during his most successful period on tour plus a lot of coaches and top club players.

    Personally, I found it to have too much power for me although very nice on sliced shots. If you really want to know what a POG would feel like without the crossbar, try one of the mid to late 80's Prince Graphite Pros or the early 80's Prince Graphite Comp. Flex through the throat is the one big difference (less control) but the 'touch' is far superior.
  5. bubblocity

    bubblocity Guest

    hey, you guys, I never thought the DB90 was such a dinosaur.

    I bought that racquet on my coach's recommendation when I was a senior in high school in '89. And after high school, I took a long hiatus from tennis, and only picked it back up again 2 years ago. When I did, it just never occured to me to look for another racquet, since I only played with the DB90 for a year, and it was as good as any racquet my oppoenents played with.

    I recently started looking for another racquet, only because I was going to play doubles, and wanted a stiffer racquet to volley with. The DB 90 is still awesome for playing singles and long ralleys!

    Well, I was looking all over for the specs for the racquet for comparision, and only then did I realize that it was not used much any more. Thanks for posting the specs, by the way, monologuist.

    So if I was to look for an equivalent descendent of the DB90, what wouuld you recommend?
  6. monologuist

    monologuist Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2004
    Yes..I occasionally take the DB 90 out for a hit still...it actually is surprisingly decent-powered and is very forgiving in terms of sweetspot for a 90-93" head. So in terms of a modern day replacement...you would want something that is similar in headsize but also similar in terms of its forgiveness and power.

    One racquet that comes to mind is the new Volkl DNX10 mid. It is 93", which is actually what the Graphtech is closer to I believe, like other Prince mids. But IMO, it plays more like a 95" racquet....it does swing a little heavier though in terms of swingweight.

    Other racquets you might want to try are the Prince O3 Tour mid, the upcoming Prince O3 Hybrid Tour( which will also swing a bit heavier), the Slazenger Pro X1 or the new model that will be replacing it, and the Yonex RDX-500 mid and RDS-001 mid.
  7. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    I remember as a dumb teenager being biased against certain companies and Prince was one of them. No good reason - I didn't have much of a clue and thought my bad experiences with a couple of their products translated to everything else they had.

    Well - this was the first Prince frame to make me stop in my tracks and re-think my narrow mindedness (the sublime Mag 90 was the clincher though - what a work of art that stick was).

    I'd been playing with my F200 for a few years when I picked up the Graphtec, ready to heap scorn upon it. What a pleasant suprise. Although it was fair bit stiffer than my Rossi it played beautifully and I spent a very happy few hours painting lines and suprising the hell out of myself and my hitting partner.

    I picked one up recently and have been messing around with it and it's still a frame that can put a smile on my face. My current one is in bad need of a good string job. Once that's in I really look forward to putting in some decent court time with it.
  8. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Jul 14, 2004
    I'm with Galain; long prejudice against Prince. I really liked that frame when I tried it years back. It's nice.
  9. Kevin T

    Kevin T Hall of Fame

    Feb 21, 2004
    Too far from the Blue Ridge
    That's so funny, Galain and Max. I thought I was the only one. When I first started in tennis in the mid 80's, I associated Prince with the country clubbers and upper crust of the tennis playing world. Just the name 'Prince' smacked of elitism. That graphtech was a fine frame, though. My high school girlfriend used them for years. Very buttery frame. Had to use one in my district finals. I was a hothead in my younger days and during my final match I managed to break the strings in two of my Rossi FT 5.80's and broke the third over my knee in anger (idiot!). Three is all I had and I had to yell "Honey, could you get your racquet from your car?". Went on to lose, of course, but the Prince sure felt good.
  10. bubblocity

    bubblocity Guest

    Hey, monologuist, that gives me many options to look through.

    Thanks again :)
  11. Speedygonzalez

    Speedygonzalez Rookie

    Sep 19, 2007
    Good price for Graphtech DB90?

    Hi Graphtech experts!

    From your comments it seems that this racket is pretty interesting. I can buy two 90 versions of these for 35 euros, with shipping that would be approx. 40. Their condition seems to be ok.. Do u think it is a good price?
  12. johnkidd

    johnkidd Semi-Pro

    Mar 19, 2004
    Funny this thread came up. My best friend used these in HS. I always preferred the POG, then later the CTS Graduate 90. I think Prince made some great frames back in that time period.

    I also used the Graphite Pro a few times. You could really generate some spin with that stick.
  13. hadoken

    hadoken Rookie

    Mar 2, 2004
    It's very fair. Keep in mind this vintage of frame is rare so unfortunately if you want them, there is not a lot of options out there.
  14. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    May 6, 2004
    It's an ok racket. Surprising pop, but the upper tip is VERY dead on it resulting in a lot of volleys hitting the top of the net or not making it over.

    The CTS line with their wider tips solve this problem, but otherwise it's basically a CTS racket with a constant beam that's neither super thin nor super thick.
  15. hotcrossbuns48

    hotcrossbuns48 New User

    Mar 11, 2016
    I have one of these. I remember them from 89
    All the cool kids had one. The bubble was very much the nike air of racquets. No wonder there were shed loads of these in Jr league. Very aesthetically pleasing for the time.I have a few racquets of this vintage and this is the least powerful. It is awesome for down the line forehands and Topspin bhand s which is surprising. I got really into this stick in 2015 and broke strings thru overuse. It looks hammered these days and not worth the cost of restringing. Trouble is a better condition on **** costs some wedge. Definitely a classic, that's why prince sell an update that has a lot in common with this one. 90 head is too small 110 better for modern game
  16. SN76

    SN76 New User

    May 15, 2017
    I Restrung this beast after a long break in both senses of the word. Took some good players down at singles with it. Damn things precise. Brilliant racquet. If you play s and v there is no better. Not that i have found
    made_in_austria likes this.
  17. made_in_austria

    made_in_austria New User

    Jun 12, 2012
    I played this racquet in my teens.. i still have it hanging around.. think i am gonna restring it and hit a few balls to look how it feels again. Play the PC600 now since years.. would be a good comparison.
    Zodd and vsbabolat like this.

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