Author Topic: String brands and recommendations  (Read 351 times)

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Offline pawan89

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String brands and recommendations
« on: March 16, 2015, 12:39:42 PM »
Hey guys! Long time no see, i've fallen off the radar on these forums  :( but still keeping up with tennis. Playing a little here and there, watching a little here and there.

The last few months my brother had a davis cup style tournament consisting of ~8 teams, each playing 14 ties, and then a knock out style tournament. Each tie had around 15 total matches (all pro-sets 1 set), so my brother got to play a wide variety of kids roughly at his level so it was a wonderful experience. His team made it to the finals and lost in the finals to a team that just had more consistent level of players. Best part? I got to sub in a few times for missing kids and i got to beat up on little 10-13 year olds.  :rofl_2:

Anyway, had a question. As some of you might know, my brother and I bought a stringer and have been stringing a couple times for our own racquets. We now want to go into buying reels. I am not sure if this is the wisest decision or not but we are strongly considering it. So we have done a fair bit of research and considering a couple different hybrid combinations, most likely going with some poly/co-poly on the mains, and a softer multi-filament or synthetic gut on the crosses.

Now of course there's a million different strings out there. I wanted to know if someone had any thoughts or experience with various string brands. Going strictly by price, there seem to be some "premium" string brands, like Babolat, Wilson, Luxilon, followed by a few second-tier brands like Prince, Gamma, Krischbaum and then some that I have only heard the name of but don't know anything about like Ashaway, ISOspeed, Gosen. How much does string brand matter? Comparing across the same type/texture of strings, does it really make sense to pay 2-4x the price for something like a Babolat RPM Blast, Luxilon ALU Power (both seem popular on the pro tour) vs similar offerings from, say, ISOspeed?

I know there's no easy answer apart from 'try it out', but that's not really an option when going in for reels. Which goes back to original debate whether it's even a wise choice to go into reels. Another plus of going into reels was we could start stringing for our friends - in which case it might be worth it to go for more reputable/known strings.

Any thoughts?


Offline Tennis4you

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Re: String brands and recommendations
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 04:57:47 PM »
I wish I knew more about string to help you out.  I buy reels, always have as it is much cheaper.  I use stuff similar to just the standard Prince string, nothing crazy.
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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Offline monstertruck

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Re: String brands and recommendations
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 04:34:18 AM »
Thanks for dropping by 'Professor'!
Am assuming all is well and life has you so busy you don't have time for T4U.  Kudos! :)

I've been out of stringing for a few years now though I did do 2 racquets last Saturday. :Confused:
The advice I used to give my buddies that I strung for was to experiment with a few different brands within the string type that fits your game and then go for a reel, but only if you 'love it'.

Why buy reels?
If you're looking to save money on strings for you and your Bro that's cool.
Keep in mind that you both better like the same string.  That goes the same for all the friends you expect to string for.  Personally, I found that the buddies I strung for had tastes of their own and so the reels that I bought were consumed almost exclusively by myself.

I liked the Lux strings.
Tried the Kirschbaum and Gosen.
Went back to Lux Big Banger 18g in the mains @ 50 lbs and Wilson Syn Gut 16g in the crosses @ 56 lbs in my Wilson PS 85 Original.

Questions to answer before you select a string-
What's my budget?
How often do I want to restring?
How serious am I about tennis?  Would my time/money/effort yield better results if spent on improving my movement or mechanics?
What style of game do I play?
Which type of string best suits that style of play?

For information from a more qualified source, I'd suggest shooting DMastous a PM.  He knows waaaaaaaaay more about strings/stringing than I do as evidenced by the following article:

 http://www.expert-tennis-tips.com/luxilon-tennis-strings.html

Best of luck to you and your Brothah, Professor!
I'd be interested to hear what you guys choose for a setup (stings and tension) and what sticks you put it in.
Yes, I am a low level equipment junkie.  :paper bag:
If I'd only invested half as much time in my movement and mechanics as I have in playing with gear, who knows what level my game would be at? ;-()

MT
CONK da ball!!!

Offline pawan89

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Re: String brands and recommendations
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 09:36:17 AM »
Thanks for the responses guys! I know I can always count on you, even if it's just Scott telling me he doesn't know anything  :)~ Thanks for the article monster! Love it! And yes, busy with life, wife, work and such. Unlike some of you on this board who have known all along, I'm just learning how much work it is to be married, own a house, own a business, give your all at work, have time for friends and family, and on top of all that, make time for your own hobbies, interests, health. Super impressive how people manage all this and more and still find time to relax and enjoy the finer things in life, like T4U  :)) Mad respect, and I have found more than one source of inspiration on these boards  :)

Oh and last time I was up by Boston, I tried yelling Monster but no one responded. Not cool. Do you guys still do the Cincinnati T4U gathering? And where is Dmast now-a-days, is he in the north east or is he in the asia-pacific region?

I ended up doing a lot more research and finally ordering 1 reel, and around 5 individual sets.
1 reel of:
Gosen OG Sheep Micro 17
This is a standard synthetic gut. Lots of good reviews and we plan on primarily using this on the crosses. It was also cheap enough that I don't even mind if I don't end up using all of it in the long term.

Individual sets of the following poly/co-polys that, from reviews, have various playing characteristics.
Babolat RPM Blast 17
Luxilon ALU Power Rough 16L
ISOSPEED Black Fire 17
Head Sonic Pro 17
Volkl Cyclone 17 

A couple things:
- There's a mix of popular/expensive poly/co-polys and some of the more budget options in those individual packs. The idea is to see what the difference really is, and if it's worth the price if/when we do go in for strings.
- We went in for the 17 gauge on everything because, at least for my brother, breaking strings hasn't been an issue yet. That might change since he just gained about 4 inches since last summer and is starting to hit harder with more spin and that's the direction his game will most likely go.
- Budget: When I was in High School, obviously our financial situation was different. I put in Kevlar strings and the goal was never to break it. I want my brother to have more chances to try different strings and play around, hence the decision to string our own racquets and eventually go into reels. So I'm not on a penny-pinching budget (tennis wouldn't be my sport if I were) but I am not looking to waste money if the value added is not worth it either.
- How often do I want to restring: We just started stringing, it's still a lot of fun and we take pride and joy in doing it and playing with self-strung racquets. I can see us stringing, at least my brother's racquet, every 2-3 weeks or as required.
-Would my time/money/effort yield better results if spent on improving my movement or mechanics: This might be true for everyone but the most elite pros. That said, stringing a racquet for ourselves is fun, done during non-productive time (when you can't play tennis, like at night), and gets us more excited to think/talk/play tennis. It's exciting and fun to play with new strings and makes us work harder to make the most of it. Obviously we understand that it's our game that wins us matches and makes us better players, not the strings.
- What style of game do I play: my brother's still developing his game. The goal is to follow the mould of djokovic (i.e. 99% of the pro tour): solid baseline game that is not too defensive, and opportunistically aggressive, capable of playing different speeds, and be able to mix it up and have fun. He's got a solid ground game but needs most work on his serves. And tennis is fun, we like having fun, and he loves his slices, drop shots and going in for volleys (his approach and set up for volleys need a lot of work). His game, for the better or the worse, and somewhat expectedly, is going in a similar direction as mine but with a better foundation and emphasis on the basics.
- My game, to be honest at this point I don't care. Given how inconsistently I get to play tennis, I have given up the concept of having a game or working on my game. Instead, I like to have fun. If that means running around the back and lob balls back, or ripping every ball I can reach, or slicing and drop-shotting 90% of the balls I get - that's what it is. I have relatively flat ground strokes and at this point i am not intent on working on new skills. Doesn't mean I don't have high expectations (too high most of the time) of playing well everytime I step on court, but my focus on developing/furthering my game will return as and when my court time increases, and I find my tennis feet. Keep in mind I have been doing a ton of running and lifting over the last 3 years so it takes me some time to move like a tennis player should on the courts when I play so infrequently.
- Which type of string best suits that style of play: There's too much out there. We picked, based on our research, safe combos that are essentially hybrid setups with a softer, playable snythetic gut (most likely in the crosses), with a harder, spin friendly co-poly for the mains. We will definitely play around with the setups and tensions. I play with a heavier, have always strung my racquets in the upper 50s to low 60s and have no complaints but have no problems varying the tension in the crosses and the mains if it means easier power or some new element that I can capitalize on. My brother's latest racquet that he's played with for over a year is a straight up mid-range poly. I think he'll adapt to different set-ups until the point where we have to adapt the set-ups to his game.   

Long posts. as usual. Time to catch up on rest of T4U action  :))
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 09:38:01 AM by pawan89 »


Offline dmastous

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Re: String brands and recommendations
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2015, 08:03:26 PM »
I'm still up here in snow-bound Boston, well about an hour north of Boston anyway. I only visit Southeast Asia once a year.
I played tennis while visiting the Philippines in January. First time on the court in 8 or 9 months. Haven't strung a racquet in a few years (in fact I'm thinking of selling my stringers since I'm not using them). I didn't have a racquet with me so I borrowed my friend's Babolat. It was strung with Babolat Blast 16 gauge string. Not a bad feel. My slice was actually pretty consistent, which hasn't been the case in years. I don't think it was the string, I think it's the frame. My K-Fed is solid with the top spin, but maybe I'm trying to get too much slice on the slice. Anyway, I liked the Blast 16 gauge string that he was using. I think I may look at stringing a racquet up with it and hitting some when it warms up.
You don't have to give up working on your game with a family, you just have to schedule it in. Take what you can get, and enjoy it when you do. The problem with the northeast is the cost of playing. It's mostly indoors here, especially during the winter, and that's expensive. Wish I lived near people who love tennis as much as you do.
As for you initial question, reels, or sets, I'd say sets until you find a string you like, then switch to reels. Reels, can be more difficult as you have to know how much string to reel out. Yes they are cheaper, but only if you don't clip off too much string in preparation to string. So stick with sets until you know what you like then get reels. And try not to clip off too much.

Oh and last time I was up by Boston, I tried yelling Monster but no one responded. Not cool. Do you guys still do the Cincinnati T4U gathering? And where is Dmast now-a-days, is he in the north east or is he in the asia-pacific region?

I ended up doing a lot more research and finally ordering 1 reel, and around 5 individual sets.
1 reel of:
Gosen OG Sheep Micro 17
This is a standard synthetic gut. Lots of good reviews and we plan on primarily using this on the crosses. It was also cheap enough that I don't even mind if I don't end up using all of it in the long term.

Individual sets of the following poly/co-polys that, from reviews, have various playing characteristics.
Babolat RPM Blast 17
Luxilon ALU Power Rough 16L
ISOSPEED Black Fire 17
Head Sonic Pro 17
Volkl Cyclone 17 



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