Octave String Natural Gut
For many years natural gut has been the target of many attempts to make it less expensive. Most of these attempts have not been truly exceptional.
According to the manufacturer, Octave Strings, this natural gut string will sell for $12.00 per set. Compare this to Babolat, for example, that sells for over $45.00 per set. Octave Strings natural gut is available in natural color at the moment but a black version will be availalbe according to the manufacturer.
Readers, this is not Babolat, Wilson, Pacific, or Bow Brand quality for sure but it can not be discounted without adequate evlauation.
Octave Strings is the latest, as far as I know, to enter into the tennis string market with a natural gut product. I suspect the string samples I recieved were of the sheep serosa. The string is available in a package of two (2) pieces of 6.5M lengths which leads me to that conclusion, and, was just confirmed by the manufacturer.
The foil and sealed bag packaging is the best I have seen from low cost offerings which gave me hope that this would be a “value” alternative. Not withstanding what follows this may be an alternative for use in a hybrid format.
The first lab test I do is to determine elongation and this string has very high elongation. It tested at ≈ 10.7%. Compare this to Babolat VS Touch at ≈11%. This is not the same as “dynamic stiffness”.
When I do this testing I have the opportunity to inspect and measure the string diameter. Here is where this string goes way off. The diameter, or gauge, varies a great deal over the length of each piece. The diameter ranged from .050 to .056 and in fact some areas it was difficult to get the string through the grommet. You can, of course, cut off the very stiff end but then you are subjected to fraying ends that will never work!
I have strung a Babolat Pure Drive with one set of this string and will be reporting more information periodically. One area that is very interesting is that the string is very stable, meaning it is holding tension pretty well so far. The racauet has not been hit with. It has been seven (7) days since the racquet was strung and the string bed stiffness has decreased by ≈8%. This is very stable behaviour but we will see how it reacts to hitting.
I am going to do some work with the 16 gauge to see how it compares to the 17 gauge keeping in mind that there was a large variation in gauge in the 17 gauge package.