Category Archives: Natural Gut String
Once in a while words “fit”! Clash fits this new Wilson racquet because it disrupts the trend of “everything stiff”. Luckily this trend is dying and Wilson has, in my view, done a masterful job of expediting that demise with this concept.
Not only does this racquet look good it just feels good in the hand. It is light, maybe too light, but the brain detects something different about this racquet. We all know racquets are all about “the brain”!
In this review you may notice the addition of a couple of specifications. One is “Racquet – In Plane Stiffness”. This is the racquets resistance to”squeezing the sides together. The higher the number the more resistant (stiffer) the racquet is. Another addition to the review is the three (3) weights taken at the sides of the head and at the very bottom (butt cap) of the racquet. This very helpful when matching or customizing a racquet. so I thought we would include it.
Before this racquet is strung it has a noticeable “softness” which is expected given the 52 stiffness (Wilson is not using the defacto device, RDC, for their stiffness rating). However, after stringing, the racquet takes on a different “feel”. It is like the string is pulling all the material components together! I intend to hit with this racquet tomorrow so as right now I have no idea how it will feel.
To get the maximum from this racquet our demo is strung with Luxilon Natural Gut, 125 and the new Wilson Sensation Plus multi-filament with a “wear” wrap. This should be a great setup, so if you want to hit with the latest technology this is it!
For each racquet we do an “Accuracy Index”. This tells us how accurately the ball will come off the string bed when hit at different locations on the string bed. This racquet has an index of 97, which is very good, in the areas of the string bed that show the most failure (breakage). The overall string bed index of 94 is quite good and tells us that the string bed should produce as much accuracy as the players skill allows!
Take look at the following specifications to see if you agree with the player evaluations you may have read.
|Racquet Model||Clash 100|
|Reference Tension||58 lbs - 26.3 kg|
|String||Luxilon 125 Gut =M
Wilson Sensation Plus =X
|Machine Used||True Tension Professional|
|Racquet Flex, RDC||51 - After stringing|
|Racquet Flex, FlexFour||27|
|Racquet - In Plane Stiffness||317 lbs/Inch|
|Head Area, cm2||646.0|
|Head Area, Sq. Inch||100.1|
|Number of Main Strings||16|
|Number of Cross Strings||19|
|Main String Grid||7.50|
|Cross String Grid||10.37|
|Density (% of head filled with string)||.779|
|Average Cross String Space||.547|
|Average Main String Space||.469|
|Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT||37|
|Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in||206.94|
|First Moment, Nm||.764|
|Swing Weight, Kg/cm2||306|
|Swing Weight, Ounces||10.79|
|Swing Weight Calculated||320.4|
|Head Weight, %||47.0%|
|Center of Percussion||21.5|
|Dwell Time, ms||8.50|
|Efective Stiffness - lbs||26.7|
In dictionary terms it is:
“the amount of extension of an object under stress.”
In tennis terms, it means the same thing when talking about tennis racquet strings.
How much does a string stretch under the reference tension load or otherwise stretched (impact)? The proliferation of wrist, arm and shoulder injury has brought attention to the property of “stiffness.” The problem is that your stiffness may be different than my stiffness, so there needs to be an “index” associated with each string, in my opinion. I have that data on over 500 tennis strings, but that is just me.
The images show the results of high elongation (left) and low elongation (right) string upon breaking.
Several years ago a player asked me “where is the string that is missing?” Well, it is not missing. The ends you see should be connected!
If the string has little elongation when it breaks there is nothing “pulling” it apart like the high elongation string. So each time you hit the ball, the string either elongates a bunch or it doesn’t.
In the case of the high elongation string, on the left, it absorbs a good portion of the “shock” associated with a hard hit, whereas the low elongation string, on the right, lets your body do the absorbing to a great extent.
So, it is reasonable to use very low reference tensions for low elongation string (35 to 45 pounds; 16 to 20.5 Kg) and higher tensions (45 to 60 pounds; 20.5 to 27.2 Kg) for high elongation strings.
You may ask, “how do I know how stiff a string is?” If you see the word “polyester or co-polyester” it is likely that string wil be stiff compared to natural gut, most nylon based multi-filament construction, and PEEK (Zyex) material. In my opinion, there is no “bad” string just “bad” applications. If in doubt…ask!
Having one celebrity in the shop is quite rare but two…that is amazing!
The World Headquarters was visited by Bill and Aleks (aka GBS)! What is also amazing is that they came in separate cars so they did have a choice! If you are in the area stop by. You may see a celabrity! Probably not but you will see the latest racquets!
Jennifer walked into the World Headquarters of Racquet Quest the other day and asked to have her racquets strung. Nothing unusual about that, of course.
I looked a the racquets in her hand and thought to myself…” Well, where are they?”
In her hands were two (2) Head You Tek IG Prestige Mid racquets! If you don’t remember these, they are the pinnacle of the Head Performace series racquets. The head size is 93 square inches; the weight is 350 grams (12.35 ounces), with a swing weight of 309 kg/cm2 (10.9 ounces), and a racquet flex of 64 RDC units.
This is a great racquet for sure, but I don’t see many anymore in the good condition as these are. One needed a grommet set, but that was all.
The reason I mention this is to reassure tennis players that they are capable of using racquets they normally scoff at including a comment “I am not good enough to use that!” A lot depends on what you want to do with the racquet. In Jennifer’s case, she wants to get to the net as quickly as possible, and the nice recoil weight of 146.1 makes this a good racquet at the net! The low swing weight enhances the “mobility” of the racquet which also means this is not a particularly “powerful” racquet.
The new Head Graphene Touch Prestige Mid is still 93 square inches but now has a 16×19 string pattern.
If you are interested in hitting with a Head Graphene Touch Prestige Mid, our demo is strung with Babolat VS Touch natural gut which represents the purest combination I can think of!
Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me an example of what tennis players are capable of!
Briefly, Pointy is a program that allows shoppers to enter a barcode, or Google product search online, to see if that product is available locally.
As a long time user of Square as the POS in the shop, we engaged with Pointy as a service through Square so our clients can quickly see what we have in stock. A link to our Pointy shop is below so you can take a look around and let me know what it needs to be a valuable resource for you.
Every product you see on the page was input by Racquet Quest so it is in stock at the time the shop was opened, however, the images are supplied by the software so some may not be exactly updated packaging.
If you have any questions or would like to hear about any “special offers” please call or text!
I spend hours each day dealing with tennis racquets, strings, machines and questions of all sorts!
By doing this I am learning what is important to tennis players but it should not require a one-on-one discussion to learn this, in my opinion.
So, what is important to you? Here is what I am discovering.
Comfort. It goes without saying that you don’t want to play tennis if you are hurting! Players are requesting racquets that are more arm friendly. But wait, the racquet really holds the string which has a huge impact on comfort. So should we begin with string? I think so!
String. Every string I have has undergone a comprehensive testing procedure to determine elongation which in turn is converted to Power Potential. The higher the elongation the higher the power potential and the less stiff the string bed will feel when the ball is hit hard, all other settings being equal. If you have a stiff racquet it is important to select a string and tension that will mitigate the racquet stiffness to some extent. Every racquet we do has the “effective stiffness” calculated which is the combined stiffness of the racquet and string bed. Once we have the preferred effective stiffness for a customer we can achieve that even if a new racquet is added to the mix.
Durability. We try to associate the cost of racquet stringing to “cost per hour” of play time. What is your threshold? $1.00 per hour or $10.00 per hour? When considering durability do not confuse “performance” with “durability”! There are several strings that may not fail for several months however the performance is gone in a few hours. This is typical of polyester based strings. So, even if the string is still intact the performance is way gone!
Cost. The cost of tennis racquets is increasing, sometimes justified, sometimes not but are rising none the less. If cost is your “driver” some navigation around the market is important, however, we do not suggest you buy the “cheapest” thing you can find without a thorough understanding of what you are getting. We can assist you in evaluating racquets from any source.
No one likes a failure but it does happen, especially, with tennis string.
This is the perfect fail if you are using natural gut string. You can see the natural fibers of the string have been unraveling and finally reached the point where the stranding could no longer handle the impact of a ball hitting that area.
Natural gut and some multi-filament synthetic strings will exhibit this failure mode. The great thing about natural gut is that it plays better longer than other string materials.
The problem is that it is quite difficult to quantify “better” but it is easy to quantify “broken”. I recommend, if you are using natural gut, play with it until it breaks or the “fraying” is so bad you know it won’t last another match.
The use of Sting Savers can extend the life of natural gut string and will not affect the “feel” of the racquet.
Welcome everyone (in the northern hemisphere) to the first day of summer! You guys in the southern part of the globe will have to wait a while.
For some of you this will be the beginning of your tennis season so take a few minutes to get your equipment ready for the action. Here are a few suggestions that will make it easier and more fun for you.
Get your racquet strung! A fresh string will provide the right start to your season and will perform better than those old things. Fresh strings can cost between $25 and $68 and are certainly worth it!
Replace your grip, both of them! The synthetic grip that normally comes with a racquet needs to be replaced at least twice a year but more often in the heat. I know all of you use “over grips” and this should be replaced after every match, period. That is what they are made for…do it!
Do not leave your racquet in a very hot spot, like the trunk of your car, a hot table at the courts, or in direct sunlight. The elevated temperatures allow the string molecules to relax and therefore string tension is lost. This loss, unfortunately, can not be recovered. I have tried! Elevated temperatures will take a quick and dramatic toll on grips as well.
If you play on soft courts try to brush the grit off of the string before you put the racquet away. Simply use a soft towel for this but don’t rub the string just brush it.
Keep in mind that the “performance” life of string is about 25 hours of playing time for a recreational player, less for tournament players. Strings do not last forever, although some of you have tried. Just because your string is not broken does not mean it is as good as new.
Keeping your racquet in top notch condition is not expensive or inconvenient. If you have any questions about any of this send me a note or call.
Have a great tennis summer!
Normally when we ask this question it is regarding the “playing” shape, i.e. how is the string bed stiffness, how is the notching, how long has it been in the racquet and some others.
However, this time the question is “what is the shape of your string?”
For many years tennis racquet string has been round. The round shape is fairly easy to manufacture, using many materials, including multi-filament constructions. Round strings present a uniform shape that reacts similarly regardless of installation procedure. Round strings typically provide uniform tensions because there is no “sides” to create additional friction during installation.
The last ten (10) years have seen the increase of polyester, or combinations called co-poly’s, as a tennis racquet string material. Along with this material came a new, for tennis racquet string, manufacturing process which is essentially extruding a molten material in a nice long continuos strand.
This process can produce a lot of string in a very short time! This processing technique can produce very inexpensively to be sure. It also allows for shapes! Almost any shape! All it takes is a “die” of the shape you want as the last thing the string sees before it gets to the cooling tanks or “embossing” wheels.
Make no mistake, however, these strings can be very technical in design and material formulations. So,if you pay $40.00 for a stringing using one of these strings don’t be surprised.
Back to shapes…
It is common to see three, four, five, six, seven, and even eight sided strings all over the place. Some of these strings present challenges in terms of installation and, therefore, performance because not only are they shaped they are “twisted”. Twisting a string creates huge variations in tension unless installed in a controlled way.
A couple of weeks ago a client presented me with a reel of Solinco string that is intended to be similar to the very popular Luxilon ALU Power Rough. The Solinco is silver, (the image below shows it sort of blue) low elongation, textured string, mostly typical of polyesters. The unusual property is that the shape of this string is oval! It should be noted here that Gosen, a major string manufacturer, has made oval shaped strings for years.
In addition to being oval the string is very aggressively “textured”, actually embossed, which, I believe contributes to the oval shape. Heres why. When the string is finishing the processing it is passed through an embossing wheel that creates small indentations in the string. When this happens the string will flatten out, or become oval. This process can also contribute to elongation.
If the manufacturer wanted the string to be perfectly round it would subject the string to a pulling process but this is not what I see in the Solinco string, which does not yet have a name.
Initial play tests show significant durability when paired with natural gut. Control seems to be better than average. When finished the strings seem to be laying flat against the corresponding cross string which could contribute to string movement.
So…what shape is your string in?
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.