Natural Gut

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My post today will be about the elite strings of the tennis world: natural gut.

Natural gut has been in use for a very, very long time. Back in 1875, Babolat first introduced their natural gut. Since then, various other companies have adopted natural gut for their own uses, and has risen to own the top of the tennis strings pyramid. Natural gut, as the name implies, is made from natural fibers, namely serosa (part of the intestine). Most natural guts are made using cattle serosa, although natural gut made of sheep serosa does exist.  These strings have a LOT of benefits.  They have excellent feel, give great touch, are very powerful, are some of the world’s most arm friendly strings, just to name a few.

Being a natural product, natural gut varies all over the place. Babolat, then and now, is the elite. VS natural gut is the best string on this planet, and commands a $42 price tag. Other manufacturers, including Klip, Pacific, BDE, and Bow Brand also produce natural guts that are of very fine quality. Klip and Pacific natural guts are widely used today for their wonderful feel at a relatively low price.

In the past years however, lower quality guts have entered the market. These guts include Global, Gaucho, Unifiber, and others. These guts are cheap: cheaper than a good multi. Today, one can get individual sets of Global or Gaucho (the two most popular low end natural guts) for around $15, while one can generally get ten sets for around $100.

So, the question always comes up… is it worth it? After all, the cheapest higher end gut comes in at $26 (Klip Legend). Is Klip justified the extra $11?

My answer is a resounding… maybe. There’s no denying that Global/Gaucho is a decent string- it feels very nice, and definitely feels like gut. However, Global/Gaucho is VERY prone to snapping on the machine (greater than a 10-15% snap rate has been reported), doesn’t know what in the world gauge consistency means (my sets varied from can’t-get-the-string-through-the-grommets large to under 1.20mm), has an abysmal coating, is an absolute pain to string up, and frays like nothing I’ve seen. As soon as the gut touches water, the stuff drastically loses tension and the chance of snapping increases tenfold (if you do use decide to use Global/Gaucho, do NOT use it when it’s humid or raining). Stringing the stuff is downright dangerous, since the string isn’t well coated at all and unravels a ton.

This all being said though, the stuff feels great! You get the feel of natural gut for the price of a multi. That great feel that is so often talked about with natural gut is definitely there. Your arm will also definitely be thanking you for using this string (it’s very arm friendly). You can even reduce the fraying by sticking some string savers in the string bed, so that eliminates one of my complaints. Unfortunately, Global/Gaucho isn’t for everyone. The fact of the matter is, it IS a low end option. The stuff snaps, frays, and doesn’t have a coating like that of better guts. Unless you’re going to be stringing this stuff for yourself, I would not recommend this string. The chance of it snapping is too high, and in the end, your reputation is far more important than the ability to offer a cheaper gut. If your customer really wants a cheaper option that feels like gut, recommend that they go with a natural gut/synthetic gut hybrid. A hybrid of Klip Legend 16 and Forten Sweet 16 comes out to under $15 (what it costs for Global/Gaucho), feels great, and works very well.

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