Archive for the ‘Other Strings’ Category

New Product: Polyfibre Black Venom Rough

May 24, 2011

The new Polyfibre Black Venom Rough is a further advancement of the best-selling Polyfibre Black Venom string and the new Black Venom Rough has improved tension stability, improved durability, spin and control. Our playtest team has reported the Black Venom Rough to produce insane spin while playing soft for a poly-based string offering and coming at an excellent value when purchasing the reel as it brings the cost down to just $8.50 per set.

Power, spin and touch are the trademarks of the new Polyfibre Black Venom Rough. Polyfibre’s specially developed Standardized Molecular Distribution Technology (SMD) provides this string with long-lasting resilience as well as the necessary control. Through the application of olefins and a special corona coating the string has an “orange skin” type surface with the following advantages: the string grabs the ball better, spin potential is maximized, and string slippage effectively prevented. Players will enjoy the combination of greater control and better feel – the textured surface structure providing maximum comfort. The added rough surface further increases the spin potential of this string. The 17 gauge is ideal for players who need a good combination of durability and playability.

To view this and other Polyfibre string offerings, please visit: http://www.thetennisdepot.com/tennis-strings/polyfibre.html

Advertisements

Hybrids

April 6, 2010

In the past few years, hybrids have become increasingly popular. More often than not, we see people with two different strings in their rackets. Many of pros have also gravitated towards hybrids: Federer with Alu and VS gut, Roddick with Hurricane and VS gut, etc. So, the questions that should come to mind are: what are the advantages of hybrids, and should I hybrid? I’ll try to answer both of those questions for you.

As a baseline, the hybrids that are generally used are gut mains with poly crosses, poly mains with gut crosses, gut mains with synthetic gut/multi crosses, and kevlar mains with synthetic gut crosses. There are several advantages to these various hybrids. First, hybrids combine the characteristics of two strings, and depending on how you string, can create some very nice combinations. The main strings are mainly responsible for the power (and with that, control) of the string bed, and also mainly for how the string bed feels. Thus, if you want your hybrid to feel mostly like polyester, then put your polyester string in the mains. If you want ultimate comfort, then put your gut in the mains. Crosses on the other hand add a bit of comfort and influence how stiff the string bed is. They will also influence power/control, but this influence is relatively small when compared to the influence of the mains. Thus, you can add a gut or a multi in the crosses to a polyester main to add some comfort and decrease the battering that your elbow gets. Or, you can add a polyester cross to a natural gut main to add a bit of control to the setup and increase stiffness. The second advantage of hybrids is cost. Let’s face it: strings can get pretty darn expensive. A full set of VS gut will set you back $42, a full set of Alu Rough will set you back around $16, and a full bed of Pro Line II will set you back around $12. I don’t know about you, but my wallet doesn’t appreciate being emptied every week. Thus, hybrids are nice. A hybrid of my favorite natural gut or polyester with a synthetic gut cross will cut my cost per string bed by around half, and give me something very close to that original feeling. Third, hybrids are generally easier to string that the full bed of string (despite giving a feel very close to a full bed). A bed of natural gut and synthetic is a lot easier to string than a full bed of natural gut. To go along with this, if your stringer is charging you extra for labor when he strings a hybrid, somebody’s trying to rip you off.

So to answer whether or not you should use a hybrid, you generally should if you fall into one of these categories: you want something that feels close to what you use now, but want something cheaper; you want something that’s a little more comfortable than the full bed of polyester you’re using now; you want to add a bit more control to what you’re using now (although this can be also done by adding a pound or two of tension to what you use now); or if you’re a stringer and want to have an easier time with stringing.

Hopefully, this will clear up any questions or confusion that you might have had about hybrids. If you’re still doubtful, take one for a try. I recommend taking whatever you use right now and using that for your mains and for your crosses, I’d recommend starting with a synthetic gut (favorites of mine include Forten Sweet and Pro Supex Syn Gut Spiral Flex). This should give you something close to what you normally use.

PS (if such a thing exists in a blog?) There are such things as prepackaged hybrids.  Take for example the Pro Supex Matrix Hybrid.  Such hybrids are nothing special- they’re just 2 half sets of strings that the manufacturer believes play well together.  You can get the exact same hybrid by purchasing one set each of Big Ace and Maxim Touch, cutting them in half and combining them.  Viola!  You’ve just created your very own “Pro Supex Matrix Hybrid.”

Natural Gut

March 27, 2010

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.

To String or Not to String Part 3: Starting the Business

February 22, 2010

You have bought your new stringing machine, got your tools, learned how to string….now what? Once you get comfortable around your machine it is time to expand your client list and start making the money back you paid for the new equipment.

There are a couple things to know before you start. Who to target as potential customers, what additional strings should you purchase, and how much to charge other people.

Getting Customers:

Potential customers can come from a few different avenues, players you hit with on a regular basis, students you coach, if you coach, craigslist or a classified ad, and contacting clubs, high schools, and colleges in your area.

The easiest way initially to build your client base is talk your friends into stringing their racquets, you may give them a price break to demonstrate your ability and get them as repeat customers. Secondly, by talking to high school or college coaches you can negotiate a contract with them to handle all of their needs for either a lump­-sum payment or set a per racquet price, again at a small discount to enhance their interest in your services.

Purchasing new strings:

With the increase of customers you will need to stock some basic strings to allow for quick turnover when you receive racquets. The three main categories are value, comfort, and power.

A couple packs of each string will give you an initial inventory that can provide some options to potential customers without a long waiting period for ordering strings on a need basis. As you gain more business and string more racquets you will find which strings you need to keep in stock and find new strings that players like.

Price:

The final thing to figure out is how much to charge? The best way to figure this out is to go to the local pro shops and talk to other local stringers and find out their price scale.

The things you need to take into account are your cost of strings + shipping and tax and cost of labor. I start at $15 per racquet labor and add $2 to the actual cost of the string to cover shipping expenses. Many times Pro shops will add a premium to the cost of the string to increase their profits. As a small scale personal stringer you should be able to keep your costs low and swing that to lower prices for your customers.

The most important thing when growing your business is to provide quality service in a timely manner with great customer services. Go that extra mile, install an over grip, or add head guard tape free with restringing, whatever you can do to distinguish yourself from the other options.