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More on Hybrid Crosses

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One of our more popular posts with readers of this blog is our entry on selecting cross strings for hybrids with poly-based mains.  While the content of that posting remains accurate, we would like to add a new perspective we did not have when the entry was written and posted over a year ago.

Recently we have been playtesting poly-based mains with natural gut cross strings.  We have found that our customers prefer the natural gut cross strings over multis as well as solid core strings.  They tend to realize additional pop, bite and feel.  In general they receive at least 50% more string life (time used before breakage occurs) with the natural gut compared to the soft solid core strings we listed in last year’s blog.  They also tend to offer 100 – 200% (or more) greater string life than multis used as a cross string with a poly-based main.

We used to fall into the camp that believed using natural gut as a cross string was a waste of money.  We have re-examined this position and are now ready to amend it.  We still believe that using top-of-the-line natural gut as a cross string in a hybrid setup is not the best value in the world, but we do believe that the lower quality guts we have been using as crosses may very well be the ticket.  With players constantly seeking the best playability for the lowest cost, we are now recommending they explore some lower cost natural gut alternatives as possible cross string options to consider.

7 thoughts on “More on Hybrid Crosses

  1. PKS on said:

    I have to agree with this blog. Im a 5.0-5.5 tournament player that has grown to love gut main and poly cross much better then gut in the cross. Using tonic 15L main and just about any top quality poly-based cross works for me.

    POG os strung with a babalot STAR II(classic machine!) . If I had a lock out I would string 5lbs tighter

    55-57lbs gut main
    52-55lbs poly-based cross ( sppp 1.18, weiss cannon scorpion 1.22, or other)

    tension will vary depending on conditions

    For comparison when I play full poly.
    sppp 1.18 46-52lbs, this set up will last me 3-7 sets before it goes dead, while the gut main poly cross will last me 5-10 sets or more!

    It still amazes me gut mains hybrid lasts longer then full poly. I sometimes use a few string savers ( only uses the babalot elastacross savers, as the others suck horribly and pop out )

    gut will always be king until the pole shift in a few years.

  2. Jonathan on said:

    Interesting post. I love natural gut. My concern with the lower quality natural gut about which you write is whether it will be more vulnerable to premature breakage than higher quality natural gut. But I guess so far you haven’t had any issues like this so perhaps my concern is unwarranted.

    @PKS: I too love natural gut in the mains and poly in the crosses setup. It is so arm-friendly and it gives me the best blend of power and control. It is hard to break free from this setup now that I have gotten so used to it!

  3. EP on said:

    As a 4.5, heavy baseline / all court player, I’ve been extremely satisfied using VS Team in the mains with Silverstring 1.20 in the crosses for some time now.

    I haven’t tried gut in the crosses in years, but remember that it frayed and ultimately broke much faster. I have a few certain spots that notch/fray quickly (and every time) so I make sure to use Elastocross there after stringing, before any notching is possible. I’ve actually found that putting a string saver in after notching, offers little help. The frayed area gets agitated (if you will) and then continues to spiral away up the whole main for easy notching under other crosses. Also, I’ve tried other modern co-polys in the cross with unsatisfactory results in the spin dept. Same thing goes for a full job of gut or a multi cross, or even a thicker poly in the crosses. There is sometihng very special about a thin poly cross that really sinks its teeth into the main. I would simply love to see a 1.10 of Silverstring or other high performance poly.

    Also, with the NG/poly setup, I’ve raised my tension a total of 9 lbs. (51-60). this summer to control the ball and I may go up more! I have only raised 5 lbs in other full poly setups. Natural gut is the livliest string out there and doubly so in the heat. I’m doing my best to be mindful of that for my customers as well.

  4. ggtennis on said:

    Ty all for the interesting comments! I know that many use hybrid with gut in mains and for those instances I do recommend the higher end natural guts. The lower end actually do work well as cross strings for those seeking that type of setup.

    @EP – I am glad you are enjoying the Silverstring crosses. There are no plans to produce that product in a thinner gauge. If you are seeking thinner, you might consider the new 1.18 WC Turbotwist as an option, in limited tests it has performed well in tandem with natural gut.

  5. EP on said:

    As always, thanks for the recommendation. Any reports from testers (including yourself) on it’s spin, tension maintenance, and playability in relation to Silverstring? Spin happens to be my primary concern lately since I’d tried many other strings out that have been unable to deliver in that cross position.

    In a couple days (payday), will put forward an order to test a set out. My other reels are stocked up fairly well, otherwise, I’d order more of the usual. I’ll be glad to provide some feedback to you and Stringforum on the comparison.

  6. Vladimir on said:

    Hig guys,
    I know that you are speaking here about NG with poly setup. But what about synthetic gut on mains and poly on cross. I am recreational player breaking string after fourth match or so (Babolat Pro Huricanne Tour 17). I feel more control with this setup than I have had with babolat pht on main with iso speed energetic on crosses. However, the feel has gone (decreased successes with drop shots and maybe even placement is worse). On the oher hand, with synthetic gut on main my Wilson nTour has had too much power so now I am thinking about synthetic gut on crosses just to see differences.
    Thanks for any comment

    • ggtennis on said:

      The PHT is a stiffer string than some of the newer and softer poly-based strings. If you are seeking extended durability, using a synthetic main with a poly-based cross will not likely achieve this for you. I would suggest a softer poly-based string for your main. Since the PHT is textured you could try the MSV Focus Hex or the WeissCANNON Turbotwist as softer options that will provide you with more feel. You can cross it with a soft solid core synthetic to see if you get the feel you are seeking. Unfortunately in order to gain feel, you sometimes have to sacrifice durability. It’s often a trade-off one way or the other.


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