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Tidbit from the Grand Slam Stringer’s Symposium

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Earlier this month we had the opportunity to interact with some of the top professionals in the world of racquet stringing and customization.  One particular session we found facinating was facilitated by Mr. John Elliot who flew in from France to share some of his observations and thoughts on world of poly-based strings.  During his presentation we noted the following observations he has made through his years of working with polyester strings.

– Polyester strings are sensitive to the cold.

– Basic polys offer less than 2 hours of string life.

– Luxilon ALU strings are a very high quality offering.  Similar to formula one performance racing tires in that they perform well for a short period of time and then need to be replaced.  (Optimal performance time is very limited, usually less than a match)

– Tension determines the length of the ball.  2 pounds of tension equates to 1 yard of ball length.  Increase 2 pounds to reduce length by one yard, decrease 2 pounds to increase one yard.

– Stringmeter tool is more accurate than most people give credit for.  The reason the readings vary from string to string is due to either the stringing machine or the stringer.  A number of variables can lead to inconsistency. Ideally the tension of all main (except outer most mains) strings should measure the same with this tool.

– The best playing racquet set-up for recreational and league players is a hybrid with a poly-based main and synthetic gut cross string (not a multi).

– Racquet tuning is not the same as racquet stringing.  Racquet tuning is working toward an end result…the desired stringbed stiffness.

– To tune racquet, find desired stringbed stiffness.  Ask customer to let you know when racquet is performing optimally.  Using stringmeter, measure string tension.  Increase +4 pounds for polys and +10 pounds for nylon at next stringing.  Also use Dynamic Tension readings to confirm.

– Stringing is most consistent and best when stringer uses a FLUID and REPEATABLE motion.

– With friction tension in crosses ends up measuring approx. 1/3 less in crosses than mains when strung at same reference tension.

Obviously Mr. Elliot provides much food for thought and future discussion.  We will likely find some of these very themes emerging as future individual blog entries.  As always we thank you for visiting our blog and invite you to participate by leaving your comments and questions below.

13 thoughts on “Tidbit from the Grand Slam Stringer’s Symposium

  1. jonathan on said:

    This is an interesting blog post. I feel that I need to buy a stringmeter now. I am getting paranoid about my string results after learning that the ERT is not the only measure of consistency.

    I have some questions:

    (1) When he says that poly strings are sensitive to cold, what does that mean? They are more likely to break? They don’t perform as well? I am unclear.

    (2) Why does he say that the best setup for a recreational player is poly mains/synthetic gut crosses? I am curious why he thinks this especially considering the average player has poor technique, improper racquet selection, is unwilling to restring at frequent intervals. My concern would be that the average player would therefore be highly sensitive to arm issues with any poly setup.

    Thanks Jon for the interesting post!

  2. ggtennis on said:

    In regard to #1. I did not take many notes on that topic, nor do I recall much time being spent on it. It may relate to the elasticity of the string, but I will need to follow-up with Mr. Elliott to be able to provide a response for you.

    #2 Again, I can not speak for John, but according to my session notes he believes that the poly mains hold tension very well after initial loss and when balanced with a synthetic offer optimal play for all levels of players. Especially those who do not change strings frequently enough. In terms of arm issues, you need to use a high quality poly-based string in this setup.

    Stringmeters are inexpensive and do have some utility. Keep in mind that racquet flex is one variable that will impact the readings with these.

  3. John on said:

    Thanks for the report. Interesting stuff.

    I’m confused by the statement saying 2 lbs of tension make a yard difference, but then you say 2 lbs one way or other make a foot difference. Is it yards or feet? Makes quite a difference.

  4. Matt on said:

    Hi – I found the 2 lbs of tension = 1 yard of hitting to be very useful. However, in your text above you write “Increase 2 pounds to reduce length by one foot, decrease 2 pounds to increase one foot.” Which is correct, 1 ft or 1 yd?


  5. pks on said:

    how would racquet flex possibly affect a string meter reading. if im correct i used a string meter back when i was like 17yrs old, im 36 now. if this is the same meter, i dont see how this is possible.

  6. ggtennis on said:

    @Matt and John –

    Apologies for the confusion. In my haste to provide a timely response I failed to consult my notes and made things more confusing. As now posted, it is a yard. Here is the direct quote from John Elliott.

    The formula is :
    +1kg of applied tension = -1 metre of ball length
    -1kg of applied tension = +1 metre of ball length

    this can be translated to :

    +2lbs of applied tension = -1 yard of ball length
    -2lbs of applied tension = +1 yard of ball length

  7. John on said:

    Cool, thanks for clarification!

  8. ggtennis on said:


    With the possible exception of those using true tension machines, racquet frames are going to flex during the stringing process. Specifically when you get to some of the outer mains (after the center 4 – 6) the racquet has shortened and expanded. It remains in this form until the crosses are added and tensioned. The crosses then pull it back into shape.

    When a main string is installed at X pounds on a frame that is compressed in length, the tension of that string increases as the frame is pulled back into shape with the crosses. The result of this flex is that the string that was installed at X pounds is now X + a variable (usually 2 – 10) depending on the amount of flex. As a result the string meter can produce a reading of tension on individual strings that varies. Get out your string meter and measure the tension across all your mains. This may serve as a visual aid.

    It can also show that parallel strings offer differing tensions. For instance the 6th string on each frame, in theory should produce the same reading. HOWEVER, if the stringer was going 2 or 3 ahead on the mains, it is possible that these tensions will also vary when measured with the stringmeter, in part it is possible this variance is also caused by frame flex.

  9. JES on said:

    Not neing in the business, who is John Elliot? It might give the average reader a bit of context.

    I am also curious about how poly is sensitive to cold. How cold? What does cold do to poly? Over what period of time does the poly need to be cold to have any effect?

    What makes Luxilon “high quality” strings? How is “high quality” defined? How does Elliot define string life? Is that based anecdotally or through some empirical measurement? Does he refer to all of Luxilon’s offerings generically, or do some of Luxilon’s offereings have better/worse quality and/or string life. How does he measure optimal performance?

    How can the tension of all the mains be the same if they are not all the same length? In addition, since they are each clamped at different times during stringinging, don’t they start losing tension at different points in time?

    Does the 1/3 less tension in the crosses apply only to 2-piece stringing? How is this different (if at all) for ATW?

    Sorry fot the numerous questions.

  10. ggtennis on said:

    @ JES I’ll do my best to respond to some of your questions on points.

    John Elliott has been in the business for many years. He is based out of France and has years of experience with polyester strings…since their inception. You might be able to learn more about him via the websites he maintains, www.

    I need to investigate the poly temperature issues further as it was commented on, but not discussed in the session. I am not able to answer those specific questions.

    John commented on the Luxilon strings as a former distributor. He stated the coating of the string is what makes it special. No string company to date has been able to replicate the coating. John does have several charts and measurements of various poly-based strings. I believe his statements are grounded in some form of empirical data. I do not have the slides from his presentation. I believe the way he measures optimal performance is in consultation with the users.

    Tension is constant. 60 pounds is 60 pounds on a string 4 inches long or 7 inches long. It is still 60 pounds. Do not get tension confused with deflection. The deflection of 60 pounds on a 4 inch string will be much different than the deflection on a string of 7 inches at the same tension.

    You are correct about the clamping. This is where consistency comes into play. In order to provide consistent results when stringing on a constant pull machine it is VITAL to have a consistent and steady rhythm.

    Yes, the lower tension for the crosses is due primarily to friction. Friction remains constant whether you are stringing with one piece or two piece. You might argue that some ATW patterns offer 2 less mains and that this will reduce some friction. Heck, I’d buy that argument, but I doubt it would have a significant measurable difference. Would be interested to see a study on that.

  11. Matt on said:

    I once brought my racquets to Tucson and played in 45 degree weather with a full poly setup. This setup gave me no trouble at all at temps around 70-85 degrees. At 45 degrees, they aggravated my elbow so much, I was feeling it for weeks.

  12. John on said:

    Mr. Elliot states that the best set up for league players are poly mains and synthetic crosses. Do you have any suggestions for a good poly to use that would last more than a couple of hours. Would say a poly like Turbotwist be a good choice for the mains or maybe MSV poly strings? Also do you have any suggestions in regards to a synthetic gut for the crosses?

    Thanks, John from Riverside Ca.

  13. on said:

    You are my breathing in, I own few blogs and occasionally run out from to post .I believe this web site has some really fantastic information for everyone. “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” by Napoleon.


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