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Prince Port-Style Racquets – More on our disdain of these villainous frames

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Those who follow our blog know all about our love affair with Prince port-style racquets.  While we give them high marks on innovation, we find the attention to detail in terms of making them friendly for stringers to be seriously lacking.  In the past we have blogged about the issues with these racquets and the inconsistencies that can be attributed to the design issues.

In a previous entry on this topic we referred to the mess that is the top of this racquet.  With grommet insets barely deep enough to protect the strings, it creates some issues.  These issues are amplified when the racquets are strung using a two-piece method which happens to be the only way to install a hybrid.

Due to the design of the port-style frames, stringers have virtually no options but to tie off where indicated.  The trouble is when tying off the mains, the cross strings are then forced into slots/positions and crossovers that are not desirable.  In short it can get very messy.  Prince engineers have installed string guides that really only amplify the problem with crossovers and strings not being able to be manipulated where needed.

In our shop we have a fairly simple solution that we use in order to keep the top clean and professional.  It is probable that many of our blog readers already follow this process, but for those who might be frustrated by these blasted frames, here’s a look at our solution.

After you pull tension on the outer mains, go ahead and clamp them off, but DO NOT tie off at this point.  Instead take your cross string and insert it in the space for the top cross and weave it through.  We advise to install it from the opposite side as where it is going to tie-off.  This will give you less to pull through. Go ahead and insert the end into the grommet where you will eventually tie off.  Give yourself plenty in order to tie a starting knot.  (Note, this will most likely be in the same grommet where the last main is still clamped off.  Makes it kind of busy in there, but all is fine…I promise!)

Now go ahead and take the opposite end of the cross string and weave it through, leaving a loop large enough to pull tension on the first cross. No other action is needed with this string at this point.  It is just going to wait for a few minutes for you to get back to it.

Now go back to the mains which remain clamped, but are untied.  With all strings in the channel you can now see how they are going to lineup when tensioned.  If any adjustments need to be made to avoid crossovers or to keep things running in alignment, go ahead and maneuver the main.  Since no tension is yet applied manipulating the strings should be relatively easy.  Once everything is aligned properly, go ahead and tie off your main string.

Next repeat the process on the opposite side.  Align the strings.  Once aligned, tie off the main.

Now it is time to pay attention to your cross string.  Go ahead and tie a starting knot.  Next take the loop you left and pull tension on the first main.  Clamp off and you are ready to continue with your crosses.

Those that have read our previous entry will immediately note we have abandoned the 50/50 method.  While the 50/50 method is clearly acceptable, we prefer this method because it is much easier to manage the flow of strings in the top trenches.

In order to be comfortable with this method, we string these racquets on our Baiardo that has a killer braking system.  More importantly we follow a tip we read in a fairly recent RSI issue where it was suggested to mount the port-style racquets as low on the machine as possible.  (This means adjusting the machine to hold it as far down by the handle as can be managed).  By mounting using this method, there are only 2 or 3 crosses that fight trying to pull the string to the top of the port when tensioning.

So there you have it.  Give it a try.  The results look very nice and avoid many of the issues these frames create.  That said, if tomorrow all port-style frames in the universe were to miraculously disappear, we would not miss them.

7 thoughts on “Prince Port-Style Racquets – More on our disdain of these villainous frames

  1. Boris Becker on said:

    son of a nut cracker, that is genius simplified. well done, and thank you for helping me

  2. Bob Patterson on said:

    Great article! i’ve been using a similar method on bybrids although i always use a starting clamp instead of a knot. I still have to replace the bumpers way too frequently for my junior players because the least amount of wear exposes the string. Poor design on Prince’s part. FYI you may want to correct a typo. I think the Wilson folks would not want to hear anything about BREAKING about their stringing machine since the brake is the one thing the machine excels over all others. Thanks again for the blog!

  3. ggtennis on said:


    Thanks for visiting our blog, participating and the heads-up on the Baiardo brake goof. Much appreciated!

  4. jayceeparis on said:

    Excellent article, I have been using precisely this method but with my usual way of finishing the mains, but only on the side where the starting knot is for the crosses.
    Instead of tying off the mains in the 7th main’s grommet then the knot for the 1st cross on the 6th main, it is much easier (and less messy) to string in the mains in the sequence 6th – 8th – 7th then tie-off on the 6th main’s grommet.
    Start the 2nd cross on the same side, weave back the 1st cross then tie-off on the 6th which is much closer than having to go to the 7th. The end result is quite a lot better.
    For the main on the other side, the usual method is the only way to tie-off, but this is fine.
    By mounting the frame as far as possible in the handle end is the best advice of all, it certainly limits the problem of having to use the brake so often.
    I agree entirely on the Baiardo, the brake is brilliant, it is certainly the best system available, bravo for the conceptor.
    As for these frames, they are not so bad once we’ve strung a lot of them, only the first hundred or so were a pain in the butt . . .

  5. ggtennis on said:

    Jaycee – Thanks for your comments. I have also tried your method and found it to be perhaps more effective than the method I use, at least with poly-based strings. I will note that different Prince port style frames are configured differently. Because of this it is important to note that the sequence of tensioning mains 6, 8 then 7 on some models may result in tying off on main #8 instead of #6. When this occurs the cross tie-off occurs on main #7. Of course this only applies to the side of the frame with two tie-off grommets. It is not possible on the opposite side due to tie-off restrictions. Also your method when using soft synthetics is a bit more challenging as the cross string has to find it’s way BETWEEN two already tensioned strings. Polys, being stiff, can power their way through that tiny opening while multis and some synthetics find the task a bit more challenging.

    Your suggested method also allows for a less messy top area where there is a lesser chance of strings sitting above the narrow channels and being damaged while having the huge advantage of being able to “tune” the stringbed before going forward with installing the mains. With the method I have been using, tuning is very difficult.

    Thanks for sharing and participating in this blog discussion.

  6. Jeffrey Elkins on said:

    I feel very happy to have found this site. I am an amateur stringer and have been having some problems and inconsistent results stringing my Prince Tour 100s (16×18) frames. I use an Alpha String Pal stringer with the stock flying clamps. Since this machine only locks in few set positions, I use a boomerang tool for the first half of the crosses. I am a copoly user, currently trying out WeissCannon strings (B5E mains and Mosquito bite crosses).

    I would like to try one of your stringing methods for better results. I am a little confused on which one to use. The above port method, JET method, or some kind of combo? Any other tips or recommendations most welcome. (Besides getting a new stringer, maybe I’ll get one of those Stringway stringer one day!). Thank you very much.

  7. GGTennis on said:

    The best results we can get with these frames is using the 50/50 method. It is practically impossible to get as strong and consistent results with these frames than almost any other non-port frame strung with the JET Method. A new machine is not needed but I might be so bold as to suggest considering a new frame.


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