Playtest: Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 16
By Greg Raven
Synthetic Gut Multifilament is Prince’s latest offering for the player looking for a playable multifilament string with a crisp feel and good durability, at a midrange price.
Synthetic Gut Multifilament is available in 16 and 17 in natural only. Its list wholesale price is $9 for sets of 40 feet, and $145 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Prince at 800-2-TENNIS, or visit princetennis.com.
In the lab
We tested the 16-gauge Synthetic Gut Multifilament. The coil measured 39’8”. The diameter measured 1.29-132 mm prior to stringing, and 1.27-1.29 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 73 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 × 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.
After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 67 RDC units, representing an 8 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. Synthetic Gut Multifilament added 13 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.
Synthetic Gut Multifilament is easy to install, as attested by our playtesters. It has a nice feel to it, and is soft without being problematic on blocked holes.
No playtester broke his sample during stringing, none reported problems with coil memory, only one reported problems tying knots, and only one reported friction burn.
On the court
The string was tested for five weeks by 33 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 5.5. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. The average number of hours playtested was 23.
Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament got great ratings from our playtest team. To date, our playtest program has tested 107 strings from different manufacturers. Any string that receives a score in the top five — as Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament does for Control — is impressive. For that matter, any string that scores in the top 10 — as Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament does for Playability — is impressive. In addition, though, Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament scored well above average or better in every other category, too, which include Durability, Power, Touch/Feel, Comfort, Spin Potential, Tension Retention, and Resistance to Movement. It not only has a combined rating that is well above average, it is the 15th best string we’ve tested to date, in overall score. This is especially impressive considering its midrange price.
Only one playtester broke his sample, after 11 hours of play, which in itself is noteworthy.
The overwhelmingly positive comments about Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament are entirely consistent with the fact that — on average — the members of our playtest team played with the test sample almost as long as they normally use their favorite string, which comes out to a full seven hours longer than the minimum requirement for the playtest. This is underscored by the fact that the lowest rating it received is still well above average, making it a well-balanced string that doesn’t have to sacrifice in one area to excel in another.
As the name implies, Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament builds on the heritage and credibility of Prince Synthetic Gut, adding even more playability.
“I usually do not refer to synthetic strings as gut-like, but in this case, it does apply. This string is comfortably firm and powerful. After a short break-in period, this string became soft and even more powerful. Feel, comfort, and playability were above average and possibly better than any nylon I’ve used!” 4.0 male all-court player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 60 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)
“Just when I thought nylon was out of tricks, I discover a rare treat. This is one of those strings that would play comfortable across the tension range. It has wonderful shock-absorbing qualities without sacrificing feel. The tension maintenance is exceptional. Given its low trampoline effect (a common disease of multis), the stringbed plays with refreshing predictability and on-demand power, i.e., I didn’t have to adjust my strokes, control and power were simply there. After a while, I forgot I was testing. This is not a niche string, it does everything well. It’s got loads of bite and dwell time for topspin, and excellent depth and trajectory control for flat drives. This string inspires confident tennis.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nPro strung at 62 pounds LO (Babolat Superfine Play 17)
“This string is very easy to install and even easier to play with. It has a higher comfort level than many natural guts and the playability is amazing. Highly recommended if you like comfortable strings with controllable zip.” 4.5 male all-court player using Volkl DNX 10 Mid strung at 60 pounds LO (Natural Gut 16)
“This has all the playing characteristics of natural gut without the fraying. This string is without question the best I’ve tried in a long time. The comfort and playability are excellent.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Hyper Hammer 4.3 PH strung at 62 pounds LO (Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 1.24 17)
“This string has exceptional touch and control.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.5 OS strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This string has that elusive combination of control and power. Its resistance to movement is impressive.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma ESP 17)
“This string produces good power, spin, and control. It plays soft initially and settles after several hours of play. There is little to no string movement. I would recommend this string to heavy hitters.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Prestige MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Original Rough 16)
“This string installs like a stiff nylon, but plays with wonderful feel. It is very comfortable and powerful. The spin potential is good, but the power and feel are truly exceptional.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 59 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16L)
“This string is very enjoyable. It plays lively and powerful, like a high-end multi. This string has a great balance of durability and playability, eliminating the need for a hybrid.” 3.5 male all-court player using Volkl Catapult V1 OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 17/17L)
“I like this string!!! It rewards full swings with truly great control.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Surge 5.1 strung at 58/56 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire Professional 17)
“This is a high quality multifilament. It has more “cupping” effect than other multis and will most likely be sold at a higher price point. Not only does it have good power and control, it is easy on the arm. This is a very good overall string with no major flaws.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 strung at 62 pounds LO (Natural Gut/Polyester 17/18)
“Overall, this is a durable and powerful string. The playability would be greatly enhanced in a thinner gauge. This string is crisp and responsive, with a great deal of pop. It is quite nice on volleys.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Prestige Mid strung at 65 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 18)
“This is a great string with exceptional feel and surprising pop.” 4.0 male all-court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma Prodigy 16)
“This string’s tension loss is slow and not very noticeable. It has very good control, which is an asset for feeding balls. Overall, it is an excellent string.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson n5 strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)
“There is no coil memory during stringing. It is very easy to install. The string starts with a very natural feel, like gut. Initially it provides great feel and spin. Though it is not a power string, power can be found when needed. It feels great for about 2 or 3 hours, but stiffens and loses a little feel thereafter. There is little notching and string movement after 10 hours. I would not hesitate to recommend this string to those looking for a durable, control-oriented string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Ti. S2 strung at 58 pounds LO (Forten Thin Blend 18/17)
“Very nice string. Excellent resistance to movement. This string has good pop and great control on a variety of shots.” 5.0 male server-and-volleyer using Prince More Control DB 850 OS strung at 67 pounds (Prince Premier w/Softflex/Natural Gut 17/15)
“This is a good-playing string. It holds tension well. String movement is minimal, even with repeated kick serves. If it’s less than $10, it’s a winner!!!” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix-One strung at 16 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)
“This is an outstanding string. It has great durability with a muted feel.” 5.5 male using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 62 pounds CP (Aramid/Nylon 16)
“Excellent playability. Very comfortable with a nice feel. There is some difficulty generating heavy spin. This would be a great tool for the flat baller in your club.” 5.0 male all-court player using Volkl DNX 10 Mid strung at 58 pounds LO (Head Protector 16)
“This string provides remarkable control and spin. Though the strings move too much, it is a very good string.” 5.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Prestige Mid strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16)
“This string has above-average control, comfort, touch, and spin. It plays well and is a worthy candidate for players looking for an all-around performer.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nPro Surge strung at 59/61 pounds LO (Gosen Polylon 17)
“This string has excellent durability and spin. Topspin and slice jumped off the stringbed. A great string for moving your opponent around the dirt. The string holds tension well. Though it feels a little stiff, it leaves a very favorable impression.” 4.5 male all-court player using Gamma IPEX 7.0 MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 17)
“The elasticity is noticeable during installation, but it plays with a crisp polyester feel. I was able to produce all the spin I wanted off both wings. Spin on serves, however, was not easily produced. This would play even better at lower tensions and is recommended for hard hitters.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 59/61 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16)
“This is a comfortable string with excellent control. Even though it suffers some tension loss, control never waivers.” 4.5 male server-and-volleyer using Wilson nSix-One strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)
“Stringing is effortless—easy to thread and no coil memory. Playability and durability are exceptional. There is some slight notching. While this string has less touch, feel, and comfort than my typical multifilament, it definitely offers a nice balance of playability and durability.” 4.5 male all-court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 57 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire Professional 17)
“This string is easy to install. It plays soft and very comfortable. The playability is above average.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 White MP strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16)
“This compares well to other multifilaments. It could use a protective coating. It loses tension quickly, but stabilizes nicely until it breaks. I would string this at the high end of the tension range.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nSix-One Tour strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)
“Supremely manufactured, I found no lumps or inconsistencies in this string. Unwinding the coil was easy — no memory or snagging. Clamping and weaving are easy. Pushing the string through partially blocked holes is not a problem and knot tying is easily undertaken. The string provides a solid and unspectacular string bed. The power level is not tremendously high, making it less a candidate for clay. Volleying was comfortable without being spectacular. Good control could be achieved with adequate pace. After several hours of play, the string remains in good condition with no noticeable notching. The tension settles nicely. This would find a place in most inventories for the all-around player.” 4.5 male server-and-volleyer using Wilson Hyper Hammer 2.3 Stretch OS strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This string holds tension quite well. I would advise stringing it ten percent lower, as it feels and plays like polyester.” 3.5 male all-court player using Head i.X3 OS strung at 57 pounds CP (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17)
“This is a nice nylon. It has a comfortable, soft feel. It did notch after ten hours.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nPro strung at 70 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Original Rough 16)
“This string plays like an average soft nylon.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix-One Tour strung at 53 pounds CP (Natural Gut & Polyester Hybrid 16)
“This string is okay. It does not offer the same pop as my normal string, particularly off the forehand side. It does not have enough bite and there is an excess of string movement.” 5.5 male all-court player using Head FXP Radical Team strung at 58 pounds CP (Head Synthetic Gut PPS 18)
“This string loses tension quickly. It has that rare quality of feeling soft and uncomfortable at the same time.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince Tour Diablo Mid strung at 62 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16L)
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)
| EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as easy||22|
|not quite as easy||0|
|not nearly as easy||0|
| OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as playable||6|
|not quite as playable||14|
|not nearly as playable||1|
| OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as durable||19|
|not quite as durable||3|
|not nearly as durable||0|
|From 1 to 5 (best)|
|Playability (#10 overall to date)||3.8|
|Control (#5 overall to date)||3.8|
|Resistance to Movement||3.5|
See all articles by Greg Raven
About the Author
Greg Raven is an associate editor for RSI magazine and technical writer. He is certified as a Master Racquet Technician by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.