Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Tourna Quasi-Gut Armor 16

By Greg Raven

Tourna Quasi-Gut Armor is a multifilament made from thousands of twisted nylon filaments impregnated and coated with polyurethane, making it an update to the original Tourna Quasi-Gut. Quasi-Gut Armor includes two additional strands of heat-treated co-poly ribbons in the outer layer to increase durability.

Tourna tells us that Quasi-Gut Armor is a powerful, natural-gut-like multifilament that is durable enough to hybrid with today’s co-polys, but soft enough to provide relief from the stiffness a full bed of co-poly can deliver. Quasi-Gut Armor is designed for players looking for a durable and comfortable multifilament, for use either on its own or in a hybrid with poly.

Quasi-Gut Armor is available in 16 and 17 gauges in natural with a blue spiral. It is priced from $8.95 for sets of 40 feet, or $99 for 660-foot reels. For more information or to order, contact Tourna at 800-554-3707, or visit uniquesports.com.

In the Lab

We tested the 16-gauge Quasi-Gut Armor. The coil measured 41 feet, 7 inches. The diameter measured 1.30-1.32 mm prior to stringing, and 1.26-1.28 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 82 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 75 RDC units, representing a 9 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. Quasi-Gut Armor 16 added 14 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 35 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 26.7.

During installation, Quasi-Gut Armor is wonderful to handle. You do have to be a bit more persistent with blocked holes, but the blue spiral looks sharp, and is reminiscent of the old Victor Imperial natural gut.

One playtester broke his sample during stringing, three reported problems with coil memory, three reported problems tying knots, one reported friction burn, and two reported other problems.

On the Court

Judging by the comments, some of the playtesters were grateful to take a nylon break from the typical poly we test. Still, the string has to perform on the court, and perform it did. Quasi-Gut Armor received the second highest rating for Comfort of the 175 strings we’ve playtested for publication to date — meaning the only string that bettered it in this category is a natural gut. Quasi-Gut Armor also placed third overall in Touch/Feel, ninth in Playability, and 10th in Power. Quasi-Gut Armor also rated well above average in Control. As a result, Tourna Quasi-Gut Armor rated well above average overall.

One playtester reported premature fraying or peeling, none reported buzzing, and 13 reported notching. Three broke the string during the playtest period — one each at five, six and 12 hours.

Conclusion

It’s impressive any time a string places highly overall in Comfort, but for Quasi-Gut Armor — a nylon string with a touch of poly — to place second only to natural gut for Comfort is astonishing. Back that up with three additional top-10 rankings in other categories, and you’re looking at a string that deserves serious consideration.

Playtester comments

“This is a very comfortable string with great playability and excellent feel. Hopefully it will come on the market soon!” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Aero Storm GT strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat Synthetic Gut/Tecnifibre NRG2 16/17)

“High marks in all areas. Very little string movement. More control than power, but not underpowered. Tension maintenance is impressive. This impressive range of above average features should satisfy a wide range of playing styles.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince EXO3 Tour (18x20) strung at 57/60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“This string somehow provides it all, from touch and feel to control, spin and durability. No visible signs of wear after many hours of playing and teaching. It gives me confidence on full swings because I know the spin will bring the ball down. I would definitely carry this string.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson BLX Five strung at 61 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“Fantastic multifilament. This has the kind of comfort, control, and all around performance that makes a top seller.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Mantis Pro 295 strung at 54 pounds CP (Spintex Exclusive HD 16)

“Great playability. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a crisp yet comfortable feel. It is predictable and controllable from the first hit. No adjustment needed. It doesn’t notch too much, which is amazing given the soft feel. I would definitely use this in the future, and recommend to almost anyone. Spin potential is the only downfall, but that is an acceptable tradeoff. A near perfect string from my perspective!” 6.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Steam strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“Lively, Lively, Lively. Excellent control and comfort, especially on finesse shots! I will add this to my inventory.” 5.5 male serve-and-volley player using Babolat AeroPro Drive GT strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“This string is exceptional in all areas except tension maintenance and durability. I can swing faster without sacrificing control. My serves have more pop and my percentage of service winners is up. I really like the feel of this string. It’s easy on my arm/shoulder. Touch is great. I think I found my new string!” 4.5 male all court player using Prince O3 Blue strung at 55 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 17)

“Great all around playability. It offers good pop without sacrificing control. Tension maintenance is impressive and string movement is minimal.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Dunlop Biomimetic 600 Lite strung at 56 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 17)

“Very easy installation. The string’s coating seems to add a little extra bite. Power, comfort, and great control are all there from the first swing. This string works equally well on fast and short strokes, making it easy to transition from the baseline to net. It’s easy on the arm no matter what the stroke. I would definitely recommend this string to others and use it myself. The only slight negative is that it went dead, but this was after 40 hours of playing and teaching.” 4.5 male touch player using Head YOUTEK IG Extreme S 2.0 strung at 54 pounds LO (Head FXP Tour 16)

“The string’s coating and excellent pocketing help grab the ball. Directional control is excellent. There is definitely some extra pop on my serve. All aspects of my game are more effective with this string.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl Organix 4 strung at 59 pounds CP (Volkl V-Twist 17)

“This is not a niche string that excels in only one or two categories. It has impressive all round playability.” 3.5 male all court player using Prince EXO3 Tour (16x18) strung at 55 pounds CP (Forten Competition 16)

“This string feels incredibly smooth. The manufacturer got this one right. Players with hard, flat strokes will love this string. Spin players, not so much. It does lose tension, but this is not a deal breaker. I might switch to it.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl Boris Becker 10 strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“This string has a nice mix of control, comfort, and durability. The main strings start moving after about three hours of play.” 5.0 male all court player using Head YOUTEK Prestige Pro Midplus strung at 62 pounds LO (Head Sonic Pro 16)

“A very comfortable string that won’t leave your arm in pain the next day. The more I play with it, the better it gets. it’s nice to take a break from polyester every once in a while.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive GT strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“This string has surprising versatility and plays well across different strokes and court locations. It has a crisp feel and great control on big swings, but also offers ample touch and comfort on softer shots.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Blade strung at 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16)

“This string offers maximum comfort and a little extra power. It would add some nice feel to a hybrid. As a full set it would be great for the finesse player who wants comfort and touch.” 5.0 male all court player using Gamma RZR strung at 53 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Verve 16)

“This nylon based string isn’t ideal for my game because it doesn’t provide the spin I get from my usual co-poly. The feel is absolutely superior though. It would work great in a hybrid if partnered with a crisp spin string.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Aero Storm Tour GT strung at 54 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Team 16)

“Very good feel and a tons of pop. For non string-breakers in search of comfort and power, this is a great option.” 5.5 male all court player using Wilson BLX Blade strung at 50 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“This string has exceptional pop, especially when compared to similar strings. The comfort level is very good. I would recommend it to most club players.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat AeroPro Drive GT strung at 45 pounds CP (Wilson Stamina 16)

“Impact on groundstrokes and volleys is comfortable. Nice pop on serves and overheads! This is a great string for finesse players. Very responsive on soft shots.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 17)

“Easy to string and easy to play with. This is just a nice performing string.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive GT strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)

“Very comfortable with some string movement in the beginning.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT strung at 59 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“Some kinking during Installation. On court, this is a comfortable string that holds up well over multiple sessions.” 3.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 54 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 16)

“The blend of durability, power and comfort is definitely impressive, but repositioning the mains is unusually difficult.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Thunder Rip OS strung at 62 pounds LO (Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough 17)

“A very comfortable string with nice touch, control, and feel. The power is average. There is some notching with heavy spin.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive + GT strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“This is a decent ‘middle-of-the-road’ offering. It plays average in all areas. There isn’t one characteristic that stands out compared to its peers.” 4.0 female all court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“This string provides plenty of power and spin when the ball hits the sweet spot. Off center hits and slower strokes produce too much impact shock.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson BLX Pro Open strung at 58.5 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“As opposed to polys, this string is very easy to weave; and it seems to be lubricated which minimizes friction. No problem tying knots. Playing-wise it is average. It doesn’t provide extra power or control. The feel and response is on par with a synthetic gut. If the price is right, this could be a nice option for beginners who want decent all-around performance.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex strung at 62 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro Edge 16)

“This string has plenty of comfort but it lacks power. The overall performance is average. Best suited to intermediates.” 4.0 male all court player using Dunlop Biomimetic S 8.0 Lite strung at 55 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite Soft 16)

“The all around playability is impressive. My only minor complaint is that it’s bit harder on the arm compared to my soft multi.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson BLX Blade strung at 52 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“String movement is high during the first hour of play, after which the notching makes them hard to straighten. Interestingly, I broke a cross string, which I never do. This string would be better for a flat hitter. The response is quite predictable. However, I find it hard to get extra spin on serves and groundstroke angles.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro strung at 50 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro Edge 16)

“As a poly player it’s nice to try a softer string every once in a while. My arm thanked me after the playtest. Great touch, but I do miss the spin of my poly.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Vantage BC-30 strung at 52 pounds CP (Kirschbaum Pro Line II 17)

“Comfortable but firmer than most multifilaments. Great power and feel. A little more precision due to the added firmness. I think it is a good control string for someone who doesn’t want the stiffness of a poly. However, it doesn’t provide the spin or durability of a poly.” 6.0 male all court player using Vantage Custom (16x19) strung at 56 pounds CP (Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 17)

“Comfortable and durable, but a little underpowered. Not as much control as I get with my typical hybrid.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Juice strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon Savage/Wilson Sensation 17)

“Initially this string is pretty unresponsive, and it doesn’t seem to improve much. It lacks ‘pop’ and only gives moderate spin potential. Comfort is less than anticipated given how soft it handles. From the baseline I have trouble generating enough ball speed and depth. String movement is high. According to one of my friends, however, this string does add some “heaviness” to my kick serves. The coating seems to have a “waxy” feel. Perhaps in the right racquet at a lower tension, this one might be a winner.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Yonex V Core strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 16)

Playtester Ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
much easier 6
somewhat easier 10
about as easy 13
not quite as easy 6
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to the string played most often)
much better 1
somewhat better 12
about as playable 10
not quite as playable 10
not nearly as playable 2
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
much better 0
somewhat better 7
about as durable 18
not quite as durable 7
not nearly as durable 3
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability (9th overall) 3.9
Durability 3.3
Power (10th overall) 3.7
Control 3.7
Comfort (2nd overall) 4.2
Touch/Feel (3rd overall) 3.9
Spin Potential 3.1
Holding Tension 3.4
Resistance to Movement 3.1

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About the Author

Greg Raven  is an associate editor for Tennis Industry 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 greg@usrsa.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis three to five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.

 

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