Tennis Industry magazine

 

Guide to Strings: String Selector 2016

Use our exclusive guide to find the perfect strings for your customers.

By Bob Patterson

As we reported in last year’s String Selector issue (January 2015), most of the U.S. manufacturers seem to be slowing down on their introduction of new strings, but they certainly haven’t stopped. We currently have just over 1,800 strings that have been tested in our lab over the years. Of that number, a little over 1,000 are current models. So, while the market may be slowing, there are plenty of strings to choose from.

The polyester category seems to continue to lead with the most new additions, although manufacturers continue to introduce nylon and other softer strings as well. Manufacturers recognize that a stiff monofilament is just not a good string for every player type, hence the continued exploration of softer strings.

While polyester does still lead the way in new introductions, a closer look sees that today’s polyesters are much softer than past generations. As technology continues to advance, many of the new strings have the advantages offered by a polyester-based string, but they are a bit more playable and easier on the arm.

These softer polyester strings are the perfect match in a hybrid with an even softer nylon string, or even softer yet paired with a natural gut. A survey this past summer with many of the manufacturers seems to point to hybrids becoming the norm for most players, as it is currently on the professional tours. Although packaged hybrids are still being introduced, most feel it is better to leave the pairing to the racquet technician. By utilizing all the strings in their inventory, a racquet technician can choose the best two strings and the tension to best suit a particular player.

“The popularity of hybrids on the pro tours makes club players want to try it too, which makes it much easier for the local shop/stringer to really talk with their customers about the possible benefits that they might receive from trying a hybrid string combination,” says Tom Parry of Pacific.

This makes our String Selector tool all the more important to racquet technicians. By using the information in our String Selector, a technician has all the information needed to find the perfect match for their customer.

For advice on how to best use this information, be sure to read the section “Using the String Selector.” For a better understanding of the string graph, read “The Geography of Feel.” USRSA members have access to even more powerful versions of this information in the tools on the Members Only portion of our website, www.racquettech.com.

String Spec Search allows members to choose the brand and model of a particular string and find the specs without having to go through the hundreds of other strings. Probably the most utilized tool is the String Selector, which allows the member to select a certain string and ask for changes in stiffness, tension loss and gauge. The tool then searches through the database and presents a list of other string options. Many members use this tool to find a string similar to one their customer requests but they don’t stock. By selecting the string and then choosing “about the same” on all the options, you will get a list of very similar strings that will often include one you do stock.

In order to save trees, we have only listed the strings that have been introduced and tested since our last list.

Newest strings on the market
Pacific Bull Gut 16L Natural Gut 1.27 75 8.44
Pacific Bull Gut 16 Natural Gut 1.32 82 9.24
Head Reflex MLT 1.25 Nylon 1.25 131 15.73
Gamma Solace 16 Nylon 1.29 137 14.84
Head Velocity MLT 1.25 Nylon 1.25 137 15.50
Yonex Mono Preme 125 Nylon 1.24 138 13.90
Gamma Ocho XP 16 Nylon 1.31 138 15.55
Mauve Sports MSV Soft Control 1.25 Polyamide 1.26 139 11.55
Gamma Solace 17 Nylon 1.25 139 14.97
Yonex Multi-Sensa 125 Nylon & Polyester 1.24 139 17.42
Mauve Sports MSV Soft Control 1.30 Polyamide 1.30 140 13.19
Head Reflex MLT 1.30 Nylon 1.31 142 16.27
Tecnifibre HDX Tour 15L Elastyl & Polyester & SPL 1.35 149 13.05
Yonex Multi-Sensa 130 Nylon & Polyester 1.27 152 19.12
Head Velocity MLT 1.30 Nylon 1.30 153 14.89
Pacific Nyltec 1.35 Nylon 1.34 154 15.17
Wilson Spin Effect Hybrid (Multi) Hybrid 1.31 154 17.55
Yonex Mono Preme 130 Nylon 1.28 155 10.59
Pacific PLX 16 Nylon 1.31 157 14.66
Pacific PLX 16L Nylon 1.27 157 14.80
Pacific PLX 17 Nylon 1.24 158 13.60
Genesis Black Magic 18 Polyester 1.18 167 21.75
Tier One Sports Strike Force Rip 118 Polyester 1.19 171 19.31
Genesis Trionic 18 Polyester 1.20 171 19.75
Gamma iO Soft 17 Polyester 1.24 172 23.10
Gamma Moto Soft 17 Polyester 1.23 174 21.52
Mauve Sports MSV Focus-Hex 1.10 Polyester 1.11 175 15.52
Gamma Ocho TNT 16 1.29 175 15.92
Diadem Solstice Pro 16L Polyester 1.26 175 19.34
Yonex Polytour Fire 120 Polyester 1.20 176 19.78
Tourna Big Red 17 Polyester 1.19 177 19.20
Pacific Spin 6 16L Polyester 1.27 177 20.90
Gamma Moto Soft 16 Polyester 1.29 177 24.23
Pacific Poly Force 18 Polyester 1.23 178 21.65
Yonex Polytour Fire 125 Polyester 1.25 181 18.92
Diadem Solstice Power 17 Polyester 1.19 182 16.14
Mauve Sports MSV Hepta-Twist 1.20 Polyester 1.17 182 17.15
Mauve Sports MSV Hepta-Twist 1.20 Polyester 1.19 182 17.68
Mauve Sports MSV Go Max 1.25 Polyester 1.21 182 18.81
Gamma iO Soft 16 Polyester 1.26 182 23.09
Tier One Sports Strike Force Rip 123 Polyester 1.23 183 21.94
Pacific ChampTour 1.30 Polyester 1.28 183 24.98
Genesis Trionic 16 Polyester 1.33 185 21.24
Diadem Solstice Pro 15L Polyester 1.27 187 15.37
Pacific Xcite 18 Polyester 1.22 189 17.09
Gosen Polylon Premium 1.27 Polyester 1.26 189 19.21
Mauve Sports MSV Go Max 1.20 Polyester 1.19 190 21.34
Diadem Solstice Power 16 Polyester 1.29 194 15.09
Tecnifibre Black Code 4S 18 Polyester 1.18 194 15.86
Tourna Big Red 16 Polyester 1.27 194 16.32
Luxilon Element 125 Polyester 1.24 194 19.74
Mauve Sports MSV Focus-Hex 1.23 Polyester 1.23 198 15.37
Tecnifibre Black Code 4S 17 Polyester 1.22 199 16.69
Mauve Sports MSV Hepta-Twist 1.25 Polyester 1.22 199 17.42
Wilson Spin Effect Hybrid (Mono) Hybrid 1.24 199 19.94
Tier One Sports Strike Force Rip 128 Polyester 1.29 199 20.49
Mauve Sports MSV Focus-Hex 1.18 Polyester 1.15 200 15.17
Gamma iO Soft 15L Polyester 1.39 200 23.28
Luxilon Element 130 Polyester 1.30 201 17.09
Babolat Pro Xtreme 1.25 (MAIN) Polyester 1.24 204 21.94
Mauve Sports MSV Focus-Hex 1.23 Polyester 1.22 208 15.87
Asics Polyzone Polyester 1.28 208 17.00
Yonex PolyTour Spin G 125 Polyester 1.26 212 15.41
Genesis Pro Advantage 17 Polyester 1.22 213 13.83
Gosen Polylon Premium 1.32 Polyester 1.31 213 16.71
Babolat RPM Blast 15L Polyester 1.35 218 19.19
Tecnifibre Black Code 4S 16 Polyester 1.31 219 17.37
Mauve Sports MSV Focus-Hex 1.27 Polyester 1.33 220 16.45
Genesis Pro Advantage 16 Polyester 1.29 223 14.33
Gamma Ocho 16 Polyester 1.29 236 11.53

Using the String Selector

  1. Start by finding the string your client currently uses in the appropriate list
  2. Note the string’s stiffness and tension loss numbers, go to the appropriate map and find the dot located at these coordinates.
    • If your client is completely satisfied with their current string and doesn’t want anything different from their next string, dots in the neighborhood (very close to their current string’s dot) will likely play similar.
    • If your client is happy with how long their string plays well, but doesn’t love the feel of their string, try something on the same vertical level, but farther to the right or left. Strings to the right should feel stiffer (or more crisp), while strings to the left should feel softer (or more comfortable).
    • If your client is happy with how their string feels, but not with how long it feels that way, try something in the same column, but higher or lower. Strings higher on the chart should soften (or loosen) up more quickly, while lower strings should hold their initial feel longer.
  3. Once you’ve found a dot that seems interesting, note the coordinates and look them up in the table.

The Geography of “Feel”

Finding Your “Feel Good” Location

Test Procedure. All strings were tensioned to 62 pounds and allowed to sit for 200 seconds. Then the string was hit five times with a force equivalent to hitting a 120 mph serve. The tension loss represents the total amount of the relaxation over both time and impact. The stiffness value is a calculation derived from the amount of force created at impact to stretch the string. Lower values represent softer strings and lower impact forces. Higher values represent stiffer strings and higher impact forces.

Hybrids: To look up a hybrid combination, you must look up each string separately. If it is a pre-packaged hybrid, most packaging indicates the name of each string. There are a few hybrids using strings that aren’t sold on their own. Those strings are included in our lists. They will be listed as the name of the hybrid with (main) or (cross) after the name. For example, Babolat Pro Xtreme 1.25 (main) is the string used for the mains in Babolat’s Pro Xtreme Hybrid.

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About the Author

Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.

 

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