HOW MANY KINDS OF STRINGS ARE THERE?
There are two basic types of strings: natural gut and synthetics. Natural gut is made from the intestines of cows, and even though it is the first material ever used in racquet stringing, most people still consider it the best type of string on the market. While there are many different kinds of synthetics, nylon has been the most popular. Polyester is gaining a lot of acceptance lately among string breakers, and some aramid fibers like Kevlar are also extremely durable but tend to be harsh on the arm.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NYLON AND SYNTHETIC GUT?
It is the same. The name “synthetic gut” originated in the early 1980s to create market awareness for types of nylon strings that employed better manufacturing technologies and better grades of material. The production of nylon has come along way in the last 20 years, and now some multifilaments play very similarly to natural gut.
WHY IS NATURAL GUT MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SYNTHETIC?
The amount of manual labor and time required to produce one set of natural gut string will always be greater than that of any synthetic string. If you have never tried natural gut, you should try it at least once. Lots of people find its performance is worth the extra cost.
WHAT TENSION SHOULD I USE?
The general rule is: lower tension for power, higher tension for control. If you are buying a new racquet, start by stringing it at a tension in the middle of the manufacturer’s recommended range. You can then raise or lower the tension when it’s time to restring it, depending upon whether you want more power or more control.
WHAT GAUGE SHOULD I USE?
A thinner gauge has a crisper feel and more bite on the ball, but the down side is less durability. If you are not a string breaker, try one of the thinner gauges.
WHY ARE POLYESTER STRINGS SO POPULAR LATELY?
The main reason is durability, as well as a very reasonable price. Some of the new high-end polyesters also offer a stiffness that provides control even during a power game, which is why they have found a niche among many touring pros. If you are prone to tennis elbow, however, it’s best to avoid any kind of polyester.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF A HYBRID STRING?
Hybrid stringing, the technique of using one type of string for the main and another type for the cross strings of your racquet, offers a balance between power, durability, control, and feel. The most popular hybrid combination is: polyester or Kevlar on the mains (verticals) for durability and control and natural gut or a multifilament synthetic on the crosses (horizontal) for feel.