GGT Extra

Varying tension on cross strings

This entry was posted in Stringing and tagged , by GGTennis. Bookmark the permalink.

For as long as we have been stringing there has been an ongoing discussion revolving around the pros and cons of altering the tension between the main strings and cross strings.  Many years ago we concluded it was a matter of personal preference.  The players in the camp advocating a lower set tension argued that because the cross strings are shorter they should be pulled at a lower tension.  Those in the opposite camp believed that pulling at higher tension reduced string movement.  Both camps argued emphatically that their method produced a better feel.  When it comes to a criteria like “feel” we are in objective territory and that is why we concluded it was largely a personal preference.

However, back when we drew this conclusion we were not in the era of polys and hybrids.  The physical properties of these  strings have not only altered the game, but have also provided a strong rationale for increasing the tension on the cross strings.

When a racquet is strung with the set tension the same in the mains and the crosses the differential between the two (as measured by a Stringmeter) is often in the 32 – 37% range. You read that correctly.  The mains will measure (on average) 35% tighter than the cross strings.  In the context of a full synthetic or a natural gut setup, this has not been an issue.  It has been status quo.  However, with full polys or poly hybrids it is less than ideal.  The differential in tension with poly-based strings should ideally fall in the range of 20 – 25%…no more.  When the differential in tension is brought closer together, the mains and crosses are able to work in unison with one another.  When they are further apart, (greater than 25%), the mains are punished until they stabilize and come closer in line with the crosses.  The result of this in the today’s world of polys is that the poly mains become overstretched and thus lose their tension and playability rapidly.  One easy way to extend the optimal life of your poly setup is to allow the crosses to support the mains.  This extends the useful playability by a considerable amount.

Bringing the mains and crosses closer in tension offers HUGE benefits for poly players. It allows players to string at lower reference tensions where polys will shine, it extends the useful playability of the stringbed and extends the time players can get solid performance before having to restring.  The easiest way to bring the mains and crosses closer to one another so they will work in unison is to increase the tension of the cross strings by approximately 4 pounds.  The simple act of altering tension in this manner will definitely lead to a noticeable increase in performance in most instances.  HOWEVER, when increasing the tension on the crosses it is possible to overstretch the poly, exceeding the elastic limits of the string.  This is most likely to occur on constant pull machines that overshoot tension.  Because of this potential pitfall we recommend keeping the tension on the crosses the same or up to 2 pounds lower than the mains and using extended pulling time before clamping off.  The extended pulling time on a constant pull machine (much more difficult to achieve this effect on a crank machine) will produce the desired outcome much more reliably than increasing the set tension.  We recommend keeping each cross under tension for 20 seconds before clamping off.  This may seem like it will add considerable time to the stringing process, but it really does not.  While the cross is under tension go ahead and pre-weave the next cross string.  After weaving the cross, release the tension and clamp off.  Stringing in this manner  is a bit awkward at first, but soon the stringer becomes fluid in working with this method.  The on court results are definitely worth the effort!

 

Join the forum discussion on this post

39 thoughts on “Varying tension on cross strings

  1. Kevin on said:

    If I use multifilament in my crosses and poly in mains, can’t I just string the mains 4 lbs looser than crosses? So, if I like full multi at 55 lbs, string crosses at 55 and mains (with the poly) at 51? No overstretch problem and solves after-the-stringing-main/cross-tension-differential problem too. Yes?

    Reply
  2. GGTennis on said:

    Kevin,

    In my opinion multis do not provide enough support for the polys and they allow the overstretching the polys that we are trying hard to correct. A soft solid core string is a much better solution. If you don’t want to use the L-TEC FLX which is designed to add softness, but also reach playing potential at lower tensions, then something like a Forten Sweet or PSG will work better than a multi. In regard to your question about tension numbers, keeping your syn gut crosses at 55 and dropping the poly to 51 makes sense to me.

    Reply
  3. Peter on said:

    How about the Jaycee method of stringing without the L-tec strings?
    Does it make sense a multi main and cross with his method?

    Reply
  4. GGTennis on said:

    You can use the method with any strings. It will create a different feel with multis, but the advantages of using it with polys just do not exist with multis because of the construction differences. If someone were to use it with multis it would most likely be because they will find lesser string movement and because they prefer the feel.

    Reply
  5. Shereef on said:

    How about natural gut and a poly? I use Nat Gut on my mains and love the feel and longevity. I use Alu Rough or sometimes RPM on the crosses. My mains at 57 and crosses at 52. I do suffer fast tension loss on my crosses

    Reply
  6. GGTennis on said:

    We use a difference of 4 lbs with a natural gut/poly hybrid. The natural gut is 4lbs tighter regardless of main or cross. In terms of poly tension loss, try one of our poly instead of the ALU Rough or RPM and extend pulling time on crosses. This should make an appreciable difference for you.

    Reply
  7. gerald sing on said:

    i am playing with a yonex poly main and vs gut cross now. my first setup had the X at 2 lb lower than mains, then as variation tried a 3 lb difference. am liking the 3 lb case better. should i try 4 lb next for even more improvement.

    Reply
  8. GGTennis on said:

    Gerald,

    Tennis is all about finding what works best for you. There is not likely to be much difference between 3/4 pounds on the crosses. We use 4, but if you like 3, you may want to stick with it.

    Reply
  9. William on said:

    I string my mains as you recommended in your older posts, waiting more than five seconds before clamping off. In this case, does the extended pulling time on cross strings bring their tension closer to the mains?
    Since i extended the pulling time on both the mains and the crosses?

    Should I lower the tensions in the mains instead?

    I usually string msv soft hex 1.20 / sppp 1.18 50/50.
    What do you suggest me to do?
    Same tensions, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?
    50/48, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?
    Or 48/50, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Reply
  10. GGTennis on said:

    Same tension. Extend 5 seconds on mains and 20 seconds on crosses is what I would recommend. Good luck!

    Reply
  11. dtennis on said:

    Interesting article, so what you are saying, string my poly mains 2 lbs more than my multi crosses?

    Reply
  12. Mark Moore on said:

    I took your advice – as I often do – and strung my MSV Co-Focus 17 at 44 lbs in the mains and 46 lbs in the crosses in my Head Head Youtek IG Extreme Pro 2.0. At this tension, my RA for the stringbed was about 45.

    The increase in playability and pocketing was noticeable. In your opinion, would I further increase the performance and playability of this set-up by increasing the difference in the mains and the crosses further?

    Given your experience, ideally, what would you say is the starting point sweet spot in your opinion knowing you like to keep the tensions of polys down typically in the Forties for optimum performance? Would you suggest 43 in the mains and 45 in the crosses, or a bit lower or higher?

    Reply
  13. Mark Moore on said:

    Perhaps 44 in the mains and 48 in the crosses, or 42 in the mains and 46 in the crosses?

    Reply
    • GGTennis on said:

      We typically use a 4 pound differential between mains and crosses when we do not use extended pulling times. (crosses +4). However, if 2 pounds difference works for you with your setup, then definitely stick with what is working for you. In terms of where to start…if you need more length, drop 2 pounds for a yard and likewise, if your ball is sailing, increase 2 pounds to bring it in.

      Reply
  14. Mark Moore on said:

    I currently have three racquets strung to test this concept. One at 45 lbs in both mains and crosses (with a RA of forty-eight). The other is strung at 44 in the mains and 46 in the crosses (ala Roanic) and the last is at 42 in the mains and 46 in the crosses (as per GGTennis).

    So far, the full bed at 45# feels very comfortable and playable – with excellent pocketing. I like it. The racquet with the two pound differential seems to have a bit more spin and is a little crisper after one hour of hitting. I have yet to play test the racquet set up at 42/46. Stay tuned.

    Reply
  15. Ron Huber on said:

    Here is an interesting observation. With most racquets I have played with that have an 18×20 string pattern, if the difference in string tension between Mains and Crosses exceeds +/- 2lbs I have had a hard time controlling my shots no matter what string combination I use. I typically play with Multi (Mains) and Poly (Crosses) and switching the two does not change anything.

    My current stringing technique does not adhere to your recommendations of a 5 sec wait before clamping on either Mains or Crosses.

    The same is not observed when using a racquet with 16×20 or 16×19 pattern. I have strung racquets with as much as +/- 5 lbs tension difference between Mains / Crosses on this type of string pattern and the control and overall play-ability does not suffer

    String racquets using a electronic stringing machine.

    Any hints on why this seems to be the case ?

    Reply
    • Mark Moore on said:

      My Head YOUTEK Extreme Pro 2.0 is a 16/19 string pattern and seems to be fine with the differential.

      Reply
      • Ron Huber on said:

        That is what I have also observed, the quandary is with an 18×20 string pattern.

        Reply
        • GGTennis on said:

          Ron,

          The object is to increase the support for the mains. You are 100% correct, 4 lbs in a tight 18 x 20 pattern may indeed be too much of an increase. 2 lbs should achieve what you want in your situation. When we use the extended pulling time method with tight patterns (18 mains on a 100″ or smaller head) we actually install the crosses 2 – 4 lbs less than the mains. The extended pulling time ends up with a result similar to increasing the tension by 2 lbs.

          Hope this helps!

          Reply
  16. Mark Moore on said:

    I have to say, after now playing with my Head YOUTEK Extreme Pro 2.0 (with a 16/19 string pattern) using a full bed of 17g poly at 42 lbs in the mains and 46 lbs in the crosses, I am loving the results. I am getting the bite and control of the higher string tension ANF the feel and pocketing of the lower string tension it seems at the same time! Not nearly as much “play” in the string bed or trampoline effect as a full bed at say 45 lbs. I am a believer!

    I now have three racquets strung at 4 lbs differentials at three different tension so I can vary which one I use based on the weather, the opponent, and the court (40/44 for those cold days with heavy balls up to 44/48 for those warmer days or bigger hitters). G&G, Would you think the 40/44 or a 46/50 set-up on one end or the other would prove most useful as the third racquet?

    The 42/46 seems to be my starting point and go to tension right now.

    Reply
  17. GGTennis on said:

    Mark,

    I think it is a matter of personal preference. I like all my racquets to have uniform performance so I do not vary the tensions. However, I do string lower when the weather gets cold. In your case I suspect the higher tension will serve you better in hot weather and lower in colder weather. Glad you are enjoying the results!

    Reply
  18. Mark Moore on said:

    I am really enjoying this set up! I have been playing now for about two months with my racquets strung in a full poly bed at the following tensions:

    40/44
    42/46
    44/48

    I have found – especially this summer in California – that it is useful to be able to reach into your bag on a cool (or wet) day and play with the 40/44 or on an extremely hot dry day and play with the 44/48. Same can be said with playing against pushers vs. big hitters. Most days now I play with the 42/46. That seems to be the best combination of control and power. The lower I go the more feel I get.

    I am a believer.

    Reply
  19. giff on said:

    re: Varying tension on cross strings.
    Any discussion of main/cross balance should include the word STIFFNESS. A racquet strung with the SAME string & tension for mains & crosses is fairly well balanced, not because the tensions are equal, but because the weave increases tension in the mains to roughly 133% = 4/3. The ratio of the width to the length of a racquet is 3/4. 4/3 x 3/4 is one! The mains & crosses are thus equally STIFF. This is a bit simplistic. The following affect main/cross balance in a hybrid: inherent string stiffness, draw tensions and tension loss. If you want perfection, measure the length of EVERY string & pull it PROPORTIONALLY!

    Reply
    • GGTennis on said:

      Giff – Thank you for your comments and contribution to the thread. We do perform proportional stringing and have been using that method effectively for many years for customers with sensitive elbows and have trouble centering the ball.

      Reply
  20. Justin Kim on said:

    Hello, I own a couple of Head Youtek Extreme Pro 2.0s, which I know are somewhat of a stiff racquet.

    I am hoping to string a set of Yonex Pro Poly Spin on one and a Tourna Big Hitter Black 17 on another. Do you have any recommendations regarding tension for this stiff racquet?

    I hit with a “Federer Forehand” (halfway of an eastern/semi western) and am an aggressive baseline that tends to hit the most winners AND unenforced errors. I am normally accustomed to the mid 50s regarding tension but starting to realize my arm cant handle hitting with racquet that feels like a 2×4.

    Reply
  21. GGTennis on said:

    Not familiar with the Yonex string. If you are not going to change to a less stiff frame I would suggest adding weight/dampening material to handle of frame. If using poly-based strings I would try MSV Focus Hex +38 at 46/49 or WeissCANNON TurboTwist at 50/53.

    Reply
  22. libres telecharger on said:

    Veryy nice blog post. I defiʝitely appreciate this website.
    Keeр it up!

    Reply
  23. Nancy Gruhn on said:

    I truly wanted to send a simple message to appreciate you for all the unique items you are writing on this site. My extensive internet search has finally been rewarded with awesome insight to write about with my visitors. I ‘d declare that most of us readers are unquestionably fortunate to dwell in a great site with so many awesome professionals with valuable basics. I feel truly privileged to have used the site and look forward to some more pleasurable minutes reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.

    Reply
  24. Philip Belohlavek on said:

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading concerning hybrid stringing and after reading this link I decided to try it. I have msv hepta twist in the mains at 62# and wilson ultra synthetic gut in crosses at 66#. Quite happy about the setup. My main question is about the pros. After reading a list of many top players, I saw that the ones that have different tensions have mains about 2-4# higher than crosses. Why is this so if you recommend the opposite? Shouldn’t the pros know best? Thanks for your insight. Any comment about my setup?? ;-) )

    Reply
  25. GGTennis on said:

    In general pros string more frequently than recreational and league players. The reason we string the crosses higher is to achieve adifferential in tension between mains and crosses of 20-25% vs 30-35%. When the crosses are tighter they better support the mains. The result is a stringbed that plays like freshly strung for an extended period of time. Most pros do not worry about longetivity or that the strings maintain playing properties for an extended period of time because they prefer a fresh racquet for every match/set/change of balls.

    Reply
  26. Philip Belohlavek on said:

    Thanks for explanation. I was also curious about the lower tensions the pros use. For the last 25+ years I’ve been using a relatively high tension (breaking crosses about once every week or two – sometimes I replace only the crosses – I think the poly would last forever [although I know that they loose tension quickly]). I also read that it seems to be possible to lower the tension when using poly. Would you recommend me trying it? Thanks again for your advice.

    Reply
  27. ethernet fiber on said:

    I sorry not speak good English.We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

    Reply
  28. paintball bachelor party on said:

    English not my native language.Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

    Reply
  29. http://codefree-wifigratuit.fr on said:

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding
    more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

    Reply
  30. rocketport 8 port db9 on said:

    Please forgive my English.My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Guts and Glory Tennis, LLC    3655 Sentry View Trace Suwanee, GA 30024   Phone: 404-926-6060
© Copyright Guts and Glory Tennis, LLC. All rights reserved.    Site by HEROweb