STRINGING OF THE NATURAL GUT
Due to the composition of natural gut tennis strings, they require extra care and attention to string your racquet properly because breakage, weak points, and unraveling may occur.
If you don’t consider yourself an experienced stringer, then you may want to work with a certified stringer that you can trust with your strings. Of course, if you’ve been stringing for a while and you want to install your natural gut then you just need to jump in.
Here are ten tips to help you get it right the first time.
Take your time:
Some of the best advice when stringing with natural gut is to take your time. Compared to synthetic strings, natural gut is considerably more fragile during the installation process. Recognizing this, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for installation and don’t rush. It can be the difference between breaking your strings and a job well done.
Check your grommets:
Grommets can easily be damaged over time so you should always check them before stringing and take extra special care with natural gut. You would be surprised how many professional stringers skip this step. Imperfections such as grommets with rough edges due to contact with a tennis court or normal wear and tear can quickly destroy your natural gut strings as you pull the string through the grommet. If the grommets are in rough shape, consider replacing before you string.
Clamp your racquet:
This step is huge! If you’re racquet shifts during the stringing process because you didn’t make sure your racquet was fully secure before stringing, then you may end up regretting it. The jarring shift of your frame during your string job could easily lead to a string break that most synthetics would survive.
Please be careful when uncoiling the string. A kinked string can easily lead to breakage while stringing or very likely reduce the longevity of your strings with a break caused during your first few hours of play. Again, don’t rush. Take your time.
The manufacturing of natural gut strings has come such a long way that this step is not totally necessary. At the same time, many players believe that you can maximize the tension maintenance of the strings by taking the extra step. Again, just be extra careful with this step and grab a friend to help if possible. I’d also recommend that you do a straight pull from one end to the other end of the string rather than wrapping the string around a pole or similar object to avoid unnecessary stress.
Adjust your string clamps:
Always check and pay close attention to the tightness of your clamps. A great tip for doing this is to test the tip of the end of your natural gut string before you start your string job. Insert one tip of the string and close the clamp. If it’s too tight loosen the clamps until the string is snug. Too tight is bad. You don’t want it to slip, but you also don’t want to crush the string because that can reduce the durability for that portion of the string.
Weaving and pulling the string:
You should always take extra care when weaving the crosses a quick pull that generates too much friction can easily notch the string and produce a weak point that can lead to breakage. Take your time.
Protect your turns:
With natural gut, it’s all about protecting the string throughout the string job. Gut performs fantastically once it’s in the racquet, but little hiccups along the way can cause problems. With that in mind, watch your turns through tight corners, edges of your stringer, and racquet clamps as you go. If necessary, form a barrier as you make your turns with a small piece of leather. For example, you could cut a piece from an old belt or use power pads if you have them on hand.
Keep a sharp tip:
Natural gut is made by weaving together several strands of beef serosa and can come untwisted when the tip of your string frays. Advancements in string coatings for natural gut have indeed made this less of an issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind. To avoid any issues clip the tip of your string anytime the tip becomes weak or frayed.
Watch your step:
Most synthetic strings can withstand you accidentally stepping on the string as you move around the stringer, but natural gut can crush easily with an unfortunate misstep. If you’re taking your time as you string, this is much less likely to result in any problems.