The Right Strings

The Right Strings – At the US Open, announcer Jim Courier talked about the popularity and benefits of the new Luxilon strings. My regular Tuesday New Hampshire singles partner, Bruce Cassella, also uses and swears by the benefits of the string. But are they right for everyone?

Bruce uses the Big Banger Rough and is convinced it helps him put much more topspin on his strokes and “lasts forever.” But Mike Lewis, pro at my Pelican Bay Florida club, cautions about this mono-filament string.

He feels that it starts off feeling stiff and providing more control, then loosens up too quickly; and he is concerned about the lack of flexibility causing arm problems.

I am now trying Luxilon Big Banger Timo 17 gauge (thinner than most normal stringing, which is done at 16 gauge). My normal string used has been multi-filament Techno-fiber, strung in a hybrid pattern combination of 16 and 17 gauges.

When I compare the two, it seems that the Luxilon – even without having the rough version – does provide more control and spin; but that the groundstokes are about five feet shorter than the Techno-fiber. Mike Lewis feels that the multi-filament strings create “a pocket” that holds the ball longer and creates more power.

Since my motivation is NOT to save money on strings but to have the strings help my game, I wonder which is better for me. Anyone have any expertise, experience, or opinions?

10 thoughts on “The Right Strings

  1. I have read that many pros use gut strings in one direction (e.g. vertical) with sy nthetic gut in the other direction for a good combination of spin and power. I plan to experiment with this on my next stringing. Presently use one racquet with all gut and another with NXT and find more power with NXT but more control with the gut.

  2. George – have used luxilon big banger in my Head Instinct – it was great in a hybrid, could really rip it and have it stay in play. You play a very nice game as it is, so why change? If getting more spin means you lost depth, thats not a good trade-off for you in my mind. The biggest difference the pros show, is power AND depth. Maybe you just need to adjust your swing some. I am not a big string breaker, so I dont expriement as much as I should. Play one set with your old strings and then try one with the luxilon. Also ask your opponent, could they tell the difference? Good luck all

  3. Hi George,
    The polyester/monofilament string debate sure is a hot topic right now. At the tennis shop where I string (we do about 25 per day), about 30% are either all poly or poly-hybrids (the other half of the hybrids usually being
    softer strings such as natural gut or a multifilament synthetic like your tecnifibre, to soften the feel.)
    The polys are definitely stiffer and more durable than most other synthetics, but transmit more shock to the arm as a result of their stiffness. They are also more control-oriented (because of the stiffness), and in the words of Andy Roddick,”allow the player to take a ‘woolly mammoth’ swing at the ball”.
    The polys definitely lose their tension quicker than most synthetics. Since most people aren’t breaking them, they tend to wait too long before re-stringing (long after the strings have gone “mushy” and the ball is trampolining.) The polys do seem to enhance spin, but that may be do,in part, to the extra racquet head speed created from the bigger swing being taken at the ball.
    If a player hasn’t had arm problems,wants more control/spin from a string, and doesn’t mind re-stringing a little more often, the polys and poly-hybrids might be worth experimenting with; but if the player has a sensitive arm, and wants more “pop and feel” from the string, natural gut, multifilaments, or a hybrid of these two “soft” strings is a better way to go.
    Have fun trying different combos until you find the right one for you.
    Looking forward to seeing you at camp in two weeks George!
    Happy hitting!
    Jimmy Miller

  4. I was breaking 16 ga. monofilament string every 2-3 weeks so I tried Big Banger in the mains and a mono in the cross strings. Within a couple of weeks I was having elbow pain which I hadn’t had in years. I switched back and was fine.

  5. Bob and Jimmy – thanks for your input!! There sure are a lot of “if’s/then’s” in this discussion.

  6. Good Day George! Emmo would probably tell you that your game and mistakes don’t have anything to do with your strings: “just show some more effort!” he would tell you. Have a great time in Texas and as in past years I enjoy your daily reports. It brings back the meomries from the 11 years I have been there, and I can tell nothing much has changed! Be careful and do not force yourself to play singles in that high humidity! Last time I ended up with congestional heart failure problems, which have similar symptoms as what you had described last year.

    Have a lot of fun and regards to all! Rolf

  7. I use Tecnifibre X-One Biphase, 17 gauge, It fits into my spin game nicely and lasts longer than others I have tried.

  8. If you don’t feel you are getting enough power, you may want to check your string tension. Prior to using Luxilon I was stringing my racquets around 60/61 lbs. When I switched to Luxilon I followed their recommendation to string the racquets at least 5 lbs. less, and now string them around 55 lbs., and seem to have plenty of power.

  9. Bruce – you may have a point there! I also did not knock down the tension; and had it strung at my regular 60 lbs. Thanks

  10. Here’s what Luxilon says about your particular situation:
    Q – “What is the recommended tension for a hybrid string job?”
    A – “If you currently are playing with gut strings, multifilaments, or synthetic gut, you should keep your normal tension on the crosses with your multifilament string, and install the mains 5 – 10% lower with a Luxilon Monofilament. Most people prefer a 10% drop.”

    Also, they state that “Luxilon Banger is NOT a polyester string”, but is based on a Luxilon proprietary Poly-Ether material (monofilament). For more info check it out at:, then click on FAQ & scroll down.

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