Playing with gut

For the first time in my tennis life, I will be playing with gut strings! A couple of my Florida and New Hampshire friends

B. Manning
(Bob Dilworth and B. Manning) have been recommending that I switch; so with my shoulder starting to feel the same bicep tendonitis that made me miss Newk’s camp two years ago, I cut out the Luxilon/Technofibre combo in both my racquets and put in 16 gauge gut.

While B. is modest about it, his very extensive knowledge, expressed in this message, helped me decide:

The problem with the gut strings is their durability; so I believe the 16 gauge is better because it is just a little thicker, so should last a little longer. You need to be careful when using the gut in a hybrid combination because the other string usually is a little courser so when they move and rub against each other the gut will tend to take the worst of it.

I think if I were you and looking forward to camp in the fall, I would go with the all gut for now and then experiment after coming back.

And if I played as often as you do, I might eventually look to use the Luxilon MP-2 in the cross strings: they are supposed to be much easier on your arm; and a less expensive gut in the mains. The theory is the mains are the dominate strings…it might allow you to still get a good bite on the ball but provide less impact on your arm.

The string world is pretty complicated and I am sure some of the folks that respond to your web site have a better handle on this than I do; but the gut should play well for you and hopefully let your arm get better as you experiment.

Be Well…B

And this weekend, I will be testing both the gut strings and my shoulder at the annual doubles tournament in New London, New Hampshire. B and I will be teaming up in the very tough 4.0-5.0 (any age) division; while I will also play in the over 60, 4.0-5.0 with Bob Wilkie.

We shall see.

9 thoughts on “Playing with gut

  1. Mr. Paul Dexter’s philosophy comes to mind here George.
    My humble opinion is as follows; Gut will have the least impact of all the strings on your arm/shoulder……you love tennis, let the “gut” be one of the extravagances in your life. For some it’s fine wines, cars, top of the line speakers, etc etc. Let it be gut for you.
    Just my 2 cents. GOOD luck this weekend. Marc

    Marc – Good thoughts and good memory. I may need more than “your 2 cents” … restringing two raquets at $104!! geo

  2. George,
    I was using gut when I first moved to FL and had to take out loans replacing the gut on a weekly basis. I had broken 3 stings in 2 matches when I started my search. I went to the Gamma Live wire 16 which has turned out to be the answer for me. I will send you a set if you want to try it.

    Bill – yes, see my note to Marc on the cost issue! tks, geo

  3. Don’t forget to ice for 20 minutes (while you’re drinking a beer) after playing

    Bill – i am trying to ice twice a day right now (only the second one, with the beer!). tks , geo

  4. George, so about $2,000 a year for a pain free tennis career. Still sounds like a good value propostition to me. Many people pay that just in yearly dues to belong to a tennis club.
    Have a great weekend. Marc

    Marc – So who needs Dex whispering in my ear, when i can have you! tks – (and congrats on having the second best soccer team in the world!) – geo

  5. Gut ……. is …… awesome. The best string of all. Great power. Great “bite” on the ball. Best of all, superb and unpassed “touch.” Once you get used to gut, you will feel like you can do anything with the ball, from little dinky, wristy angled drop volleys off of cannon shots from your opponent, to classy lob volleys (with topspin no less) from shots hit straight at you, to heavily topped passing shots from the baseline against your net rushing opponent, to super back spinning drop shots against your opponent who stays back, to perfectly sliced deep approach shots, etc. And …… your …… arm …… will …… never …… hurt. Ever. Promise. I swear. I really mean it.

    I used to play with gut, ironically back when I was in college and law school in the 1970s, because I had a friend who was a Babalot rep and I had my own stringing machine and, well, I could afford it back then for these reasons. Then my friend got a job outside the tennis industry and I could no longer get “sample” (translation “free”) or even wholesale gut strings. So, I was cruelly forced to swtich to crummy nylon strings. It was truly one of the most regretful experiences of my life. I have never been the same. Thank God for Prosac coming onto the market soon thereafter. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.

    No debate. No refuting. You will love gut. You will not go back to anything else (unless you become impoverished). It is sheer lunacy to even think of ruining the feel of gut by stringing it with something else, as in a hybrid string job. Forget this heresy. Banish it from your thoughts for all eternity. Never even speak the word “hybrid” again. String your entire racquet, both crosses and mains, with gut an you will be forever happy.

    Did I tell you that you …… will …… love …….. gut?

    Marty – so i assume that means you are now back to playing with full gut? What gauge and brand? tks – geo

  6. I’ve used Babolat “Tonic” gut in the past. The cost is about 20 pct. less than VS gut and the only difference I’m told is cosmetic. Good feel to it. — no arm problems.

    bob – tks, geo

  7. George, Try Babolat “Tonic & Ball Feel” for about $32 wholesale. Get someone to string it for you. I (and other) use it a lot and it is very good. Get VS if you really want to spend the “big bucks”. Of course I string quite loose, 45 lbs, so mine last a long time. sometimes I use it with Gamma LW XP 17. Basic LW is about as good. I agree with Bill Plummer in that regard about Live Wire. 17 gauge for the extra feel.

    George – do you feel there is a difference in the quality of one gut string vs another? tks , geo

  8. George, I`m longing to know Your experience with gut. I have my own theory on it: a short impulse from Your racket is answered (Resonance) by your wrist, a middle impulse by Your ellbow and a longer impulse get the resonance in Your shoulder. The consequence would be, that You better use a very hard strung racket. See some literature on my website – regrettably not translated in English.

    Holger – I guess i will have to wait for Willy Hoffmann to translate for me! geo

  9. george , I just went to gut after not using it for 36 years . I use gut in the mains and prince premier 16 gauge in the cross strings . very easy on the arm , and when you find the center , which I don’t very often , the ball jumps . I play 6 days per week and I got 3 months out of my two rackets that I rotate . so it cost me about $60 for two months . not overly extravagant at all and my arm , shoulder etc appreciates it !

    enjoy it’s a treat playing with gut .

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