We’ve Moved…

Dear Friends and GGT Blog Enthusiasts,

Guts and Glory Tennis is pleased to announce a NEW blog site which is now live.  The new site features added functionality that includes a discussion forum.  Because it is now hosted on our servers there will no longer be generic advertisements to muddle the posts.

Please bookmark the new site.  http://www.gutsandglorytennis.com/blog

This site will remain for a while longer before we close it down.  Most all of the content has been transferred the new site.

One area that did not transfer was the email subscription.  We do apologize for the inconvenience.  We know many of you opted to have the blog entries sent directly to your email.

Currently we do NOT have a subscription setup for the new site.  We are hoping to add one and we hope when we do that you will continue to subscribe to our posts.

In the interim we hope you will make the new blog and discussion forum a frequent stop on your weekly internet travels!


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New Blog Site Coming…

It is with a great deal of pleasure that we announce that our current blog, Racquety-Yak, is undergoing a major facelift.  Originally started as a hobby, the traffic this blog receives has been a pleasant surprise.  In spite of only periodic updates we receive a substantial traffic flow each day and many posts receive a good amount of participation.

Our goal with the new blog is to up the ante.  We will transfer over most of the existing articles, but the host site and direct URLs for these will change.  The current blog will be shut down in due time and all traffic will be directed to the new blog site.

Our new blog will be called GGT Extra!.   We think the new layout is vibrant and exciting.  Our desire is for it to be easy to use and navigate.  Based on traffic, we have chosen to highlight many of our most popular topics by giving direct links to them in menu bars.  We have also provided many methods for readers to find recent and archived postings. (Afterall, no one really wants to forget the classic Brooklyn Decker guest editorial from August 2009, do they?)

While the glitzy changes will professionalize the site and dazzle some readers, it is not the most exciting new feature.  For us, there is a HUGE addition.  We have created and added a discussion board to the site.  The board is unique in design with an emphasis on providing a public forum for discussions on stringing and strings for all levels of stringers.  It is unlike any current message board in terms of how it is structured.  However, in order to be successful it will require the participation of our readers.  It is our hope that you will like it, use it and enjoy it.  We hope you will participate and make it a frequent stop on your daily internet travels.  It open for all to read and posting requires a wordpress login and password.

The “go live” date is not currently set in stone, but it looks like the week of August 7th would be a safe bet.

Thanks for your support of the current blog and we hope you will enjoy GGT Extra!

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GGT Tennis Shoppe – More Options for Local Customers

At the end of last year continuing to the present, we have been exploring, carefully examining and at times reinventing what we do so that we can provide the best service to our customers.  Our year of change and transformation takes another quantum leap forward as we will expand our space as well as opportunities to interact with our customers.

While we have some significant changes in the works in regard to new products we plan to introduce to our internet customers, this particular change will influence the way we interact with our local customers.

At some point in August, Guts and Glory Tennis will move operations to downtown Suwanee.  Situated just across from Town Center Park and in front of the Suwanee Library at 333 Main Street, this convenient location should allow us more flexibility in interacting with our customers.  While our offices will still be set up to process internet orders, this location will allow us to open a showroom area where many of our online products can be viewed in person.  Local customers will have the option of picking up their online orders at our new location.  Also we will open a workshop where local customers can bring their racquets for precision stringing that we refer to as “racquet vitalization.”

We believe it is not only desirable, but VITAL,  for the core equipment (racquet frame and strings) to compliment and enhance the on-court experience for players of all levels. What we strive to accomplish is to work with you to find the ideal set-up to allow you to raise your game on the court.  We are interested in vitalizing your equipment to give you an exhilarating end result.  With our unique selection of state-of-the-art strings, our knowledge of blending strings (called hybridding), as well as our JET stringing process, precision stringing machines and racquet diagnostic equipment, we are prepared to offer customers a stringing experience so unique and totally different that it demands to stand out.   This is why we refer to what we do as “racquet vitalization.”  We don’t just string racquets, we vitalize them with a focus on end results.

Because we have gone and made ourselves all “brick and mortar-y” we will no longer be providing pickup and drop off service.  However, our central location, in the heart of our service area should make us very convenient for our customers.  We plan to have hours where we are open early each morning (approx. 7:00 – 7:30) to make dropping off a racquet on the way to work convenient.  We will also try to have some late hours on Thursdays and Fridays which tend to be heavy stringing days in our area.  Our hours will vary from week to week so they will be posted at the Shoppe and online via our facebook page.  We will NOT be a traditional retail facility.  We do not carry traditional products such as clothes and shoes.  We specialize in tennis gift products and tennis strings.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we do.  We hope our customers will think of us as an online business with the convenience of a local showroom and the best darn stringing services on the planet.  Put all of this together and we are referring to our physical location as the Guts and Glory Tennis Shoppe.

We are excited about this change and look forward to having our local customers visit us in our new location in the very near future.  Oh yah, did we mention that we intend to have homemade cookies and treats to share with our customers from time to time?  (Could we possibly get any more Mom and Pop-ish???)

We hope to see you soon at 333 Main Street, Suite 500.

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One more time with feeling…”The String Thing”

In May we created a blog entry trumpeting the praises of The String Thing.  This little tool continues to impress us.  Last week we came upon a video testimonial from Tim Strawn and John Gugel, two tennis stringing titans, who shared their thoughts and opinions of this tool.  Reinforcement is a good thing.  I could not state the advantages any better than John and Tim.  Since Tim has apparently chosen the same frames for his glasses as me, it is almost as though I am the one doing the talking.  🙂  Have a look at it yourself and note that The String Thing is available online today from your friends at Guts and Glory Tennis.  ENJOY!

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Baiardo Bits

Last fall after the US Open one lucky Wilson Baiardo stringing machine got to leave the hustle and bustle of Flushing Meadow and make its way to the friendly confines of Suwanee, GA…home of Guts and Glory Tennis.  We welcomed our new machine with open arms and have been delighted to watch her grow and mature into a thoroughbred while sending our Star 5 out to pasture.

One of the few criticisms of this impressive machine is that the tool storage was limited.  Yesterday, as a complete surprise, a package from Wilson arrived.  In it was a nice note explaining that they have created two new tool trays to provide ample storage space.  The first tool tray is easily installed on the underside of the existing tool tray.  All it takes is an allen wrench and two screws that Wilson also sent.  We immediately installed ours, (see image to left) and we placed our beloved Stringway flying clamps in there to show the spaciousness of this tray.  We were initially concerned that it may need a lip for when the machine tilts foward, but so far there is no issue with tools slipping out.

The second tray clips into the existing cell phone holder on the side of the Baiardo.  No tools needed for installation.  It is divided into three sections (see image to left) which have enough depth to easily store awls, cutters and even grommet grinders.

We want to acknowledge Wilson and the excellent customer service for sending these extra trays to Baiardo owners at no cost.  It was a pleasant surprise.  The trays are made solidly and are extremely functional.  Kudos to WILSON Tennis!!!!  (Thanks Ryan and Ron!)

While we are on the topic of the Baiardo, I wanted to point out another feature this machine offers that is useful to us when stringing poly-based strings.  At the base of the tension pulling mechanism Wilson has installed a bristle-filled slot to prevent assorted stringing shrapnel from gunking up the puller.  In an earlier post when we talked about methods to install poly-based strings, we mentioned that the strings could benefit from being pulled at the slowest speed (30%) and waiting approx. 10 seconds before clamping off.  If you watch the bristles after the machine tells you it has reached full tension with a beep, you can see how the string continues to elongate by the movement of the bristles.  It is a cool visual aid that allows you to easily see the slow elongation and know when it has reached a point where it is ready to clamp off.

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Full Poly Hybrids…The Next Frontier

Hybrids.  You heard it here first.  Full poly hybrids are the next frontier in the ever advancing world of tennis strings.

As many of our blog followers realize we have been undergoing a period of discovery as we question everything we know/believe about strings and stringing.  Much of our thinking has been influenced by the work of French-based tennis stringer and string designer John Elliot.  The art of creating full-poly hybrids that offer terrific playability is no exception as John was creating hybrids back when no one ever heard of them back in the early 1980’s.

One of the new concepts introduced to us was the blending of full poly-based strings.  While many stringers and players have experienced hybrids consisting of poly-based strings with natural gut or synthetic gut, we suspect the number who have created full hybrids of poly-based strings is much more limited.  We’re going to keep this blog entry focused on the basics as blending differently profiled poly-based strings adds an element of complexity that go beyond the scope of today’s entry.

Today’s basic message is that blending poly-based strings of different gauges will produce a stringbed with a consistency and feel that is best described as “balanced.”  The performance may surprise even the most skeptical of testers. Here’s how it works.

The player will select poly-based strings of two differing gauges with one being thicker than the other.  The thicker string will be used as the main, while the thinner string will be used as the cross string.  Both are best installed at the same tension (optimally in the mid 30’s to upper 40’s) using the method described in our March 17, 2011 blog entry.

Why in the world would poly-based strings of differing gauges create any different effect than a full poly-based setup of strings of the same gauge?  We are glad you asked!  If you use a Stringmeter to measure your mains and your crosses you will no doubt realize that the cross strings end up being installed at approximately 20% – 30% lower than the mains.  This is largely due to the effect of friction.  Do not be alarmed, this is nothing new and has been the reality since the advent of tennis stringing.

The hybrid of thicker poly-based mains and thinner poly-based crosses is an ideal marriage.  The thinner strings, when tensioned, create a crisper sensation than their thicker counterparts.  This serves to balance/compliment the 20% – 30% difference in tension between the mains and crosses quite nicely.  On top of that the thinner strings typically bring a little more life to the party, giving the stringbed a bit more liveliness while tweaking the responsiveness and feel just enough for the hitting sensation to be heightened.

We have found that our stable of poly-based strings performs remarkably well when blending two differing gauges.  The MSV Focus Hex, which continues to be our best-selling product, is an excellent example.  We have found that our local customers who have been using the MSV strings have really enjoyed the hybrid of different gauges as we introduced it to them.  Not only does it create a desirable feel, but the blending of colors with these strings has also been a popular bi-product.

Perhaps the most interesting results we have had have been with the new and extremely popular Black5Edge from WeissCANNON.  When using this as a main string we have blended it with the new WC Mosquito Bite to a chorus of hallelujah’s.  Seems like the gauge differential of 1.24mm to 1.16mm combined with the makeup of these string resonates strongly with those who have tested it.

Yes, co-mingling brands works as well as we have observed the formula of thicker poly-based mains with thinner poly-based crosses working with a variety of setups with mains from one brand of string and crosses from another.  It also creates very interesting effects when you start introducing differently shaped profiles into the mix.

For those considering experimenting with your own version of a full poly-based hybrid we invite you to do so and share your findings with us.  We have found success with 16 ga mains and 17 ga crosses on racquets with open patterns and larger head sizes.  For mid sized racquets as well as racquets with denser patterns, a blend of 17ga mains with 18ga crosses works nicely.  Also note that for those who are digging ultra-thin setups that the MSV Hex offers a gauge of 1.10mm that is especially interesting in full poly-based hybrids.

And for those who can’t get enough of full poly-based hybrid action there is a new line of premium strings designed by John Elliot that will be launched later this summer.  One of the unique features of these strings will be the blending of full poly offerings of differing profiles for some incredibly interesting and remarkably playable setups.  We plan to create future blog entries to introduce these string offerings as well as to go more in-depth on the blending of differently profiled poly-based strings.

Stay tuned!

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DSS – “The String Thing” to the Rescue!

The tennis world has been living under the throes of an insidious plague since the advent of modern racquets.  It  is simply known by three villainous initials, DSS.  It is a devilish epidemic that crosses all national, racial, political and social boundaries. Pros of all levels, college players, tournament players, juniors and even weekend warriors…we all suffer. Some suffer in silence while others feel the effects in the form of  whackado shots on the tennis court.  What is this plague?  Who is this monster?  What can be done, if anything, to save tennis players from the complete discombobulation and errant shots caused by this pestilence?

(Please click You Tube link below to activate Superman theme song.  It serves as the appropriate background music to enrich your reading pleasure for the rest of this blog entry.)

Enter “The String Thing”– your complete antidote/antibody/cure for DSS – – Discombobulated String Syndrome.

Elegantly simple, yet profoundly effective, The String Thing, whisks discombobulated strings back into proper playing position faster than a Mark Philippousis serve.  The virtually indestructible device easily fits into your tennis bag and with just a couple of swift strokes up and down the stringbed, your strings magically respond and align themselves into perfectly precise position…ready to spring back into action and help vanquish your foes without fear of misalignment causing an inaccurate shot.

The String Thing comes in two varieties, one for racquets with open patterns (16 main strings running vertically) and those with closed patterns (18 main strings running vertically).  It is inexpensive, easy to use and is guaranteed to save wear and tear on your finger tips, (simultaneously preserving manicures), while completely eradicating Discombobulated String Syndrome from your tennis life.

“The String Thing” is not a toy.  It is a serious device for serious players who understand the importance of keeping strings properly aligned for maximum performance.  The rumors of it making a “bitchin’ backscratcher” off the court, may contain some elements of truth, but it is designed for much more serious and practical matters…The total obliteration of Discombobulated String Syndrome from our planet.

As a professional stringer, I find The String Thing to be completely indispensable; a vital tool of the trade.  I also firmly believe that if string movement makes you nuts on the court, this tool will bring serenity and sanity to you.  Simply put, it works.  Every tennis player should have at least one String Thing at his or her disposal whenever they step onto a tennis court.  They are made in the USA and available from the Guts and Glory online store.  We hope you will get one for yourself as well as a few to give to your tennis playing friends and family.  It is pure Kryptonite to DSS!   (Not to mention one bitchin’ backscratcher.)

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