A philosophical trip to Paris

We begin the new year by announcing to our friends and customers that after careful consideration and review we have decided to embark upon a philosophical journey to Paris, France.  Paris is the home of John Elliot, better know to tennis message board enthusiasts as “JayCeeParis.”  John, an accomplished stringer and leader in the development of poly-based tennis strings, defies modern stringing convention with his unique understandings and concepts.  His beliefs and methodologies do tend to wander away from the mainstream, but the underlying intention is to strive to reach perfection…perfection in all things related to tennis equipment so that it will be easier for players to reach their full potential on court.

In order to enter into the world of JayCee, one must be willing to let go of sometimes long held beliefs and be open to a new way of doing things.  Instead of striving for excellence, the new goal is to strive for perfection…reaching it by whatever means are necessary to get there.

My personal journey begins with an open mind.  I intend to document my journey and hope that other stringers/coaches/players may choose to join me at some point along the way.

The journey actually began near the end of 2010.  I began reading as many of John’s internet writings as possible.  I even used Google to translate discussion boards that were written in French in an effort to learn as much as possible.  I became convinced through my readings, my personal interactions and my own personal experimentation, that John Elliot is a man of wisdom, courage and creativity.  Much can be learned from his lifetime of devotion to achieving stringing perfection.  In short, I have found a new mentor.

My new mentor is quirky, but I like that.  He has accepted me into his world with open arms and even invited me to join him in his “Tennis Chalet” in Paris for some individual mentoring and instruction.  While I would dearly love to take him up on his invitation, my irrational fear flying makes this opportunity unlikely.

Still, I am confident I will be successful in a self-directed study in which I learn, practice and refine the JayCee method of stringing.  The goal is to reach beyond excellence into the world of perfection for my stringing customers.

First order of business is to begin introducing my customers to the world of lower string tensions when using poly-based strings.  I have blogged about this at the end of last year and it is one of the cornerstones of the new method.   These lower tensions are used as a reference for a unique stringing process.  The process will be made available later through our web site and is already available if you search carefully enough at StringForum.net.  Of course I am already tweaking the process and am unsure whether these tweaks will be make public or not.  I do feel the need to have some trade secrets.  🙂

Another challenge that I overcame is related to equipment.  I have ALWAYS used fixed clamping systems believing them to be the most accurate and consistent.  After reviewing JayCee’s writings, I opened myself to the possibility that Stringway flying clamps may be more consistent.  Deep down I did not believe that I would find them to outperform the clamping system on my state-of-the-art Wilson Baiardo or my Babolat Star 5, but they did.  I am much closer to achieving what John calls WYSIWYG.  What You STRING Is What You Get.  I’m not there yet, but growing closer as I refine my technique.  BTW, the Stringway clamping system consists of a triple flying clamp and the regular flying clamp.  My friend Mark at New Tech Tennis is the distributor.

Which leads me to the next big gulp I have to take.  In using the flying clamps I have had to let go of a deeply held belief that one should NEVER double pull.  Using JayCee’s method, there are up to 5 instances where double pulling is recommended.  While the USRSA refuses to acknowledge this as an acceptable pratice, the Executive Director has confirmed that JayCee’s method results in some of the most astonishingly accurate and consistent stringbeds he has measured.  Always remember, the USRSA exists and sets guidelines for the masses, not the innovative fringe.

So what does all of this mean?  Well, it means I have learned that my state-of-the-art stringing equipment may not be the most accurate due to less than perfect clamping systems and motors that are overpowered in pulling tension.  These are issues that can be rectified so that perfection can be achieved.

It really means that I am going to be much better equipped moving forward to truly help my customers achieve more on the courts.  The methods we will perfect during the coming year will unshackle the tennis equipment and allow players to have even more fun and satisfaction as they participate in the wonderful and exhilarating sport of tennis.  I will continue documenting the journey through this blog and hope that interested readers will stay tuned!

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25 Responses to A philosophical trip to Paris

  1. Jason says:

    John,

    I wouldn’t even consider flirting with the idea that your Wilson Baiardo is deficient in any way to any Stringway machine. How many pro stringers for the ATP or WTA use Stringway equipment? Their overpriced machines and obscure techniques (double pulls) do not impress me no matter what scientific data they may provide. If the string job is good enough for the best tennis players in the world strung on your exact equipment I would rest assured of your professionalism and dedication to the industry. Enjoy Paris big dog!

  2. ggtennis says:

    Ahh, but you imply that pro stringers are providing the best string job possible. I could easily argue this is not the case. Also, I can not produce as perfectly consistent results on my top-end machines using their fixed clamps as I can on the same machine using the Stringway flying clamps. I have been testing and retesting. The results surprised me, but are being reported exactly as observed.

  3. Boris Becker says:

    ok please explain or advise. are these the best flying clamps in the business in your opinion? the clamps on my star II are wearing out. if i were to switch to these clamps would you recommend 1 reg and 1 triple?

  4. ggtennis says:

    @Boris – Because I have very little experience with flying clamps, I am not comfortable proclaiming the Stringway flying clamps as the best. However, I read from numerous sources that they are and believe those sources are accurate. I do know what I have observed and it has been impressive.

    Yes, the use of one triple and regular is what is recommended. Here are some links to the JayCee method .pdf files.

    http://www.tt-stringer.com/files/Pt1_JayCees_Method_mains.pdf
    http://www.tt-stringer.com/files/Pt2_JayCees_Method_crosses.pdf

    Soon I will be posting a spreadsheet I made for tensions. If you want to use it or see it before it is posted just fire an email message at me with a note and your email address and I will send it to you as an attachment.

  5. Jason says:

    John is the difference between the flying and fixed clamps due to the draw back of the fixed clamps? What else causes the difference? What is the difference in pounds between the different clamps?

    Thank you

  6. Boris Becker says:

    Also does the stringing method involve stringing different strings at different tensions?

    If you have any links to the stringway tension advisor, or any other tools for alternative stringing methods that you feel have proven great results, it would be much appreciated

    thanks

  7. ggtennis says:

    I definitelybelieve the differences I have experienced are due to the drawback, though another variable is overshoot.

    I have not been recording all my tests as carefully as necessary so I will share last night’s test since it was more fully documented. Last night I strung an Avery M5 Racquet with Signum Pro Megaforce 1.19mm. The reference tension was 44 pounds. The first stringing was using my regular stringing method on the Wilson Baiardo. I strung using two pieces and every pull was at 44 pounds. I clamped as soon as tension was reached. The only exceptions were tie-offs where tension was increased by 8 pounds.

    Off of the machine the racquet had a DT reading of 30.5.
    Here’s the wild part…
    Using a Stringmeter I measured the tension of each individual main string. My results were humbling.

    Right Mains (from center out)
    1 – 46lbs
    2 – 48
    3 – 48
    4 – 50
    5 – 49
    6 – 51
    7 – 46
    8 – 36

    Left Mains (from Center out)
    1 – 44lbs
    2 – 46
    3 – 50
    4 – 44
    5 – 50
    6 – 51
    7 – 49
    8 – 37

    I regularly get this type of variance with the Baiardo. It is even more extreme with the Star 5.

    Using flying clamps on the Baiardo AND JayCees method I strung the same racquet with the same string using the reference tension of 44lbs. My DT reading was 29 right off the machine. However, I believe the 29 is more in line with where it should be. The reason is the uncanny consistency I get when measuring the mains with a Stringmeter.

    Right Mains (from center out)
    1 – 44lbs
    2 – 44
    3 – 44
    4 – 44
    5 – 44
    6 – 44
    7 – 40
    8 – 43

    Left Mains (from Center out)
    1 – 44lbs
    2 – 44
    3 – 45
    4 – 44
    5 – 46
    6 – 44
    7 – 42
    8 – 43

    I am still perfecting the technique so that each main string will measure the exact reference tension for me when I am done stringing. I still have more tests planned for the coming week with the Baiardo as well as some other machines.

    I invite you or anyone to take a stringmeter and measure the tension of each individual main string. What do you find? It can be an eye-opening exercise and extremely humbling. Yes, I can string consistent to the point where I am getting the same DT each time, but each string varies. For perfectionists, this makes for sleepless nights. I want to strive for perfection with each string job. The goal of WYSIWYG is where I want to be by the end of the week and for each day moving forward.

    If you were my stringing customer, which racquet would you prefer to receive from me? The one done on the fancy machine with the fancy clamps strung using the USRSA/Pro method or the one that uses the flying clamps and the funky method? I think I’d choose the later.

  8. ggtennis says:

    Boris,

    Yes, the method does involve some modest tension changes. I created a spreadsheet to calculate these tensions. Once the reference tension is known it is plugged into the spreadsheet and away you go!

  9. Jason says:

    Wow I am astounded. Thanks for posting your findings. I thought your machine would have been very close to dead on accurate.

  10. Boris Becker says:

    interesting.
    1. so the variance is more from the clamps or method, or do you see it as a 50% split? ( have you done his method with your clamps vs his method with flying clamps)
    2. If the machine is set at 44lbs, how can the string meter get a reading of above by 2-7lbs? ( shocking)
    3. Is this string meter that 20 buck device with 2 prongs that twist on the string?
    4. So the regular method is higher because as you move out away from the center each string gets shorter?
    5. taking the 2 finished different method frames above, have you then tested which frames will keep its DT longer?

    sorry for the questions. im just excited to do this.

  11. Adriel Lepretre says:

    I am glad that the New Year brings new challenges for you. Good luck!

  12. ggtennis says:

    Boris.

    1. I believe it to be related to the method, the clamps as well as the pulling mechanism of an electronic constant pull machine. Today I restrung the same racquet using the same string at the same tension on the Baiardo. The difference was I followed the JayCee process. The overall DT was 31. The individual string tensions were a bit more consistent, but not as close as they are when using the Stringway fliers. Please note that the fixed clamps I am using are properly adjusted. If anything I tightened them a bit more than normal to avoid slippage.

    Right Mains (from center out)
    1 – 44lbs
    2 – 50
    3 – 50
    4 – 48
    5 – 48
    6 – 48
    7 – 41
    8 – 46

    Left Mains (from Center out)
    1 – 44lbs
    2 – 48
    3 – 44
    4 – 44
    5 – 48
    6 – 48
    7 – 44
    8 – 46

    2. The increase in tension is most likely created by the overshoot of the pulling mechanism coupled with the fixed clamp movement.

    3. Yes. It is the same device. Many stringers refuse to believe it is accurate because of the variances it shows. The fact is, it is quite accurate and that the individual tensions are truly all over the board.

    4. I think the regular method is higher because there is no adjusted tension as well as the overshoot and clamping issues we already mentioned. (NOTE: This variance is more pronounced on the Star 5)

    5. Have not yet tested ability to hold tension. I did check the stick strung using the JayCee method and flying clamps. The DT, after 48hrs, was showing 1 pt lower, but I think it was probably the crosses because the mains were pretty much the exact same as the original measurements.

  13. Boris Becker says:

    thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. one last question. there seem to be 2 brands of string meters. is the lower priced gamma one just as good?

  14. ggtennis says:

    Boris,

    I do not own the Gamma version and have no idea about the quality. I use the StringMeter, the unit that is now distributed by Unique Sports. I believe for the extra $10.00 it is best to go with what is known. Plus it gives some measuring options the Gamma version does not offer.

  15. Boris Becker says:

    so the method is something like this?

    Center 6 mains 48lb/21.7kg
    3 mains left & right of center 44lb/20.0kg
    2 outer mains 52lb/23.5kg
    Monofil/poly in the crosses :

    Top 3 crosses 52lb/23.5kg
    Middle crosses 48lb/21.7kg
    Bottom 2 cross 56lb/24.4kg

    Where can I see the whole method depending on many factors to determine the exact formula to use?

    • ggtennis says:

      Correct, assuming your reference tension is 48lbs. I can send you the spreadsheet, just fire an email at me. The .pdf links posted in an earlier reply also help clarify things. The one IMPORTANT issue they don’t really address is the need to press firmly on the center of R7 and L7 while tensioning. This pulls the slack from R8 and L8 (assuming 16 mains) on the double pull and allows the outer mains to be tensioned at the reference level. This pushing while tensioning technique is also used on when tensioning the center mains.

  16. Boris Becker says:

    thanks. I promise not to share the info. I always push down 3 times on all mains while tensioning, and slide all crosses back and forth while tensioning. this is very exciting 🙂

  17. Boris Becker says:

    Also Im thinking of selling my babalot star II as I want something portable with less parts to break. This thread and method makes me think I want to replace it with a stringway with SW floating clamps. Hopefully I can get about 600-1000 for the very good condition star II so I wont have to spend any extra. Does this sound like a good idea or is there a cheaper model that I can get good results with using those SW clamps?

    I really dont want to waste your time so let me know if I should just ask this on stringforum or grandslamstringers, I just really respect your opinion. Thats why I will continue to get my strings only from you as your customer service and above and beyond.

  18. ggtennis says:

    I am not an expert on stringing machines, but I can tell you the base Stringway machine is built like a tank. Very sturdy and stable. This is critically important. There can be no bending or deformation. The inner mounting is nice, but the racquets do take more time to setup in the mounting system. Also there is the issue of having to manipulate the weight. Something to consider if you are stringing multiple frames. If you are not stringing too many frames per day, I think you should be fine.

    I ran the same stringing scenario on a Stringway many days ago when I first began experimenting. I only ran it once and should probably do it again as I have gotten better and more fluent with the JayCee system. However, when I did run it my tensions were reading -1 or -2 below 44 on most mains. The tie-off, #7, which is still my problem, was off more with L7 measuring 36 and R7 measuring 39. The rest were coming in at 42, 43 or 44. No overshooting but not quite WYSISYG. Maybe I’ll give that machine another go in the next couple of days. Although my main goal is to perfect the system on my Baiardo. I know John Elliot gets WYSIWYG on his Stringway using a regular and triple flying clamp.

  19. ggtennis says:

    Yesterday I discovered I was skipping a fairly significant step using the JayCee stringing method…the “tuning” aspect. I will begin re-running tests this week to see how that element impacts/smooths the tension readings.

  20. Andrew says:

    ggtennis,

    Althought a beginner, I just started to use ML 100 with flying clamps. Prior to that I had been using local stringer (a new electronic Babolat machine-don’t know the model) and struggling for years to come to any reasonable conclusions about tension, strings or racquets.
    Carefully following JayCee’s instructions on the pdf files, I strung my first racquet just after receiving the machine as a Christams present. On Jan. 6th I took some measurements and much to my surprise the tensions were almost all right on (relative to refrence tension). Since Jan.6th I measured averages (using the ipod app) in oreder to observe tension loss in relation to feel on the court. Started at 21.1kg just 2 minutes after stringing. On January 13 (after 8 hrs of court time) it is down to 18.5kg – feels buttery smooth, power, control, spin and unbelievable feel on slices and drop shots. When I started to hit with my Babolat AeroPro Cortex I was stunned! If this is possible to achieve for beginner stringer like me, there is something to this method of stringing and possibly the hardware.
    I thought I’d share my experience, evidently yours is not an isolated one. Planning a trip to see JayCee to learn more. Best wishes !

    • ggtennis says:

      Thank you for visiting the site and contributing. Glad to hear the JayCee method and flying clamps are also working wonders for you. I am sure if you get the privilege of visiting JayCee in his chalet that you will learn quite a bit. He has much knowledge and insight to share.

  21. Stephane says:

    First of all, all the best to GG team and friends,

    I’m part of Jaycee’s french fan since 10 years,
    I own a Stringway MS 200 and I prefered to take the flying clamps.
    I’ve had a BABOLAT Sensor Expert machine which I believed was the top of the top. Of course, I broke some strings sometimes, Multifilaments were marked by the “butcher” clamps, also natural guts. But when you have the “most of the top” machine, you consider it as a normal thing.
    When I decided to change my BABOLAT, I taked about it to John who answered me “Hey guy, let me show you one of my machine. I show you, you try it, then you can make your own opinion”
    One week later I put my hands on a Stringway MS 200. Then I discovered what IS the normal basis : no string movement, no tension loss, no strings breakage, no trace of clamps on the string.

    Since about 8/9 years, I have my MS 200 with flying clamps. I could say to anybody that the machine was delivered 10 days ago, it could be true for them.
    The quality of job is the same as the first day, and the pleasure to string also, which is for me an important part of the string job.
    NO Pleasure, NO Strings.

    Best regards to the Johns.

    • ggtennis says:

      Stephane – – Thank you for visiting and your contribution. It is very nice of people to share their personal stories and experiences. It adds to the overall quality of the discussion and helps provide some additional insight to what might be viewed to some as very unconventional thinking. John Elliot definitely thinks outside of the box. His message, for those who listen, is extremely powerful. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

      John

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