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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10 Responses to Full Poly Hybrids…The Next Frontier

  1. Adriel Lepretre says:

    Will hybriding thicker B5E with thinner Mosquito Bite be softer than full B5E?
    What tension would you give to each string in this particular setup?

    What about a hybrid of B5E and TT? What tension would you give to each string in this particular setup?

    • ggtennis says:

      B5E with Mosquito Bite would not be softer than full B5E. Tension would depend on frame and multiple factors. Each string would have the same tension.

      B5E and TT is not a hybrid we have attempted. It would be trickier because the TT is not as strong of a performer at lower tensions.

  2. Leung says:

    I’ve been following your blog and specifically your methods of stringing polys for a couple of weeks now. I strung a B5E on my Pure Storm Ltd @45lbs using your method and the result have been pretty amazing for the 16 hours that I’ve played with it so far, although I did feel a slight drop-off in ball-control during the last couple of hours. So I’m wondering how much longer would this great playability last before the B5E goes dead.

    Also, after reading this entry about poly-poly hybrid, I’m definitely excited to try it out. But there’s only one really big problem. I tried stringing a B5E+gut hybrid last week using half of a 40′ B5E set as my main. However, the string ran out right after my last main on both sides (18×20 pattern) so that I’m unable to insert it into the string gripper. As a result, I’m don’t think I can enjoy the awesome benefits of poly-poly hybrids using Weisscannon string sets as mains (I assume they are all 40′ in length) unless I buy a reel, which I don’t think I can ever use up.

    Is there a way to get around this?

    • ggtennis says:

      Leung,

      Thanks for the feedback. 16 hours from a poly-based string is well above average string life. Players have found on average 12 – 20hrs of excellent play from the B5E.

      Yes, it appears that reels are going to be the best solution for you. We will soon be introducing a new brand that will offer strings in micro reels; 50 meters (equivalent of 4 stringings) and 100 meters (equivalent of 8 stringings). Ultimately these may be the long term answer for you.

      In the short term, if you want to test a poly/poly hybrid using B5E as a main, if you order from us you can leave a note on the comments section that you need extra length for the mains. We will go ahead and pull 43′ (that should be plenty) off a reel for you. Obviously we can not do this for large orders or repeat orders, but for the purpose of allowing you to test the hybrids we will be happy to do it for you.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Leung says:

    Thanks for the info on the new mini-reels! I actually have a few more sets of B5E lefts so I think I’ll stick with them until your new strings come out.

    If you don’t mind me asking, will some of your new strings play similar to the B5E or the Mosquito bite? Also, which month do you think they will be released?

    • ggtennis says:

      Leung,

      Also the new strings, (called L-TEC), will also be available in 1/2 sets. These will come in 6.5 meter lengths which is about 21 feet. Another option for you.

      The L-TEC strings will offer performance characteristics that are completely unique. The B5E and Mosquito Bite are excellent offerings and they are a little less crisp than the new strings which results in a different feel for the player. We are talking about shades of excellence when comparing these two products.

      I wish I could give a firm release date, but at this point no one knows for sure. The official launch is targeted for September, but we are hoping to see them much sooner than fall.

  4. simon says:

    I am intrigued with this idea. The fact that you mention using a combination of 16/17 gauge strings for open pattern rackets is a great idea, however you didn’t include an explanation why. I have an idea it’s to do with power output from the open string vs closed pattern. In which case, would you suggest stringing at even lower than normal tensions for open pattern rackets?

    • ggtennis says:

      The thicker gauges in an open pattern tend to provide better control and durability. Remember, it is just a suggestion based on what we have observed and heard from our local stringing customers. Your thought of power is very much on target. The tension can vary, but we advocate stringing in the 30’s and 40’s. Once you explore the world of lower tensions we think you will enjoy it. It may need some tweaking to dial in the perfect tension and string combination.

  5. sam says:

    As always I’m intrigued by your experiments. Having used low tension poly and copoly in an open pattern for a while now I’ve also done many combinations. One thing you forget to mention is choosing main string gauge based on play style. If you are a baseline basher with no real accuracy or need to place the ball, then go for a thick 16 gauge mains string. If you are an allrounder and prefer to control the placement of your groundstrokes, setting up for attack and pinpoint volleys, then stick with a 17 gauge mains string. If anyone tells you a 16G poly in the mains of an open stringbed give them “control”, then you better question what they mean by control and what level they are. The higher your level of control play, the lower your gauge should be. Then top it up with a 16G poly in the crosses to add a bit of power.

    • ggtennis says:

      Sam,

      Thanks for reading our blog and sharing your thoughts/experiences. You are correct in that an entire blog entry could be devoted to the difference in performance that can be achieved with various gauges. We are currently revising this site and will definitely make that a future topic at some point after the updated blog site is launched.

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