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Q: Why should iStringing service my racquet?

We at iStringing are constantly looking for the newest, most consistent way to string a racquet. We are all avid tennis players in the San Gabriel Valley. Everyone at iStringing are Master Racquet Technicians (MRT) certified by the USRSA. Anyone can string a racquet, we have taken an exhaustive test to show that we are qualified to service your racquet. At iStringing, nobody but a certified MRT will touch your racquet.

Q: What is the difference between iStringing and a Big Box Store or a boutique tennis shop?

At a Big Box Store, you don't know who is going to service your racquet. Same goes with a boutique tennis shop. At iStringing, you can rest assured that a qualified MRT will service your racquet from start to finish without interruption. We have personally seen racquet stringing at multiple places where they would leave the racquet mounted and partially strung while the stringer goes and helps other customers. This will put unneeded stress on the racquet and cause micro-fractures in the frame and also produce an uneven string job.

Q: What is the USRSA?

USRSA stands for United States Racquet Stringing Association. Their mission is to educate all their constituencies to better understand, service, perform with, and enjoy the technological wonders known as racquets, strings, balls, courts, shoes, and stringing machines. The USRSA is the foremost authority in everything racquets, including tennis, racquetball, badminton, and squash. USRSA publishes two industry magazines, has videos, workshops, and certification education and testing. *source: USRSA.

Q: What is a Master Racquet Technician?

Certification by the USRSA, whether as a Master Racquet Technician, or as a Certified Stringer involves a comprehensive written test and a detailed practical test. Both measure your understanding and skills with respect to all facets of racquet service -- installing grommets and string, regripping, handle sizing and customizing weight and balance. Additionally, to attain MRT status, you'll be required to demonstrate understanding of current frame and string technologies and how those technologies translate to player satisfaction. *source: USRSA. MRT is the highest certification given by the USRSA. There are only several hundred MRTs in the world. We at iStringing have passed all aspects of the MRT test and are currently the only MRTs in the San Gabriel Valley*. Click here to search for Master Racquet Technicians in your area.

Q: What is the difference between a constant pull machine and a lockout?

A constant pull machine, whether it be an electronic constant pull or a drop-weight pulls the strings at the set tension and keeps pulling it and adjusting until the string is clamped. A lockout (or spring) tensioner pulls to the desired tension and locks out when the tension is reached. Because this string is locked out, the string slowly stretches and loses tension while the clamp is being placed. This tension loss translates to about a 10% difference between a lockout and a constant pull machine. There are also electronic lockout machines as well as spring lockout machines. iStringing uses the top of the line constant pull electronic machines that are used by the Wilson String Team at the U.S. Open and Australian Open, the Wilson Baiardo.

Q: How often should I restring?

The need to restring your racquet depends on the type of string you use, tension, playing style, and frequency of play. A rule of thumb is restring your racquet as many times per year as you play per week. If you play 4 times per week, you should string your racquet MINIMUM 4 times per year. Strings sometimes snap due to friction and notching, off-center hits, and shear forces on mis-hits (near the grommets, typically at the top of the racquet). The type of string is also a factor in determining how often you restring your racquet. Natural gut strings hold their tension extremely well and can normally be used until they break. Synthetic strings (nylon, polyester, etc. ) have different tension maintenance capabilities and should be restrung when they lose around 20% tension. Restringing your racquet often will also help elbow and shoulder problems. As the strings lose their elasticity, your arm will be required to do more work in order to produce the same shots as before. The “dead” strings will also transmit more vibrations to your arm.

Q: What kind of strings should I use?

There are thousands of strings available to tennis players nowadays. All of these strings fall into two basic types. Natural Gut and Synthetic Gut. Natural Gut is the holy grail of tennis strings. (See our Natural Gut section for more information on Natural Gut.) Synthetic Gut consists of Polyester, Multifilament, Aramid (Kevlar), and normal “Synthetic Gut”. Polyester strings are the rave at the moment. They tend to be stiffer and lower powered compared to Natural Gut, Multifilament, and Synthetic Gut. Polyester strings resist movement and provides players to swing hard while keeping the ball inside the court. Polyester is recommended for players with long full strokes without arm or shoulder pain. Multifilament strings are the closest synthetic string to gut. They are soft and powerful and easy on the arm. Multifilament strings are great for players who have or had arm or shoulder problems in the past and are looking for a good performing soft string. Multifilaments are not as durable as other strings. Aramid, known as Kevlar or Technora, is one of the stiffest material around for tennis strings. Aramid is extremely durable, but the worst on the arm and shoulder. We do not recommend or carry Aramid strings due to the fact that they are so stiff and harsh on the body. Synthetic Gut strings are good all around strings. They offer good playability, power, control, and comfort. They are good all around strings at an economical price. Synthetic Gut strings are recommended to players who are not frequent string breakers and who want a good string at a lower price range. Synthetic gut are also great strings to use for hybrid string jobs with Polyester.

Q: What gauge (thickness) should I use?

A thinner string will provide more power, spin, and comfort. The major tradeoff is durability. The higher the gauge, the thinner the string. A player should choose a string that will last 3-6 weeks, playing around 3 times per week. After 6 weeks, most strings will “play dead.” Generally, a 17 gauge string will be twice as elastic as a 15 gauge string, all other factors being equal. *source: USRSA.

Q: What tension should I string at?

Each racquet has a manufacturer recommended range for tension. Polyester and stiffer strings should be strung 10% less than other strings. Lower tensions tend to generate more power while higher tensions tend to generate more control (for experienced players). We recommend stringing racquets as low as possible while still achieving the control you desire. Start off low and adjust the tension up if you desire more control. In the past, players used to string their racquets in the 60s and 70s, but keep in mind that racquets nowadays are stiffer and they were not using polyester strings at that high tension. Polyester strings play surprisingly well at lower tensions (below 50). Players are using Polyester strings at tensions as low as the 20s with great results. Milos Raonic sometimes strings his racquet at 40lbs in the mains and 42 in the crosses on a full polyester stringjob. Roger Federer typically strings at 46 mains and 42 crosses with natural gut in mains and polyester in crosses.