Info for Your Squashgame

Signs of improper string tension?

Published: 06 Feb 2009 - 12:47 by Eddy01741

Updated: 05 Jan 2010 - 14:08

Subscribers: Log in to subscribe to this post.

All right, sorry for yet another string thread, but I didn't feel like this was in the scope of the other topics. So here is what I have gathered from countless hours of just surfing the net about squash and stringing and the such for tension:

Low Tension: Low Power, Low Control, Extremely High Durability

Mid-Low Tension: High Power, Mid-Low Control, High Durability

Mid Tension: Mid Power, Mid Control, Mid Durability

Mid-High Tension: Mid-Low Power, High Control, Low Durability

High Tension: Low Power, High Control, Very Low Durability


I think that is right (by the low and high I mean like the extremes, whilst the mid/low through mid/high range probably represent from 20-30lbs of tension). I am personally just curious simply because I have recently taken up stringing by myself for reasons of saving money and to learn a possibly beneficial profession should I continue to keep playing Squash as a hobby at the very least (which is very likely).


Well, as some of you know, I have attempted to restring using a Prince/Ektelon Neos 1000 machine at my school. From what I've seen, it's one of, if not the most popular stringing machine. Now I do not deny how good it is since it's pretty easy to use and such, but of course, it is of the spring and lockout type, meaning that 1. if speed is not used between tensioning the string and moving the clamp to the currently tensioned string, there will be tension loss, and 2. the spring will change it's properties over time and thus must be recalibrated in order to retain accuracy.


Now, I'm not exactly in a position to recalibrate the stringing machine, none of the local stores have any such things and ot buy one online would cost 30 dollars, which is kind of a pain considering that the whole point was that i was supposed to save money by restringing by myself. Lastly, it's not even my machine, so it's usefulness would be very limited.


So, my stringing experiences have been like this:

1. Got my nTour strung by a friend of mine at this school (he doesn't string racquets too often, but has done it before) for 10 dollars with Tecnifibre 305 1.20mm strings, I had him string it at what the machine put down as 24 lbs of tension. The result being that the strings were quite loose, now I didn't quite have the oppertunity to use the nTour much since i broke it two days later (rail close to tthe wall, went to it too hard, hit the wall, cracked my racquet, next point, the racquet splits clean in half right above the handle).


2. I strung my own crap Dunlop racquet with cheap strings, I believe that they were called Dunlop M-Fil TS Strings (18 gauge, supposedly multifiliment), theyw ere only 7 dollars a set at the local tennis/squash shop. I strung it up with 26lbs of tension, this was mmy first string job, so probably didn't do the best job with it. It ended up being very loose, but it was playable, I put this racquet aside within the next 2 days since I had ordered my Aerogel Tour online and it had just come in. THe strings for this racquet were undeniably loose though, and compared to factory stringing, incredibly loose.


3. I strung up my Aerogel Tour with PowerNick 18 at what the machine stated to be 27.5lbs of tension. It seemed fine when I just finished restringing it (this was a week ago), seemed like similar if not just a tad lower tension than the factory strings in other racquets. THe next day I played with it, it seemed fine, in fact the strings seemed quite good compared to the factory strings put on. Then 3 days after stringing it, I played my sister with it, she has a Wilson n145 professionally strung (well, strung at the local tennis/squash shop which has an electric stringer) with supernick XL Ti. Comparing my racquet to hers, her racquet had tons more power, and I doubt it was just the racquet itself, the flew off the strings much quicker. My sister herself stated that she felt that my strings were "sucking up power" in her shots. At that point, I could still play with it pretty well. Flash forward to today, four days after I had played my sister, I hit the tin on probably 75% of my attempted kill shots, and in general just played like crap. It seems like a obvious downward trend, and the strings now seem MUCH looser than they were when I first strung them. They are now almost unplayable and have very little power. When I hit the ball, it sometimes makes an unusual sound and flies off in an unintended direction.


What I think has happened is that the "creep" in the strings has caused this tension loss leading to a huge lack of power, as well as a smaller sweet spot, and much reduced control. I am 80% sure that it is because the tension is too loose, but I figured it couldn't be any harm to consult you guys who definitely know more than I do on the subject.


I am thinking of going over to the local squash shop and picking up a set of Tecnifibre 305s or some Supernick XL Tis (they only stock the 305s, 225s, Supernick Tis, and the Dunlop M-Fil TS) so I can again try my best at restringing the racquet by myself.


So another question I would have is that if my strings were a little loose to begin with during stringing, and now definitely too loose, how much higher should I set the tension? If 27.5 lbs is basically unplayable, should I set it for 30? 33? 36?

squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


Please Note: The most recent replies are now at the top!

From GregA - 05 Jan 2010 - 14:08   -   Updated: 05 Jan 2010 - 14:08

I have a wilson racquet strung at 28lbs. I can surely sa its way too tight. The racquet has ver low power. I am going to restrung it to my racquets lower limit. 24lbs.

My Racquet's label says that it should be strung between 24-28 lbs. I understand the upper limit, but what happens if i go below the lower limit. lets say 22 lbs?Has any1 tried it before?

Back to top

From potaie_4u - 25 Mar 2009 - 13:58

Click Below for Attached Images

I think it's good for a moment

Back to top

From Eddy01741 - 09 Feb 2009 - 03:40

Well, the cheapest reels were still 77 dollars for 110m (the equivelent of 12 sets), this was for the Ashaway Supernick XLs.

Back to top

From Adz - 09 Feb 2009 - 02:51


Single sets are extortionate in price and if you can buy cheap reels you'd be far better off! Good luck!




Back to top

From Eddy01741 - 08 Feb 2009 - 09:37

Alright, looks like I was tying the knots correctly (I did do the "arcing" motion with both just my hands and with my trusty pliers for the double half hitch.


Anyways, bad news, some guy at the local store (not the either of the two usual people, he was yelling on the phone, so possibly the owner or the manager) said that they wouldn't sell me any strings unless I was to get it restrung at the shop (which takes 2 days and 20 dollars for service the strings themselves). So instead I'll be ordering online, which I guess is good, much larger selection.


So I'm compiling a laundry list of 3-5 strings I'd get, since if I buy 50 dollars it's free shipping. Probably gonna pounce for a set of PowerNick18, Some sort of Supernick XL (not sure since there are 4 different kinds haha), Tecnifibre 305 1.20mm, and maybe Tecnifibre X-One Biphase. They don't really have any cheap strings on the website (cheapest ones are Wilson syn gut tennis strings which are $6.95, in comparison a set of Supernicks are $7.75), so unfortuantely I can't really practice stringing with those.

Back to top

From Good Length - 07 Feb 2009 - 22:15   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 22:32

Yeah don't fish either but they seem really cheep so even if it's not perfect for a few $ you can get a pretty good idea how much tension you need to pul to get the real tension you want. Prob cheaper than a set of strings.

I think you understand well regarding the power issue from what you say.

Also as a guide from the factory job you had to start assuming it was mid to start off then it has probably lost a few pounds sitting on the shelf. Although it is impossible to tell I generally assume a factory job to be 1/3 of the tension range i.e. 23-24lb by the time it gets to you. My Tour is at 26lb with x-one and that feels good (x-one feels reasonably stiff but maybe not as much as PN18). Also as my machine is a dropweight you might need to aim a few lb higher to get the same tension final tension. I would aim for a real (whatever you have to set your machine at to get it) 26lb or 27lb with your first set of m-fil and adjust from there. From this you should end up near the midrange once the initial tension has dropped after a few hours.

Now fow tying off, please see this, it will only take a few minutes.

how to tighten your knot without loosing tension

If you look at YULitle's other vids, he has details of how to tie each of the knots and many other useful tips. 

p.s. I incorrectly told you before that the PC and Parnel are the same. I was mistaken, they are very similar though. I use either the Parnel or the double half hitch. But I find the Parnel neatest on the Dunlop grommets.

Back to top

From Eddy01741 - 07 Feb 2009 - 11:09   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 11:11

Alright thanks, I also do not fish unfortuantely (what a bad new englander I am....), but likely it'd be easier and cheaper to buy one of those from just any sports shop than a string tension gauge/recalibrator.


Anyhow, just wondering, how exactly do you keep tension in the strings when tying knots. THe way I do it with my two glide bar clamps (one on the outside of the top left as the starting point, and the other holding the tension to the last main on the right)  is to use the tensioning head and just tension that excess 4 inches or so of string on the top left. Remove the glide bar clamp from the outside of the frame and replace it to the inside of the frame. Guide it through the knot hole, make the double half hitch knot (over under through, and then over under through again), and tighten with the trusty pliers. I think it should work since by using the tension head to keep tension before moving the starting glide clamp to the inside of the frame, so therefore the only possible loss of tension would occur in the very short length of string going from the inside of the left string (where I just put my glide bar clamp), and to the knot hole, and I do tighten it pretty tight with the pliers anyways. Is this alright? Or is there some procedure to ensure correct tension?


Anyhow, I think when I stop by the tennis and squash shop I'll by a set or two of the Dunlop M-Fil TS strings as well to try with as well, they only cost 7 dollars per set, and I have a lot of money (alright, another  7/14 dollars out of my college savings won't hurt much haha).


Oh, and yeah, I think that since my strings are too loose currently. it's hard to achieve the correct amount of control and power on both hard and soft shots. For example, on a hard long rail or a fast kill shot, I find that it is lacking in power, whilst drop shots are more powerful than I want. I assume it's because with soft shots it is exploiting the great trampoline effect of such low tension strings so that even a tap has good force behind it. Then for hard shots, it probably is so loose that it will stretch the strings back, but the strings can't rebound quick enough to provide optimum power (as my sister herself stated, the lack of tension is "sucking up power"). This also seems to reduce overall control as well.

Back to top

From Good Length - 07 Feb 2009 - 10:09   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 10:42

 Ok a few issues here.. and sorry that you wasted a set of string, that sucks but expect to go through a few sets before you get it right. I would suggest using some el-cheapo syn gut until you get the tension and your consistency down.

First I'd like to point out my observation when it comes to power vs tension. There are two different types of power from the racket and each are effected differently but the string and tension. Basically it boils down to this. You want the wisest range of power output from you racket. You want very little power when you just touch the ball and you want maximum when you swing your hardest.

Lets take a medium tension. This might give you a great deal of power when you swing hard but it might be too powerful when you want to play a soft drop. Too much trampoline effect from the string bed.

If you go looser still, the ball will fly even just by touching the string bed and be very hard to control the power (not just the direction) and at some point they would be so loose that you would start to loose the power from the tension.  and therefore see a reduction in power when you swing hard. So there will be an optimum maximum possible power tension at some point in the lower range.

If you go up, you will start to find the trampoline effect drops off and it's possible to be very accurate and because it there is less power from the strings you have a much wider range of control.  But of course you then start to loose the maxium amount of power at the top end because the ball flattens and looses energy rather then deflecting the stringbed.

Imagine the steering wheel on a car. if the steering is low geared you can be very precise in how much you turn the car but you may not be able to reach full lock. If it's too fast, it will be less precise but you can get to full lock easily. Provided that doesn't make it too heavy!! But the optimum tends to be the one that has the best tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Hope that metaphore makes sense.

So I find it helpful to think of power as a graph curve of power out vs power in rather than a 1 to 10 bar chart that you see in the marketing material.

Obviously other factors come into it as well such as headsize - the larger, the higher tension you want as the long strings provide the power, you need to 'tone them down'

The pro's for example can use tight tensions and get great control because they can hit the sweetspot every time, and get power from good technique. Their powerband is wider than ours. You or I might need to drop a little to keep our powerband wide enough.

Ok, anyone still with me?? :)

So some practical tips for you Eddy: Did you know that a cheap fishing scale would be fine for testing that machine? Good enough to get you in the ball park and to adjust your 'numbers' from there. 

Also, even if the machine is bang on, there are lots of places during the stringing process that you can loose tension and be inconsistent; slipping clamps, inconsistent techniques, not tying knots properly, not tensioning the knots properly etc. It almost doesn't matter if you 'get something wrong' as long as you get it the same amount wrong each time! It's the repeatablity that you need to get. This comes from good and consistent technique.

Get some cheap string find a good tension and then see if you can get it the same twice in a row. Then you are ready for expensive strings :)

Good luck.

Back to top

From Eddy01741 - 07 Feb 2009 - 08:05

Well, tomorrow I'm getting a set of Supernick XL Ti on the weekend, I will probably string at around 34 lbs of tension (considering that 27.5lbs was too loose and that was on a string that was both 18 gauge and supposed to be strung at a lower tension than normal string).


And 1 inch mighta been a little exaggeratted, but it's clearly around 2cm of movement when pushed with both thumbs.

Back to top

From Adz - 07 Feb 2009 - 00:00


Try this as a starter for 10! Great value string without costing you the earth. Enough to do 22 racquets easily, and even at just $10 to string other peoples racquets (once you've got the process perfected of course!) it'll only take you 7 racquets to get your cash back, leaving you with 15 free attempts to get it right!! I'm sure you can sort out the tensions in that number of attempts!






p.s. Aplogies for the advertising on the forum, but this was the first company I found through google and in no-way affliliated with me! Perhaps you should also try the squashgame shop to compare prices!

Back to top

From Adz - 06 Feb 2009 - 23:53

Ok, so you're using an Aerogel Tour and PN18, you push your thumbs using your full strength in the center of the head and the string bed moves by an inch in depth???

Sounds like it'll be less than 20lbs of tension easily.

Try doing the test I said about earlier using an offcut of string (you'll need about a metre). Pull a single main to tension through the center holes of the racquets and see what flex you have on it at different machine tensions. In an ideal world you want it to have no more than 1.5 to 2 cm of flex.

Now this type of thing is usally easier with a 2 piece string as you can tighten or loosen the crosses to get your ideal tension (if your not bothered about the exact tensions and just want something that works for you personally) as long as you have the mains there or there abouts in tension.


I think the most important thing for you right now is to try and get some sort of steer on exactly what measured tension means practically e.g. 27.5lbs measured is probably less than 20lbs, so maybe a 34lb setting will be around 26lbs? Now testing this by using PN18 certainly isn't cheap! Is there any cheap reels of string available in your area to practise with? I picked up my first 200m reel of multifilament string for £30 which was great to practise with. Maybe you c an find something yourself for a similar price? Once you have the tensions roughly correct, all you need to do is work on the different characteristics in the strings e.g. a soft, thick string will use a different machine tension than a stiff, thin string to achieve a similar overall result.


Anyhow, the aim is to get a measure on how inaccurate the machines measures are and take appropriate action!!








Back to top

From Eddy01741 - 06 Feb 2009 - 22:24

I'm pretty damn sure that it's not at 27.5lbs, not anywhere near it at all. RIght now the strings are so loose that just pushing the center in with my thumbs I can get a good inch of movement easily. I don't think I messed up any of the mains or crosses, but I don't know. I am inclined to think that it is just the machine, since it has now happened to me twice and another person once too.


I realize that PowerNick 18 is supposed to be stiff and is supposed to be strung at 10-20% below regular tension. However, i cannot describe to you how loose my strings are right now compared to factory strung racquets (or professionally restrung racquets), all I can say is that they feel extremely loose. So I guarantee you bosartek, these Powernick 18 strings currently in my racquet are anything BUT too tight. They were loose to begin with when I first restrung my racquet, and now after a week they just got a bit looser. As I said, compared to the professionally restrung racquet of my sister (Supernick XL Ti, don't know what tension), it has much less power and less control, which would lead me to think that it is just too low a tension.


In case you guys don't know, I'd say that the Neos 1000 stringing machine at the school is at least 5 years old, and I doubt it has ever been calibrated before, so the accuracy is extremely dubious on it.

Back to top

From Adz - 06 Feb 2009 - 19:09

Something doesn't sound right here at all!

Bos is right with the comments on the Powernick 18. Needs to be strung with a lower tension and won't stretch that much from string-creep. Now changing tension so significantly suggests that one or more of the strings is WAY off tension and the creep rebalanced the tensions across the racquet. I've seen this once upon a time when a friend tried to use my machine to string their racquet without knowing what they were doing! Effectively the last two mains and crosses were both hopeless on tensions (as they'd messed up the knots) and they ended up with one half of the racquet inccredibly loose.

Firstly quoting tensions from that machine is not going to help anyone as the machine could be so badly calibrated that 27.5lbs could actually be more like 17lbs! If you're going to use the machine, either get yourself a very cheap reel and test the tensions at different settings (how I started out) or get yourself a tension calibrator (what I do now).

It got to a stage where I knew that I was stringing tensions around 24/25lbs and the machine was telling me 16!! Now at that time all I was doing was stringing my own racquets and the "exact" tension didn't worry me, but once I'd started doing work for other people I had to be more precise. Now my machine get's re-calibrated every week to two weeks and I can tell you that having powernick strung at 27.5lbs is WAY too stiff. How anyone could get any power out of that tension is beyond me. When the logs of the pro's strings were posted in the other thread, I somehow question that any of them have powernick off a machine measured 30lbs. It's probably more like a machine measured 24lbs allowing for the 20% decrease due to the type of string. Otherwise given the type of string and the tension we'd certainly be seeing more pro's snapping racquets simply by hitting the ball.


So coming back to my earlier point....... you need to find some way to check the measures on the machine. String just ONE main at 27.5lbs and try to ping it like a guitar string. It should quite a high pitch with the string able to move about 1.5 to 2cm at the mid length of the main. If it moves more then the tension is lower than you think and you might need to start again. Not an exact science by any means, but better than trusting a faulty tension measurement!






Back to top

From bosartek - 06 Feb 2009 - 16:38   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 15:21


The only thing you forgot to consider here is the effect of string gauge (thickness) on power and feel. Thinner string will stretch more when pulled at the same tension as a thicker string (think of a thick vs thin rubberband or guitar string) and so will feel stiffer. Thus, to get more power out of a thin string, you must decrease tension by approximately 10% (2-3 lbs).

Powernick 18 is a thin string with a very stiff feel. For the average player, 27.5lbs is already on the tight side and, with Powernick 18, this will feel very stiff and lacking in power (very unsatisfying to play with; it would be like stringing your old Dunlop with the m-fil string at 30lbs). To better evaluate this string and get more power out of it, string it at 24-25lbs and then see how it compares to your sister's racquet. If you tension any type of string above 30lbs, the stringbed will feel stiff as a board, so definitely do not increase tension!

As for the tension loss, I would suspect the string job rather than the string itself. The Powernick strings are made with Zyex, a very dense type of filament that exhibits minimal tension loss after stringing, and they do not suffer much from creep. If the ball is flying off in an unintended direction, there is something else going on; did you miss any weaves on the cross strings or skip a string? Alternatively, you might just not be used to the racquet yet. Let us know how it goes!

Back to top

Sorry, only members can post replies on this and all other Members` Forum items.

Join Here - It`s fast and it`s free!

Check other member benefits here...

Support Squashgame

Support us here at! If you think we helped you, please consider our Squash Shop when purchasing or make a small contribution.

Products Now Available

US Squash Shop



Squash Balls


Squash Rackets

Sport and Leisure

Video Games