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Pro-Stringer – Initial Impressions

Posted in Stringing Machines, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Recently we had the opportunity to review one of the more interesting/innovative products we have seen–the Pro-Stringer.  For those who do not know of it yet, the Pro Stringer is the world’s smallest stringing machine.  The machine was originally conceived by a tour level player who wanted to be able to string for himself in order to save on the high stringing costs he found on tour.  He desired a machine that was completely portable and would produce a string job as good or better than he could get using the tour stringing facilities.

As self-proclaimed stringing snobs, we were admittedly skeptical about the type of results we could generate from something that appears to be nothing more than a “hobby-level machine.”  However, we pride ourselves on being open-minded and went into our testing with the goal of keeping our skepticism at bay until we had a chance to experience the Pro-Stringer for ourselves.  Given the size of the machine and some not so complimentary comments we came across through a Google search, we were less than optimistic.

Our Pro-Stringer arrived and even though we had seen online images, we were struck by the size.  The carrying case which encapsulated the entire system was smaller than a loaf of bread and made the Baiardo and even the Stringway in our shoppe look like behemoths.  As we removed the packaging we were impressed with how nice and efficient everything seemed.  We made a small workspace on the table and connected the table clamp, mounting post and rotational racquet bar.  It went up clean and easy.  Much sturdier than we imagined, especially the rotational racquet bar.  Now we were getting intrigued…

The next step was to mount our guinea pig frame, a demo unit from our store, a Donnay Formula 100.  The mounting is two point at 12 and 6.  The posts were threaded and we thought there was potential to possibly mark the frame so we decided to wrap a little lead tape around the part of the post that would come in contact with the frame.  We were careful with our mounting and with this extra precautionary step we experienced no issues at all in regard to cosmetic damage.

Now on to the fun stuff.  Because we had read comments questioning the accuracy of the unit, our first order of business was to check it out for ourselves.  We set up our tension calibrator and proceeded to test the unit.  We connected the calibrator to the unit with kevlar string to avoid any stretching issues and pulled at different angles through the frame multiple times.  At each tension, the unit was spot on.  How could this be?  We had seen a YouTube demonstration where the tension was all over the place.  Perhaps that unit had an issue?  Perhaps it was not the new platinum version?  All we know is that whatever tension we dialed up, the machine delivered.  One huge concern addressed, now onto stringing.

We strung our Donnay Formula with a combination of MSV Focus Hex Soft in the mains with WeissCANNON New Element 500 in the crosses.  This poly/syn hybrid is one that is popular with our customers and one that tends to do well in our demo frames.  We normally string with flying clamps because we believe they provide the best string job especially when we string using the JET Method.  Usually we clamp on the bottom of the stringbed.  With limited space between the rotational bar and the frame we had to use the clamps on top of the racquet instead of underneath so this was one adjustment we had to make.  The clamps that come with the unit are functional.  There are two sizes and they are adjustable.  We used them for the majority of the string job, but by about 1/2 way through the crosses we were longing for our beloved Stringway flying clamps so we switched out just to see how the Pro-Stringer felt with our familiar clamps.

Installing the mains was a pleasant experience.  We were super interested in the tensioning unit.  By setting the unit directly against the frame there was no long stretch of string essentially getting pulled twice.  We like this.  In fact, we like this A LOT!!!  We also were watching for frame distortion and with the tensioner directly against the frame we were not finding the distortion we expected.  We measured the frame when we first put it on and again when finished.  No distortion.  Another win for the Pro-Stringer.  The tension adjustment on the unit is small and not so easy to read.  Because we make use of different tensions when pulling our mains, getting this set correctly slowed us down a little, but it is something we could definitely live with if stringing on the road.  It would be cool if a future version of this machine could have some form of digital tension display and method for setting.

Now we were ready for the cross strings.  We were concerned with the limited distance between the stringbed and the rotational racquet bar that we would have problems with weaving the crosses.  After the first few weaves we found a very nice rhythm. The rotational racquet bar is not very wide and with our weaving technique we tend to weave in a “V” pattern and pull the string at the half way point.  This worked nicely for the majority of the crosses.  Once we got close to the bottom of the frame we were working in tight space and the rotational bar did end up slowing us down a little at this point.  It was something that whoever uses the machine will probably get used to and it should be easily overcome.  We thought this challenge would be a showstopper and were surprised how little it impeded our stringing process.

When we removed the racquet from the machine we measured the tension several ways.  The RDC reading was 42.  We were expecting 44, but the reading was close to what we expected and given time to get used to the stringing process with the Pro-Stringer we believe we would be able to get to our desired results.  The center 14 mains were all within 2-3 pounds of each other as measured with the Stringmeter and the crosses were also consistent.  We plan to do additional testing in the coming weeks to see just how close we can come to replicating the results we get with our Baiardo and Stringway machines.

Our conclusion is that the Pro-Stringer is a serious machine.  It definitely does not fall under the category of “hobby-level”.  No hobby level machine we have tested has come close to giving us our desired outcomes.  The Pro-Stringer impressed us and made us want to delve deeper to see what it can do once we become more fluid and used to using it.  Given the huge advantage this machine has over anything in the marketplace in terms of portability and the small amount of space needed for storage, we believe the future is indeed very bright.

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New…Free Shipping to Canada!

Posted in Guts and Glory Announcements | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Guts and Glory Tennis is delighted to announce that we have partially solved one of the huge logistical challenges we have been facing in providing products to non-commercial customers residing in Canada.  In the past, the shipping costs to send a parcel with tracking and insurance was extremely high and made ordering from us undesirable.  Recently we have found a method that allows us to overcome that challenge and ship to Canada for a reasonable cost.  At this time we are only able to offer reels of strings we distribute from MSV, WeissCANNON and L-TEC.  We hope in the future we will be able to extend the products available.

Because the product selection is limited we have created a separate section of our web site that is dedicated to Canadians who are interested in ordering from us.  With the new shipping arrangement we have developed, the price of shipping is included with the cost of the product.  No additional charges will be assessed for online orders placed through the “Canadian Catalog” a dedicated portion of our web site that can be found at

Please remember that the current offerings are limited, but we hope if sales of these products develop as we project that we will be able to add additional products in the future.  In the meantime we welcome our new Canadian customers and invite you to share the good news with your friends!

Ode to the Mono

Posted in Racquets | Tagged , | 7 Comments
Very little information is available online about the Prince Precision Mono, one of the coolest racquets ever produced. It is entirely possible this racquet was introduced years ahead of it’s time. The tennis world just wasn’t ready, and still isn’t ready, for a radical retro paradigm shift back to the monoshaft design. Still, this is my racquet of choice and I am glad others are not using it because it clearly gives me a mental and technological edge over my opponents. This piece is written to pay homage to a racquet that was introduced before the internet became the bastion of information it is today.

Prince Precision Mono

Top 7 Reasons Why the Prince Precision Mono is the perfect racquet for me…

7. Classic cosmetics and rugged good looks remind me of self.

6. It’s over two decades old, meaning it has the elements of maturity and experience over other racquets it faces across the net.

5. I love the reaction when I tell my opponents “it’s a suped-up badminton racquet”…and then beat them!

4. Totally unique and unconventional, the same elements on which my game is so cleverly based.

3. Jimmy Connors used a Prince Mono on the senior’s tour…conclusive proof that tennis legends really do idolize me.

2. Precision is it’s middle name, Harold is mine; the cool quotient is no coincidence.

1. Chicks dig it!

More Mono Facts

First introduced in 1994

Headsize: 97.6 in
Length: 27 in
Weight: 11.8 oz
Balance: 8 points head light
Flex: 62
Swingweight: 329
Pattern: 16 x 21
Composition: 100% Graphite
Cross Section: 20mm Straight Beam
Power Level 1991
MSRP (1994) $150.00

My Current Setup
Favorite strings: Poly mains/Natural Gut crosses
Tension: 44 mains/48 crosses
#64 Rubber Band Vibration Dampener

Racquet Strengths
Lightning fast at net
Wicked slicing backhands
Best volleying stick in the history of tennis
Hitting overheads: An absolute dream
Perfect balance of precision, control and power
Delicious specs for an all-court game

Monoshaft Design Features
Increases racquet manuverability 25% over open throat racquets
Multidirectional Flex – consistent flex in all directions for maximum touch and feel

Prince Precision Mono…Cool Under Pressure!
John “15+ MPH on Every Serve” Youngblood is a part-time writer and humorist who often says “Those foolish enough to take the opposite end of the court against me are quite frankly going to GET THE SHAFT everytime.” He also believes the pun is underrated.

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Sweet Spotter Sweetness.

Posted in Other Equipment, Tennis Elbow, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Last week I received an email message from a colleague in Germany.  He asked me “why don’t you carry the Sweet Spotter?”  My response was “what is a Sweet Spotter?” and that is how my newest journey began…

Within minutes I was dialing up Mr. Google to see what the heck my friend was talking about.  It took me to a web site where I was greeted by the image of buxom brunette starring at a curiously shaped object embossed with a “Sweet Spotter” logo.  So there it was, in full splendor and glory for the world to admire, but I remained confused.  What is it?  What does it have to do with tennis?  Why does the buxom brunette appear to be so smitten with it?

I went on to explore the web site more fully.  I read about the origin of the device and learned it was created by a passionate tennis coach and former Davis Cup player from Cameroon and France who was schooled in engineering and is now a US citizen with multiple patents and inventions on his resume.  As I continued reading and watching videos that explained the product I remained skeptical, but strangely intrigued.

I came away from my online self-study having learned that the Sweet Spotter is a tennis improvement device that was inspired by a simple baseball bat.  The re-engineered version is designed to blend some of the characteristics found in a baseball bat with some characteristics of  a tennis racquet.  The inventor boldly claims the device can assist players in developing and improving all phases of their game, (especially serve and return of serve), by sharpening the point of contact, improving timing, developing accuracy, building strength, and enhancing  form.   The site then goes on to detail the multitude of benefits through short narratives and multiple video highlights.

The more I tried to be open to the concept, the more the claims began to make sense to me.  (I still had no idea about how the buxom brunette fit into the picture.)  I was especially intrigued by the notion that the Sweet Spotter could help a player with centering the ball thus reducing off-center hits.  In my mind, this is the #1 advantage because if using the Sweet Spotter can help the tennis player achieve this objective, then there is a very real possibility that shock from off-center hits will be greatly reduced/eliminated.  Eliminating shock, in most instances, will be a cure for those who are prone to arm/elbow discomfort.  Bring it on!

Growing more excited by the moment I reached out to the company.  After a conversation, I was even more convinced the device needed to be examined more closely.  I wanted to personally assess whether the claims were accurate and to see if my belief that it could be an aid to assist those suffering from tennis elbow had any merit.  In a few short days my Sweet Spotter arrived.

Honestly, opening the package made my day.  When it arrived I unpacked it and found it carefully swaddled in an impressive tube shaped carrying case.  Yes, the product is expensive.  In fact, a quick search of some discussion boards showed the pricing to be the number 1 concern.  However, I rationalized that if it lives up to even a small portion of the claims, the Sweet Spotter would be worth every penny and then some.  When I removed it from the carrying case I swear I heard a heavenly Hallelujah in the background.  The Sweet Spotter wreaked of quality, from the precise engineering right down to the beautiful paint job and visually appealing logo.   I was so excited to give it a whirl I immediately began hitting some balls around the tennis shoppe.  Okay…so I knocked down a picture and tagged our sheltie with some enthusiastic shanks, but it was my first experience and primitive as it was, the Sweet Spotter showed promise.

Later that night I approached the tennis courts for my first attempt at taming this beast of a training aid.  Just me, a bucket of balls, my Sweet Spotter and my trusty tennis racquet.  I was there to experience serving with this training aid since I had no hitting partner.  I set up at the service line and choked up high on the Sweet Spotter.  I easily made contact, though directional control was less than precise.  I gradually lowered my grip position on the handle and backed myself toward the baseline.  Within less than 10 minutes I was serving with the Sweet Spotter.  The process of getting to the point where I could strike the ball and maintain some control was not as challenging or time-consuming as I imagined it might be.  Please do not take my comment out of context.  I was expecting balls to be flying everywhere.  I was expecting swings and misses.  While making contact was not an issue, making proper contact was much more challenging and I freely admit to being forced to traverse both courts in order to recover my practice balls.  However, all stayed within the fence.

As my session progressed I became more proficient at making solid contact with the Sweet Spotter.  When I made solid contact, the feedback from the device was pleasing to the senses.  It felt good.  Really good.  Heck, let’s be honest…it was addictive type of good.  With each stroke I found myself striving to find that magic point of feedback and I immediately understood what the informational web site meant when it talked about finding the O Zone and wanting to live there, but still had no idea as to the purpose of the buxom brunette.

To end the first session I pulled out my racquet and began hitting some serves.  At first the balls were finding the bottom of the net.  My racquet is head light and the Sweet Spotter is head heavy.  It took me a few balls to dial into the change in momentum of the device I was wielding.  Once dialed in I noticed I was reaching higher, extending more and hitting serves with greater ease.  I only hit about a dozen serves but I definitely noticed a difference.

After the session, I could not get the hitting sensation out of my mind.  The next day I was a little sore.  I had obviously been working some muscles that typically do not get that type of work out.  In spite of the muscle aches I could not wait to return to the courts and hit with the Sweet Spotter again.  However, as excited as I am to give it another go, I have decided to postpone my journey.

When I next go to the courts I fully intend to have video equipment in tow.  My goal is to document the learning process via this blog as well as video recorded sessions.  I am currently seeking a hitting partner to join on the journey.  Ideally I would love to find someone who is suffering from tennis elbow, but is not currently inflamed.  If I can not find someone who fits this criteria and is willing to go through the discovery process with me, I will instead look for either a player who has maybe plateaued at a certain level and is looking to improve or someone who is very skeptical to see if they remain skeptical or are converted.

While not knowing precisely what the next step might be or when it will occur, (likely the start of the new year), resisting the urge to get out and continue working with The Sweet Spotter is going to definitely present a challenge to my self control.   The urge is to get out there again.  Hitting with it was extremely fun and although the initial session was limited, I believe I caught a glimpse of the potential for this device and it is exciting.

Fortunately or unfortunately I am blessed with a sensitive elbow.  One racquet I have enjoyed is the Yonex VCore 100s, but my elbow does not tolerate the stiffness of that frame very well. If I can not find a testing partner with elbow sensitivity I will use myself and the Yonex frame with full poly setup to test the theory of the device aiding those suffering from tennis elbow.  While learning about this is my number one objective entering the test/trial, I will also pay attention to the myriad of advantages that the Sweet Spotter claims to produce and see if they have merit.  I hope those reading the blog or who are interested in this training tool will continue checking in and also enjoy the journey of discovery.

Until next time…

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Let’s label it “HEX-tacular!”

Posted in MSV Strings, Strings, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The hottest selling string in the MSV lineup is the much loved and award-winning MSV Focus Hex®.  This string represents what is arguably one of the best price/performance values of any string on the market today.  The performance rivals and surpasses much higher priced competitors…a fact that thousands of players and schools and top-ranked juniors like Brooke Austin across the USA have already discovered.

Not content to rest on the laurels of the MSV Focus Hex®, Dr. Mauve decided to raise the bar.  After significant work designing, playtesting and re-designing; MSV is launching several new variations of their flagship string and all will be available in 2013.

The first new offering out of the gate is MSV Focus Hex® SOFT.  This product hit the shelves at the end of 2012 and has already garnered significant praise from MSV players as well as players switching over from other brands.  MSV Focus Hex® SOFT is a string derived from the same core materials as the MSV Focus Hex®, but it is 8% softer than the original string.  On the court this translates into a more plush hitting sensation.  Dr. Mauve was aware that the vast majority of players using Focus Hex enjoyed the crisp comfort the string offers, but some described the hitting sensation as a bit “plasiticy.”  The Focus Hex SOFT addressed this issue while providing the same outstanding access to spin and control that MSV Focus Hex users expect from this line of strings.  The new MSV Focus Hex® SOFT is available in 4 diameters and most offer a choice of 2 colors.
16ga (1.30mm) comes in white only
17ga (1.25mm) is available in red and black
17L ga (1.20mm) can be purchased in yellow or black
18ga (1.15mm) comes in your choice of aqua blue or black

As technology advances so do chemicals and additives that allow the formulation of poly-based string products to become increasingly player friendly.  The initial effort to create a version of MSV Focus Hex® offering a slightly different hitting sensation led to several formula variations that excited MSV playtesters across the globe.  The level of enthusiasm for some of the significantly softer versions of MSV Focus Hex® led to the design, production and release of the newest offering from Mauve Sports – – “MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38″

As you may have already guessed from the name of the string, this hexagonal offering measures an impressive 38% softer than MSV Focus Hex® in laboratory testing.  The inherent power that players will experience using the MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38 is greater than the original and soft versions of the Focus Hex, but at the same time the control is there to keep the power inside the lines causing significant problems for opponents.  In previous years softer poly-based strings were unable to maintain their playing properties, but playtesters and tests verify this is not a concern with the advanced materials used in the construction of this exciting offering from Mauve Sports.

Players who previously complained about the feel of poly-based strings are going to be scratching their heads in disbelief when they get a set of this in their frames.  The comfort level is at a threshhold where many users will have difficulty distinguishing it to be different than synthetic gut offerings.  At the same time they will realize greater spin and control than they have ever experienced with a traditional synthetic gut string.  The MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38 can be blended with synthetics, but adding comfort would not likely be a reason for this type of hybrid combination.  MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38 will be offered in 4 gauges and multiple colors beginning February 2013.
16ga (1.30mm) White only
17ga (1.25mm) Black, White and Red
17Lga (1.20mm) Black, White and Red
18ga (1.15mm) Black, White and Red

While the MSV Focus Hex® SOFT and MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38 are the first two new offerings to hit the shelves, there was one additional breakout string in terms of playtest results that is also coming soon.  This string is projected to be available later this spring.  It is called MSV Focus Hex® Plus 25.  As you have correctly surmised, it is 25% softer than the original MSV Focus Hex®.  There were several playtesters who appreciated the added comfort and power the MSV Focus Hex® Plus 38 offered, but preferred just slightly more crispy hitting sensations.  The MSV Focus Hex® Plus 25 delivers this exact level of performance.  This specialty string will initially only be offered in 2 diameters 17ga (1.25mm) and 17L ga (1.20mm) and will only be available in a single color – – black.

Exciting things are happening with MSV string products in 2013 and we hope you will consider playtesting them to determine if they are a string that can help you reach your full playing potential on the court.  We believe like thousands of players already firmly situated in the MSV camp, that you are going to love them!

The most biased, politically incorrect and completely over-the-top racquet review–EVER! (And it is ALL TRUE!…well, mostly true)

Posted in Racquets | Tagged , | 4 Comments

As soon as I began warming up the first time with the Donnay demo that had been sitting in my bag waiting its turn for a playtest, I could sense something very special was about to go down.  In this case it was my league tennis opponent who went down…hard…extremely hard…whimpering off the court kinda […]

Varying tension on cross strings

Posted in Stringing | Tagged , | 127 Comments

For as long as we have been stringing there has been an ongoing discussion revolving around the pros and cons of altering the tension between the main strings and cross strings.  Many years ago we concluded it was a matter of personal preference.  The players in the camp advocating a lower set tension argued that […]

NEW! MSV Focus Hex Soft Arrives – – All Hail Mauve Sports!

Posted in MSV Strings | Tagged | 1 Comment

American tennis players have a huge appetite for MSV Focus Hex tennis string.  In fact, the appetite for the most delicious string in their line is so veracious on an global level that it is difficult to produce adequate supplies to meet the rapidly increasing demand. Players of all levels continue to discover the delightful […]

Recycling Tennis Balls

Posted in Guts and Glory Announcements, Other Equipment, Poo-Poo Platter | Tagged , | 18 Comments

What do you do with your tennis balls after they lose their bounce and are no longer playable?  It is not unreasonable to assume that the vast majority of tennis players simply toss them away with the leftover meatloaf that has been in the refrigerator for the past month.  Did you know it is estimated […]

Playing MANTIS!

Posted in Racquets | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Several weeks ago we were proudly adding great-playing racquets that were arm-friendly to our inventory.  We did extensive playtesting and brought in a large selection of Donnay frames and a few from Pacific.  We were ecstatic (and still are!) about these terrific additions to offer our customers.  As we were finalizing our plans to carry […]

Donnay Frames now available!

Posted in Guts and Glory Products, Racquets | Tagged , | 3 Comments

We are extremely proud to introduce Donnay as the first line of racquets Guts and Glory Tennis has made available directly to our local and online customers. We chose Donnay as the first line of frames we are making available to our customers  for two main reasons.  1.  The performance aspects of the frame are […]

Your New Source for Arm Friendly Racquets

Posted in Guts and Glory Announcements, Guts and Glory Products, Racquets, Tennis Elbow | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

Located in the heart of Suwanee, GA at 333 Main Street, tennis players will find a friendly family-run tennis business with a passion for providing local tennis players the absolute best in racquet services.  When our shoppe opened in fall 2011, it served as  showroom for our online tennis gift products and a friendly stringing […]

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