Tennis Racquet Strings A Guide To Gut Synthetic Gut And Polyester

When it comes to playing tennis, the racquet is a crucial piece of equipment that can have a significant impact on your performance. However, it’s not just the racquet itself that matters; the strings you choose to use can also make a big difference. In fact, the strings play a critical role in determining the feel, power, control, spin potential, and comfort of your racquet.

Choosing the right tennis strings can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the sport. With so many different types of tennis strings available, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, selecting the right strings is essential if you want to maximize your strengths and personalize your playing style. Whether you’re looking for more power, control, or spin, there’s a tennis string out there that can help you achieve your goals.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of tennis strings available, including gut, synthetic gut, and polyester. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of string, as well as how to choose the right string for your playing style. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of the role that strings play in your racquet’s performance and be better equipped to choose the right strings for your needs.

String Materials – A Deep Dive

When it comes to choosing the right tennis racquet string, the material is a crucial factor to consider. Each string material has its own unique characteristics that can greatly affect your playing experience. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the three main types of tennis racquet strings: Natural Gut, Synthetic Gut, and Polyester.

Natural Gut

If you’re looking for the ultimate in feel and comfort, natural gut strings are the way to go. Made from cow or sheep intestines, natural gut strings offer unmatched elasticity, which translates into excellent power and control. The strings also have excellent tension maintenance, meaning they will hold their tension longer than other string materials.

However, natural gut strings do have some drawbacks. They are the most expensive type of tennis string, and they are sensitive to changes in weather and humidity. Additionally, natural gut strings are not as durable as other string materials, so they may need to be replaced more frequently.

Natural gut strings are best suited for advanced players who prioritize feel and comfort over everything else.

Synthetic Gut

Synthetic gut strings are a popular choice for recreational players, beginners, and players on a budget. They are made from a variety of materials, including nylon, polyester, and other synthetic fibers. Synthetic gut strings offer good all-around performance at an affordable price point. They are also more durable than natural gut strings.

There are different variations of synthetic gut strings available on the market, including basic multifilament, textured synthetics, and solid core with multifilament wrap. Each variation has its own unique characteristics, but all offer good value for the money.


Polyester strings are a popular choice for baseline grinders, frequent string breakers, and players who desire more spin. Polyester strings offer excellent spin potential, durability, and control. They are also less sensitive to changes in weather and humidity than natural gut strings.

However, polyester strings are stiffer than other string materials, which can lead to arm discomfort, especially if you have a history of arm injuries. Additionally, polyester strings can be more difficult to install due to their stiffness.

Polyester strings are best suited for players who prioritize spin and durability over feel and comfort.

Additional String Factors to Consider

When choosing tennis strings, there are several factors to consider beyond the type of string you choose. Two of the most important factors are gauge and tension.

Gauge (Thickness)

The gauge of a tennis string refers to its thickness. Thinner gauge strings offer more power but less durability, while thicker gauge strings offer more control and increased durability. Common gauges include 15L, 16, 17, and 18.

If you’re looking for more power in your shots, a thinner gauge string may be the way to go. However, if you tend to hit with a lot of spin and want more control over your shots, a thicker gauge string may be a better option.

String Tension

String tension refers to the tightness of the strings on your tennis racquet. Lower tension results in increased power but less control, while higher tension results in increased control but less power.

It’s important to note that string tension affects the stiffness of the stringbed and the dwell time of the ball on the strings. Lower tension results in a softer, more forgiving stringbed, while higher tension results in a stiffer, less forgiving stringbed.

If you’re a power player looking to hit big shots, you may want to consider a lower tension. If you’re a finesse player looking for more control over your shots, a higher tension may be a better option.

Choosing the Right String Setup

When it comes to tennis racquet strings, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Choosing the right string setup requires careful consideration of your individual needs as a player.

Individual Player Needs

Different players have different playing styles, skill levels, and preferences. For big hitters seeking control, polyester strings may be the best option. For players needing arm comfort, synthetic gut or natural gut strings may be the way to go.

It’s important to experiment with different types of strings to find the right match for your game. Consider factors such as string tension, gauge, and material when making your selection.

Hybrid Stringing

Hybrid stringing is the practice of combining different string types in the mains and crosses of your racquet. This can offer the benefits of multiple string types in one setup.

For example, using poly in the mains for durability and synthetic gut or natural gut in the crosses for feel can provide a good balance of control and comfort. Experimenting with different combinations can help you find the perfect setup for your game.

Expert Tips and Insights

If you want to improve your tennis game, choosing the right tennis racquet string is crucial. Here are some expert tips and insights that can help you make the right choice.


Pre-stretching is a process that involves pulling the strings before they are installed on the tennis racket. This process can reduce tension loss and improve performance. It is especially important for synthetic gut strings, which tend to lose tension more quickly than natural gut strings. When pre-stretching, make sure to use a proper tennis stringing machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Regular Restringing

Regular restringing is important to maintain the performance of your tennis racket. A general guideline is to restring your racket as many times per year as you play per week. For example, if you play tennis three times per week, you should restring your racket three times per year. String tension can also affect your playing style, so make sure to choose the right tension for your game.

Stringing Patterns

Stringing patterns can also affect your playing style. Dense patterns can provide increased control, while open patterns can provide increased spin potential. The type of string you choose can also affect your playing style. Polyester strings, for example, can provide increased control and durability, while synthetic gut strings can provide increased power and comfort.

When choosing a stringing pattern, make sure to consider your playing style and skill level. If you are a beginner or intermediate player, you may want to choose a more open pattern to improve your spin potential. If you are an advanced player, you may want to choose a more dense pattern to improve your control.

Beyond the Basics: Advanced String Technology

If you’re an experienced tennis player, you may be looking for ways to take your game to the next level. One way to do this is by exploring advanced string technology. In this section, we’ll discuss two types of advanced strings: shaped strings and co-polyester strings.

Shaped Strings

Shaped strings have textured surfaces that can help generate more spin on the ball. These strings are designed to grip the ball better, allowing you to put more spin on your shots. This can be especially helpful for players who like to hit heavy spin shots. Some popular shaped strings include Luxilon Alu Power Rough and Solinco Tour Bite.

Co-polyester Strings

Co-polyester strings are a softer formulation of polyester strings that blend control and comfort. These strings are designed to provide more control than traditional synthetic gut strings, while still offering some of the comfort of natural gut strings. Co-polyester strings are a popular choice among professional players, as they allow for a high level of control and spin potential. Some popular co-polyester strings include Babolat RPM Blast and Luxilon 4G.

By exploring shaped and co-polyester strings, you can take your game to the next level and improve your spin potential and control. Keep in mind that these strings may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s important to consult with a tennis professional or stringer to determine which type of string is best for you.


While understanding the technical aspects of strings is vital, don’t let it overshadow the joy of the game itself. Tennis is an art as much as it is a science. Sometimes, the best string choice is the one that simply feels right, that sparks an undeniable connection between your racquet and the ball. Trust your instincts, play with passion, and let those perfect shots fly.



Question: What’s the difference between natural gut, synthetic gut, and polyester tennis strings?

Answer: Here’s a breakdown:

  • Natural Gut: The gold standard for feel, power, and tension maintenance. Expensive and less durable.
  • Synthetic Gut: Offers good all-around performance and affordability, great for beginners and recreational players.
  • Polyester: Prioritizes durability, control, and spin potential. Can be stiffer on the arm.


Question: How do I choose the right tennis string tension?

Answer: Tension is key! Consider these guidelines:

  • Lower tension: Offers more power, but less control.
  • Higher tension: Provides more control, but less power.
  • Standard Range: Most racquets have a recommended tension range printed on the frame. Start in the middle of that range and adjust.


Question: Can I mix different types of tennis strings for a better setup?

Answer: Definitely! This is called hybrid stringing. Popular combos:

  • Polyester mains, natural gut crosses: Combines durability with superior feel.
  • Polyester mains, synthetic gut crosses: Balances control and comfort.


Question: How often should I restring my tennis racquet?

Answer: A general rule of thumb is playing hours per week = number of times to restring per year. However, if you’re a frequent string breaker or notice a dead feeling in your strings, it’s time for a restring.


Question: Do thicker or thinner tennis strings offer more power?

Answer: Generally, thinner gauge strings (like 17 gauge) offer more power but are less durable. Thicker gauge strings (like 16 gauge) provide more control and durability.

What’s your Reaction?

Author Information

Leave a Comment