Years ago I used to play with a vibration dampener that spanned across a few strings, on the basis that its shear size must provide the maximum dampening. One day I lost it and had to play a match without it. While it took a while to get used to the change in sound I enjoyed the improved feedback given from the string bed without it. After that experience I went on to play without the dampener for many years.
The last 12 months have been an adventure, a search for my next playing rackets. Trust me, that whole experience is deserving of a post (or two). But that will have to wait till later.
In trying so many different rackets I managed to get myself a mild case of tennis elbow. Given a hectic match schedule, and in addition to treatment and rest, I started playing with multifilament and natural gut strings. Even though these strings are inherently softer than the poly I normally play it’s amazing how aware you become of any vibration when you’re nursing an injury.
Finally we arrive at the topic of this post, the vibration dampener. Having played sans dampener now for so long I hate (yes hate is the correct term) the loss of feel and feedback that all dampeners I’ve tried remove from contact. Anyway, I happened to came across a dampener called “Pete Sampras Tourna Vibration Dampener” and brought it in as an incidental with another equipment order. This is a simple “O” dampener that gets inserted between the middle main strings at the throat of the hoop. This dampener does an exceptional job of removing the vibrations on ball contact. But what is unique is it leaves everything else there. The feel of the ball on the strings is still very apparent, not completely dead as with other dampeners. WOW!
My wife is a convert as well now. Seriously, you have to try this for yourself!