Any Scientific Way to Choose a Pool Cue Length??

Calgaryplayer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not like the weight of pool cues you can have at least four basic choices (18 to 21oz) to select from. There are not many choices of the length of pool cues for buyers to choose from. Maybe many people have to "accept" the stanard length of many two piece production cues which are 58" regardness how tall they are.

But people come with vary body sizes from their height, arms even stances. I was wondering if there are any Scientific Way to select an ideal pool cue length not just based on the comfort (subjective view), but based on the measurment (objective view)?? For example, the height or arm length of the person. Just like buying a pair of shoes!
 
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TheBook

Ret Professional Goof Off
Silver Member
jimmy Reid use to have it posted on his site. I know it is in his video and he can use your financial help. The video are well worth having and should be in everyones collection.
 

LAlouie

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As you say, people come in all sizes. They also come with idiosyncrasies. Two people built exactly the same will want to hold the cue differently, get down over the cue differently, sight differently, spread their legs or keep them close together. It all comes down to "feel", and that all occurs between the ears. You can't measure that scientifically.

Given the extremes with which you see players hold their cue, from choking to holding the cue at the butt, from short bridges to long, the variance can be over 24". That's quite a bit and it covers a wide range of physiques. So you end up settling for a cue length that can accommodate that range. If a player likes a short bridge and holding the cue at the buttcap(that's about as long a distance as possible) and he is comfortable with that, what's the point of adding 4" of length,,,just to make it visually better? And don't forget, adding or shortening length changes weight, which may be unnecessary.

Realistically, since most people play with production cues, you're not going to see manufacturers wasting their time producing cues of various lengths. It's probably also a pain in the @ for custom cuemakers too. Baseball bats all come with the same length but you get some players who like them made special.
 
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Drew

Got a little dog in you?
Silver Member
Of course there's a scientific way of choosing the proper cue length. It's called trial and error. This technique also works with choosing everything else in a cue.
 

Dead Crab

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Get a tape measure, hold the body of it in your "back" hand and the end of the tape in your bridge hand.

Go to your pool table and imagining you are holding a cue, assume your standard stance, letting the tape feed out between your two hands.

Read the tape. You now have the distance between your bridge hand and back hand. Add this to the longest bridge distance (from cue tip to bridge hand) you expect to use, and that is how long your cue needs to be.

Example:

My comfortable back hand - bridge hand distance is 45"
The longest bridge I use is 13"
Adding these, I conclude I need a 58" cue.
 

DogLoop

Doing some cueing ?
Silver Member
Of course there's a scientific way of choosing the proper cue length. It's called trial and error. This technique also works with choosing everything else in a cue.


I'm gonna agree with Drew on this here. There IS a scientific method (trial and error does fit this), just not a set formulaic(I am height/armspan/stance width "x" and cue should then be length "y") one for all persons.
One poster mentioned that 2 different but relatively identically built people will address the ball and stand over the cue differently.
Once you find what is "right for you" it will likely not change much over time.
Also, cue length may be a less important variable; I know that for shots wherein I don't have to stretch or reach (if I play right, maybe 70%) I could probably function with a 50" cue.
 

nksmfamjp

Refugee...
Silver Member
It's not like a ski pole. That said, it seems to depend mostly on wingspan, shoulder angle to the shot and chin height off the cue.

In addition, I've read over 60" and the hit suffers at the same diameter.
 

ridinda9

AKA: Sandy Bagger
Silver Member
Realistically, since most people play with production cues, you're not going to see manufacturers wasting their time producing cues of various lengths. It's probably also a pain in the @ for custom cuemakers too. Baseball bats all come with the same length but you get some players who like them made special.

not to change sports ( n then I do anyway) but baseball bats have always been length specific - those are length numbers stamped on the butt , not weights - Louisville Slugger has always offered standard bats from 26"-42" with any other length being available on a custom basis . In the majors , changing the WEIGHT of a bat , through leading, or more commonly , CORKING, is a major violation.
 

steev

Lazy User
Silver Member
What I'm implying is, it's not the size of the player, but the size of the pool balls that matters most...hence different cue styles for snooker and billiards.

-s
 

tucson9ball

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not like the weight of pool cues you can have at least four basic choices (18 to 21oz) to select from. There are not many choices of the length of pool cues for buyers to choose from. Maybe many people have to "accept" the stanard length of many two piece production cues which are 58" regardness how tall they are.

But people come with vary body sizes from their height, arms even stances. I was wondering if there are any Scientific Way to select an ideal pool cue length not just based on the comfort (subjective view), but based on the measurment (objective view)?? For example, the height or arm length of the person. Just like buying a pair of shoes!


You should contact Eddie Wheat, he can get you hooked up with a wingspan measurement. There may even be some people on this forum with "Wheat Bucks" so you could get a discount.;)
 

Cue Guru

Close, but no roll...
Silver Member
Hell yeah, length is important!

Hey, guys! Sticking my nose in again...:grin-square:

I use and prefer a 59" cue. I'm 6'-2" tall and "long armed" meaning my span is greater than my height. If I was "short armed" (or even "normal armed") a typical 58" cue would be fine for me. Due to relative rarity of longer cues, I decided to make my own (there are/were other reasons too but for sake of discussion...).

I can play just as (poorly) with a 58 as a 59; however there is a certain level of comfort that I get from a properly made 59 that I don't necessarily get with a 58. I have an (OLD) Richard Black that is 59"; however that was 'lengthened' by making longer shafts (they are original and therefore VERY rare for a Black). It plays just fine, but you can definitely feel the shafts are longer- they are 13.25mm but feel much thinner than that due to their 'whippiness'. And they are only 1" longer (only 3%!) than a standard 58" cue shaft. So a 'centered' joint is clearly required.

Now, many early custom cues used to be ~57" (a lot of Balabushka's for example) and this shorter length and a larger diameter butt (as compared to 'mainstream' cues these days) led to a certain 'feel' to the cue for sure. That is not to say a 'better' feel- just a different one. The shorter length is stiffer- bend an un-sharpened pencil as opposed to one sharpened down to half-length. Big difference... Sort of brings that 3% longer shaft into perspective as well... So, stiff shafts are 'old-school cool' but are considered 'high deflection' shafts in todays market- that's an entirely new and massive can of angry worms...

Anyway, I try to adjust ALL dimensions in the cue to preserve a certain feel that I prefer (mainly because I am new to cue making, and make cues for me, my way, not to order). Simply making the cue "an inch longer" is in no way the same a properly scaling a cue up. I do like the 'feel' of Gus Szamboti's work, so I strive for that sort of feel. Many do not like such a 'hard' hit, but again, it's for me!

Therefore, to scale as I do, certain dimensions (such as the butt diameter at the cap end) are adjusted up as well as the length. Specific lengths of the exposed forearm, point termination, wrap area length (I don't do a 'handle' per se as I prefer to work with a full splice only) and the length of the butt area. I also prefer a Delrin butt cap over other materials because of the weight of the material. Some who play with a standard 58" cue comment on the weight of the cue first- most don't notice the length or the slightly larger butt diameter of the cue when playing with it. Most then comment they like the hit, and move on to cosmetics from there...

As mentioned before: it feels heavy when handled; however not when shot with. My grip hand is in the middle (+/- and inch) of the wrap of the cue (a few inches behind the balance point of the cue). My balance is forward, but I would not necessarily call it a "forward balanced" cue. Some I have handled are WAY forward. Mine balances about where the points end/top of wrap area. That 'feels' like the right spot to me, although it does move around as I experiment with differing shaft tapers too...

I like Jimmy Reid's chart, and 'buy into' it so to speak. It is a very good good starting point. However, you have to scale the entire cue in my opinion, which may cause some other details to be 'off' for you. His chart does increase in weight as I mentioned with length, so it all follows reasonably well.

If you like Ebony, and also a very light cue, and also a longer cue, you may have a problem. Coring is a good solution to this (but not something I do) so my cues are on what might be called the 'high side' (As compared to a 58" cue).

When the cue is scaled, the butt as I mentioned gets larger in diameter, which fits my slightly larger hands well. As a 'long armed' person, I also have large hands naturally (but I've seen plenty larger).

The weight goes up with length and diameter increases. However, again referring to Jimmy's chart, this is pretty typical, and intuitively, a longer cue weighs a bit more- there is simply more 'stuff' there. Wood density of course varies (even in the same board), so there is no hard and fast rule on that- simply generalities.

I guess the bottom line is: if you have a good 'formula' as a specific length, don't simply 'add an inch' (or whatever length); look at the entire cue as a system if you will, and scale it up as you increase one dimension, the others increase as well. The changes are rather small, but noticeable for sure in the final product.

I have a background in custom guitar making, so I understand tonality and stability in wood, and their importance on a tonal and stable final product. These are important details to keep in mind for the cue maker as well- you want it to resonate the amount you prefer to have in your product, and you certainly don't want the cue 'moving' on you a few years after sale...:eek:
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I can play just as (poorly) with a 58 as a 59; however there is a certain level of comfort that I get from a properly made 59 that I don't necessarily get with a 58. I have an (OLD) Richard Black that is 59"; however that was 'lengthened' by making longer shafts (they are original and therefore VERY rare for a Black). It plays just fine, but you can definitely feel the shafts are longer- they are 13.25mm but feel much thinner than that due to their 'whippiness'. And they are only 1" longer (only 3%!) than a standard 58" cue shaft. So a 'centered' joint is clearly required.

Firstly: 1" out of 58 or 59 inches is 1.7% not 3%

However that 1.7% gets raised to the 4th power in terms of whippiness of the shaft (column bending moment wrt height), assuming the same taper is used from the tip towards the joint. This gives the longer shaft 7% more whippiness from its 1.7% longer length.
 

ceebee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
John Parker of Auerbach Custom Cues uses a good method for making custom cues. Weight & balance give a cue "it's feel for play". The shaft & tip affect it's playability.
 

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Cue Guru

Close, but no roll...
Silver Member
Firstly: 1" out of 58 or 59 inches is 1.7% not 3%

However that 1.7% gets raised to the 4th power in terms of whippiness of the shaft (column bending moment wrt height), assuming the same taper is used from the tip towards the joint. This gives the longer shaft 7% more whippiness from its 1.7% longer length.

All true.

I suck at math... I re-did the same calculation you did and I get 1.7 as well...:confused:

And in the case of my black (where the shaft is 1" longer, not 1/2") it is even worse...

1.7^4 is 8.35 by my (suspect) math...

However the shaft is not a constant diameter over its length either, so the stiffness is a function of the taper (assuming no change in wood properties which we know is not true ever).

If I take LOG 8.35 I get .922*8.35 = 7.7, close to your number

Still confused... But understand the concept based on "Empirical testing" so to speak.

Apologies to those who might accept my math as "good"!

EDIT: I think I know what I did the first time. I think I compared the 29" shaft to the 30" shaft. That gives me .97, or 3%
 
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Dead Crab

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
John Parker of Auerbach Custom Cues uses a good method for making custom cues. Weight & balance give a cue "it's feel for play". The shaft & tip affect it's playability.


He must make some very long cues, or install short+heavy weight bolts.
 
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