Interested to know what the best custom cue (not mass produced) for least amount of money is you've played with. Mine was a Bill Hoyt sneaky Pete with a hidden steel joint. Bought it new for $100 and it played very close to my Schon.
I've had plenty of custom cues from the best in the business over the years. Hate to say it, but the 60" Diveney sneaky that I play with daily (bought of the rack at a tournament for $500) is probably my favorite thus far. Don't think I'll ever get rid of it.
I had a relatively cheap Randy Mobley before I ordered my custom cue. I want to say I paid around $400 or $500 for it with a cheap case. It played so well I dropped considerably more for a custom Mobley.
My wife left it on the back of the car one day and pulled away so one of my neighbors got a nice cue and a George case. Her biggest mistake was saying to replace it with whatever I wanted.
Tad Lofstrom out of northern Minnesota. I wouldn't say "cheap", but definitely reasonable for what you get. I don't think he makes a lot of cues though, or takes his time. I've always got an an eye out but rarely see any for sale.
A lot of guys out West have sneaky pete's made by Al Romero for 150-200. Al makes very good playing cues. His shop now is at Hard Times in Sacramento. He is over 80 and still plays pretty sporty himself.