AzB Silver Member
You probably could pick some of the highest toned ones with a certain level of repeatability. But, could you to satisfy winning the bet?
Remember the bet is for bouncing shafts. One thing Joe didn't mention when he gave some reasons why he thinks nobody could win the bet was the exact alignment of the face it hits the concrete. The sound will vary a little between the shaft hitting dead flush and it hitting primarily on an edge. In addition to dropping a piece at the same exact height each time, holding it perfectly vertical and dropping it cleanly for a consistent face/floor contact might be next to impossible.
Also, I suspect the rigors of the bet would be something like here are 200 shafts. Bounce them until you pick out the 100 highest toned ones. Once they are picked out and discreetly marked, you would have to pick out all 100 again. There would be so many in that lot of 200 that would be so close sounding, that when you add the reasons why dropping the same shaft over and over again could yield slightly different sounds, I think the odds of picking the same 100 are very steep. Bouncing shafts on concrete by dropping them from your hand with no instruments just isn't very controlled.
This isn't an impeachment of the idea of selecting high toned woods. That is simply another wood selection criteria that many of us attempt to employ to some degree. Just because bouncing shafts and listening to the tone isn't very exact and not completely repeatable doesn't mean it is completely worthless. Even if it doesn't work well enough to chose the exact same 100 each time, it might work well enough to nearly always reject the worse 20 and keep the best 20. The other 60 would be the fly in the ointment.
Since you brought all this up and it all makes sense, let me interject a few more words to add to the BS of picking shafts by tone. This is a true story of an actual sale but the names are fictional and any similarities are purely coincidental.
First of all I would provide hundreds of shafts for anyone to pick from. I could give you a batch of 1,000 shafts all cut to 1" round, squares or coned; the choice is yours. Upon picking the best 200 "superior" tonal quality shafts, we'd mix them back into the batch of say 600 shafts and pick all over again.
But here is the interesting part. We've had numerous cue makers come to our shop when we were located in Boca Raton, Vegas and now in New Smyrna so we've gotten a good mix of cue makers. So, the conversation goes something like this.
Cue Maker: Is this Joe
Joe: That depends
Cue Maker: Hey Joe how are you?
Joe: I'm great but who the heck is this?
Cue Maker: This is Joey "Long Beek" Harmonics
Joe: Hey Joey, how's it going?
Cue Maker: Listen Joe, I was going to be in your area and thought I'd like to come by and pick some shafts; would this be possible.
Joe: Sure probably. When were you thinking about come by?
Cue Maker: How does next Tuesday sound?
Joe: Tues afternoon is good but the morning is definitely out.
Cue Maker: Yeah, Ok Joe I appreciate it as the afternoon will work for me too. You know I'm one of the best cue makers out there and everyone has come to respect my cues. I have a high demand for my cues and my clientele is of the highest caliber and won't take second best. I sell a lot of cues to the great guys on AZ so all my cues have to be perfect as you know how demanding they are.
Joe: zzzzzzzzz, huh, oh yeah of course I do.
Cue Maker: And you know Joe I have a very unique way I select shafts; I have to listen to their tonal quality or their harmonics and select only the very finest shafts for my cues; they must be "superior" to all others and that's why I use this method. My shafts are harmonically balanced to each cue I make and that’s why I make “superior” cues.
Joe: zzzzzzzz oh, yeah, right sure of course. I wouldn't have you do it any other way.
Cue Maker: OK, Joe see you next Tuesday.
Joe: Looking forward to it.
So, the following Tuesday, the cue maker makes his appearance. We talk a bit and we show him to an area where there are 1,000 shafts and we say go to it! Several hours later there are two piles. One pile of about 200 shafts which he wants and gladly pays for and another pile of about 500 shafts which he emphatically discards which such disdain that those shafts should be burnt. We say, just leave them and we'll tend to hanging them back up. He thanks us, we have some more small talk and on his way goes the happy cue maker.
So the happy cue maker leaves and my staff and I look at one another and start laughing. We think it's all a crock of crap but hey, who are we to question these guys. So we tend to hanging up over 500 shafts.
Months later the phone rings.
Joe: Cue Components
Cue Maker: Hey Joe, how are you this is Joey.
Joe: Oh, Hey Joey (I have no idea which Joey this is) how have you been?
Cue Maker: Just great Joe. You know we picked out such nice shafts from you last time we were there that we'd like to come by again and pick out some more. When would be convenient.
Joe: (scrambling to figure out who this is) Uh, next Wednesday thru Friday is best for me. How many did you buy last time?
Cue Maker: Yeah that will work, how about Thursday. You know it was great meeting your staff and letting me pick all those shafts where we rejected so many; you were great about that.
Joe: (ah ha! the tone guy – Joey Harmonics) Sure no problem. Glad we could help. I'll see you next Thursday.
Cue Maker: Great, can't wait.
Joe: neither can we; look forward to seeing you again.
With that, I walk into the shop and tell my staff that the tonal expert is coming again and that's met with a lot of strange looks. A week later, Beethoven, errr, I mean Joey shows up.
Joe: Hey Joey how are you. I got a special batch for you to pick from his time (some of you by now know where I'm going with this).
Cue Maker: Hey Joe, well that's just great!
Joe: here you go Joey - there's about 550 shafts for you to pick from and if you need more, let me know.
And so Joey proceeds to pick his "superior" quality tonal gems. Hours later, he picks out 150 shafts, pays for them, we exchange small talk of how he picks only the finest tonal quality shafts for his cues, bla, bla, bla. Finally, Joey walks off, a happy camper with his 150 tonal gems.
Need I say anymore? For those of you who haven't caught on yet, remember the 500 or so shafts which Joey emphatically discarded as junk on his first visit. Well, we hung them and left them for months. When Joey came back we showed him his rejects to pick from and he picked another 150 from his rejects.
True story on more than one occasion. Case closed.