My Schon Balabushka Tribute cue review!

Soulweb

One-Ball Champ
Silver Member
At long last I received my Schon Balabushka tribute cue. Here is my review on it.

The Schon Balabushka tribute is the brainchild of AZ member, DeanC. he posted this limited (to just 7) production tribute cue on here before the ban on selling new cues. I have wanted a Schon since I was a twenty year old know-it-all back in the mid 80's. Schon was reserved for the pros and the wealthy. I had my trust Meucci. But someday I vowed to get a Schon. Also, being a child of the 80's, it was an undeniable rite of passage to want a Balabushka due to the movie, "Color of Money." ...So, today all those different facets of my life converged on this one cue. A Schon tribute to balabushka. Worth noting is it's the first tribute ever by Schon. Many custom builders use the Bala tribute as a sort of stepping stone to creativity. In fact it's rare to see a builder that has not produced a few "classic" styled 4 point, 4 veneers in his history.

Behold the Schon Balabushka tribute cue!

The cue is a beautiful tribute to Balabushka. The butt weighs in at 15.2 ounces. The two ivory ferrule 13mm shafts weigh 4.4 and 4.5 ounces respectively. Bring the cue to a 19.6 and 19.7 oz weight depending on the shaft. And could easily be brought down to 18.3 or so with a lighter shaft. The linen is genuine courtalnd white w/ green spec wrap.

The points are Schon all the way through (see pictures). They are rounded points wich actually give this cue a very modern look despite it's classic style. The inlay work is perfect, the cue shoots lights out. When I received this cue I was told by Dean that Schon would be making one more Bala tribute. This time a total of 12 (I think) would be made. I declined the offer to leave a deposit on the next one as this particular tribute satisfies all my hopes. I don't want it any more or less ornate. I don't want it with different color veneers or points. This one is perfect for me.

The cue is obviously a tad heavy at 19.6 ounces, but has a very nice hit. At this weight the cue tends to get some momentum on it's own, but since the cue is so well balanced and constructed this is a plus. The courtland wrap provides a very distinctive feel.

Personally, I would like to thank Dean for making this tribute a reality. The success of this cue is belongs to Dean as much as it does Evan Clark. Without Dean's input (and possible begging) Evan may never have made this cue. :)

Pics follow. Drool my friends...drool. It is literally better in person than it is in the pictures!

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Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A True Beauty Of A Cue

Better picture taking than mine....great shots of the cue. It really does sparkle.....If this cue had sharp points, you'd swear it was a genuine Balabushka cue. Evan Clarke did an outstanding job with these cues and it's too bad that the phtos don't adequately convey how stunning htis cue looks in person. The Cortland warp is just nutso and I wish I could put it on every cue I own. No wonder Cortland costs so much more than other Irish linen or silk wraps...and it's original #9 which George Balabushka favored.
 

Rivhardo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
tribute

Really wish mine would have shown up today. Looks great, can't wait to see it!
 

Soulweb

One-Ball Champ
Silver Member
Nice cue!! How does it hit?

It has a very fluid and sure hit. I think that is owed mostly to it's 19.6 oz weight more than anything else. I am used to 18.5. I didn't think I would notice a difference in the stroke, but there is one. When you stroke the cue it sort of carries a "momentum" for lack of a better term. If you've ever held a cue with a real cortland wrap then you know the feel. It's not finished in any way so it feels very much like you would expect a linen wrap to feel like.

The shaft? I have no experience with Schon shafts...typical or otherwise so I have no basis of comparison regarding other shafts. But it has a very unique feel to it. My Schick has Bill's own profile on it (which I hear is modeled after a genuine Balabushka) and this Schon shaft feels similar to it. I did go with two 13mm tips so they are only 13mm thin at any point.

The hit is surprisingly sensitive for such a relatively heavy cue. I can feel the hit in my fingertips. This is the only SS jointed cue I own. Not by preference, just by chance. So I can't tell you if any one specific component of this cue is responsible for the feel and hit. The cue is very responsive, the shaft is a taper that I personally find very easy to use.

I also want to say that the butt diameter might be tribute correct in that it maybe feels a little larger than my Shurtz or even my older Meucci.

Hope that helps.
 

Ken_4fun

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Its disappointing that Schon folks used rounded CNC points instead of sharp points.

Ken
 

Soulweb

One-Ball Champ
Silver Member
Its disappointing that Schon folks used rounded CNC points instead of sharp points.

Ken

You know, I agree. In fact totally. But the "folks" are really just one man. And as I understand it "Schon" is a 5-person company. With Evan Clark doing most, if not all, the building. It truly is a custom cue.

The rounded points on this cue really stand out as the rounded point versus the sharp point really does change the entire appearance of the cue. However, I actually grew to truly appreciate it. I see the sharp points on all the bushka tributes. And if this tribute had sharp points it would look more like a clone or a knockoff than an actual tribute by a specific maker.

So after looking at it for a day I happen to truly enjoy the rounded points. it pays distinct homage to Balabushka, and yet retains the fingerprint of it's maker, Evan Clark/Schon cues. You could go so far as to say that the sharp points would make it look like every other Bushka clone out there.

I also happen to think that just because the rounded points are a bit easier to craft it doesn't mean they are automatically any less enjoyable to look at. Dots and diamonds are child's play for cue makers today, and are more of a "cop out" when it comes to labor than even rounded points. Come up with a new inlay that looks right in the butt or nose. Not so easy....not with success anyway. But many makers, even the very best and most respected still use diamonds and dots.

Schon has distinguished itself amongst its peers using rounded points. This is to the dismay of many. Including myself on most occasions. But for this particular cue I happen to enjoy the rounded points.

Sharp points are like the 57 Chevy of the cue maker's toolkit. They're classic, dated, but never out of style, and never really unappealing to look at. But today's makers call the typical "diamond, dot, four point/four veneer" cue a "classic" design because of how old it is. You'd be hard pressed to make a big splash in the cue making world reproducing this timeless design. it's been done...by the best. It simply cannot be improved upon. Nowawadays there are curves, abstract shapes, blocks, windows, woods, metals, stones, foils, and bones in cues that were never in them before. ...So a rounded point means little to me. I think it's more a matter of trying to retrain your eye to accept that it's not "wrong", but just a cue maker's preference.

What makes this cue special for me, and Schon fans is this: For as long as Schon has been in business, they have never officially made a tribute cue, much less a Bala replica. I can't think of a maker, production or custom, that hasn't made one. And hey, that's awesome. I love seeing how famous builders take the classic 4 point/4 veneer dot/diamond cue and make it their own. But it was odd that a company as aged as Schon had yet to do this. It's extra special as I'm sure there have been generations of pool players who, even if they never wanted to buy it, would have liked to have seen Schon make a classic cue. They finally did it. And they exceeded all expecations. Percect looks, cortland wrap, monster playability...and the Schon name is there...not just in the butt cap, but in the rounded points and hit.

In that, rounded points aren't for everyone. But for me, I love them on this cue. if anything, it helps it stand out from other Bala tributes as opposed to blends them in.
 

Rivhardo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
points

For those of us that purchased these cues, we knew what we were getting. The point discussion was already hashed out in the other threads. These are tribute cues done the Schon way. Like it or not, he uses rounded points. Funny, it was not until I joined this forum that I found out that I was not suppose to like rounded points.:rolleyes:
 

West Point 1987

On the Hill, Out of Gas
Silver Member
Schon and Joss points are rounded because they're not spliced...they're CNC'd inlays. Absolutely nothing wrong with that (I'm a huge fan of Joss and Schon cues, look at my signature), but it is a different feel. Some folks prefer to see the by hand craftsmanship of having stacked/laid in veneers and spliced points, so they get (overly, IMHO) picky about the rounded points.

If I hadn't bought my last cue, I'd have been ALL OVER this offering...Unless Schon decides to make these a new STL model for the future, the collectability of these is going to be SICK. Plus, you'll never beat these cues for playability at any price. Their reputation is well-earned.:thumbup:
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I Agrre About These Cues Being Special

I already owned a special custom Schon I designed that Bob Runde built for me in 1984. The cue hits incredibly and so I was hesitant to order this cue. I just switched to playing with ivory jointed cues and I love the difference in overall feel of the ivory joint. Since I already owned two Schons (custom '84 Runde Schon and a Schon Ltd1405 made by Evan Clarke), getting another one didn't make much sense, Besides, I also just bought a '91 Paul Mottey cue with an a ivory joint that should be arriving this week. And, I don't need to own two new cues at the very same time.

All in all, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to get order this Balabushka Tribute cue but something told me not to miss out. I mean it was a major change at Schon to copy another cue-maker's design which every cue-maker seems to sooner or later get around to emulating a Balabushka design. I felt the originality and scarcity of these Schon Tribute cues (only seven cues which is equivalent to a Schon Elite Series Cue) made this cue really speciall. Schon cues are really known for being a solid hitting cue so what the heck....how can one go wrong ordering this cue.

Now it's far from being the best Balabushka design cue I've ever seen....gosh no. There are some cue makers that go the whole distance with making cues with sharp points, some full splice versions too, and really wind up with a cue that really looks like a counterfeit Balabushka cue....the copied cue is that good looking. Vern Horn and Steve Klein are two cue-makers that come to mind that made Balabushka Tribute cues that are truly among the best I've ever seen....better than a James White or Richard Black Bushka Tribute cue. So then why get a Schon?

Well, many people make a big to do about Schon being a production cue company.....as if that means quality suffers? Or that Schon uses CNC cuts.... so did Bill Stroud who's revered as one of the greats. By the late 70's, he started using cuts form a CNC mill but the then added mitred veneers. And no one has ever knocked a Bill Stroud cue because he used a CNC cut design and then added sharp points to it. Besides, Schon are known to be a solid hitting cue and I should know owning both an early Schon and a more current version.

Now I'm not going to get into the debate about whether a Runde made Schon hits better than an Evan Clarke made Schon....that's not a discussion worth conducting as it distracts from the issue at hand, namely Schon 1st Tribute Cue. I'll just say this...both cues have a firm feel when stroking a cue ball which one either prefers or doesn't. However, ths Schon Balabushka Tribute cue, even with its CNC veneers, incorporates all of the key elements of a Balabushka from the BEM to the butt sleeve, to the forearm veneer colors and especially the Cortland wrap.

Now some readers might be thinking....a wrap? What's the big deal with the wrap, especially if they happen to prefer leather wraps. I'm really not a fan of leather wraps aside from the look that the leather can add to a cue with the variety of different dye colors and exotic leather types. But for feel......nothing quite feels as good as Cortland but that assumes you like linen wraps otherwise you'd probably conclude the cue would have looked better with a leather wrap. However, that's not what George Balabushka mostly used....he favored Cortland Linen #9. So when Evan Clarke said he had some original #9 Cortland left, and offerred to add the Cortland Linen to stay true to the Balabushka design, that was enough for me....I ordered a cue.

I made a special request to get my cue as light as possible and 5 of the 7 cues made were all in the mid 19 oz (19.5-6 range). 2 of the 7 cues came in at 19 ozs and I was fortunate mine was one of them. Since I already owned a Schon ivory ferrule silver ring shaft in 12.75mm, I ordered a 13mm and 12.5 mm shafts for my Balabushka Tribute so I'd have a 12.5mm, 12.75mm and a 13mm shafts in case I decide to sell the cue. I thought that would make a great cue package offerring which would have added appeal. With the Mottey cue just about to arrive and because of my recent change to now playing with ivory joint cues, I mean what am I going to do with this cue since I already own two Schons as well.

The truth be told....you just have to hold this Balabushka cue in your hands and look at its features and overall feel. The color contrast, the Cortland wrap, the Bushka designed sleeve, and then hit a few balls with it...you'll fall in love. The cue has a forward momentum because of its overall balance but it does hit sweet. The cue ball rolls effortlessly and true...if you're a Schon fan, then this is definitely a cue you're going to envy not owning. I'm not even going to play with this cue and and who knows what it might fetch in a couple of years as a new, unplayed cue. I didn't buy it as an investment but since my main playing cue is a 2006 Scruggs ivory joint cue. And the Paul Mottey will also be in my cue case so it would be a sin to play with this Schon Balabushka just because I happen to own it. If this cue had an ivory joint, I wouldn't ever think of letting it go. Thye cue is beautiful enough to hang on the wall as a piece of art.

Anyway, don't miss out on the second tribute cue deanoc is getting Schon to make. He's an absoluetly great person to work with and rest assured Evan Clarke will once again do his best to come up with another fabulous looking cue. I heard that the Cortland wrap won't be used on the next cue but I don't know that to be true. Another one of the buyers of this Balabushka Tribute cue mentioned that to me because he was amazed at great the Cortland linen wrap looks and feels on his Balabushka Tribute cue....I obviously agree with his thoughts too.

Anyway....The 1st Schon Balabushka Tribute cue is now a reality and its to the credit of deanoc who came up with this idea and Evan Clarke for willing to take on this project. It was worth the wait and these Balabushka Tribute cues turned out better than I had hoped for.

Matt
 

Bob Farr

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What a wonderful cue, Congratulations on your wise purchase. I have one of the next tribute batch cues that are the Hoppe style coming and I can only hope it turns out as nice as yours.
Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and I would hope the others will show theirs also.
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm Having Mixed Emotions

I'm thinking of selling my Schon Tribute cue which everyone obviously realizes is brand new. As some readers might know from one of my prior posts, the reason is because I'm become strictly an ivory joint cue player. This Thursday, a 1991 Paul Mottey cue (ivory joint ) I just bought last week will be arriving. I test played with the Schon and it hits just like a Schon.....sweet, solid hit and the cue has great looks.....but I just am resisting playing a cue with a 5/16x14 steel joint cue again.

I purchased the cue on an inpulse, or hunch, and thought to myself, what a great back-up cue to my '06 Scruggs (ivory joint). I hit some balls with it last Friday after the cue first arrived and again this afternoon. Needless to say, lots of compliments from everyone at the pool hall and I didn't allow anyone else to hit any balls with the cue. And then I played with my Scruggs today after using the Schon and I started to have doubts over playing with a steel joint cue again. There's just such a big difference between the overall feel of a flat faced ivory joint and a steel joint. And frankly, I don't think I want to be flipping back and forth so that's why I thinking about selling the new Schon.

Several individuals I know have advised me to just store the cue safely away because it will only increase in value and afterall, there are only seven of these cues. In 2-3 years, how many of these seven cues will still be new and practically unplayed. However, I really can't imagine these cues will soaring in price with the way the cue market has been the last few years. So I am debating whether to just sell the cue now while it's still contemporarily noteworthy. I am not in need of the cash so storing the cue for 2-3 years, or even 5 years, wouldn't present any difficulty for me. But then I ask myself why wait that long if the cue won't really increase that much in value?

So let me ask the forum readers their opinion. Since I don't see myself playing with this cue, is it more advsiable to store the cue because its likely increase in value makes it worthwhile or is it more advisable to offer the cue for sale now while it's still garnishing some interest. I'm not sure whether this question falls more in line with this section or maybe it deserves to be a main forum question. However, since the Schon Balabushka is a brand new cue that was never available before, nor will it be made again, it seems to me that my question does coincide with the overall review and general discussion of Schon's new Balabushka Tribute cue in this section of the AZ Forum. If I am am mistaken, I'd like to apologize in advance before my faux pas is called to my attention by other forum members or a Forum Moderator.

Thanks,

Matt
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nope Not Mine....Still Haven't Decided To sell

Nope.....not my cue.....my e-bay identity is the same as my Forum handle.....Bavafongoul.....but at least now I can see what someone else would try to get for the cue right now. Besides, my cue is only 19.0 ozs weight instead of 19.5 ozs....only 2 of the 7 cues weighed 19.0 ozs even....all the other cues were 19.5 ozs. And all of my cue shafts have ivory ferrules and it came with two original shafts (12.5mm & 13mm) and I also have a matching 3rd shaft (12.75mm) with ivory ferrule.

So the other person wants $1695 for his cue with one shaft (non-ivory ferrule) and mine comes with at least two original shafts with ivory ferrules and I could include a 3rd shaft as mentioned. Gosh, based upon what he's asking, I'd need to ask for at least $2200-2300 for a package with all three shafts or or more than $2000 for the cue with its two original shafts. That seems steep to me and I don't see the cue commanding that much right now. Maybe in a couple of years but not in this present cue market.

The Paul Mottey cue I just bought has an ivory joint and three original shafts (ivory ferruels) and 56 ivory inlays in the foreram & butt sleeve. And that cue was in the mid 2k range and there's a really big differnce between a custom made Mottey cue and a Schon cue, even when it's a Tribute cue or even a Runde Schon. So it would be unrealistic to think my Balabushka Tribute cue would fetch that much. Sounds like I'm better off just putting the cue in dry storage 'til 2014 rolls around and perhaps the outlook will seem better.

Too bad his photos are so poor because it does injustice to the cue and it also doesn't help sell his e-bay listing very much. Adding good photos with detail and clarity really goes a long way on successfully selling one's pool cue.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.....

Matt
 

Chopdoc

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Am I the only one that was disappointed with the closeup of the diamond inlaid in the point?



Nice cue. :smile:
 

Soulweb

One-Ball Champ
Silver Member

Holy cow. I imagine the only people that even know about this tribute are AZ members. I don't know if this will count against or for that auction.

I would be shocked if that cue sells at it's opening bid, much less any higher. But I guess the price is literally driven by supply and demand. It's worth what someone will pay for it. If this is the only one for sale, and it's 1700.00, then that's what someone will have to pay to get it. It's not like you can shop around. I guess now we'll see how badly someone wishes they got in on it. I know that I would seriously have thought about this auction had I not already purchased one. But then I always wanted a Schon, the bala tribute looks is the icing on the cake...and a lot of icing indeed. Also this is a fair list price if not purchased direct.
 
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