Serious question about today's cues.

middleofnowhere

Registered
I just spent some time going through pro matches on YouTube. I am surprised how many play with , let's call them non wood cues. They are not being paid to use these cues, they must actually like them.

Is this for real? If this is really the case, what is the use of paying a grand or more and waiting 2 years for a cue maker to make you a cue, (maybe). Now you just make a call give them your CC and in a few days your new cue arrived at your door.


You can buy golf clubs, you can buy a tennis racket, you can buy top of the line fishing rods, but you have to wait 2 years for a pool cue. I think this is the future. If these cues are that good and for a reasonable price, this is a positive thing for pool.
 

LC3

Playing the table
Silver Member
I can't speak for the pros, but I tried a friend's Cuetec and liked it. He played with a high-end custom, but sometimes reached for the Cuetec when he wasn't feeling the connection with his custom. Oh, and this was around 20 years ago. I assume Cuetec has made further improvements since then.
 

Ģüśţāṿ

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Which pros are not being paid to cue specific cues. I would gather that the majority of top level pros are sponsored....no?

As for waiting for a custom cue, you're waiting and paying for craftsmanship, not mass production.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
Which pros are not being paid to cue specific cues. I would gather that the majority of top level pros are sponsored....no?

As for waiting for a custom cue, you're waiting and paying for craftsmanship, not mass production.
I'm using the term pro loosely. Most players in these tournament's are nobodies who no one would care what they play with. No one is paying them to use their cues. Yet they are using them.

As far as craftsmanship, if they are now antiquated, who cares about the craftsmanship. Also, what's wrong mass production?
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It is all a matter of individual choice- if one cannot understand the difference that others see between both types of cues then that is their personal perception.. A player chooses a cue based upon so many factors; if it is a choice not motivated solely by money. One waits for a custom made wood cue for reasons that have to do with cue playability ( as per their own assessment) and for reasons having nothing to do with cue playability ( appreciation factors that you seem to not be interested in personally, while many others who order those cues are very interested in).

So, to each his own, and not for those who choose one or the other to be concerned with why someone does something different in that regard. There is no true right or wrong choice- simply a choice for personal reasons- don't worry about trying to understand what others decide for themselves.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
It is all a matter of individual choice- if one cannot understand the difference that others see between both types of cues then that is their personal perception.. A player chooses a cue based upon so many factors; if it is a choice not motivated solely by money. One waits for a custom made wood cue for reasons that have to do with cue playability ( as per their own assessment) and for reasons having nothing to do with cue playability ( appreciation factors that you seem to not be interested in personally, while many others who order those cues are very interested in).

So, to each his own, and not for those who choose one or the other to be concerned with why someone does something different in that regard. There is no true right or wrong choice- simply a choice for personal reasons- don't worry about trying to understand what others decide for themselves.
That was the reason for my original post. There seem to be an evolution regarding the more Hi-Tech cues. They are becoming main stream. Used to be the only one in the poolroom with a Cuetec was some square who couldn't make a ball.
 
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Thunder Thighs

learning daily...
Silver Member
Oh, and this was around 20 years ago. I assume Cuetec has made further improvements since then.
Yes they have.

what's wrong mass production?
Nothing. If coming from top companies that care about quality. Predator, Mezz and others.
So, to each his own, and not for those who choose one or the other to be concerned with why someone does something different in that regard. There is no true right or wrong choice- simply a choice for personal reasons- don't worry about trying to understand what others decide for themselves.
So true. Amen to that.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That was the reason for my original post. There seem to be an evolution regarding the more Hi-Tech cues. They are becoming main stream. Used to be the only one in the poolroom with a Cuetec was some square who couldn't make a ball.
Well, each person will make a choice, based upon many factors, and, again, there is no right or wrong choice; some of us, like myself, have tried the CF cues, I prefer the wood shafts. When evaluating a cue choice, the answer is to try the old and the new and then make a decision for oneself. If the trend moves very strongly to the CF direction, so be it.
There will always be folks who will stay with true custom wood cues for many, many reasons.

My most cherished wood customs will stay in my family- my sons both appreciate everything that went into making those cues and they appreciate what the cues mean to me. As guys in their thirties, they may be the minority now for their age group in the billiard world; but I am very thankful that they understand and have taken an interest in one of my more passionate lifetime hobbies. I will find it difficult to even part with some of my customs that are not my most favorite- simply because of the appreciation for everything that went into making each of those cues.

I just don't know how one could find that type of feeling with a mass produced, machine made object.
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I like what I like. So do other people I guess. And then there’s the fools who chase anything new that they think might make them better. Which guy are you? Figure it out and don’t look back.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
There's tremendous upside to learning to play with say CF. Stablity, consistency, durability... All of these are potential short comings of wood products. If you enjoy the hit and can obtain the same performance with a CF cue that you can with wood, and the aesthetics/nostalgia of wood are of zero consequence to you. Then I believe you're doing yourself a disservice by not adopting CF tech. If we look at pros (all sports) as a whole. They need their tools to be easily replaceable with a counterpart that will perform in exactly the same manner. This removes the tool as variable to their performance.

I personally can't get passed the aesthetics/nostalgia of wood.
 

chenjy9

Active member
As with most things in life, there is no right answer here. To start with, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a production cue provided that it is from a company that makes high quality cues. Keep in mind that when I say quality, I am talking about the actual quality and not what kind of features it comes with. A McDermott with a normal maple shaft can have just as much quality as a Predator with it's quick release Uni-Loc joint and laminated low deflection shaft made of like a bazillion pieces. A good player can pick up a well made production cue and run tables just as easily as if they were using a South West or Josey cue. It makes no difference!

So why get an expensive custom cue then? Well, the purpose is to own something that is truly unique. This isn't a cue that came off an assembly line with batch quality checks. One or two (maybe a few more) people dedicated personal time to designing and creating the cue from scratch and poured their heart and soul into turning out a one-of-a-kind product. As a byproduct, you can sometimes also provide your own artistic or functional preferences to get a cue that is tailored to your style and needs. This is the type of product you are paying for.

As for high end production cues, everyone is always looking for an edge. In the production cue market, that means either quality of life improvements (quick release type joints and various wrap material) or features that can potentially help improve your game. For example, no one needs a low deflection shaft, but they can help increase the consistency of your game by further minimizing the variable of cue ball deflection. Carbon fiber shafts are made of composite material that is lighter and more durable than wood and has a lower friction coefficient. This allows for a shaft that is less susceptible to dings and warpage (especially in hot / humid environments), easy to clean and maintain, and offers a potential improvements when shooting for users with good stroke mechanics already.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
I like what I like. So do other people I guess. And then there’s the fools who chase anything new that they think might make them better. Which guy are you? Figure it out and don’t look back.
I don't understand your comment. Looking for ways to improve is almost the basis of all sports. Be it through improved training methods or equipment.

I think a player is doing themselves a real disservice not trying new things. That is not to say there are not snake oil salesmen with useless gimmicks and ideas that prey on the natural instinct of humans for magical thinking.

In my original post I ask are these new cues for real. And if so, are they not an advancement of the cue stick. What people like, or think they like, may not always be what is best for them.

Experimenting is not the activity of fools. It is an open minded effort to learn.

Players put in thousand's of hours practicing, looking for that something in their game to just click and move them to the next level. Equipment can sometimes be that something.
 
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MmmSharp

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
@middleofnowhere the new trend with non-wood cues are the real deal if you get the better brands. As you said in the past the old non-wood cues were usually terrible. The new carbon fiber cues from reputable companies are comparable to high end wood cues.

The difference now comes down to personal taste, and how you feel the cue works for you. There are good reasons to use cf and there are good reasons to stick with wood. What matters to the individual player is how to make the choice.

So, don't write the new cues off. Try them and decide if you like them. Be to try them all as they are different id you have the chance. I prefer my wood cues, but can definitely play with and appreciate the nicer cf shafts.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It all boils down to economics

it’s more profitable to manufacture cues than it is to “build” cues.

with the equipment available today to manufacture cues that play as good or better than “built by hand” cues-the question answers itself.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
It all boils down to economics

it’s more profitable to manufacture cues than it is to “build” cues.

with the equipment available today to manufacture cues that play as good or better than “built by hand” cues-the question answers itself.
Remember that show American Chipper. They built custom bikes that half the time they had trouble getting to run when they delivered them. I have a feeling I would take any production bike over the stuff they built.
By the way, I just watched you in one of those "What's in the case" videos on YouTube with you.
 
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Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Remember that show American Chipper. They built custom bikes that half the time they had trouble getting to run when they delivered them. I have a feeling I would take any production bike over the stuff they built.
By the way, I just watched you in one of those "What's in the case" videos on YouTube with you.
Was 3am when we filmed that, fun times 😀👍
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just spent some time going through pro matches on YouTube. I am surprised how many play with , let's call them non wood cues. They are not being paid to use these cues, they must actually like them.

Is this for real? If this is really the case, what is the use of paying a grand or more and waiting 2 years for a cue maker to make you a cue, (maybe). Now you just make a call give them your CC and in a few days your new cue arrived at your door.
--- snip ----

Higher end custom cues are in the same place as watches and fancy cars, $400 shoes. You get them because you can as a status thing and for personal satisfaction, not so much for pure performance. There is nothing really much separating a $10,000 watch and a $100 watch past some extra effort in making it which does not affect anything really, and the name on the watch so others can see what you paid for it, same with cues, it's all in the shaft you like to play with, which contributes very little to the cost of a high end cue. A $2000 limited edition Predator uses the same shaft as a $500 Predator.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
Higher end custom cues are in the same place as watches and fancy cars, $400 shoes. You get them because you can as a status thing and for personal satisfaction, not so much for pure performance. There is nothing really much separating a $10,000 watch and a $100 watch past some extra effort in making it which does not affect anything really, and the name on the watch so others can see what you paid for it, same with cues, it's all in the shaft you like to play with, which contributes very little to the cost of a high end cue. A $2000 limited edition Predator uses the same shaft as a $500 Predator.
I have two cues that I play with primarily. I made a shaft that fits both cues that I like a lot. As long as I have my shaft it doesn't really matter what butt I use. If I use one of my other shafts that I don't really care for, I don't like either butt. The shaft is the factor.

The problem for most all players is, they don't have the luxury of a shop they can make their own cues and experiment to see what they like. They have to, through trial and error, spend a small fortune trying to get a cue they really like. I think the idea of an easy obtainable cue that you can just buy and have in a few days is a real boost for the players today.

Of course that has always been the case, you could get a Meucci or McDermott and so on, but they would not always be the same from one cue to the next. I used to be a McDermott dealer. People would try a number of cues before they picked one out they liked. These are the same dimensions, weight, shaft size and so on but they were all to some degree different. I am wondering are the new CF cues real consistent from one cue to the next. I am sure some on here know the answer.
 
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Vince_Former_BB

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ohhhhh....this conversation is near and dear to my heart. As a former cuemaker with Tony at BB we probably had this conversation every day for ten years straight and we always joked about "banks of lathes to do one process and only one process." So, in my humble opinion here is the crux of the situation. In manufacturing on a production line a finished product SHOULD come off the line at a time equal to whatever is the slowest element of that entire process. So, if the single longest process of making a cue takes, let's say, one hour, then for all intents a purposes in a perfectly set up "factory" a finished cue should come off the line once every hour. This is how the mass producers of carbon fiber cues build them. It's a factory. A full blown factory with a separate machine for every facet of building the cue or at least doing two or three things simultaneously. That's how Jim McDermott built his cues. Every aspect of the cue was designed to minimize any hands-on actions. The first lathe in his system had sort of a guillotine that formed every nuance of the blank in one pass. 30 seconds.....done. There's nothing wrong with that; it just is what it is. From what I've gleaned since the inception of carbon fiber cues the vast majority of the production and/or raw materials is produced in China. Across the board......China. I venture to guess that the overhead of producing a cue like that is pennies on the dollar as compared to building it here. I saw not too long ago an ad for carbon fiber shafts....completed.....for ONE dollar each. To prove I'm not full of crap here is the website: https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...rlist.normal_offer.d_title.c5a54f00nmYP0Z&s=p They range in price from $1.00 on up depending on the quantity. Sooooo what did that extra Predator shaft cost? $500 what it?

The profit margin for these things is astronomical but by the same regard I know a gent who builds similar shafts one at a time from a Chinese blank and they're terrific plus being significantly less than the more name-brand versions. To use the high end watch metaphor, many people can't tell the difference between a genuine Rolex and a Chinese knock off but is it the same watch? Is every single piece of it identical to the original? Short answer. No. It's not even close. When some little old dude at Rolex laps together two pieces of metal meticulously so they're as perfect as perfect can be.....what's that worth? On to the performance: again, in my humble opinion......I recently started playing again after a significant hiatus and wanted to test these carbon fiber shafts. So, since I didn't want to spend a small fortune and since I generally know the cost of producing such a thing I didn't want to pony up a ton of bucks just to try one for a month or so. What I found is that basically, they're not for me. Let me see if I can explain this: to me, playing with a custom cue like a Black Boar is an experience. It's not just pocketing balls or JUST playing pool anymore than playing a Stradavarius is just fiddling around on a violin. Stradavarius violins have been tested and the sound HAS (for the most part been duplicated) by technology but I'm pretty damn sure playing one vs. a carbon fiber violin isn't the same experience. The musicians who've played those Stradavarius violins have said the same thing....."Yeah. It kind of sounds the same but something about it isn't the same." And, that's also true of the sound. A finely tuned ear to a musician can differentiate between both instruments. I can't. They can. However, back in the day and I kid you not, I could tell who was playing with a Black Boar the minute we walked into a pool room. I could literally hear the difference. As well, I'm sure you've all seen this too: ever seen a pool player steer balls around on the table with the edge of his shaft? Knock the cue ball up table with the side of his shaft? You would NEVER see this back in the day of pure wood shafts as it was highly taboo in that you can dent the shaft. You would never see a Black Boar or a Szamboti or Balabushka owner smack a ball with the shaft. You would NEVER see a player drag his cue around on the floor going from shot to shot while chalking the tip and yet, I see this all the time nowadays. Yes, high end pool cues can be and pretty much have always been a status symbol however I also personally believe you play better with a custom cue and I mean that "mentally." I believe you're in a better frame of mind with a custom cue that you helped design and you saw get built personally, that you tracked the progress of and you know the history of every piece of material that went into it. You also know the person who built it and that he did so with love and attention to detail that is unrivaled by any mass produced cue on the market. The custom cuemaker gets to know you personally and can alter the cue to your personal likes and dislikes.....fine tune it....thin out a shaft......change the ferrule material.....change wraps etc., inform you on what materials make for a better combination based upon your game and your goals and your personal preferences..... Can ANY of the mass produced companies do that? What would you pay to a guy who has a shop with an sky-high overhead who spends every day for a year or two focusing on YOUR cue? A guy who knows intimately every nuance of every material that is going into that cue? How much would you pay him to do that? What I absolutely disliked most about my carbon fiber experience was that the "hit" although highly subjective had NO feel to it. NO personality. It just felt bland.....dead. I know that sounds rather "spiritual" for lack of a better word but playing pool at it's very best is exactly in the realm. If you're simply not "feeling" it....you can forget it. I personally believe playing with wood shafts and other wood materials, much like that Stradavarius produce the greatest state of mind, for me, within which to play. I've handed my personal cue to very good players and their immediate response is always one of reverence much the same as a person who climbs into a Ferrari for the first time. He know and "feels" that this piece of engineering art.....Ain't a Ford and his entire state of mind changes. On a final note I respectfully disagree that a $10,000 watch is the same as a $100 watch. I saw a video on YouTube where the gent compares a knock-off Rolex with the real thing. God as my judge I could NOT see the difference until he started dissecting the two. Under a microscope the lap marks, the machine marks, the quality and fit and finish were dramatically different. But, that's what you're paying for. You're doling out your hard earned bucks for yes, a watch that simply tells time, but moreover for a finely tuned machine that is likewise a piece of art. In my opinion there is a difference between hamburger and Wagyu beef. Yep.....they're both beef but they're also dramatically different. Henry Ford once said, "You can order any color of car you want so long as it's black." I think that kind of sums up the differences between mass production and custom cues. Try asking a mass produced carbon fiber cue company to make adjustments to the cue, to change the wrap or change the ferrule material or ask him (or her) why this cue plays different from this one and see if they have an answer. Tony and I once chatted with Allen Hopkins and gave him six or seven different shafts to hit with. He could literally tell the difference between a shaft that was .502 and a shaft that was .503 and we tested him to see that he was correct. He was. I would switch them up.....hand him a shaft.....which one is it? He nailed it every time. If you want a carbon fiber shaft that ISN'T precisely what the manufacturer makes.....well.....good luck with that. And now.....I'm stepping off my soapbox.
 
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