Serious question about today's cues.

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Luxury is all relative so again, I respectfully disagree with you. There are "wants" and there are "needs." Do you NEED a pair of $200 Nike sneakers that cost $3.00 to make in Vietnam? No. Why don't you just strap a piece of leather to your feet and make utilitarian shoes or tie plastic bags to your feet to make socks? Does a $10,000 watch tell time better than a $100.00 watch? Actually......yes. It does. It does it's primary job of telling accurate, precise time BETTER than a 100 dollar watch but only the customer can weigh the price they're willing to pay for that level of precision machine work vs. the finite differences in the two timepieces. Since pool is SUCH a mental game, some estimate 90% mental/10% physical then playing with a higher end cue can and in my humble opinion DOES make a difference. Does a $10,000 cue play better than a broom stick for $1.50? Yes. It does, even though I've seen gents run rack after rack with the latter of the two. Does it play "better" than a mass produced cue? I think it does if the cue was built specifically for you and your wants and needs. Why did you select the cue you play with? Most likely it was because the quality of the materials and the look of the cue vs the price vs it's ability to do what you want it to do is where you drew the line in the sand regarding price. Why didn't you just buy a K-Mart special and learn to use that if you wanted nothing but utilitarian? But again, it's relative as to whether or not you're willing to pay the difference for the higher quality materials vs. a broom stick or carbon fiber or fiberglass or any other material out there. Luxury is relative but I dare say the vast majority of people could improve their game by having a custom cue made JUST for them by a highly skilled craftsman/artisan cue maker. How much of an improvement would be physical or mental; I have no idea. The willingness to pay for that finite difference in improvement is also relative. Is a 2% improvement worth $50.00? How about a 4% improvement for $200? As cue makers we would be offered shaft wood for pennies and we'd turn them down. We'd rather pay $100.00 per piece and get the absolute best of the best vs. sorting through 100 shafts to find one that was worth a rat's ass while throwing out or selling off the other 99. Why didn't we use Titebond-II wood glue to build the cue instead of the highest quality adhesives available on the market? The customer ultimately pays for that pickiness that technology, that engineering, that research, those materials regardless of whether or not the cue ever had an inlay put in it. Why not just buy a $2.00 watch at a Dollar Store if all you want to do is know what time it is? Why spend $100? Again, luxury is relative. After all when you really get down to it a $1000 bottle of the world's finest wine is still just aged grape juice in a bottle and a $2.00 My Little Pony wristwatch from the Dollar Store is some person's luxury sundial. For the record, I've never believed inlays have the ability to make balls but a state of mind.....can.

All this assumes that as you go up in price it automatically means the product will perform better instead just being fluff extras. There is no specific relation to cost vs how well you play with a cue. You can just as easily go from a $10,000 cue to a $300 cue and play better as the other way around. There is a HUGE difference between a broomstick and say a Joss for $300 but a lot less between that Joss and a JossWest for $2,000, especially if the shafts perform the same, then the difference for the player is pretty much 0. A Rolex does not keep time any better than any other good watch, it's just more hand made and detail and marketing and name driven. A digital $30 watch will be just as accurate, if not more so, and a $100-200 quarts watch even more so. A great analog fancy watch is accurate if it's about 4 second a day off. An OK quartz watch like a Citizen or Seiko or Casio would be off by maybe 15 seconds a month or less, several times more accurate than watches that can cost a thousand times more.

And I am also not saying that it's not nice to have nice things, just that functionally, past a certain level of quality, the extra is just extra. I own the cues I do because I wanted them, but the shafts I use are due to the performance I get from them. I am not trying to lie to myself that I bought fancy cues because I win more with them. I played just as well with a $60 McDermott Lucky as I did with my custom cues, in fact I liked the balance and hit of it better than several of my much more expensive cues that are valued at more than 10 times the price.

We just need to set aside ego or trying to justify some high price that was paid when it comes to actual value of the performance. Everyone can spend a year talking about how high end stuff is somehow "better" than normal products, but they really are not when it comes down to utility and function and even comparison of the job they need to do. A Rolls sure is more expensive and has a ton of hand work and expensive material in it, but I'd rather have a nice Toyota to drive to work each day, not only can I buy an extra house, I also don't need to spend $300 on each tire or worry that a bird will poop on it, and I will still get to work in 30 minutes. Will my Toyota go on auction for $100,000 and have people talk about the classic lines and 0-60 times? No. Will it run for 10 years and drive well at a good enough speed? Yep. It's a car, it does the car thing well. A Rolls is a car but it is not as good as a car to do the things cars are made to do, but it does the showing off thing well. So what is better, a $30,000 car that is a great car will run over 100mph if you want it to, will last 10 years with oils changes or a $200,000 car that costs more to own and repair, breaks down more but is sure fancier? Depends on who you are and why you bought it. A Toyota won't get you a front side parking spot at the Ritz, but you won't need a tow truck to move it from there LOL

The cost for any luxury item is almost never tied to performance. Sneakers, sure they may, but for 99.999% of the people spending $600 on a custom set of running shoes will not make them win any more races than just using a decent set of $100 shoes, or even $50 shoes. Bikes, same thing, shaving 1 oz in weight of some part by making it cost 3 times more due to material is something only the top bikers in the world would be looking to do, and in those cases the cost does equal more performance. However in cues, watches, purses, jewlery, etc... there is nothing really that fancy materials, can do to make it "better". A wedding ring made of steel will fit as well and show that you are married as much as some Tiffany platinum ring that cost 50 times more. A 19 oz cue balanced a certain way made of maple will weight the same and pocket the balls the same as a 19oz cue made with burl, ebony, silver and ivory and can feel better to some people in the hit feel since that is all personal preference.
 
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CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my hero's
Silver Member
All this assumes that as you go up in price it automatically means the product will perform better instead just being fluff extras. There is no specific relation to cost vs how well you play with a cue. You can just as easily go from a $10,000 cue to a $300 cue and play better as the other way around. There is a HUGE difference between a broomstick and say a Joss for $300 but a lot less between that Joss and a JossWest for $2,000, especially if the shafts perform the same, then the difference for the player is pretty much 0. A Rolex does not keep time any better than any other good watch, it's just more hand made and detail and marketing and name driven. A digital $30 watch will be just as accurate, if not more so, and a $100-200 quarts watch even more so. A great analog fancy watch is accurate if it's about 4 second a day off. An OK quartz watch like a Citizen or Seiko or Casio would be off by maybe 15 seconds a month or less, several times more accurate than watches that can cost a thousand times more.

And I am also not saying that it's not nice to have nice things, just that functionally, past a certain level of quality, the extra is just extra. I own the cues I do because I wanted them, but the shafts I use are due to the performance I get from them. We just need to set aside ego and trying to show off or trying to justify some high price when it comes to actual value of the performance. Everyone can spend a year talking about how high end stuff is somehow "better" than normal products, but they really are not when it comes down to utility and function and even comparison of the job they need to do.


Cie is nothing but a tool, in hands of journeyman level player tool can do wonderful things.

In hand of newbie with no skill but hitting hard, tool don’t do much.

Guy couple of weeks ago say please show me how to draw Cue ball. I say get “your Cue”, it is Lucasi SP.

Next I say show me how you try to draw…fails.

I take Cue, roughy tip with 220 sandpaper.

Showing Cue works. Few pointers guy is drawing.

Cue = tool. Nothing more, works as used, good or bad.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Cie is nothing but a tool, in hands of journeyman level player tool can do wonderful things.

In hand of newbie with no skill but hitting hard, tool don’t do much.

Guy couple of weeks ago say please show me how to draw Cue ball. I say get “your Cue”, it is Lucasi SP.

Next I say show me how you try to draw…fails.

I take Cue, roughy tip with 220 sandpaper.

Showing Cue works. Few pointers guy is drawing.

Cue = tool. Nothing more, works as used, good or bad.

I am teaching a guy, who likes to drink quite a bit so at times his thought process is a bit faulty, and I explained to him a while ago what deflection is, why you need to shoot level and straight, how using spin changes the aim if you hit on the side by accident. He is now convinced that every shot, even a straight in shot with no spin, is missed by him due to his higher deflection shaft LOL He asked to have my cuemaker buddy make him the same LD shaft I am using, I can't wait to see his face when he misses even more due to the less forgiveness those shafts have on a bad stroke LOL
 

CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my hero's
Silver Member
I am teaching a guy, who likes to drink quite a bit so at times his thought process is a bit faulty, and I explained to him a while ago what deflection is, why you need to shoot level and straight, how using spin changes the aim if you hit on the side by accident. He is now convinced that every shot, even a straight in shot with no spin, is missed by him due to his higher deflection shaft LOL He asked to have my cuemaker buddy make him the same LD shaft I am using, I can't wait to see his face when he misses even more due to the less forgiveness those shafts have on a bad stroke LOL

People in 2021 have all sort of access to instructional books, DVDs, utubes but have practicing.

Playing is not practicing. Practice what you are weak at, get better.
 

RacerX750

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

I understand the appreciation of craftsmanship having built many things in my lifetime from wood, metal, brick, plastic - you name it. I take much pride in producing quality work. But I've also had many mass produced products that gave me great satisfaction because of the thought that went into the design and manufacture. Specific to feeling I had a Yamaha R1 - a very fast and great handling motorcycle that had tons of personality. It was mass produced and yet provided 'that feeling' on it's side stand or dragging hard parts in a corner.

When it comes to cues, I've played with some custom ones and they're really nice, but I've never owned one. I used Predators for quite awhile but recently bought a Cuetec Cynergy. I love it - more consistent than my wood cues, for me better feedback, and the carbon fiber shaft is slick and doesn't get dinged up. For $600 it's also the second least expensive cue I've owned and for me, anyway, the best one. And it can be replaced with one that would feel exactly the same. Can't say that for wood.

Certainly to each his own, no argument there. But if they can mass produce something that works great, I can make a concession for the aesthetic value I'm losing. It's a tool after all.
 

RacerX750

Registered
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.
Thank you for the perspective of someone who built cues. Again, I don't disagree that mass produced cues are as finely crafted or detailed as custom ones. If you can feel it and it improves your game physically or emotionally, by all means get the custom cue. I'll bet that most of us can only appreciate the emotional boost. Sure, over time you'll play better with one, but the same is true of any cue (though cheap cues do have their limitations). At what level of skill do you actually get the playing advantage of a perfectly tuned custom cue? I know I'm not good enough to tell. And since many pros are using carbon cues I'd say they just get used to them and would play their best with any decent cue after acclimating to it.
Ferrari vs. Ford - I agree, anyone could easily feel the difference before they even start the engine. But there are very, very few who will extract the performance potential from the Ferrari. Anyone can mash the gas pedal on the straights - you separate the men from the boys in the corners, especially the high speed ones. I think the same is true of a high end custom cue - to most, like the Ferrari, they're just jewelry - all show. Which can be a real advantage when you want to impress the girls. But I don't think cues will get you any points with the women.
 

chenjy9

Well-known member
I really hate when people bring watches into these cost performance type arguments and then start mixing movement technology. As a watch enthusiast, it just annoys me because people don't understand what they are talking about.

For example, quartz movement watches are inherently more accurate than mechanical / automatic movement watches. They also typically cost considerably less due to having less parts and parts that quite frankly are much easier to manufacture. From a comfort or form perspective, they are thinner and lighter. To top it all off, they require less maintenance as well since you don't have to wind it or keep it moving due to it using a battery that you can change out. In terms of pure functionality, a quartz movement watch is indisputably superior.

So with that being a case, why do people buy mechanical / automatic movement watches? Are they just crazy or like blowing money? No, well not always. People buying these types of watches are buying an experience beyond just simply keeping time. They are buying a timepiece. Usually this means for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Sweeping Second Hand
  • Engineering
  • Craftsmanship
  • Lineage or prestige

Personally, I love the movement of mechanical / automatic watches. I have owned 10 watches thus far over the period of my life. I still have 6 of them, 4 of which are mechanical/automatic. These watches are as follow:
  • Grand Seiko "Snowflake" (watch I had always wanted)
  • Apple Watch 4-Series (daily watch)
  • Seiko SARB033 (casual social watch)
  • Hamilton Khaki (self-present after finding 1st job)
  • Seiko Kinetic (college acceptance present from dad)
  • Seiko 5 (birthday present from dad)
There is not a single quartz watch in there and realistically, there never will be one again. It is not because I think quartz watches suck, just that I prefer the movement of mechanical / automatic watches. The GS Snowflake for example uses technology called Spring Drive for example that is just an engineering marvel and one of the most accurate automatic movement watches out there. It is literally a huge part of horology history.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
I really hate when people bring watches into these cost performance type arguments and then start mixing movement technology. As a watch enthusiast, it just annoys me because people don't understand what they are talking about.

For example, quartz movement watches are inherently more accurate than mechanical / automatic movement watches. They also typically cost considerably less due to having less parts and parts that quite frankly are much easier to manufacture. From a comfort or form perspective, they are thinner and lighter. To top it all off, they require less maintenance as well since you don't have to wind it or keep it moving due to it using a battery that you can change out. In terms of pure functionality, a quartz movement watch is indisputably superior.

So with that being a case, why do people buy mechanical / automatic movement watches? Are they just crazy or like blowing money? No, well not always. People buying these types of watches are buying an experience beyond just simply keeping time. They are buying a timepiece. Usually this means for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Sweeping Second Hand
  • Engineering
  • Craftsmanship
  • Lineage or prestige

Personally, I love the movement of mechanical / automatic watches. I have owned 10 watches thus far over the period of my life. I still have 6 of them, 4 of which are mechanical/automatic. These watches are as follow:
  • Grand Seiko "Snowflake" (watch I had always wanted)
  • Apple Watch 4-Series (daily watch)
  • Seiko SARB033 (casual social watch)
  • Hamilton Khaki (self-present after finding 1st job)
  • Seiko Kinetic (college acceptance present from dad)
  • Seiko 5 (birthday present from dad)
There is not a single quartz watch in there and realistically, there never will be one again. It is not because I think quartz watches suck, just that I prefer the movement of mechanical / automatic watches. The GS Snowflake for example uses technology called Spring Drive for example that is just an engineering marvel and one of the most accurate automatic movement watches out there. It is literally a huge part of horology history.
I'm probably one of the few people who actually still wears a watch. I have a Rolex but I never wear it. The watch I always wear is a vintage Hamilton. I've never had anybody say nice watch when I wore the Rolex, but the Hamilton with a leather band gets a comment every time.
 

chenjy9

Well-known member
I'm probably one of the few people who actually still wears a watch. I have a Rolex but I never wear it. The watch I always wear is a vintage Hamilton. I've never had anybody say nice watch when I wore the Rolex, but the Hamilton with a leather band gets a comment every time.

Hamilton makes fantastic watches. Rolex nowadays tend to be more blingy than I like, but the Day Date and Submariner watches were both huge parts of horology history. They also really influenced the watch industry with their bracelet designs.
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
Luxury is all relative so again, I respectfully disagree with you. There are "wants" and there are "needs." Do you NEED a pair of $200 Nike sneakers that cost $3.00 to make in Vietnam? No. Why don't you just strap a piece of leather to your feet and make utilitarian shoes or tie plastic bags to your feet to make socks? Does a $10,000 watch tell time better than a $100.00 watch? Actually......yes. It does. It does it's primary job of telling accurate, precise time BETTER than a 100 dollar watch but only the customer can weigh the price they're willing to pay for that level of precision machine work vs. the finite differences in the two timepieces. Since pool is SUCH a mental game, some estimate 90% mental/10% physical then playing with a higher end cue can and in my humble opinion DOES make a difference. Does a $10,000 cue play better than a broom stick for $1.50? Yes. It does, even though I've seen gents run rack after rack with the latter of the two. Does it play "better" than a mass produced cue? I think it does if the cue was built specifically for you and your wants and needs. Why did you select the cue you play with? Most likely it was because the quality of the materials and the look of the cue vs the price vs it's ability to do what you want it to do is where you drew the line in the sand regarding price. Why didn't you just buy a K-Mart special and learn to use that if you wanted nothing but utilitarian? But again, it's relative as to whether or not you're willing to pay the difference for the higher quality materials vs. a broom stick or carbon fiber or fiberglass or any other material out there. Luxury is relative but I dare say the vast majority of people could improve their game by having a custom cue made JUST for them by a highly skilled craftsman/artisan cue maker. How much of an improvement would be physical or mental; I have no idea. The willingness to pay for that finite difference in improvement is also relative. Is a 2% improvement worth $50.00? How about a 4% improvement for $200? As cue makers we would be offered shaft wood for pennies and we'd turn them down. We'd rather pay $100.00 per piece and get the absolute best of the best vs. sorting through 100 shafts to find one that was worth a rat's ass while throwing out or selling off the other 99. Why didn't we use Titebond-II wood glue to build the cue instead of the highest quality adhesives available on the market? The customer ultimately pays for that pickiness that technology, that engineering, that research, those materials regardless of whether or not the cue ever had an inlay put in it. Why not just buy a $2.00 watch at a Dollar Store if all you want to do is know what time it is? Why spend $100? Again, luxury is relative. After all when you really get down to it a $1000 bottle of the world's finest wine is still just aged grape juice in a bottle and a $2.00 My Little Pony wristwatch from the Dollar Store is some person's luxury sundial. For the record, I've never believed inlays have the ability to make balls but a state of mind.....can.

Actually, a Casio Quartz watch is superior to most Rolex watches when we're talking accuracy...Back some Time ago, Rolex actually made a quartz watch. It would be as accurate as a Casio Quartz. Rolexes vs. cues..cues vs. cars...really apples and Oranges. Don't believe me about accuracy? Go to 2:25 here...


I tend to agree with you on cues. Luxury is indeed relative. A custom cue only plays as good as the person using it...Yes, SVB would beat anybody here using his cutec...but does it really matter? I like my Josey...wouldn't buy a ugly stick like some factory cues out there. Also, there are good looking factory cues out there. Does the Josey make me play better? Not really. But it makes me feel better to play with it. I like it's stiff hit with good feedback...I like that I know that when I mess up, it's not the cue's fault.

So, you pays yer money & makes your choices...on watches? I'm wearing a Hamilton Khaki King...in the quartz version, because I'm a stickler for accuracy. But that has zilch to do with why I bought a Josey cue.
 

ThinSlice

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
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?

Wow!


Sent from my iPhone using AzBilliards Forums
 

Vince_Former_BB

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
All this assumes that as you go up in price it automatically means the product will perform better instead just being fluff extras. There is no specific relation to cost vs how well you play with a cue. You can just as easily go from a $10,000 cue to a $300 cue and play better as the other way around. There is a HUGE difference between a broomstick and say a Joss for $300 but a lot less between that Joss and a JossWest for $2,000, especially if the shafts perform the same, then the difference for the player is pretty much 0. A Rolex does not keep time any better than any other good watch, it's just more hand made and detail and marketing and name driven. A digital $30 watch will be just as accurate, if not more so, and a $100-200 quarts watch even more so. A great analog fancy watch is accurate if it's about 4 second a day off. An OK quartz watch like a Citizen or Seiko or Casio would be off by maybe 15 seconds a month or less, several times more accurate than watches that can cost a thousand times more.

And I am also not saying that it's not nice to have nice things, just that functionally, past a certain level of quality, the extra is just extra. I own the cues I do because I wanted them, but the shafts I use are due to the performance I get from them. I am not trying to lie to myself that I bought fancy cues because I win more with them. I played just as well with a $60 McDermott Lucky as I did with my custom cues, in fact I liked the balance and hit of it better than several of my much more expensive cues that are valued at more than 10 times the price.

We just need to set aside ego or trying to justify some high price that was paid when it comes to actual value of the performance. Everyone can spend a year talking about how high end stuff is somehow "better" than normal products, but they really are not when it comes down to utility and function and even comparison of the job they need to do. A Rolls sure is more expensive and has a ton of hand work and expensive material in it, but I'd rather have a nice Toyota to drive to work each day, not only can I buy an extra house, I also don't need to spend $300 on each tire or worry that a bird will poop on it, and I will still get to work in 30 minutes. Will my Toyota go on auction for $100,000 and have people talk about the classic lines and 0-60 times? No. Will it run for 10 years and drive well at a good enough speed? Yep. It's a car, it does the car thing well. A Rolls is a car but it is not as good as a car to do the things cars are made to do, but it does the showing off thing well. So what is better, a $30,000 car that is a great car will run over 100mph if you want it to, will last 10 years with oils changes or a $200,000 car that costs more to own and repair, breaks down more but is sure fancier? Depends on who you are and why you bought it. A Toyota won't get you a front side parking spot at the Ritz, but you won't need a tow truck to move it from there LOL

The cost for any luxury item is almost never tied to performance. Sneakers, sure they may, but for 99.999% of the people spending $600 on a custom set of running shoes will not make them win any more races than just using a decent set of $100 shoes, or even $50 shoes. Bikes, same thing, shaving 1 oz in weight of some part by making it cost 3 times more due to material is something only the top bikers in the world would be looking to do, and in those cases the cost does equal more performance. However in cues, watches, purses, jewlery, etc... there is nothing really that fancy materials, can do to make it "better". A wedding ring made of steel will fit as well and show that you are married as much as some Tiffany platinum ring that cost 50 times more. A 19 oz cue balanced a certain way made of maple will weight the same and pocket the balls the same as a 19oz cue made with burl, ebony, silver and ivory and can feel better to some people in the hit feel since that is all personal preference.
We talk about utility and function and we both agree that 1000 solid gold inlays in a cue never pocketed a ball but I do believe there is a mental aspect at play here that can....I repeat....CAN make a person play "better." As far as materials, does a 300 dollar Joss play the same as a 2000 dollar Billy Stroud Joss West? Not in my opinion, no. It doesn't. Yes, there is a utilitarian aspect of things going on here but I still believe a cue made specifically FOR an individual to address their specific wants and need regardless of what it looks like will play "better" than that same dude picking up a mass produced cue. When a Joss cue comes off the line it's set up for the masses NOT the individual and it's meant to perform at a generic level. The woods in in aren't specifically selected for an individual's wants and needs or performance per se while the Joss West might be. The materials, specifically woods, in a pool cue DO have performance characteristics associated with them as is evidenced by an entire science in the matter when wood is used as an engineering material. There are volumes written on the subject regarding wood's mechanical properties as an engineering material across the entire spectrum of species and to assume that a McDermott shaft is the SAME as a custom made shaft chosen for it's specific qualities is simply incorrect. The engineering principles of modulus of rupture and modulus of elasticity are all charted and compared as is the hardness of those materials in their own scale called the Janka scale which, and I could be wrong about this, was developed to test hardness of woods used in flooring. In Mass production cues are made for...the MASSES. The manufacturer has developed a series of criteria based upon the wants and needs or a general audience in the hopes of selling millions of their product and then engineered the material to fit those criteria. Hopefully it wasn't the other way around.......choose a cheap material then through clever marketing engineer the needs of the masses which is what I suspect a lot of SUPER mass production cues have done. You may be old enough to remember those ads from.......what the hell was the name of that company................................................PRO KEDS! They touted you could "run faster and jump higher" by wearing their sneakers? Perfect example of marketing a want and a need to fit the limitations of inexpensive engineering materials.....canvas and rubber. That's where I feel these mass production carbon fiber shafts fall. Can you play like God with the thing? Sure. Can you improve your game? Sure, provided you do your due diligence in practicing and competing at a high level and all the other aspects that go into creating any champion. But to a great many people "good enough" isn't good enough. Is a custom cue a magic bullet that'll overnight make you a better player? Doubtful but working with a custom cue maker who KNOWS all those materials inside and out and can tailor them to your wants and needs might help. Look at the car and the watch metaphors for instance. Your Toyota performs to your wants and needs but I dare say it can't fly around corners at 1000 miles per hour nor set any drag race records 1. because it's not engineered to do that and 2. you don't need it to. Same as a watch. Can a 20 dollar Timex tell time? Sure. IF your criteria is to get a general idea of the time and + or - 4 seconds a day and you don't really want nor need anything more accurate. But, if for some odd reason you WANT and NEED a watch to not lose or gain 4 seconds per 1000 years don't count on the Timex to give you that level of performance. The materials and engineering and craftsmanship just aren't set up to deliver it. There are many watch aficionados out there who can speak to the engineering aspects watch materials and the science of keeping time but I'm assuredly not one of them. But, for the most part I know quality machine work when I see it. By the same regard I and most likely like you, can take a look at a custom cue and deduce if it's in that upper echelon of quality machine work or not. Slapping 1000 gold inlays in a Joss mass production cue won't make anyone play better with it if all the other aspects of engineering the materials haven't been addressed. All relative. What's that old saying about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Speaking of which....if you're curious to watch a video about the most odd engineering of a need vs. a material see if you can find a video about making the chess pieces they use in the World Championship. Talk about bizarre. Made in India. Sold for about 5 grand......I kid you not. Then talk about profit margins. Holy cow. They MUST be made from a certain type of boxwood......they MUST have a certain design like the number of divots in the crown of the queen and the number of notches in the top of the rook and the slope of the neck of the knight. FIVE GRAND!!!!! But I digress....suffice to say I missed my calling as a woodworking artist.
 
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CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my hero's
Silver Member
Feel is like Taste, it is subjective from person to person.

A size 10 Nike Air Pegasus Running Shoe only fits some people perfect.

Some people like the feel & fit of another brand better.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
Actually, a Casio Quartz watch is superior to most Rolex watches when we're talking accuracy...Back some Time ago, Rolex actually made a quartz watch. It would be as accurate as a Casio Quartz. Rolexes vs. cues..cues vs. cars...really apples and Oranges. Don't believe me about accuracy? Go to 2:25 here...


I tend to agree with you on cues. Luxury is indeed relative. A custom cue only plays as good as the person using it...Yes, SVB would beat anybody here using his cutec...but does it really matter? I like my Josey...wouldn't buy a ugly stick like some factory cues out there. Also, there are good looking factory cues out there. Does the Josey make me play better? Not really. But it makes me feel better to play with it. I like it's stiff hit with good feedback...I like that I know that when I mess up, it's not the cue's fault.

So, you pays yer money & makes your choices...on watches? I'm wearing a Hamilton Khaki King...in the quartz version, because I'm a stickler for accuracy. But that has zilch to do with why I bought a Josey cue.
This is why discriminating looters recently chose Neiman Marcus over Target down in Frisco!
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I own several watches but only two really high quality watch brands.
But once the watch is on your wrist, they all do the exact same thing.

Pool cues are kind of different. Sure, there’s commonality in form and
function but you also make something happen with it. Just like a musical
instrument produces desired sounds, a cue produces cue ball movement.
Keep in mind the player determines how the cue ball moves and thereafter.
 

conetip

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.


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.
After showing my carbon cue to some at the Billiards expo in 2008, I got a call from an arrow shaft maker, wanting to know how I was making my cueshafts . They were having difficulties in getting the low deflection aspect of the shaft. I guess they have that solved now. Yip, someone who did not want to buy into my technology was trying to copy it back then.
 

HawaiianEye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
People are using the assumption that the “average” player even has a clue what they want when they order a custom cue. They usually order what somebody else has suggested.

Most of the players I see with high-dollar custom cues are more knowledgeable of cue bling than they are actual cue playing characteristics.

Making custom cues isn’t like drilling bowling balls, where the pro shop guy measures you for the ball, usually watches you throw some balls, and then makes adjustments, as needed, until you are satisfied.

I started working in a pool hall as a kid and I learned to repair the house cues with rudimentary tools. Many of the cues were beaten up from constant use and abuse, so I changed a lot of tips and ferrules and sanded shafts to make them smooth again. During this time, I experimented with tons of cues and tailored cues to my liking. Every time I created one that I liked best, everyone would always ask to play with that cue and snag it if I didn’t keep it stashed out.

Many cue makers don’t play any better than the “average” player…some may play worse. They may produce the finest cues in the world based upon materials, machining, and attention to detail, but I do not think they can tailor a custom cue to a person without the person playing with the cue and making adjustments along the way.

Every cue maker swears by their tapers, but 95% of players start sanding on their shafts not long after they get them to make adjustments to the original taper.

I have played with $10 cues that played as well as $1000 cues. They were nowhere the quality of the more expensive cues and would probably warp way sooner, but they actually played better to me.

I have a certain “feel” that I look to find in a cue. That “feel” is made up of weight, balance, dimensions, sound, and vibrations. That “feel” allows me to “communicate” better with the cue ball. The better my communication with the cue ball, the more accurate I am able to control the cue ball.

Controlling the cue ball consistently is the key to the game.

If you can trust the cue to do what you have previously been able to do consistently with the cue, keep it.
 
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