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View Full Version : What determines the way a cue sounds?



Spencer
12-25-2004, 09:36 PM
I apologize for the long post, but I am very interested in opinions from anyone with a lot of experience with cues and from any cue makers that might read this post. I am very confused about what makes a cue sound a certain way and I will try to explain my question in much more detail below.

I have owned a wide variety of cues which include Mike Bender cues, Schon cues, Pechauer cues, and a Southwest cue and I am really puzzled about what factors determine the way a cue sounds. I first experienced this with a Mike Bender cue that a friend owned and it had a real lively hit and a very distinctive “plink” every time you stroked a shot. I purchased the cue from him and the second shaft that was the original Mike Bender taper did not have the same great sound feedback. I ended up selling this cue since I didn’t like the thinned out taper of the shaft that sounded so good and then the experimenting really began. I owned a second Mike Bender cue which hit great, but I experimented with different tips, ivory and other ferrules, and almost everything including retapering to try to get that combination of great feeling hit and a great sounding hit. After all of this was said and done I have only played with a few cues that have a good sound feedback or a lively “plink” sound when you stroke the ball well. One of these was a Mike Bender, One was a Franklin Southwest, and my 2004 Southwest that I own has somewhat muted “plink” that is ok, but no where near the sound of the Bender or Franklin Southwest.

After all the wasted money buying and selling (and collecting) cues I went back to playing with predator shafts because I could play with any one of my cues (using a predator) without having to readjust my entire game. Recently I purchased a new Pechauer with a predator shaft and all of a sudden it “plinks”!!! I almost lost my mind and I shot balls until 7AM that morning. I would shoot a rack with my Southwest predator combo and then switch back to the Pechauer predator combo and the Pechauer has such a pleasing sound that I just couldn’t put it down. The problem is that they both have new 314 shafts, both have morri medium tips, and both play they same but sound very different. The Southwest is also a better balanced cue and I would prefer to use it as my playing cue, but I really like the sound feedback or the “plink”!

Is this caused by really unique tip, or can anyone explain what makes some cues have a very unique and lively sound? I used to think that it required the perfect blend of shaft wood, shaft taper, and ferrule, but my recent experience with (one of my three) predator shafts making this “plink” sound really has me confused!

Spencer

tateuts
12-25-2004, 10:29 PM
I have found that it all adds up, from the density of the shaft wood, to the type of material (hardness) of the ferrule, tip hardness and construction, and the type of joint. All of these factors contribute to the sound of the hit.

In many way, the "sound of the hit" is the hit.

Chris

trailboss
12-26-2004, 12:38 AM
I had a Cuetec that went "plink" it drove me crazy! I sold it and ordered a Black Boar cue. This cue goes "thunk" and the sound is more plesant to me now.

ragbug74
12-26-2004, 06:37 AM
I have an older JP line Pechauer and with the "stock" shaft, or the Predator shaft I've been using for a few years, I always get that "ping" sound. This is the reason I've stayed with this cue for several years. As I explain to others, it's not a "ping" as if something is loose in the cue, it's a "ping" that says it's hit the ball cleanly and soundly. I'm sure a big part of it is mental, since I feel comfortable with the sound. But then again, with so much of this game being mental, anything that helps you play better is always a good thing.

randyg
12-26-2004, 07:39 AM
Hi Spencer: Happy New Year. Always check the butt cap to make sure it's tight. If your shaft doesn't joint completely (air pocket) it will give a different sound also.

SET-PAUSE-FINISH....randyg

Popcorn
12-26-2004, 10:17 AM
You are right, the end of the butt make a difference in how a cue sounds. The sound seems so resonate in the cue and come out of the end of the butt. Rambo style cues have a different sound then cues with a bumper in the end. The cue will actually play differently if you remove the bumper from the end of a cue, (try it) and may sound like it is broken in some cases.

tateuts
12-26-2004, 01:13 PM
When I'm checking over a cue for soundness, I take it apart, hold it loosely, and tap each end of each piece on a pool table, letting it vibrate to a stop. I would say 15% - 20% of the older cues I run across have loose tips, ferrules, shaft or joint collars, or buttcaps. All of these factors contribute to the sound a cue makes as well. They can get by a player if they are not specifically checked for.

Chris

Cueless Joey
12-26-2004, 02:11 PM
You're gonna find buzzers that way.
You will also start not liking metal studs between the handle and the forearm.

Spencer
12-26-2004, 02:44 PM
Does anyone else prefer a cue that has lively sound feedback like a "ping" or "plink" when you stoke the ball well. There are some cues that always strike the ball with a quiet muffled sound, but I have always prefered a lively sound of a ping or plink when the ball is struck well. Am I alone in this opinion and are most people trying to say that this sound feedback may be a defect like a loose tip, screw, or bumper?

The couple times that I have experienced this sound feedback in cues it hasn't sounded like there was anything wrong with the cue, instead it was just another form of feedback indicating that you struck the ball well. I have heard loose weight bolts or screws in bumpers etc, and I am not describing the same sound at all.

Troy
12-26-2004, 02:58 PM
I think you are referring to the harmonics of the wood making that specific shaft/cue. Provided the ferrule/tip/joint is tight, all that remains is the harmonics of the wood.
I also don't think you can tell what a cue is going to "sound" like until the cue is completed.

Troy
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Spencer:</font><hr> Does anyone else prefer a cue that has lively sound feedback like a "ping" or "plink" when you stoke the ball well. There are some cues that always strike the ball with a quiet muffled sound, but I have always prefered a lively sound of a ping or plink when the ball is struck well. Am I alone in this opinion and are most people trying to say that this sound feedback may be a defect like a loose tip, screw, or bumper?

The couple times that I have experienced this sound feedback in cues it hasn't sounded like there was anything wrong with the cue, instead it was just another form of feedback indicating that you struck the ball well. I have heard loose weight bolts or screws in bumpers etc, and I am not describing the same sound at all. <hr /></blockquote>

Cueless Joey
12-26-2004, 03:04 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I also don't think you can tell what a cue is going to "sound" like until the cue is completed <hr /></blockquote>
Probably but some woods reasonate more.
Brazilian rosewood is probably the pingiest of all woods.
Some woods like gaboon ebony, cocobola and zircote sound dull when bounced.
But, nothing kills the cue's reasonance than bad handle wood and too much air gaps imo.
Soft epoxies dull the cue's hit too imo.

Spencer
12-26-2004, 03:53 PM
[ QUOTE ]
"Probably but some woods reasonate more." <hr /></blockquote>

So the fact that the cue is made with all maple, birdseye forearm and curly maple handle (wrap area) then birdseye butt may help. The cue is a wrapless cue using honey stained birdseye as the major wood, and natural blonde curly maple points and wrap area. I think I have heard that curly maple resonates well, do both curly and birdseye maple resonate fairly well?

Also how would you compare these woods to Gonco Alves? The Southwest that has Gonco Alves doesn't sound as lively, but it provides more vibration or feel into my backhand than my other cues. Wouldn't this reasonance also equate to the cue having more feel also? If there is cue knowledge that you are willing to explain just not in public, please feel free to PM me also.

Thanks,

Spencer

tateuts
12-26-2004, 04:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr> You're gonna find buzzers that way.
You will also start not liking metal studs between the handle and the forearm. <hr /></blockquote>

That explains a few of those hidden rattles - drives me nuts!

tateuts
12-26-2004, 04:18 PM
I too strive for a crisp sound on impact. "Thud" doesn';t do me, "ping" is ok, but "thwack" brings out my stroke. Joey knows a lot more about this stuff than I do because he matches up shafts to butts, but I have found that old, hard, dense shafts with buckhorn ferrules and fairly hard tips make the best sound. It's sounds like the crack of a whip.

Chris

Barbara
12-26-2004, 04:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
I also don't think you can tell what a cue is going to "sound" like until the cue is completed <hr /></blockquote>
Probably but some woods reasonate more.
Brazilian rosewood is probably the pingiest of all woods.
Some woods like gaboon ebony, cocobola and zircote sound dull when bounced.
But, nothing kills the cue's reasonance than bad handle wood and too much air gaps imo.
Soft epoxies dull the cue's hit too imo. <hr /></blockquote>

Thank you, Troy and CJ! You both have hit it on the head! And don't forget what kind of tip you have on it, too! That's what starts the resonation!

Barbara

recoveryjones
12-26-2004, 11:07 PM
When you get past all the afformentioned(wood type, glues, butts,shafts,joints,tips, assembly etc,etc) physical characteristics of the cue, sound can also be influenced by the player himself.

I've seen slashers with choke hold grips make great cues sound ugly. A nice relaxed hold on the cue can make all the difference when sound quality is being delivered. RJ

Chris Cass
12-27-2004, 02:59 AM
Tap, Tap, Tap.

The cue can make many sounds while hitting the cb. Everything you say is very true. The tips and other components cause a sound when the shooting and it's when you hit the shot and get the responce you want when shooting. That sound when this happens is the sound you recognize as being the best as the shots made.

Boy, this is hard to explain. I know if i hold my grip too tight as to kill the ball sometimes. I don't care for the sound but it's one I do deal with when I have too. It's the free loose grip is the sound I enjoy hearing. This also is dependant upon the components of the the cues make up.

The sound to me is like someone dropped a 2x4 from waist high and it lands on the ground. Not like a bat when hit a baseball.

Aww, forget everything I said. It doesn't make any more sence than when I started to try to explain it. Lets just say I agree with what you said. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Regards,

C.C.~~should have quit when I started. lol

JimS
12-27-2004, 06:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Spencer:</font><hr> Does anyone else prefer a cue that has lively sound feedback like a "ping" or "plink" when you stoke the ball well. There are some cues that always strike the ball with a quiet muffled sound, but I have always prefered a lively sound of a ping or plink when the ball is struck well. Am I alone in this opinion and are most people trying to say that this sound feedback may be a defect like a loose tip, screw, or bumper?

The couple times that I have experienced this sound feedback in cues it hasn't sounded like there was anything wrong with the cue, instead it was just another form of feedback indicating that you struck the ball well. I have heard loose weight bolts or screws in bumpers etc, and I am not describing the same sound at all. <hr /></blockquote>

My Franklin South West has a distinctive sound that I am addicted to. That sound is part of the reason that I don't want to play with any other cue. I try them and they hit just fine but the special feel and sound just are not there. Changing the tip and/or shaft does make a difference but the sound can still be there with a different South West shaft on the cue. One of my other South West cues has it, and a couple of the other 15 or so South West cues I've owned have had "the sound".

The ones that have made the sound have not had similarities in regards to woods or handle construction. Three had wrap, one a maple handle. One was a plain jane South West, i.e. all maple. One has a cocobolo forearm, tulipwood points and butt with a maple handle. One is goncalo alves (sp?) and another is ebony.

The "sound" must come from something in the construction.

I had a set of Hogan Edge irons that had a sound that really pleased me.

buddha162
12-27-2004, 08:08 AM
Spencer,

Have you ever tried a Timmy Scruggs with a piloted joint? Many Scruggs I've hit with had that "ping," I posted about it a few months ago but didn't get very far trying to figure out where that sound comes from.

I always assumed it's a ferrule thing, maybe a joint configuration thing, though I've had that "ping" once on a flat-faced cue.

Of course, we could be talking about completely different "pings"!

-Roger

Ives
12-27-2004, 10:37 AM
Doesn't where you hit the cueball effect the sound as well. Hitting a low draw as opposed to center hit. I seem to get more of a thwack when hitting draw or follow than when hitting center.

DickLeonard
12-27-2004, 05:26 PM
Chris, the best cue I ever played with cost $12. I would be a millionaire if I ever hit a Balabushka that didn't clunk. I passed on so many at $90 that now would sell for thousands.####

Sid_Vicious
12-28-2004, 12:54 AM
I do! I can tell from a distance after hearing someone hit with a cue that I can play with that stick merely by the report. I have friends who say that it drives them nuts to hear a distinctive sound, but not me. I'll also say that I've known many supposedly identical fresh off the line production McDermotts, weight the same, model the same, tip the same and yet one of them talks sweetly while the other doesn't. My take is that certain cues with quality wood combos, will be sweet sounding cues. It's like they have a chemistry of their own. Schon for instance is a very predictable cue by it's sound, and hardly any of them are without that sound.

I will disagree that you need to explore for a problem if you have a "soundy" cue. It is doing what it is supposed to do, unless it has a buzz...sid