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RottingMindz
03-01-2005, 07:10 AM
After a few months of playing, I decided to buy my own cue and become more serious.
my budget is around 150, I originally wanted a Joss because I have heard good things about it, and that my friend has a Joss, and from the times that I played with it, I like it a lot, but I don't seem to see any Joss cues selling for lower than 200, at least on the Internet. Does Joss have anything that is within my budget? Or should I give it up and try to find some others? This also brings my second question, is it more expensive to buy cues on these sebsites than billiard stores?

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 08:10 AM
<font color="green">Well the first part of your question I can't accurately answer but I would suggest EBAY! for the second part the prices on the web are usually and should be lower than a traditional land based shop! and or manufacturers site Simply because they have to be! Their overhead is lower hence the proliferation of web based businesses! also they can not allow you to try the cue prior to buying so they are at a competitive disadvantage in that regard! Last they must make you wait for delivery versus taking it right home from the land based store ! For these reasons they must offer more attractive pricing via discounts to offset the other issues of dealing with them! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Billy_Bob
03-01-2005, 11:18 AM
There are several different motivations for buying a cue....

1. Brand name on cue and look/design of butt is most important - If this is what you want, find best deal by shopping around.

2. More consistent play - If this is what you are after, then always playing with the same cue will work - any cue will basically do. You can pick through the $20 - $40 cues at a local discount store. Rest the shaft on a store shelf or whatever and rotate the cue. See if the tip wobbles. If not, then shaft is straight. May need to go through about 10 cues to find a straight one. Around 19 oz is good. Then I would suggest getting a medium pig skin tip installed. Get a nickel shaped sandpaper shaper and keep the tip nickel shaped. When tip gets slick, lightly sand to give it a new surface. Playing with the same cue, quality tip, consistent tip shape, and consistent tip condition will make for consistent play. Playing with different house sticks with terrible condition tips and different weights makes it difficult to learn to play consistently.

3. You want a specific weight cue, specific length, specific shaft such as low deflection, specific tip, specific wrap, specific joint, etc. - If you know exactly the specs of the cue you want, you will have the most options by purchasing on the internet. Some web sites offer a selection of many different options like brand of tip, joint, wrap, shaft, etc. Others only give you the choice of weight. So with some web sites, you can get exactly what you want. Many cue manufacturers offer all sorts of options. But retailers and many web sites don't tell you that these options are available. So if you want a different joint, wrap, tip, etc. Call and they can probably order one made exactly the way you want.

4. Custom cue - You can buy an off-the-shelf cue and have it modified by a custom cue maker or have a custom cue maker make a cue just for you. These guys can do everything from changing the tip to fancy inlays with your name on the cue, to installing a new type of joint.

Billy_Bob
03-01-2005, 11:27 AM
Below is a link to the Joss manufacturer web site. Click on cues, then click on "Create a Cue". Then click on a picture of a butt design. Next you have the choice of the front design. Then click on continue. Now you can choose the joint and wrap color. Next you can choose accessories like a specific tip. Click continue. Now you can choose weight, shaft size, and order a spare shaft if you want. (Notice that these options are not on may web sites!)

http://www.josscues.com

Billy_Bob
03-01-2005, 11:41 AM
And last but not least, different shafts are available. Many shafts are made from a solid piece of wood. Others are laminated like pancakes, some are radial laminated like a pie cut up, some are low deflection, some are made of special materials. You can buy just the shaft typically and have it matched to your playing cue. If you plan to do this in the future, may want to get a cue with a joint which the shaft you want comes with.

McDermott I Shafts...
http://www.mcdermottcue.com/PAGES/I%20Shafts/Home.htm

Predator Z and 314 shafts...
http://www.predatorcues.com/english/314Z.htm

Meucci Black/Red Dot Shafts...
http://www.meuccicues.com

Many manufacturers use different joint types...
http://www.predatorcues.com/english/jointtypes.htm

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 11:55 AM
<font color="red"> Heres a guide to buying cues from a very funny but good pool player and writer.... </font color>

Selecting a Cue Stick

By Jim Meador

I become increasingly dogmatic with advancing age. Maybe I try to conceal my insecurities and uncertainties with bluster. But, I believe, as we grow older, unless something comes along to dislodge the treasures of experience, axioms and opinions become absolutes. My opinions about cue sticks were forged by 40 years of shooting.

It seems pool players are obsessed with the notion that, if they just had the right stick, they would shoot better. I certainly believe it, because I can not bring myself to accepting responsibility for my failure. I want to blame the cue stick every time I miss. So I search. I am looking for the perfect stick. I want a stick that knows what I want to do, and does it automatically. I want a stick that compensates for my stupidity and anxiety. I want a stick that I can take two of when I have a bad cold, or eat when I'm hungry. I want a stick I can have sex with; one that moans and tells me how good it was. I want a stick that lies to me.

I have shot with sticks that range in price from $10.00 to $1,000.00. I win and lose a lot of tournaments, on big and small tables, in dingy bars and in high class billiard parlors. I am obsessed with the game, and I want to stay obsessed with it. I have invested more time on a pool table with a stick in my hand than most people have invested in their careers. I am not on the professional tour, because I am not good enough, and never will be, but not because of a stupid stick! Many of the tournaments were won with cheap, sticky house sticks. Once I am in stroke, I forget about the stick and focus on the balls. The balls don't seem to care, as long as I am in charge and not distracted. I do select a stick with good leather. Bad leather will distract me. A bad stick will not, once I have adjusted to it. (Within reason.)

I will stand by my conviction that a stick is dead weight behind a piece of leather. There are, of course, extenuating factors, chief among them being shaft flex. But that consideration can be controlled, and even used by advanced shooters.

SQUIRT


The flexibility of a shaft matters, and becomes a serious factor when using english. The illustration at left should demonstrate the reason. (I have significantly exaggerated the bend in the shaft of the stick to help in visualizing the dynamics.)
http://www.billiardworld.com/squirt.gif
Notice that the intended path of the cue ball (a) is straight ahead, with right spin. Upon impact the stick bends (b) away from the ball. Of course, the stick wants to "snap back" straight again, which forces the cue ball to "squirt" left, opposite the direction of shaft flex. Using too much left english will cause the cue ball to squirt right. The amount of squirt is not noticeable to the eye, but is a serious threat to aiming. All shafts bend. It is a question of how much. An advanced player can use squirt by compensating for it when aiming. The squirt phenomenon happens to a lesser of greater degree, depending on the amount of flex (whip) in the cue shaft. Unfortunately, the much desired pro taper, which decreases the circumference of the shaft further up the shaft, increases the probability of squirt resulting from shaft flex. Since force also affects shaft flex, and weight is a factor in force, heavier sticks may exacerbate the problem. Again, the shooter can adjust to all of the above.

HIT

In my opinion, Robert Byrne is the most knowledgeable instructor in the game today, and he knows how to explain things in terms anyone can understand. I believe Robert Byrne coined the term "squirt". I don't know where the term "hit" came from, or even exactly what it means. I guess it refers to the instant that the tip comes into contact with the cue ball. I don't like the term, because it sounds violent, but I can't think of a better term.

I hear and read a lot of debate regarding the stick's "hit". I have trouble with this. The player is responsible for the hit, not the stick. Even considering flex, weight, and other cue characteristics, the hit is controllable. Different controls may be required for different sticks, but it is the leather tip that contacts the cue ball, and where the leather meets the ball is controlled by the shooter. A flexible shaft may require a fuller hit to avoid squirt, for example. But one can not blame a stick with good leather for a bad hit. If the shooter puts too much spin on the ball, fails to chalk up, shoots too hard or soft, punches the shot, fails to follow through (ad infinitum) a bad hit can result. It isn't fair to compare the hit of two sticks, with different shaft characteristics or leather, by using the same contact point on the cue ball. Obviously the hit will be different. Every new stick requires that the shooter make adjustments. But changing sticks in the belief that the adjustments should not be necessary can get expensive, especially when our shooting techniques mature and evolve by nature. If you want a better hit, make adjustments, and hit it better. More shots are missed as the result of squirt than because of aim. Put a little less spin on the ball and watch your shot making percentage improve. Stop blaming the stick!

An experienced player can tell by the stick's vibration whether or not the stick flexes too much. The sound of the "hit" is important too, but the leather is mostly responsible for the sound. I like to feel my hand on bare wood, so I will not shoot with a glove. Although it is a minor consideration, I can feel the vibrations of the stick better with a cue that does not have wrap on the butt. Unless the player has enough shooting experience with a variety of sticks, sound and vibration will not mean too much in stick selection.

STICK SELECTION

The way a stick feels is important. All players want a stick that feels right in terms of weight, balance, shaft characteristics and leather. If it takes a few more bucks to find one that feels good, by all means make the investment. But if it takes thousands of dollars to find a stick that feels good, there is a serious problem. Yes, the finish on a stick is important. But, keep in mind that the same materials that go into an expensive custom cue can be found in moderately priced models. Rock Maple is Rock Maple. The grain is important, and the makers of higher priced sticks are usually more selective. But not necessarily. Cue makers are in business to make money; an honorable pursuit that often corrupts.

BEGINNER

Don't spend a lot of money on something you don't know how to use skillfully. Select an inexpensive stick, with the help of a more experienced friend. Examine the stick carefully for flaws, including finish, straightness, butt wrap and inlays. I would not suggest the purchase of a $19.00 K-Mart stick, although a pro player can kick butt with one. (I saw Jim Rempe beat some fine players, and he was using a mop handle.) Investments by beginners of over $175.00 is probably too much. Under $50 is probably too little.

INTERMEDIATE

Resist the urge to buy a $1,000.00 stick believing it will dramatically improve your game. If you want a better quality stick, consider something in the $300.00 range. Just make sure you really like the feel of it. Try some shots with heavy spin and feel the tell-tale vibrations. Do not upgrade to a stick that will require drastic changes in your stroke, unless you want to change your stroke.

ADVANCED

Get whatever damn thing you want. You deserve it.

CUSTOM CUES

I would love to start a collection of expensive custom cues. Many are magnificent works of art. But, if I could afford one I wouldn't use it for shooting. Works of art should be displayed and preserved. You won't see many pro players using a $5,000.00 custom cue stick in competition.

ME

I currently shoot a lot with a $50.00, two piece Dufferin (Sneaky Pete). It has no designs or wrap on the butt. It does have a wood to wood joint that allows me to feel every subtle vibration. I put harder leather on it. I have loaned it to others (I know, I know) who fall in love with it, even though they have more expensive cues. I am not pushing Dufferin. I just happen to believe it is one of the finest sticks on the market for the money. I did get two Dufferins that gave me trouble, however. The shafts were not seasoned completely, and sap came to the surface. The merchant replaced them with no debate. This can happen with any stick, so it did not scare me away from Dufferin. I am considering the purchase of a Predator shaft for an Adam stick already own, although I would worry about the sections coming apart over time, especially if racks are broken with it.

QUOTING GEORGE FELS

George Fels, in the April issue of Billiards Digest Magazine, covered the issue of cue stick shafts and tips: "Only the first 10 inches or so of a cue have any real effect on how the cue ball is struck, yet virtually all of the money we pay is for the other four feet."

Mr. Fels also pointed out that many high end custom cues are not made to be used: " ...we have recently witnessed an art show in Los Angeles in which cues were offered for sale at prices ranging up to a high living $55,000.00. Without having seen that wand, or knowing its creator or specs, I will venture that more concentration and effort have gone into its design than its tip. Yet, without appropriate regard for that weenie appendage - let's assume the worst and say it cost $25.00 - the other $54,975.00 spent for the rest of the cue would be utterly down the tubes, if the object d' art was indeed ever intended to hit a ball."

Right on Mr. Fels. But, I know you would love to own that $55,000.00 wand as much as I would. In truth, like everything else in life, we use what we can afford. If I owned a Rolls Royce, I would keep it under wraps, and probably under guard. There are those who routinely drive them to the grocery store.

If I could justify and afford the cost, I would most definitely shoot with a $2,000.00 stick. I have very strong convictions about the above cue stick issues, but I will always want pretty new sticks that I hope will improve my game. They never have, but serious practice and regular competition have done wonders. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

buddha162
03-01-2005, 04:46 PM
Stick with JOSS, check on ebay. Type in, "Joss cue." There should be several that will end within your budget at any given time.

-Roger (good choice, btw)

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 04:47 PM
When i saw the post I looked and the cheapest Joss I found was $211 /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

RottingMindz
03-01-2005, 05:49 PM
Yeah, I'll hit up Ebay and try searching for some good deals.
If really there's nothing, then meh, maybe I'll just go with Lucasi or a low-end Mcdermott, both are solid choices right?

ChuckR
03-01-2005, 05:55 PM
What a great post!!! If I had read this something like 40 years ago, I could have saved a lot of time and money. I have owned Joss Wests by Bill Stroud, Richard Blacks (up to $4,000), Tim Scruggs, Vikings, McDaniels,McDermotts,Adams and can honestly say that my game never changed because I spent more money on the cue. What did seem to have an effect was my confidence in the cue and Richard Black won that category. Remember the old saying that "Willie Mosconi could probably beat you with a broom stick and then sweep up the joint when he was done". ChuckR

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 05:57 PM
In My opinion McDermott and its wood to wood joint and lifetime warranty against warpage makes it a good buy at any price range ! I own 3 of them myself along with 12 other cues some custom but my every day shooters are a D21 McDermott thats 18 years old now and a Nick Varner! You can get a entry level nice McDermott for about $120 on the web! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 06:02 PM
Yep! Chuck I really like Jim Meadows views on Pool and its players ! My experiences are the same as yours I presently own SAMSARA, Szamboti, Falcon and an assortment of other nice to look at cues (just acquired a Jacobi last weekend!) but as stated I shoot daily with a mid level 18 year old McDermott that plays great and a Nick Varner that also hits surprisingly well for its cost! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

DavidMorris
03-01-2005, 08:19 PM
That was a great cue article! I especially agree with this part:

[ QUOTE ]
ME

I currently shoot a lot with a $50.00, two piece Dufferin (Sneaky Pete). It has no designs or wrap on the butt. It does have a wood to wood joint that allows me to feel every subtle vibration. I put harder leather on it. I have loaned it to others (I know, I know) who fall in love with it, even though they have more expensive cues. I am not pushing Dufferin. I just happen to believe it is one of the finest sticks on the market for the money.<hr /></blockquote>

I've been recommending Dufferin's for that very reason for many years as a good dependable starter cue (or to take to the local bar). Although you won't find a new SP for $50 anymore -- I bought two Dufferin SP's for about $50 each around 18 years ago -- you can get them for around $100 or less. Since you're on a budget and Joss seems too pricey, might I suggest you look into Dufferin? I agree with Jim Meador that they're one of the best cues for the money. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

MrLucky
03-01-2005, 09:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DavidMorris:</font><hr> That was a great cue article! I especially agree with this part:

&lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
ME

I currently shoot a lot with a $50.00, two piece Dufferin (Sneaky Pete). It has no designs or wrap on the butt. It does have a wood to wood joint that allows me to feel every subtle vibration. I put harder leather on it. I have loaned it to others (I know, I know) who fall in love with it, even though they have more expensive cues. I am not pushing Dufferin. I just happen to believe it is one of the finest sticks on the market for the money.<hr /></blockquote>

I've been recommending Dufferin's for that very reason for many years as a good dependable starter cue (or to take to the local bar). Although you won't find a new SP for $50 anymore -- I bought two Dufferin SP's for about $50 each around 18 years ago -- you can get them for around $100 or less. Since you're on a budget and Joss seems too pricey, might I suggest you look into Dufferin? I agree with Jim Meador that they're one of the best cues for the money. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif <hr /></blockquote> <font color="red">I think you may have missed this part though....

"I did get two Dufferins that gave me trouble, however. The shafts were not seasoned completely, and sap came to the surface."... </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

buddha162
03-02-2005, 03:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote RottingMindz:</font><hr>If really there's nothing, then meh, maybe I'll just go with Lucasi or a low-end Mcdermott, both are solid choices right?<hr /></blockquote>

I would definitely go with the McD over Lucasi, but keep checking ebay over the next week, I've seen basic Joss cues go for under 150 in the past, iirc it happens on a regular basis.

Imho, raising your budget to 200 for a Joss is well worth the difference.

-Roger

Rackin_Zack
03-02-2005, 09:17 AM
Yeah, I got a plain ebony Joss on eBay for $150 shipped! You just have to be patient...lol.

bluey2king
03-02-2005, 10:38 AM
You might want to check Viking or Lucasi.
I just bought a Lucasi D-7 with a Uni-Loc joint for $125 with shipping. on ebay.

DavidMorris
03-02-2005, 11:50 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr><font color="red">I think you may have missed this part though....

"I did get two Dufferins that gave me trouble, however. The shafts were not seasoned completely, and sap came to the surface."... </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif <hr /></blockquote>
Yes, I saw that part. But it was also followed by "The merchant replaced them with no debate. This can happen with any stick, so it did not scare me away from Dufferin."

You can get a lemon in anything, and generally speaking the less you pay for a product the potentially greater likelyhood to run into a lemon. But I've heard of many bad Lucasi cues, for example -- certainly more than I've heard of bad Dufferins, and Lucasi's cost quite a bit more. Like the guy said, it can happen with ANY cue.

Now granted, I can't speak personally to Dufferin's quality today as both of mine were from almost 20 years ago. But I've recommended them to others in recent years who bought them and reported back that they were very happy with them, so I'm figuring their overall quality probably hasn't declined that much. If anybody has a recent Dufferin and would care to comment on it, I may reconsider my opinion of them, but that part of the article is uncanny in that it's almost word-for-word what I've been telling people about Dufferin.

MrLucky
03-02-2005, 11:53 AM
Perhaps I have been fortunate then but in over 44 years of playing and countless cues bought and sold, of which I own at this time 14 from McDermotts to Samsaras I have never had that happen with even one yet ! /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

DavidMorris
03-02-2005, 03:29 PM
Me neither, whether with Dufferin or any other cue I've owned or played with. If McDermott was your lowest-end cue, then you started a notch or two above Dufferin anyway -- but then again you won't get a new McDermott for $50 either. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

When I was a teenager 23+ years ago and couldn't afford anything else, I owned a few of those K-Mart decal cues with the screw-on tip. Yeah, they sucked -- the shaft wood felt like sandpaper -- but they were straight and never fell apart on me either. I cut my pool chops on those cues, so graduating to something like a Dufferin was a major upgrade. Even after I had my first "nice" cue (my first of two Meucci Originals, back when they were considered custom and better made) I bought another Dufferin to have as a knock-around cue. I wouldn't compare them to mid-level or high-end cues of course, but for a starter cue of &lt;$100 I stand by my recommendation that Dufferin is hard to beat. BTW I still have my 2nd Meucci Original, an 87 model -- it's in pristine condition and is still a sweet hitting cue, especially with a 314 on it. It's worth more than I paid for it, or so I've been told by a couple different "appraisers," but since it's almost an antique now I think I'll hang on to it. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I'll bet that Samsara is sweet. I got to take at look at Scott Lee's when he came to my house a couple years ago. I didn't even ask to shoot with it, I wish I had. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif