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View Full Version : Which high-performance shaft is the best?



Belzeron
03-22-2005, 02:09 PM
Do any of you use the following shafts:
meucci black dot bullseye shaft,
predator z shaft,
predator 314 shaft.

Can you compare and contrast the differences for me? Are any of these, in your opinion, better than the others?

pooltchr
03-22-2005, 07:01 PM
Better is a very subjective term. What is better to me, may not be better to you. I shoot with the shaft that came on my cue (a Fury) and it works very well for me...so in my opinion...that is better.
You need to do the research and decide for yourself.
Steve

SplinterHands
03-23-2005, 05:01 AM
The predator 314 shaft is the best, most accurate shaft available. Those who disagree have never given it a chance or whose games aren't fined tuned enough to notice a difference.

jjinfla
03-23-2005, 06:03 AM
I wish I had a dollar for every new posters who ask about the 314. LOL.

It is a highly over rated, over priced, novelty.

Jake

pooltchr
03-23-2005, 06:49 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> The predator 314 shaft is the best, most accurate shaft available. Those who disagree have never given it a chance or whose games aren't fined tuned enough to notice a difference. <hr /></blockquote>

That's a pretty broad statement! I have over 40 years playing experience and have used the predator shaft in the past. I can probably find a couple of people on this board who will tell you my game is fine tuned enough to tell the difference.
As I said before...it's much more of an individual choice.
Steve

SplinterHands
03-23-2005, 07:09 AM
If you make a commitment to using the 314 shaft, your game would improve. No doubt about it. It plays better than a standard maple shaft.

Fred Agnir
03-23-2005, 07:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> If you make a commitment to using the 314 shaft, your game would improve. No doubt about it. It plays better than a standard maple shaft. <hr /></blockquote>This might be true for some, but not for everyone. It's also not a new argument that has been disproven. I'm glad it's worked out for you as I'm glad if it works out for anyone.

Fred

pooltchr
03-23-2005, 08:32 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> It plays better than a standard maple shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

Shafts don't play, Players play. The shaft is just a tool. You just need the one that is right for you.

Cane
03-23-2005, 09:27 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> If you make a commitment to using the 314 shaft, your game would improve. No doubt about it. It plays better than a standard maple shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

Well, for some players, that may well be a valid point, but...

Cognoscenti, Southwest, Tad, Tim Scruggs, Jerico, Michael Bender, James White, Paul Mottey, Blackheart (CCB's own JER), Dale Perry, Jerry Frankln, Dan Dishaw, Russ Espiritu,
Niti, Chuddy, Black, Cameron, Coker, Capone, McWorter, Szamboti... just to name a few of the worlds best cuemakers...

These are all VERY high end custom cues, all of which are used by VERY high level players. These are the cues that many players, worldwide WANT to have in their case. None of them, to my knowledge, offer any of the aforementioned shafts. I may be wrong, but I don't think any of these cuemakers offer anything other than excellent quality maple shafts with their cues. (If I am wrong, please correct me) My feeling, from owning and playing many of the cues listed above, is that they don't need a pie design or lam shaft to enhance their playability. The trick is in the makers knowledge of balance, shaft taper/design, and selection of wood.

Now, I tried a Predator for about 6 months. Just wasn't my cup of tea. Did it hurt my game? nope... Did it help it? nope... I just didn't like the "feel", rather the lack of it in the Predator as compared to a good quality maple shaft. Their proposition that it decreases deflection, is, in my veiw, only a problem for players who have problems compensating for deflection and squirt.

I guess, if you're using a production cue that doesn't get the same attention to detail, both in wood quality and taper for the shaft that a high end custom gets, then the shafts mentioned in the original post might be an improvement over the way the cue plays, but when I look at the high end custom cues and see that none of these well known makers offer the gimmick shafts as a standard shaft on their cue, that just tells me something about their validity, at least so far as use on a high end custom cue is concerned.

Of course, this is just my opinion and reflect only my observations and experiences. My boss lady says I'm very opinionated and stubborn, and reluctant to try or accept new things, but I have tried the predator, the X shaft, the Bullseye and just don't see any use for them on a good custom cue.

Later,
Bob

Scott Lee
03-23-2005, 09:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> If you make a commitment to using the 314 shaft, your game would improve. No doubt about it. It plays better than a standard maple shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

SplinterHands...The cue (or shaft) does NOT make the player. Without a consistent, repeatable stroke, it doesn't matter what kind of cue, shaft, or tip a person uses. If you have a good stroke, ANY cue, shaft, or tip can be utilized for superior play. As everyone has said, Predator (and all the other copycats) have figured out a marketing niche, and filled it with massive advertising.
I have many friends (expert players) who love their Predator shafts and/or cues. Myself, I believe it is marketing hype. However, Predator et al have done an excellent job of brainwashing Americans and others...to the point of selling thousands of these "special" "high performance" shafts and cues. If you REALLY believe that a particular piece of equipment will make you a better player, it probably will...how much better is a very subjective analysis. jmo

Scott Lee

SplinterHands
03-23-2005, 10:33 AM
SplinterHands...The cue (or shaft) does NOT make the player. Without a consistent, repeatable stroke, it doesn't matter what kind of cue, shaft, or tip a person uses. If you have a good stroke, ANY cue, shaft, or tip can be utilized for superior play. Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>

This is true in a perfect world and if we were all robots. Minor flaws in the stroke will be less pronounced with a predator 314 shaft. As far as all the world famous cue-makers go, I know they make excellent cues. However, they could be made better if they fitted them with a Predator shaft. It's comparable to a professional golfer using a Big Bertha driver versus a wooden one. Tough to argue with technology.

jjinfla
03-23-2005, 11:11 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> If you make a commitment to using the 314 shaft, your game would improve. No doubt about it. It plays better than a standard maple shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

But then if you made a commitment to any shaft you would play better. But compare the 314 shaft to a shaft of comparable price. Don't compare a $200 314 to a $20 maple shaft. I would hope that the $200 one played better. The taper alone would help you.

I put a 314 on a McDermott and I actually played worse with it because the joint didn't match properly.

How many people who own a $1,000+ cue like a Schon or JW will put a 314 on it?

Jake

Cane
03-23-2005, 11:43 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> As far as all the world famous cue-makers go, I know they make excellent cues. However, they could be made better if they fitted them with a Predator shaft. It's comparable to a professional golfer using a Big Bertha driver versus a wooden one. Tough to argue with technology. <hr /></blockquote>

Just because something is relatively new to the market and is the target of a great advertising campaign, does not make it superior. I sell a few cues, now and then, and I've ordered many Predator cues and Predator shafts for many players. The vast majority of those are playing with something else within a few months. As for giving it "time" to improve your game, well, if it takes more than 6 months, the time I used a Predator shaft, for it to improve anything, then I think the odds are that instead of the shaft being the cause, it was probably practice and improving my stroke that was the cause. If it was an improvement from a Technological Advance, then it would be instantaeous. I'm sure there will be an argument that you "have to get used to it". Well, I don't have to get used to a house cue when I pick one up in a bar, I can either play good pool with it, or I can't... period... The Predator did absolutely nothing for me except make me yearn for the feel of my old growth maple shaft in my bridge.

Now, I might agree with you if there were a significant number of professional pool players using these aftermareket shafts, but the fact is that there are not. It would seem to me that if these shafts were so superior, then you'd see every pro on the tour using them, just as you see metal woods taking the place of the persimmon wood on the golf pro tour, but that is not the case. The fact is that most of the professional players are using good quality maple shafts, not laminates or pie construction. Now, if I were at a tournament and saw the top 20 pro players at that tourney with 314 shafts, then I'd give validity to the argument that they are technologically superior, however, that is FAR from the case. I see a lot of predator shafts on cues... I play in a lot of places (I don't stay stuck here in Oklahoma all the time), and the vast majority of those I see are NOT on the cues of what I would consider a high level player. Most are the property of B or lower players. Now, if they feel that gives them an edge, more power to them, but I'll take my old fashioned maple anytime. It certainly beats the hell out of the Predator that I tried for 6 months, which is now notched out to lay across the top of a ball to help represent tangent lines for students.

By the way, technology doesn't equally apply to pool cues and golf... if it did, then everyone would be shooting with Graphite cues... after all, graphite is a far superior and more stable substance than maple, ebony, rosewood, bocote and all the other woods used in cues. Graphite's properties could virtually eliminate shaft deflection!!! I think it's been proven that, for the vast majority of high level players, the gimmick shafts are just not IT.

geez... a Predator shaft on a fine handcrafted custom cue??? I think I just heard the sound of a train... or would that be the roaring sound of Rambo, Balablushka and Schuler all spinning in their graves at the same time???

Later,
Bob

tateuts
03-23-2005, 11:48 AM
Best thing is to find what works best for you by trying different cues and shafts, different lengths, weights, and balances. If your game is pretty precision, that's when you benefit more by finding the right equipment for you. The shaft should be properly mated to the butt as well - which is kind of problem with off the shelf shafts.

I found the Predator 314 to be my most accurate shaft. It was mated to my cue by Bill Stoud. I play with a longer cue than normal, and for some reason the Predator holds up better in more situations than other shafts I've used. To me, it is more accurate and precise than conventional shafts. I am confident with it and I don't feel like I have to baby my cue.

Have I tested it scientifically? No. But I have a lot of cues and shafts to test out, and it's the best one for me with my game, my stroke, my flaws, my preferred equipment specs, and the way I go at the ball.


Chris

sunsetnkc
03-23-2005, 11:57 AM
Meucci is the only one with technical test data that shows the black dot shaft to be superior. If any of the others are as good or better why don't they post their own test results....if they even tested them

Ralph S.
03-23-2005, 12:18 PM
I have just finished reading the responses so far and would like to offer my opinion[s]. Personally, I have tried the 314, black and red dot shafts and the laminated shafts as have many of the players here have too. I do not care for them, I think they are very over-rated.

What Scott Lee says about a proper stroke is very true. The better a players stroke, the better the game and the less need for a gimmick.

I don't believe it was mentioned, but another point is, there are different grades of shaft wood. Top cue makers seek out only the best hard rock maple they can find. The more dense the wood, the less deflection. I will stay with my hard rock maple shafts, you can have the pred or whatever.

SplinterHands
03-23-2005, 12:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote tateuts:</font><hr> The shaft should be properly mated to the butt as well - which is kind of problem with off the shelf shafts. I found the Predator 314 to be my most accurate shaft. It was mated to my cue by Bill Stoud. I play with a longer cue than normal, and for some reason the Predator holds up better in more situations than other shafts I've used. To me, it is more accurate and precise than conventional shafts. <hr /></blockquote>

Exactly. I don't think you can throw a 314 shaft on any cue and expect good results. It needs to be mated to the butt for the best performance. Sure there is a lot of marketing out there, mostly to combat criticism from the purists out there. Over 50% of the top ranked pros use predator technology and that number is sure to rise as the younger generation enters the arena. At one point I was unwilling to try one, but I'm glad that I did. Best shaft out there.

SPetty
03-23-2005, 12:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> How many people who own a $1,000+ cue like a Schon or JW will put a 314 on it?<hr /></blockquote>You just made me smile... I play with a 314 shaft, and what you wrote is easily the reason I did not buy a $950 Schon cue one time.

tateuts
03-23-2005, 02:19 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr>
Exactly. I don't think you can throw a 314 shaft on any cue and expect good results. It needs to be mated to the butt for the best performance. Sure there is a lot of marketing out there, mostly to combat criticism from the purists out there. Over 50% of the top ranked pros use predator technology and that number is sure to rise as the younger generation enters the arena. At one point I was unwilling to try one, but I'm glad that I did. Best shaft out there. <hr /></blockquote>

I thought it was all hype too and I was skeptical but it definitely proved to be everything they said and more in my hands.

Chris

tateuts
03-23-2005, 02:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ralph S.:</font><hr> I have just finished reading the responses so far and would like to offer my opinion[s]. Personally, I have tried the 314, black and red dot shafts and the laminated shafts as have many of the players here have too. I do not care for them, I think they are very over-rated.

<hr /></blockquote>

Ralph,

The Meucci Red Dot shaft is just a conventional maple shaft with a dot on it. It's supposed to line up the spine the same each shot.

Chris

SplinterHands
03-23-2005, 02:58 PM
My first impression was "Wow"! Pocketing balls suddenly became easier because compensating for deflection was dramatically reduced. Point and click. Mine came standard on my Mezz cue, so it is fitted correctly. Best hitting and least know production cue on the market.

Deeman2
03-23-2005, 03:01 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> The predator 314 shaft is the best, most accurate shaft available. Those who disagree have never given it a chance or whose games aren't fined tuned enough to notice a difference. <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Ha, ha, ha...ha... </font color>
Now that's funny...

lord_shar
03-23-2005, 03:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr>
...&lt;SNIP&gt;...
How many people who own a $1,000+ cue like a Schon or JW will put a 314 on it?

Jake <hr /></blockquote>

I'll admit it, I purchased my Schon CX61 with a 314, then got a Z-shaft about a month later. Between the two, I prefer the Z's hit -- much more solid, no "hollow" sound, and less "buckling" at the center. However, its taper was noticibly different. The smaller tip definitely makes frozen rail shots much easier and less prone to miscues.

Since I hadn't played for a number of years, I was essentially starting "neutral" with no bias for or against Predators. Yes, the 314's and Z's definitely reduce cue ball deflection, but since I had gotten used to compensating for squirt, both Predators threw my game off for the first few days. Now my shooting is a bit better, but there was a still learning curve in between.

PoolFool
03-23-2005, 03:32 PM
I'm not a good enough player to say which shaft is the best,in my hands anyway. But one reason top cue makers don't use 314's (IMO) is how could you charge $1,000.00 + for half a cue. I like the 314 because you can always get another one if need be and it will shoot the same. Not true with the high dollar customs. Each piece of maple has it's own characteristics.

PoolFool

theinel
03-23-2005, 04:28 PM
I've been playing with a 314 for seven years and can't say enough good things about it. If you play mostly center axis or within a tip of center axis (which is all that's required on most shots) most shafts work reasonably well but the 314 really shines further out on the ball. I'm a bit of an english addict and use way too much of it way too often and the 314 beats the Meucci Red and Black and the X-shaft and one or two other laminated shafts that I've tried over the years. I haven't tried the Z yet so I can't compare to that. It realize it may just be personal preference but it's hard for me to ignore the deflection reduction technology in the predator shafts.

thepoolnerd
03-23-2005, 06:35 PM
A local instructor showed me a pretty decent way to measure deflection in a cue. I don't remember the details but it seemed like a pretty accurate way to measure squirt (or whatever it's called here). The 314's were better than all of the shafts we tried in a room. I play 3c with my 314 and using those heavier balls you can really tell when using a shaft that has too much deflection.

lord_shar
03-23-2005, 06:55 PM
Here's a relevant chart for shaft to cue ball deflection measurements:

http://www.platinumbilliards.com/rating_deflect.php?sid=6e1a217799be93cdac65a56270f 39410

jjinfla
03-23-2005, 08:17 PM
And then once someone pays about $190 for the 314 who's going to admit that it is no better than the shaft it replaced. Yep this 314 is really great. Then why do you keep missing the shot?

The chart clearly shows the deflection is less with a 314 but 0.2" over 50" is not all that much.

Jake

lord_shar
03-23-2005, 08:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> And then once someone pays about $190 for the 314 who's going to admit that it is no better than the shaft it replaced. Yep this 314 is really great. Then why do you keep missing the shot?

<hr /></blockquote>

Agreed. There's always a learning curve no matter what shaft is used. I still miss like crazy and need all the help I can get, hence my current cue... /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

GeraldG
03-23-2005, 10:56 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SplinterHands:</font><hr> The predator 314 shaft is the best, most accurate shaft available. Those who disagree have never given it a chance or whose games aren't fined tuned enough to notice a difference. <hr /></blockquote>


&lt;groan&gt;

theinel
03-28-2005, 05:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> And then once someone pays about $190 for the 314 who's going to admit that it is no better than the shaft it replaced. Yep this 314 is really great. Then why do you keep missing the shot?<hr /></blockquote>
Is money the reason for all of your decisions?

I'm not trying to call you out jjinfla because I too always question peoples motives but I did lots of testing (that I admit wouldn't pass scientific standards) before I actually paid for a 314 and even if I had been suckered I would never try to get other people to fall for a suckers sales pitch to try to make myself feel better about wasted money. I would be right here giving the best eveidence that I could to disprove whatever I felt that I had wasted my money on.

If you play well without a 314 keep doing so but if you are new to the game or trying to improve give it a test drive. I have done tests, and seen many more, that confirm the 314 deflects less than most (or all) shafts and have never heard of one saying that it deflects more than any solid shaft.

SplinterHands
03-28-2005, 05:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote theinel:</font><hr> I have done tests, and seen many more, that confirm the 314 deflects less than most (or all) shafts and have never heard of one saying that it deflects more than any solid shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

Good point, Theniel. I won a nine-ball tournament last night. I must say that a combination of hard work and superior equipment was the difference.

Fred Agnir
03-28-2005, 08:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote theinel:</font><hr> I have done tests, and seen many more, that confirm the 314 deflects less than most (or all) shafts and have never heard of one saying that it deflects more than any solid shaft. <hr /></blockquote>There's no question that it deflects less. What is the basis for saying that you would play better with less deflection?

I'm thinking that what most people who find the Predator better is that they are able to make shots more consistently with english than they were able to with a standard shaft. Is that what you mean?

What I found is that after year and half of trial, the Predator gave me a better percentage of one particular shot that always gave me fits, but the rest of my english shots, it performed no better. But I already could shoot with both inside and outside english with the full range of speeds. That might be the difference. Overall, the use of the low squirt shafts lessened my performance on slow english shots. My overall position play was a ball or two worse simply from the fact that I could never get used to the squirt vs. swerve nuances of the Predator. My feel for speed control was worse. Had I started with the Predator at the very begining of my play, I don't think I would be any better than I am today because of it.

Fred &lt;~~~ gave it the fair shake

jingle
03-28-2005, 11:51 AM
I have been using 314 shafts (with a McDermott butt) for a couple of years now. I will say this, I could never consistently make shots with inside english until I started using the 314, so they have been great for me. The only thing that took a while to get used to was the feel/lack of feedback.

I just recently had a new Z shaft custom fit to my McDermott (only took 1 week through Muellers!). I have only played with it for about 6 hours, but so far it seems to work even better for my game than the 314. It has all the positive attributes of the 314, plus it seems to have a more solid hit and even provide better feedback, despite being a smaller shaft.

MrLucky
03-28-2005, 01:25 PM
did you look at McDermotts own I line of shafts?

jingle
03-28-2005, 02:47 PM
I did consider McDermott's new I-line, however I was already confortable with the Predator shaft, so when the Z shaft became available in the 3/8x10 joint I took the plunge. Also, the deflection results listed on the Platinum Billiards website list both the 314 and the Z shaft as having less deflection than McDermott's I-3. (I don't know how accurate that is, but I do know I'm liking the feel of my new Z-shaft!)

MrLucky
03-28-2005, 03:28 PM
Thanks for replyinf!, I have a D15 and a D21 from the '80s and I need new shafts I have been considering whether I should stick with the original replacment shafts or going with the I-2 or 3 shafts /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Jimmy B
03-28-2005, 07:16 PM
I just got the new Universal shaft for testing, maybe after I give it a spin I'll report back.

JB

Belzeron
03-29-2005, 01:59 PM
Thanks alot for all the information you all provided. Your opinions will definitly be useful to me.

Keith Talent
03-29-2005, 05:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>

What I found is that after year and half of trial, the Predator gave me a better percentage of one particular shot that always gave me fits, but the rest of my english shots, it performed no better. ... Overall, the use of the low squirt shafts lessened my performance on slow english shots. My overall position play was a ball or two worse simply from the fact that I could never get used to the squirt vs. swerve nuances of the Predator. My feel for speed control was worse.
Fred &lt;~~~ gave it the fair shake <hr /></blockquote>

Thanks, Fred, you may have put my mind at ease! I have a particular nemesis shot, too, then picked up a Predator for a sec last week and knocked it down easily twice in a row, which had me agonizing some because I've got a custom I like in about every respect.

As far as the shot goes, it was (sorry, can't get wei table at work) shooting from the spot, hitting ob on or just off the rail at 2nd diamond up from the opposite end, then going 4 rails around table. Solution seemed to be (w/o turning game upside-down with a Predator) to back off on the speed and let the inside english do most of the work ... i.e. less deflection, more reverse spin on ob, which let it spin into pocket rather than jawing, which that shot loved to do.

theinel
03-30-2005, 05:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>There's no question that it [a Predator shaft] deflects less. What is the basis for saying that you would play better with less deflection?

Fred &lt;~~~ gave it the fair shake <hr /></blockquote>

You bring up some interesting points in your post Fred. I imagine that if you have been playing with any shaft for a long period of time and are used to it's deflection then you would not benefit from, and would probably suffer from the Predator. I wrote a big long reply to this but am going to play around with some regualr solid maple shafts for a while to see how my game adjusts to them before answering your question.

I can say that for people starting less deflection would mean less time to figure out the subtlties of english. Also there is also the benefit that I can use just about any butt with a Predator and thus not have to relearn deflection if I choose to get a new stick.

Fred Agnir
03-30-2005, 06:52 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote theinel:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>There's no question that it [a Predator shaft] deflects less. What is the basis for saying that you would play better with less deflection?

Fred &lt;~~~ gave it the fair shake <hr /></blockquote>


I wrote a big long reply to this but am going to play around with some regualr solid maple shafts for a while to see how my game adjusts to them before answering your question.
<hr /></blockquote>You have to play with regular shafts in order to answer my question??? I think you just answered my question. Your strong opinion on an earliler post was based solely on your own personal experience, disregarding the multitude of other opinions and experiences (and skill levels) from which you could gather information.

Fred &lt;~~~~ and then there's swerve