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Aleo
01-12-2006, 11:54 AM
Hi.

I have played pool for many years now, and have played with a wide variety of cues over that time. I have always had personal preferences in what I looked for in a cue, but could never quite rationalize what these preferences meant to my game exactly.

Recently I have come across some discussion about the 'hit' quality of cues, and have seen these differing qualities categorized, along with some explanation of what each means.

- Stiff hit - Cues with metal joints, or composite materials.
- Solid hit - cues with composite joints, that hit solidly, but not as much as a stiff hitting cue but not as softly as a cue with soft hit
- Soft hit - Cues with wood to wood joints

This hit quality then, seems to refer to the way in which a cue transfers energy to the cue ball, and I do understand to some degree the way each of these feels. Obviously, a house cue or a sneaky pete tends to have a very natural soft hitting feel, while many composites like cuetec have a very stiff hit. Interestingly, many high end cues also have a stiff hit, such as schon, falcon, and joss

Where I am slightly at a loss is in the explanation usually offered explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. I have heard stiff hitting cues described as being more forgiving, whereas softer hitting cues are usually described as having more feel.

What does this mean exactly?

In what way is a stiff hitting cue more forgiving, and why?
What does it mean for a cue to have better feel? How do these qualities apply to playing? What weaknesses will be best complimented by each type of hit? What strengths will be best optimezed by each type of hit?

On an intuitive level, I understand some of this. I have always prefered soft hitting cues, and have even opted for playing with a quality sneaky pete over many of the more expensive cues because of their apparent preference for the stainless steel joint, which I think hits much less naturally and just doesn't feel as good to me.

Still, I'd like to understand this better. Thanks

Brad S

Drop1
01-12-2006, 12:25 PM
After many a post on drawing the cue ball, I will tell you the answer is in the hands,and the stroke. I have received some great advice on this forum,and if I could distill it, I would come up with [relax and practice the basics,and drills. Then hard soft,or medium,joints would not matter.

Aleo
01-12-2006, 12:52 PM
I get that. Believe me, I do. And I appreciate your response, because I know what you are trying to say. I myself have said similar things to many new players who believe one or another cue choice will make all the difference in their game.

That said, I'm usually saying this in response to questions about whether McDermott is better than Cuetec, Joss is better than Schon, etc, etc,...

What is more significant to me is not whether one manufacturer is superior to another, but whether certain characteristics of hit will compliment one style of game, or one set or weaknesses/strengths.

Now, I feel I should say this again. I understand how minor this is overall. I understand that my time is probably better spent practicing to improve my weaknesses than in worrying about such things. I am simply curious. As another side note, I actually have no intention of moving away from soft hitting cues. I like what I like and only want to understand this preference better.

A final question I have is also in the apparent preference of most pros. Maybe I am wrong but I sure see a very high proportion of these players using a stiffer hitting cue. Is this assesment accurate, and why is this the case?

Regards
Brad S

BLACKHEART
01-12-2006, 01:04 PM
If you hit a steel hammer, on a steel anvil, you will hear & FEEL a hard hit transfered back to your hand. If you hit a soft plastic hammer against the same surface, you will get a softer sound & a softer feel from that hammer. THAT IS FEEL. Stiffness in a cue is basically controled by a THICKER shaft. 2 shafts can measure 13mm at the tip,but if the rest of the shaft is thicker, on one, you will have a STIFF HITTING TAPER. Softness of hit is a factor of SOFTER MATERIALS being used, in it's construction. Softer tip, ferrule , joint, & wood used, all make for a SOFTER hit...JER

Tom_In_Cincy
01-12-2006, 01:09 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Aleo:</font><hr>

I am simply curious. As another side note, I actually have no intention of moving away from soft hitting cues. I like what I like and only want to understand this preference better.

A final question I have is also in the apparent preference of most pros. Maybe I am wrong but I sure see a very high proportion of these players using a stiffer hitting cue. Is this assesment accurate, and why is this the case?

Regards
Brad S
<hr /></blockquote>

Brad,
Have you considered what the 'tip' introduces to the 'hit of a cue'? How well you stroke the cue into the cue ball also will contribute to the 'feel' of the 'hit'.

IMO, Joint structure is a factor and very subjective for player preferences.

As far as the PROs are concerned, there seems to be a lot of them using Predator shafts (IMO a stiff hitting shaft) I've no reliable numbers, just the fact that I've been to the last 5 US Open 9 Ball championships and have noticed a lot of the PROs (maybe 30+%)using the Predator shaft.

I use a Omen cue that has a wood joint (Southwest pin style 3/8-11)and consider this a soft hitting cue, but I also use a very hard Talisman Pro tip. The playing difference between the LePro that came with the cue and the Talisman tip is almost like nite and day. The Talisman seems to give me more control and better feedback for how well I am storking the cue.

Cueless Joey
01-12-2006, 02:36 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Stiff hit - Cues with metal joints, or composite materials.
- Solid hit - cues with composite joints, that hit solidly, but not as much as a stiff hitting cue but not as softly as a cue with soft hit
- Soft hit - Cues with wood to wood joints
<hr /></blockquote>
When you say stiff, you mean hard?
Stiff hit comes from stiff shafts imo.
Metal joints have a HARD hit imo ( piloted SS kind )but has less cueball action b/c it staggers the ball too much.
There are too many composites to consider.
Wood to wood does not mean soft hit imo. If it did, 3 cushion players wouldn't play with them.
Hit is subjective. In fact the word hit itself is debatable.
Wheh you say hit, are referring to the whole cue's reasonance or cueball action?
I apprenticed thru a cueamaker whose cues command a thousand dollars without points. His sneaky pete easily sells for $400 or more.
He built his cues stiff and none of them have SS collars.

SpiderMan
01-12-2006, 03:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr>
Metal joints have a HARD hit imo ( piloted SS kind )but has less cueball action b/c it staggers the ball too much.
<hr /></blockquote>

Joey,

What do you mean when you say "staggers the ball too much"?

SpiderMan

SPetty
01-12-2006, 03:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Aleo:</font><hr>This hit quality then, seems to refer to the way in which a cue transfers energy to the cue ball, and I do understand to some degree the way each of these feels. <hr /></blockquote>BLACKHEART touched on this, but... I've always thought the "hit quality" that you're describing refers to the way the cue transfers energy to your hand, not to the cue ball. The "feel" of a cue is how it feels in your hand as/after it hits the cue ball.

Sid_Vicious
01-12-2006, 04:08 PM
My take is this,,,Schon is not a hard hitting cue, and a hard hiting cue is definitely my style. I agree that a steel joint hits hard in general, but I disagree that wood to wood cues are on the softer end of the spectrum. Do this if you have a wtw at home and install tips. Install a good hard tip on that cue and tell me if it still rates as you say, softer. I tend to believe that your hard hitting cues relate more to the shaft/ferrule/tip selection,,,and also the butt wood. You can not actually tell the hard hitting quality until you hit with the thing. I've hit with identically made cues(supposedly), geared basically the same way as far as tips, and found a vast difference in one or two out of the group. It takes trying, but there are categories, don't get me wrong.

In closure I'll state that IMHSO you should have a crisp, hard hit because the CB leaves upon stroke more as intended. I'll piss a few off here I'm sure, but the soft, spongy(not crisp) hits are far more inconsistent. Thing about the softer hits is that it is what most players from decades of bullsh!tting arond on bar boxes are accustomed to. When you have been doing the same thing wrong for so long, doing it right feels wrong, hence players blame miscues and the such on hard hits.

Get a hard hitter, with a hard tip...sid

Cornerman
01-12-2006, 04:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr>
Thing about the softer hits is that it is what most players from decades of bullsh!tting arond on bar boxes are accustomed to. When you have been doing the same thing wrong for so long, doing it right feels wrong, <hr /></blockquote>Maybe it's just your area, but I don't see any correlation between bar boxes and tip hardness.

Bar house cues can have whatever they want, and bar players can have whatever they want. The vast majority of bar players who have their own cues have LePro or similar tips simply because that's what the manufacturer had on their when they bought their stick.

Fred

Cueless Joey
01-12-2006, 04:53 PM
Spidy, it could be mental on my part but I just feel heavy ss collars hit too hard/impart too much force on the cueball. That's why I can't have any cueball action with them.
Could be just mental. But, I do hate SS collars.
I won't put one on my cues myself.
I like mine to feel like house cues.

Bumps
01-12-2006, 05:24 PM
Back when I played with a custom made Joss, before Danny Janes started making production cues, I thought that my stainless steel joint hit softer than wood to wood cues. I tend to agree with the thought that shafts are what create stiffness, due to taper and what kind of tip is on the cue. I forget what I was playing with when I hit Allen Hopkin's Southwest, but it was definately what I wanted to play with and ordered the first of two. For me, and I speak only for me, I've found very few stainless steel jointed cues since my Joss that I would want to play with. I've found that what I consider "good" steel jointed cues have that "ping" but it's something I hear rather than feel. Have you played with any "high end cues" like Andy Gilbert, Tim Scruggs, Bill Stroud? In my opinion, Falcon, Joss, and Schon are not what I would call "high end".
I play with a wood to wood joint and pretty much have since I first hit a Southwest. It hits firm but I don't know that I would call it hard or soft. It's stiff because the shafts were made that way, I think.
Hope I haven't got too far from the original topic.

Sid_Vicious
01-12-2006, 07:13 PM
My point was that wall, or, in the corner leaners back when I was a banger, used very mushy tips. Boxes was all I knew existed up until 20 years ago, and house cues was the same. I imagine a lot of todays so-called long tern players experienced the same ramp up in equipment, hence the comfort factor of a softer hit and feel, be it right or wrong..sid

RonMont
01-14-2006, 01:32 PM
I have always used a stiff shaft on my cues. I believe there are two things that I gain. First, less deflection, and second, better transfer of energy from tip to the cue ball. This translates into my being able to use a softer hit on the cue ball. This helps my accuracy
You are right about pro's using a stiff hitting cue. Johnny Archer (on his website) has said he uses "as stiff as I can get" referring to the shaft.