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Carlton31698
03-16-2003, 09:53 AM
Advice on buying a Custom Cue.
There has been a lot of questions about custom cues floating around lately. I thought I would share how I picked mine, in hopes of helping any one else thinking about a custom cue. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I have been lucky enough to have the chance to play with cues from a lot of the major cue manufactures; Meucci, McDermott, Joss, Schon, Viking, Mail, Cuetec, Itís George, Huebler, Josswest, and Schmelke. As well as a fair number of custom cues; Espiritu, More, Gilbert, Hunter Classic, Nova, Bludworth, Ewrin(sp), and Ezell. Having played with these cues over the years I had a good idea of what I liked and what I didnít like in a cue.

I met the Cue Maker that I ended up using about 8 or 9 years ago at a pool tournament Lets call him Joe. I played with one of his cue and talked with him during the tournament, he was a real nice guy that made a nice cue, but I was playing with An Andy Gilbert and a Joss at the time so I wasnít in the market for a cue at the time. Well about three years ago the same cue maker was doing cue repairs at my poolroom during our annual tournament. I went 2 and out in the tournament so I spent the rest of the day talking with him about cues and how they were made. I learned a lot about cues, and I was very impressed with his work. A few weeks after the tournament I picked up two old McDermotts a D 12 and a D16 for fifty bucks each, so I sent both cues to Joe to have new shafts and be refinished. When I got the cues back I could not have been happier. They looked great, and the new shafts, with Joeís taper, played just like I liked. Four months later Joe came back for I next tournament, during the tournament we talked about the cue I wanted, I spent the next month on the phone and at Joeís shop nailing down what I wanted in a cue we used my experiences with the cues I listed above to decide how I wanted my cue to play. While I was in his shop Joe took the time to explain and show how cues are made. After the time in his shop I have a real understanding what makes cues play different ways. While Joe was making my cue he kept me informed of his progress the whole time. I went to his shop, which is two and a half hour drive from my house, to watch him build my cue. If you ever get the chance to watch a cue being built take it. Most people will be amazed at the amount of work that goes in to a custom cue. After I got my cues, I ended up getting a jump/break cue as well, back they were exactly what I wanted, perfect. Thanks to my Cue maker Joe Ezel. Joeezell@southernbilliards.com

Now for the advice part.
1 Play with as many different cues as you can so you will know what you like.
2 Talk with the cue maker ask questions, have them explain anything about the construction of cues that you donít understand.
3 Play with one of there cues If they wont let you try out one of there cues go to another cue maker!
4 Visit their shop if you can.
5 Really plan what you want custom cues cost a lot your cue should look and play like you want, if you take the time to plan your cue itís hard to be disappointed.
6 Listen to advice from your cue maker, He knows more than you do about building cues.
7 Keep informed on your cues progress as it is being made, Custom cues can take months to years to make.
If you questions let me know Carlton Rhodes

Sid_Vicious
03-16-2003, 11:04 AM
Carlton...Thanks for that information, sounds like a wonderful piece of knowledge. Tell me, was the resultant cue anything like the Gilbert? I like Gilbert cues and yet it's possibly just a rung on the "cue quest ladder" for me in preparation of my first, personally designed custom somewhere down the road. Question 2: How about cue/tip marriages on those you try from various makers? I personally might hit with somebody's medium hardness tip and say "no I don't care for the cue" due to the leather, and never know what that cue would do with a hard WB. I know you can't be responsible for all scenarios in a cue search, but at the same time the tip selection on a trial cue for a semi-to-seasoned player looking for a maker could honestly kill his interest(it could mine.)

Again, you impressed me with your personal roadmap and I thank you for the post. You have played with some fine cues(imo)...sid

Popcorn
03-16-2003, 11:08 AM
That sounds good, but most cuemakers build cues and sell them. All that interaction with the customer is a little too much to ask for. They work a normal work day like everybody else and have little time to spend entertaining potential customers with tours of their shops, so if you get turned down, don't be insulted or surprised. If I stop by my attorneys office, I expect to be on the clock, yet people think it is fine to go by a cuemakers shop and waste hundreds of dollars worth a cuemakers time to order a $400. cue. I know cuemakers who spend hours with customers who never spend a nickel and just want to talk cues. In most cases they are too polite, and end up working late into the night trying to get work done and wonder why they don't make any money. Many cuemakers don't even want custom orders anymore. They would rather build cues, (I am talking top name cuemakers) and offer them for sale, often dealing with a cue broker and making less on the cue, to not have to deal with the public. Why doesn't anybody think a cuemakes time is worth anything? If one is nice enough to let you in their shop, take care of business and leave, give them a break. I know a lot of cuemakers and their time being wasted is one of their biggest complaints. Could you imagine going to someone's office and staying there for three hours, that shop is their office. The entitlements of buying only go so far. Don't get mad at me for my comments, I am repeating what I have heard from many cuemakers who don't know what to do about it, other then not answering their phones in the middle of the day.

Carlton31698
03-16-2003, 12:52 PM
The Gilbert played great, but it was not as stiff as I like. I got the cue second hand and played with it for two years. Andy makes a great cue. I wish I still had that cue as a collectable. I started trying to collect cues I really liked, but I just couldnít afford it. The only cues I have left are my Ezels and an old McDermott D-12

Most of the cues I tried had either le pro(sp?) or triangle tips. These were the only two tips I used for years. On the cues I owned I replaced the tip with one of those two. On the cues I shot with I asked what kind of tip was on the cues and went from there. You are right the wrong tip can make a cue play bad. Every player has different ideas about tips, for me I like a medium to hard tip on my playing cue and a very hard tip on my jump/break cue. Now I use WB on both cues.

Joe Ezel Makes cues because he loves doing it. He has a everyday job. Because of this he is able to take more time with his costumers than a lot of cue makers can.

If you are thinking about a Gilbert it is a great cue, and I believe Andy will work with you on design and hit. He is a Stand up guy. If you want to see my cue go to http://southernbilliards.com and click on the 12th Annual Fall Follies shockwave intro my cue is the only cue in the intro.

Glad you enjoyed the post Carlton