How To Choose A Cue Stick 3
Your own cue is far less likely to have dings and scratches on it than a bar cue will. Since you keep it protected and treat it well, it will stay straighter longer and the shaft should stay nice and smooth. You would do well to invest in one of the tools made for roughening up the cue tip. This will greatly increase your ability to finesse the cue ball and avoid miscues.
Speaking of the tip, there are various degrees of hardness available in cue tips. Players who rely on finesse may prefer a softer tip for more feel on the cue ball, while a break stick may have a harder tip to better withstand the abuse of repeatedly smashing the balls at the break. Ferrules, which the cue tip attaches to, are made of different materials as well, depending on user preference.
A production cue will often have what is called the wrap, which is a leather or linen wrap around the butt of the cue where your hand grabs it. This provides for a better grip and also prevents oils and dirt from the hands from staining and fouling the wood of the shaft.
The joint where the the sections of the pool cue screw together can be made of different materials, depending on the preference of the shooter for the feel of the stick. Steel, brass, assorted plastics, and even just the wood can be used at the joints to get the feel of the stick to be just as the shooter prefers. Of course this is probably beyond the needs of the average beginner pool shooter, but it just shows you what is possible as you progress in your game.
Probably the biggest difference in a custom or production cue compared to a bar cue is the appearance. This is where the cuemaker's art comes into play and where the beauty of a custom cue is very evident. The various inlays of exotic woods, semi-precious stones, different metals, abalone, and other materials all combine to make some cue sticks genuine works of art. A cheaper cue may just be painted, but even some of these can be very attractive.
I am always amazed at the variety of designs available on something as simple as a cue stick. You can spend a lot of money on custom cues if you are so inclined. There is a whole subculture of pool cue collectors who wouldn't even think of playing a game with their precious, expensive cue sticks.
I guess the whole point of this article is, as long as you have a stick with the proper basics in place, you should be able to play good pool with it. Better workmanship and materials will bring you some measure of improved playability, but they are largely a matter of personal taste. In my opinion, as long as you're willing to put the time in to practice and perfect your game, your choice of stick is not all that important
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