When it comes to buying snooker cues, the selection to choose from is endless in today’s market, from John Parris snooker cues, Stamford cues, Peradon cues, cue craft, Jason Owen and other snooker cues case packages you will find on eBay. And this is only the tip of the iceberg with emerging Chinese cue makers. Lets take a look at what we need to know when we want to know how to choose a snooker cue.
First of all, knowing how to choose a snooker cue will largely depend on the budget you have set aside. A snooker cue on eBay can cost from as little as £20, however a John Parris cue can range anywhere from £320 to £1400 depending on what type of snooker cue your looking for. So what’s the difference between all the cues? The answer is, it lots and nothing!!
A snooker cue is just a piece of timber cut a tapered to a specific length etc. That’s all it is in reality, however the types of wood, the craftsmanship and the attention to detail differ widely and so the play ability of the cue differs significantly.
Cheap snooker cues and cue packages will be made on a mass production scale whilst the higher end of the market cues will more than likely be custom made to your personal specifications. Most of the top professional snooker players play with John Parris cues, considered by many, to be the best cue maker of this era. How to choose a snooker cue largely depends on what they player feels most comfortable playing with.
For me personally, the four snooker cues that I’ve had so far in my life were a Lewis and Wilson cue, a Dunns cue, an eBay cue I bought for £18 and my current cue, a John Parris cue www.parriscues.com. My favourite cue from these was my Lewis and Wilson that I had until I was about 18/19 years old, which my parents got me one year for my birthday. I used to leave it in the snooker locker in my local club but unfortunately, one day it was stolen on me. But that cue wasn’t the best cue I ever played with!! When I was in my teens, one of the local middle aged men, who played with a maple cue which was a modified house cue was playing me one day. I told him I never played with a maple cue before, so he handed me his cue and told me to play with his for a couple of frames. I knocked in three back to back centuries with that snooker cue, which I never did before. It felt like a fantastic snooker cue. Unfortunately I had to hand it back, and to this day I’ve never picked up a cue like it again. I found it very difficult after this to discover how to choose a snooker cue for me. So the moral of the story is, the value of the cue can be quite irrelevant when it comes to choosing the right snooker cue for you.
So what does matter when selecting a snooker cue for sale? Well, there are a few basic things that the buyer needs to think about first before choosing. These include the length of the cue, the weight, the tip, the wood we prefer, jointed or 1 piece and machine or hand made.
Its important we do our homework on ALL of these factors before selecting a snooker cue to buy.
Take firstly the length of the snooker cue. Most snooker cues are made about 57″ to 58″ long. The rule of thumb is, that generally, a smaller cue will give you a greater touch around the balls in close quarters because they tend to shorten the bridge hand to cue ball. This means the cue will be good for break building but lack accuracy in long potting and spin shots. A slightly longer cue will give you better long potting capabilities. That’s not to say that if you buy a 58″ cue, you wont be able to break build! I’m just pointing out strong and weak points for both even if they have minimal impact.
The weight of the cue is next on our list to look at. Snooker cues are generally weighted in or around 16oz to 18oz. Some players like heavier cues such as Jimmy Whites cue, which is in excess of 20oz. Lighter cues give a nice touch because we have more control over the cue ball, which is great around the business end of the table, however heavier cues give us far more balance and therefore a slightly straighter cue action will be observed which is good for long potting and deep screw shots. I suggest a cue weight of 17oz for a 1 piece cue and 18oz for a 3/4 jointed more most players. When we want to know how to choose a snooker cue, weight seems to be an important issue for people. In general an 18 ounce cue is a perfect all round weight.
The tip size we choose can be quite important. We can play snooker with a tip size from 9mm to 11mm. The smaller tip sizes will give you the ability to play some great spin shots, however you will have to be far more accurate with your cue ball striking. Larger tips will give you greater accuracy, however you will be compromising on your ability to play spin shots. When your researching how to choose a snooker cue, think about what tip best suits your style of play. If you have buckets of cue power, do you need a small tip? In today’s game, larger tips are no longer a problem because the tables are faster and spin is generated much more easily than years ago. I suggest a tip from about 9.5mm to 10mm best for playing snooker.
The wood we choose comes down to personal preference and how it feels to you personally. Most players play with an ash cue whilst others play with maple. When your out discovering how to choose a snooker cue, pick the wood that feels best for you. If you like the look of the grain in ash then try look out for good quality ash. Look for things like a straight grain, arrows which point towards the tip and check the hardness of the ash. Maple cues tend to have microscopic grains, but look for a cue that has as few imperfections as possible. When it comes to the butt of the cue, most snooker cues have an ebony butt because of its beautiful look and because it gives natural weight to the cue. Again like other woods, ebony also has grades, so try pick a good grade wood as far as your budget will allow. Snooker cue splicing is the lovely decorative part down the bottom of the cue. The choice is endless when it comes to splicing but just remember, splicing will not effect the playability of the cue, only the look of it. The most popular is the Ronnie O’Sullivan style splicing, which has been copied over and over by lots of cue makers.
1piece or jointed?
Do we want a 1 piece cue or a jointed cue? While finding out how to choose a snooker cue this tends to be an important factor for people. Again this is another personal choice that doesn’t effect how you play too much. Myself personally, I prefer 1 piece cues, although they are tougher for transportation, so try keep that in mind. Jointed cues are made so well now, that splits in the wood are very uncommon nowadays so the choice is up to yourself.
Cheap, low quality cues are made on machines, and better quality cues are handmade. Personally, if you can afford it, buy a handmade cue. You can even get cheap handmade cues on eBay for £40/50 from China etc.
With all the factors in mind that I have discussed above, buying snooker cues can now seem even more complicated. For those of you in the market for a new cue, buy the best you can afford, whether it be a custom made cue, mass production cue or even a house cue. Before buying it, make sure you have tested all my tips I’ve given above. Try some house cues in your local club, see what length you like most, weight, tip size and wood. Don’t go spending £500 on a cue you “think” you’ll play well with. Do your homework and I wish you every success in finding the right cue. You should be well on the road now to discovering how to choose a snooker cue for you.