Snooker is a great game to play as you hardly need any equipment whatsoever to play it. The only piece of kit that you have to have is a cue, so don’t penny pinch and get a cue that suits your body and your style of playing. Believe it or not there are several factors you must consider when going out shopping for your first cue and here are some on the most important.
There are two common materials that good cues are made from, ebony for the stock part and ash for the shaft. But there are other combinations that include a host of exotic woods for the butt section and perhaps maple for the shaft. Cheaper cues try to deceive buyers by having overlays (decals) on the butt section to cover up that it is not spliced. These overlays may look like rosewood or ebony but they are definitely not.
There are basically three types of snooker cues:
- One piece – no join whatsoever
- Two Piece joined at the center – have the join across the shaft
- Two Piece joined ¾ down the length – the join is positioned across the butt
One piece cues are a trifle difficult to carry around but many snooker players prefer them as there is no joint to distract them when playing a shot. The most popular are two piece cues and the position of the joint is important for two reasons.
Firstly, for weight distribution it really matters if the joint is in the middle of the cue or lower down as the heavier butt will impact shot speed. And secondly many players think the middle jointed cues distract their eye-line when taking a shot.
The tip is important for accuracy, there is a brass ferrule that attaches the leather tip to the cue. The standard size of the tip is 10mm in diameter. But smaller and larger tips are available that will offer different performances. Some pro players prefer slightly smaller tips as they offer more control of the cue ball but is balanced by the slight loss of power.
Do not be tempted into buying a screw-tip as they are nowhere as flexible as a standard glued tip, and these types of tips come in a variety of materials which will affect your game.
The design of the cue is mostly aesthetic and will not alter the playing characteristics of the cue. How the butt section is embellished is simply for the eye, so why pay more for something that will not alter your playing.
Finally, the splice is highly important, this is how the butt is fixed to the shaft. This is done either by machine, but the best splices are done by hand by a craftsman. This is where you should spend the extra money on your cue, a machine splice sometimes is rather rough, and you will be able to feel it when taking a shot. And as you know little distractions can be most off-putting when it comes to playing snooker.