For example:

  • Is there any difference, playing wise, between a centre jointed cue and a 3/4 jointed cue? I would have thought that the only difference would be that a centre jointed cue is more portable because it wouldn't require as large a case, but many players seem to have 3/4 jointed cues, and there must be a reason for this
  • Does wood type make a difference? Assuming they're the same weight, why would a maple cue be any better or worse than an ash cue, for example?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a heavier or lighter cue?
  • Is there any reason to go for a hand spliced cue over a machine spliced one?
  • Overall, what are you paying for when you buy a £250 cue as opposed to a £100 cue?

There's no real difference between centre-joint and 3/4 joint. If they are well made then there's no issue of balance. As you say, the only benefit is portability. Many people have 3/4 cues but never detach it, even for travelling.

Maple vs. ash - As I understand, the only difference is the visible grain. Ash cues have a visible grain which, if well made, should form chevrons down the shaft as viewed from your shot stance.

In all things, personal preference is the main factor. The only advice I would give is to try the cue before you buy it, and decent manufacturers will have a table to allow you to do this. The reason to have your own cue in the first place is to build consistency; to reduce as many variables in your game as you can. So, find a cue that feels right for you and stick with it.

Stephen Hendry won many of his world championships playing with a £30 club cue, so in most cases it's down to the user, not the tool!

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