The Longasy Break DOWN.
POOL CUE TIP HARDNESS
The second thing to consider when selecting the right pool cue tip is how hard of a tip do you want. Tips come in a variety of hardnesses, ranging from super soft to super hard. How do you know which one is right for you? It depends on a few different things; will this cue be used for a special purpose (such as breaking or jumping), and what is your level of experience and playing style.
As you go down the scale from hard to soft, the tips provide more cushion on the hit. The additional deflection provided from the tip allows the tip to remain in contact with the ball for a fraction of a second longer. This, in turn, allows you to have more control over the ball. It will generally become easier to apply English to the ball, and control your shots more precisely. The downside is that they will lose their shape more quickly and require more maintenance and more frequent replacement.
As you probably already know, billiards is a sport that tests your skill as well as testing your mental fortitude. There is no replacement for solid, consistent practice and training. This is, however, a sport where equipment choices can make a difference. Choosing the right pool cue tip is one of the most important choices you can make to help improve your game.
A famous story about billiards legend Willie Masconi was that you could give him nothing but a broom, with a good cue tip on the end. He would run out all of the tables and sweep up the joint when he was done. It’s not that he actually did it, the point is that he would need to have a good tip on the end to control the ball. Many of us have spent countless hours, and money, adding that latest and greatest cue to our arsenal, in hopes that we would suddenly be running the tables in the next APA championship. Most of the time, the cue tip was never given a second thought. You simply used the tip that came with the cue. When it came time to change it you simply replaced the tip with something “standard”.
While a good player can benefit from a better cue, especially true for a high performance shaft, most players will benefit immediately from choosing the proper pool cue tip (and maintaining it properly). We won’t discuss the proper maintenance of the tip in this article. We will cover that in a later post. It is an important part of developing a consistent strike and playing style. The good news is that selecting the right pool cue tip is not too hard, as long as you understand the basics.
There are 4 main things to consider when selecting the next tip for your pool stick. We will discuss each of these throughout this article.
Size: The diameter of the tip must be at least as large as your shaft’s diameter.
Hardness: Tips come in a variety of harnesses, from super soft to super hard.
Material: Laminated leather, single-piece, or even bakelite and phenolic options are available.
Brand: Here’s the hard one. Which cue tip brand should you choose?
The medium came to me in a little clear plastic cylinder with their logo on it. When installed the installer commented that is was an interesting challenge. He had never installed a tip like this. See the tips come as a square section of leather that is comprised of two different leather composites. The medium tips play like the mid-range in the durometer range of the 76 to 82 hardness. The layers help to maximize the amount of English you can put on the cue ball and the ability to get a consistent hardness from tip to tip. The medium tip from Longasy plays great with little maintenance required to get a consistent hit and feel. It was suggested to me to take off a few layers to get to the “better meat” of the tip. And they were right. On both the medium and soft tips the better playability comes after a few layers are taken off.
I’m still testing out the soft Longasy tip. When the tip was installed, I had the tip installer review the videos that were made available to all of us by Longasy. It’s easy to achieve the right feel for a soft tip as long as you are willing to take your time and not give up on it after a game or two. These are high performance tips and should be given the time and respect they deserve after installing them. In my opinion the soft feels like a super soft Kamui tip or a Moori soft. In any case it seems like you can maximize the amount of English I can put on the cue ball with this tip. A lot of this has to do with the amount of forgiveness per hit.
The softer tips available will generally allow you to provide more spin on the ball. There is a pretty wide range from soft to super soft, each manufacturer has their own formula and specs. In general, once your game progresses to the point where you are actively controlling the ball, you may start to look at getting softer tips and using separate cues for playing, breaking and jumping.
As you become really good, you may even start to carry multiple shafts with different tips based on the playing conditions you expect to encounter. Each table can play differently, based on the cloth type and condition and other environmental factors. Top professional players will tune their setup to the specific requirements of the venue they will be playing.
The softest tips are more appropriate for a skilled player playing on a high quality surface, such as a new table (or cloth) in a tournament setting. The additional deflection these tips provide can take a bite out of the strength of your strike and may be difficult for the average player to hit on that old, worn table at your local spot.
As to the advantages and disadvantages of the different densities, at its most basic level, the softer the pool cue tip, the more likely it is to mushroom or flatten out with each hit of the cue ball. What this means is that a soft tip will require more maintenance than a harder tip.
HOW DOES THE TIP AFFECT THE BREAK?
The break is the one time in every frame or rack where you really are putting more energy into the tip of the cue.
You push this energy through the cue in order to split open a pack of 15 balls. If you have a soft cue tip on your cue then the tip will soak up a lot of the energy on contact with the cue ball, this is great for control of the white ball but not so great in terms of raw power. When you put a harder tip on your cue the power is not dissipated into the tip on contact and carries on through to the split of the pack. The move to dedicated cues and tips has meant that some of the top professionals have in fact been able to break softer and get a much more controlled break but with the same split.
Find your perfect back hand position. There’s a lot of debate over whether you should reach a few inches farther back on the pool cue for your break shot – giving you a longer stroke – or to keep your back hand in its usual position.
Power isn’t nearly as important as full contact on the one ball. Pros generally break in the 20 mph range. The fastest breaks are just over 30 mph, but you’ll never see pros breaking that hard because of a loss of control. You should break only as hard as you can control.
The Longasy break tips are made of a phenolic resin but feel like you’re hitting with a sledge hammer. They grip well “after being scuffed” they hold chalk and need little to no maintenance. They feel to me like the Cell 2 or the taom tips or the Hammer head. I have used this tip on my breaking shaft and been able to play an entire game. I’m able to draw the cue ball a full length of the table. The proper technique and the acceleration of the cue ball reaching maximum velocity with the Langasy break tip is the perfect combination.
The Longasy tip pad and an addition that are also sold separately. They are composite based pads that allow you maximum adhesiveness. In my opinion they also make the hit of the tip a bit harder. I used the tips pad I was provided on the medium tip and could feel the stiffness. It’s a personal preference and I understand that many tip installers are requesting for their work on the Longasy brand and on other tips installed. They originally came to me in a tan color but I now understand that they come in black.
Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. Look at your own game and you should be able to determine which tip is going to work best for you.
I have used many tips on the market and have my set of favorites. G2 ranked first, Kamui clear ranked second but above all the tips I have ever used on the market today I totally prefer the Longasy brand.
Sponsored by Jacoby Custom Cues
Author: Garret Troop
Editor: Shaylyn Troop