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Maker of pool cues from 1961 to 1973 in Sherman Oaks, California, and from 1988 to present in North Hollywood, California.
Ernie Gutierrez has been exposed to fine custom woodworking since early childhood. His father was a woodworker who enjoyed making musical instruments as a hobby. Growing up with access to both woodworking knowledge and equipment enabled Ernie to meld his interest in pool with the art of woodworking.
Ernie worked on cue repair in the early 1960s and completed his first cue in 1962, just six days after the birth of his daughter, Gina. He chose to name his company after her and "Ginacue" became a source of custom cues for local players. That same year, Richie Florence won a tournament with his Ginacue and many orders started coming in.
Pool was experiencing a resurgence from the film "The Hustler" and though Ernie was selling his cues at about $65 each, he had a vision of far greater things. The few well-known cuemakers of the time used exotic materials in some of their cues but tended toward simplicity in their designs. Ernie felt he could build a fancy cue, making use of exotic materials and artistic designs while preserving the finest characteristics of playability. In 1966, Ernie completed such a cue, fully reflecting this vision of functional art, which at that time had no equal. The cue was built with an ivory wrap section and joint. It had eight engraved silver points and a matching case. Ernie presented the cue at the tournament in Johnson City, Illinois, and within an hour, had so many requests for contact information that he ran out of business cards.
An interesting fact about Ernie´s silver and ivory eight-point cue is that it did not sell for its initial asking price. In 1966, Ernie wanted $3500 yet there were no players or collectors who were willing, at that time, to purchase such a cue. Ernie held steadfast to his vision and continued offering extraordinary cues, often using lots of ivory, precious metals and gems. By the end of the 1960s, Ernie´s cues commanded previously unheard-of prices, frequently selling for thousands of dollars each. His work was in demand by celebrities, athletes and top players. The early 1970s Johnson City tournaments saw many players using Ginacues and Ernie´s work, and, at one point, the cues were being chosen by the majority of players in the tournament.
Ernie´s creativity extended well beyond the boundaries of traditional cues. He was very original in each of his cue designs and, among other firsts, produced the earliest floating rectangle cue. Ernie recalled that the cue was constructed for player Ed Kelly. Another of Ernie´s original creations was the oval tube case. Refined and made famous in later years by craftsmen like Bob Hempel, the tube case was an ingenious way to protect and store fine cues. Ernie looks upon the many design trends he has started with pride. While imitation may be seen as the highest form of flattery, Ernie has pointed out that it has helped him continue to innovate. Presently, new designs and one-of-a-kind cues make up about half of his annual production.
Ernie left cuemaking in 1973, and for 15 years, pursued other interests which included aircraft and racing car design. In 1988, Ernie returned to his former career and set up a new shop in North Hollywood, California. His creativity was as passionate as ever and his cue designs remained original and innovative. World-class players like Jose Parica and Jennifer Chen used fancy Ginacues and, with the enhanced precision of new customized equipment, Ernie was able to construct his best cues to date.
Ginacues from the 1990s to present are identified by the stylized "GC" which appears on the butt cap. Cues of the 1960s and 1970s were usually marked "Ginacue" on a ring just below the wrap. The logos of the 1960s era cues often yellowed since they were hand-scrolled on phenolic material cut from cue balls. In 1970, block lettering on Delrin became the norm.
Ginacue production is still less than 100 cues annually yet Ernie´s work ethic is as regimented as ever. Each Ginacue is precious and represents the finest efforts of its maker. Few are produced so that no attention to detail is spared and so that the customer wait for delivery is minimal.
Ernie Gutierrez is known as an exotic cue designer and trendsetter to the cuemaking industry. He has been inducted into the American Cuemaker´s Association Hall of Fame. He had the courage to pursue his vision and possessed both the talent and business acumen to recognize a new market niche. He has sold cues priced in the tens of thousands and his work remains in demand. Ernie still has his eight-point silver and ivory cue in its inscribed case: "Original by Ernie, Dec. 1966." Though it may not have brought the recognition he sought in 1966, it has become symbolic of his achievement since then. The collector who first refused the cue at its original $3500 asking price eventu

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