(Close Window)
Topic: New to Cups and Balls..Where truly to start?
Message: Posted by: Daniel Clemente (Nov 12, 2011 12:08PM)
Hello All...I've always been interested in learning a cups and ball routine, or doing it myself...I am currently only into coins and cards...I have a Gazzo DVD that includes his routine and all the finesse of it, but where would be a good beginning step to start, before going to Gazzo...I would search, but searching these forums could be tough sometimes with the search function...thank you in advance!

-Troop
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Nov 12, 2011 12:18PM)
Troop,
If you ignore the first 5 listings in this link (adverts) there's a lot of links to Café threads. http://tinyurl.com/dxeb3bc
Message: Posted by: Chris G. (Nov 12, 2011 12:27PM)
You will find this in other threads as well: The DVDs by Michael Ammar are a good place to start. The Gazzo DVD is great as well, if you already have it, why not start from there?
Message: Posted by: francisngkl (Nov 12, 2011 12:28PM)
As a beginner, I find Michael Ammar's DVDs the best.

Francis
Message: Posted by: Octopus Sun (Nov 12, 2011 12:33PM)
I'm not impressed with Ammar's DVD's. They are ok at best. There's allot of info packed into a small package.
Only problem is Ammar does not go into how to do the sleights in detail. That's the first thing a n00b needs to learn ie transfers etc. and Ammar does not show them in detail. Yes, he does go over the moves needed, but he does not teach them properly imho.
I've watched Ammar's dvd's about 100+ times over the last year.
What he does teach in great detail is the wand spins.
Ammar's not what I would call a DVD set to learn from.
burn me now...mho
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Nov 12, 2011 12:44PM)
I love the Ammar vids, but you're right. It's more a "dictionary" of C&B moves. To me, Gazzo's routine is the easiest serious routine to start with. The focus is on the performer not the moves and sleights are kept to a minimum. He explains everything in intricate detail, all the way down to wand placement.

Don't do his lines, just the moves. The rest is up to you.
Message: Posted by: Dale J. O'Neill (Nov 12, 2011 01:03PM)
I would recommend "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic" by Lewis Ganson, it has plenty of detail.

You might also try "The Michael Ammar Book of Magic"
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Nov 12, 2011 01:06PM)
I think we've ruled out Ammar as covering too much without actually "teaching" a routine. Vernon's is great, and is the basis for Gazzo's. Trouble is, it's so detailed as to put off the first time user. That's why I suggested sticking with Gazzo. You can see the routine and the moves on video, and a lot of the hard stuff has been eliminated.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 12, 2011 01:23PM)
I would disagree with Duaut's assessment of the Ammar DVD's. The explanations of the sleights are extremely clear. The main thing is not to try to learn more than one sleight at a time. Watch the sleight, then the explanation. Then stop the DVD and learn the sleight. The pair of DVD's is well-organized and clearly explained. It builds upon itself. It's like a course in how to do the cups and balls. The only reason that there is so much detail about the wand spin is that it is not easy to explain.

The Ganson book is actually over-explained, to the point that it becomes confusing. Vernon, himself, wasn't all that pleased with it. If you don't have the [i]Dai Vernon Book of Magic[/i] and you want that particular explanation of the cups and balls, get the booklet [i]Dai Vernon Cups & Balls Routine[/i] which is extracted from the Vernon book. Ganson was a top-notch photographer, but sometimes his explanations were much more complicated than they needed to be.

Also, if you can find Michael Ammar's book [i]The Complete Cups and Balls[/i], that's almost mandatory. It's been out of print for a couple of years, but still shows up on eBay from time to time.

Fun, Inc. puts out a booklet called [i]Cups Balls - A Treatise on the World's Oldest Deception[/i], which was edited by Gabe Fajuri. There is a video from Hampton Ridge that basically goes along with it that won't hurt you to have.

Rafael Benatar has a DVD called [i]Elegant Cups and Balls[/i] that I found to be very helpful.

And, of course, the Gazzo material which you already have is also excellent.

You might find some material on the Bob White DVD helpful.
Message: Posted by: Chris G. (Nov 12, 2011 01:35PM)
Ammar is a classic, studying his book or DVDs might also helpful for a beginner just to see, what all there is about the C&B. For detailed slights (FT) check out the book from Al Schneider for instance. You will find this in other places as well.

An other important point is to decide, in which performance settings one wants to perform a routine: Close up or stand up? Seated or standing? Final loads from the pockets or from a pouch or from some place else?
If you know, in which setting you want to perform the cups and balls, you can search specific for routines that are similar to your needs. Pick one one start learning from there.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Nov 12, 2011 01:52PM)
I had seen many C&B routines over the years. It was just recently that I saw a routine that fit how I work, that was different enough from the rest of the routines. One way to start is to see a routine that you really like and use that as a starting point. If I hadn't already found a routine, I'd just try to see as many routines as possible.
Message: Posted by: Mephisticator (Nov 12, 2011 02:15PM)
Alan, sounds like great advice. Do you have any particular magicians/ routines someone might start with?

Cheers,

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Nov 12, 2011 03:15PM)
It's really a matter of personal taste and how you work. I perform either stand-up or strolling, and rarely any other way. So I had to find a routine that was great for table hopping, that could be adapted to stand-up work. I found a routine by Milt Kort that fit the bill. I met him shortly before he passed away and was impressed by him and his magic.

There are so many routines that could be a good fit. Just get on YouTube and have at it. If we all had the same influences, things wouldn't be much different than they are right now - a lot of routines that look alike.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 12, 2011 04:16PM)
I think starting with Gazzo's video is great. Study his presentation, learn it, copy it. Then go looking for more info on how to improve your moves. The routine is everything--smoothness and deceptiveness increases as you improve your technique. But the important thing is to understand how a good routine "feels," and to get the timing of it, and understand why it fools people.

There is no point in studying moves without understanding what makes a routine great. It is my opinion that most magicians never learn how to present the cups and balls because they have no idea what makes a good routine work. If you have never done a masterful routine, and don't know what it feels like, and how it works, how would you ever create one? People usually listen to, and learn to sing someone else's songs before they write their own.

I created my linking ring routine in the 60's, but I first learned and performed for some time at least two other routines--Jack Miller, and Dai Vernon.

The Vernon cups and balls routine, on which Gazzo's and Cellini's routines were based, is a great place to start.

Build your house first by framing it, then cover the frame and decorate it.

Originality is not for beginners, in my opinion. Geniuses excepted. Geniuses don't ask questions on forums. Creative geniuses always know where to start. I am not one of them, and wouldn't be arrogant enough to offer suggestions to them. But in my mind, even most genuises spend time learning and absorbing the craft before they try something that hasn't been done before.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Gardner (Nov 12, 2011 05:05PM)
- The Ammar DVD's and book are truly excellent.
- The Gazzo DVD (Penguin) is also excellent with a lot of detail.
- The Eddy Ray DVD's (Magic Makers) are pretty good also, similar to the Ammar DVD's with a few different moves. Eddy Ray is left handed so this may be an issue.
- Vernon's routine is perfection on so many levels.
- The little Roy Former book should not be overlooked (it contains Mohammed Bey's routine)

But first I would suggest learning the timing of a good vanish. David Roth's DVD, "Expert Coin Magic Made Easy vol. 1" contains essential coin vanishes taught in exacting detail. It's not a cups and balls DVD, but the timing of naturalness of a good coin vanish is extremely valuable.
[quote]
On 2011-11-12 14:23, Bill Palmer wrote:

You might find some material on the Bob White DVD helpful.
[/quote]
Yes indeed! The Bob White DVD is excellent!
Message: Posted by: francisngkl (Nov 12, 2011 11:37PM)
Quote

"Build your house first by framing it, then cover the frame and decorate it..."

I like this very much, and this applies to all learning, thank you.

Francis
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 13, 2011 12:42AM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-13 00:37, francisngkl wrote:
Quote

"Build your house first by framing it, then cover the frame and decorate it..."

I like this very much, and this applies to all learning, thank you.

Francis
[/quote]
Thanks, but I probably should have started from the foundation... ;)

I think the point was clear, even if I was a little quick on the draw on the metaphor...
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 13, 2011 01:38AM)
Sometimes the wordiest, most detailed explanation of a sleight is not necessarily the best.

In my opinion, the clearest explanation of a false transfer is the one in [i]Hocus Pocus Junior[/i]. In about 2 dosen words, without using any expressions that nobody understands without a medical dictionary, the author describes the elements of a good false transfer, including the timing.

His advice on palming is also excellent.

So, where can you find this? It's free! Go to the cups and balls museum. On the "gateway" page, there is a link to a page that shows you where the free downloads are. Download the page, save it to your hard drive and enjoy the material.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 13, 2011 01:01PM)
Troop,

The Ammar C&B DVDs (1&2) were primarily responsible from transforming me from a 20-year hack to a pretty good amateur (okay, I made the decision to focus and devoted the time over the past 3 years).

Ammar is a great teacher; not only does he teach C&B well, he provides guidance on performing principles that transcend C&B. After studying his DVDs I started looking into classic magic texts and totally changed my approach. I cannot recommend his work enough.

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 13, 2011 07:07PM)
I too would strongly recommend Ammar's material. I went from knowing almost nothing about the cups and balls to feeling quite proficient in just a matter of days - not necessarily from a performance perspective, as that takes some serious time, but from a knowledge perspective. I know the different moves now, their names, how they are accomplished, and I carry with me an arsenal of good quality material to choose from when creating a routine.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the Vernon routine - mainly because it has been SO overdone by SO many people. I saw the same moves and the same patter for months...when I finally saw Vernon do it, I no longer cared. The whole thing had become stale.

Dare to be different. Find an easy, beginners routine that speaks to you. We can recommend sources for learning, but I wouldn't do a routine just because everyone tells me it's the one you're supposed to start with. If you see it and you love it, go for it! If you're like me and you found it to be lacking something, keep searching. There are a ton to choose from. Best of luck!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 13, 2011 09:17PM)
If you work for laymen it is hard to beat the Vernon routine. For magicians? No.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 13, 2011 10:05PM)
I agree with Whit 100%.

The biggest mistakes beginners make is:
1. trying to come up with something unique.
2. trying to cram every possible move/slight/effect into their "own" routine

Start with a routine that you find really love and just do that and only that.

As soon as you can, get some cups that you really enjoy using. One of the things that kept me from practicing the trick way back when was.... crappy cups. As soon as I bought my first set of nice cups, I practiced a lot more often and enjoy the practice a lot more.

Years later you'll realize what you perform has changed from the original.
You'll then be performing your own routine. One that evolved based on your years of experience.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 14, 2011 09:11AM)
I second what Frank says - when I graduated from cheap plastic cups to a nice copper set, I really looked forward to practicing more. They handled better and felt and sounded great. It really did make a lot of difference.
Message: Posted by: yin_howe (Nov 15, 2011 10:03PM)
Ditto to what Frank and Andrew said
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 15, 2011 11:32PM)
I know it's only been three days since you asked, but have you decided anything yet?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 16, 2011 12:57PM)
Frank knows what he is talking about.

Let me add this:

One of the biggest secrets of art is to know when to stop, that is, what to leave out. There is a fellow that some of you know who knows literally every move that can be done with a set of cups and balls, AND he is bound and determined to perform each one of them every time he does the trick.

It's BORING as HELL!

Learn how to do your loads. Go to the Secret Sessions section and look for Final Load Logic.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Nov 16, 2011 03:15PM)
With C&B I follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Silly (I'm being PC)

I've found, as Bill and Frank alluded to, this routine works best when it's not overcrowded.

Think of it as a new car- you can buy all of those options, sure... but are you really going to use all of them? This is the one effect that can truly be customized to every magician's taste and style.

I'll throw in one suggestion not mentioned (although you can put another vote for the Anmar DVD's down for me):

There's a great beginner's routine in the "Knack - Make It Easy" series book titled "Magic Tricks". It's a great book on its own merit, with a wide variety of effects, but the C&B routine on pp. 196-203 is a nice step by step place to start.
Message: Posted by: Octopus Sun (Nov 16, 2011 07:36PM)
I apologize. I was wrong about my statements on the Ammar DVD.
I've been watching it since I wrote that, and see I was so wrong.
My bad. Again I'm sorry all.
I am studying this work with a new and open eye, heart mind.
I'm just frustrated at my own put/transfer.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 17, 2011 12:06PM)
No biggie.

Read the material from Hocus Pocus, Junior. You can download it at the museum. It's FREE!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Nov 17, 2011 12:39PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-16 13:57, Bill Palmer wrote:
Learn how to do your loads. Go to the Secret Sessions section and look for Final Load Logic.
[/quote]

Bill,

I seem to be missing the Final Load Logic topic, and wondering if someone might pm me a link. Would love to read more on this.

Pete gave me some great advice on the final loads when I posted my rendition of the C&B, based heavily on Vernon's routine. So I am continually looking for more information, advice, tips on those pesky final loads!

RevJohn
Message: Posted by: GaryLee (Nov 17, 2011 02:15PM)
I purchased The Complete Course In Magic With Cups & Balls by Eddy Ray. I also own Ammars DVD's on Cups & Balls. Because I started with Eddy Ray's Cups & Balls I didn't find anything new that I could use in the Ammar DVD's. I'm sure perhaps my opinion would be different if I had purchased Ammar's DVD's first, but despite me finding Eddy to be boring to watch and learn from, the pain of it paid off well for me. I was able to learn the basic moves, including hold outs and loads. Even cup and wand manipulations. My whole routine is based on learning from Eddy Ray's DVD. I would probally be saying the same thing about Ammar's DVD's if I had purchased them first.

I have always wondered why on the cover of Eddy Ray's DVD it says, "2 DVD set on a single sided dual layer disc". Doesn't that just make it a 1 DVD set then? LOL

Gary
Message: Posted by: magicofrovin (Nov 17, 2011 06:00PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-12 14:23, Bill Palmer wrote:
I would disagree with Duaut's assessment of the Ammar DVD's. The explanations of the sleights are extremely clear. The main thing is not to try to learn more than one sleight at a time. Watch the sleight, then the explanation. Then stop the DVD and learn the sleight. The pair of DVD's is well-organized and clearly explained. It builds upon itself. It's like a course in how to do the cups and balls. The only reason that there is so much detail about the wand spin is that it is not easy to explain.

The Ganson book is actually over-explained, to the point that it becomes confusing. Vernon, himself, wasn't all that pleased with it. If you don't have the [i]Dai Vernon Book of Magic[/i] and you want that particular explanation of the cups and balls, get the booklet [i]Dai Vernon Cups & Balls Routine[/i] which is extracted from the Vernon book. Ganson was a top-notch photographer, but sometimes his explanations were much more complicated than they needed to be.

Also, if you can find Michael Ammar's book [i]The Complete Cups and Balls[/i], that's almost mandatory. It's been out of print for a couple of years, but still shows up on eBay from time to time.

Fun, Inc. puts out a booklet called [i]Cups Balls - A Treatise on the World's Oldest Deception[/i], which was edited by Gabe Fajuri. There is a video from Hampton Ridge that basically goes along with it that won't hurt you to have.

Rafael Benatar has a DVD called [i]Elegant Cups and Balls[/i] that I found to be very helpful.

And, of course, the Gazzo material which you already have is also excellent.

You might find some material on the Bob White DVD helpful.
[/quote]
Amen to this.
Message: Posted by: francisngkl (Nov 17, 2011 07:57PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-17 13:39, RevJohn wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-11-16 13:57, Bill Palmer wrote:
Learn how to do your loads. Go to the Secret Sessions section and look for Final Load Logic.
[/quote]

Bill,

I seem to be missing the Final Load Logic topic, and wondering if someone might pm me a link. Would love to read more on this.




Pete gave me some great advice on the final loads when I posted my rendition of the C&B, based heavily on Vernon's routine. So I am continually looking for more information, advice, tips on those pesky final loads!

RevJohn
[/quote]

Here is the link

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=108360&forum=37

Francis
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Nov 17, 2011 11:09PM)
Thanks! Appreciate it.

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 18, 2011 06:38AM)
The Eddy Ray DVD is somewhat controversial. When Eddy put it out, he had no control over what went onto the DVD. THere are a number of flubs and bloops that should have been edited out. I panned the DVD because of the similarity of the name to the Ammar DVD set and because of the technical failings of the DVD.

Later, I learned from someone who knows Eddy that he had no intention of copying Ammar's course, and that he had been under the impression that he would have some artistic control.

The person who produced the DVD could have made this a much better set by simply editing out the flubs and bloops. But he didn't.

I found Eddy's performance of the cups and balls somewhat offensive because of the way he handled the spectators.

And, of course, there was NONE of the historical material on the Eddy Ray set. If you don't think the historical aspect of the cups and balls is important, then you will be in the same spot that a couple of people I know were in when they told me they had invented the first three cup routine that used only three balls.

The first one in print was by Ken Brooke.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Gardner (Nov 21, 2011 11:55PM)
Eddy Ray is left handed, which can get confusing, espcially when learning the vanishes.
There are some moves in the Eddy Ray DVD that are not found in the Ammar DVD's, it makes a nice supliment to the Ammar DVD's.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 23, 2011 07:12AM)
I am another supporter of Michael Ammar's DVDs. He is very educational. He talks about the history. He explains so many moves and routines in a understanding manner. And Michael is a great instructor just like Bill Palmer.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Nov 23, 2011 08:31AM)
I would suggest the Stevens Cups and Balls video. At this moment they are selling it at $7.50. It has four different performers explaining their routines including Ammar. http://www.stevensmagic.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=106_30&products_id=7569
It's VHS. The DVD is $32.50

My own routine is taught in step-by-step detail in my book,[url=http://www.barnowskymagic.com]The Book of Destiny[/url]. It's also performed and explained on the companion DVD.
:cups:


Larry :readingbook:
Message: Posted by: MysticJohn (Dec 9, 2011 10:01PM)
Frank Garcias Very Best of Cups and balls, if you can find it , has some great stuff to review, and Paul Gertners routine is worth having a look at if you have not seen it., in his book and one of the DVDs I believe.
Message: Posted by: timmyjimmy (Jun 19, 2017 06:19AM)
I would post a reply here but Pop Hadyn and Bill Palmer already did, and that is enough for me!
Seriously though. The Ammar Dvd's are the BEST!
Gazzo dvd and booklet, TOP NOTCH!
What I loved about the Ammar dvd's is that they broke down the Beginning, middle and ending sequence pieces so that the whole routine begins to make sense as a routine.
Along my journey in Cups and Balls, I found my way.
Cellini, Tom Frank, and others have influenced my journey!
This post is 6 years after your initial question.
SO!? Where are you at with the process today!
What path did you follow!
What were your biggest influences cups and balls.. wise?
I recently watched the Eddy ray dvd and compared to Michael Ammars... it false seriously flat and dry.
Honestly, all one needs is the Ammar cups and balls dvd's and the Gazzo and you will be off and RUNNING!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jun 19, 2017 11:18AM)
I want to put in a plug for Al Schneider. His DVD has some techniques I've not seen elsewhere and several routines that show structure for different situations. It is not encyclopedic like the Ammar and Ray sets, rather it is a set of routines. Very thought provoking.

Patrick
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Jun 25, 2017 06:39PM)
On other consideration. 2 or 3 cup routine?
For close up I like 2 cups for the street 4 cups.
Message: Posted by: Doc Svengali (Oct 8, 2017 12:26AM)
In addition to the resources already mentioned, I found it highly valuable to study the routines on the World's Greatest Magic: Cups and Balls Volumes 1 through 3. From a teaching standpoint, the sections I found most helpful were: volume 1 Frank Garcia, volume 2 Johnny Thompson and Mark Desouza, volume 3 Al Schneider. There is a lot of helpful input, especially regarding false transfers, and in particular, visual retention vanishes.