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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » About the Cups and Balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of CardMagician
What type of cups are best to use when doing the cups and balls routine? I was going to buy the wooden cups, because I saw Michael Ammmar once perform it. He also has a video teaching the cups and balls, which I'm going to get. If you know any other videos, teaching a good foundation of the cups and balls, also some tips I will be happy. Thanks! Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Uh, best cups? There are so many ways to do the trick. What do you think of the thing Sean Connery does in 'Time Bandits' or the guy in one of the Sherlock Holmes TV mysteries?

You could go with the special magicians cups which are very nice. Heck, I had a set once.

I'd recommend you learn the moves with coffee cups so you could do the thing for people with borrowed cups.

That's just my suggestion. You can always buy those pretty magician's cups and join the gang. all the coins I've dropped here
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
First get the teach in video from titled cups and balls. It has half a dozen different magicians and their routines, each with different types of cups.

Buma's antique cups at Stevens are the best buy for the Paul Fox style. The classic style "Johnny Paul" cups are a bargain too, available same site.

But, check the video and decide.

And go to and look at the history of cups and the various styles. You will be amazed. Smile
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Profile of eddieloughran
If you are just starting out go for a cheap but good set. They will be smaller and lighter but you can find out if you can use them before spending a fortune.
Cups and balls require a lot of skill and nerve to carry off well. And acting ability !
Frank Tougas
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Inner circle
Minneapolis, MN
1712 Posts

Profile of Frank Tougas
On another forum, where I no longer post due to philosophical differences, I posted something I called Cups & Balls madness. Cups ranging in price from 20 bucks to a thousand dollars and up.

If it's the cups they remember, you've lost the war and succumbed to the C&B madness.

It is the routine that is important. I agree with Jon Town, go for pretty later. Who knows, you may end up using a set you bought at a discount store and people will be clammoring for a set just like you so their routine will be as good. (you can sell them as an exclusive for a cool thousand.) Smile
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Pensacola, Fla
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Profile of nostromo
Card Magician, if you're near a magic club pop in and ask the question. With luck there will be several folks there that will let you try what they have or at least share their experience.
I've succumbed to C&B madness and have bought the Ammar book, tapes, and mercury wand- WONDERFUL. The Mark Wilson course has a basic routine, and there are lots of books out there. Problem seems to be finding one that fits your personality. Though I must say it is easier and the learning is faster with other magicians.
Bought regular sized aluminum cups ($15) and larger sized brass cups ($30 on closeout) from my local dealer. The aluminum ones dent a lot. I even spray painted some HUGE cups just to see what they felt like- the regular cups felt like thimbles after that! Maybe that would be a good training tool?
Wanted to work in a chopcup routine and while on vacation, bought a chop cup that LOOKED like it matched the aluminum cups I already had. After all, how far apart can they BE? Well, LOTS. The new cup didn't look alike and didn't even stack well- and the dern thing cost as much as the set I'd already bought. Lesson learned- if you're going to incorporate a chop cup into C&B, buy the whole set at once. Oh, and the other lesson was that a magic shop in a tourist area has HIGH overhead that they have to make.
BTW- a good source for fruit loads is your freindly local WALMART. They don't even look at you funny when you whip out your cup and try the different fruits in it. The local Michaels and hobby/decorating floral stores have lots more possibilities but the prices are higher. On the plus side, most of the patrons are ladies with creative interests . . . . . Wish I'd known about that treasure trove during my dating days. Smile
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Profile of Agathon
One of the best Cups & Balls rountines I have ever seen is by Bruce Cervon. He uses three ordinary coffee cups.

Charles Spector Smile
Bill Palmer
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Eternal Order
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Profile of Bill Palmer
To tell the truth, it is easier to learn the cups and balls with a good set of magician's cups than it is with a set of coffee cups or glasses wrapped in paper.

The Ammar videos have a wealth of info about the cups, themselves, not to mention the routines.

Read and watch as much as you can before you buy a set, though.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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London UK
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Profile of BlackShadow
They were selling some brushed stainless steel cocktail shakers in Tesco the other day. At £6.00 a time, £18.00 would buy you a set of 3. They stacked nicely with good attic space to give you a set of 5" cups for larger work. One drawback was that the bottoms were flat but if you wanted a depression this could be hammered in. And the bonus... for the same £18.00 the tops of the cocktail shakers were in shape of mini jiggers about 2" high which also gives a nice little set of micro cups all included in the price.

Very appropriate for bar or restaurnt work too.
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Lehi, UT, USA
643 Posts

Profile of what
Go to the store and buy some plastic cups that stack. Then learn the routine from Mark Wilsons Book. You won't regret it. Later, you can morph it into something more by adding your own patter, expressions, perhaps a wand, or fancy cups. Michael Ammars Videos are fantastic, but will be more appreciated once you have Wilsons routine down. I also second the recomendation to get the Stevens DVD. 4 masterfull routines performed/explained. It's the only place I have ever seen the Johnny Paul rouine.
Magic is fun!!!
Bill Palmer
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Profile of Bill Palmer
If you want to modify cocktail shakers, see if you can find someone who is a metal worker to help you do it without ruining them too badly. To really do it right, without messing them up, make a mold out of hardwood that fits into the bottom of the cup, then using a lathe or just by eyeballing it, make a depression in the top of that mold. Metal would be better than wood, but if you are only going to work on three cups, this will probably do the job. Then put that inside the cup you want to work on, and go after it with the round end of the head of a ballpein hammer. Or if you prefer the more common spelling, use a ballpeen hammer. It's not going to be as easy as you might think, though.

Also, with cocktail shakers, you have to be careful not to accidentally jam them together. If you can resist that, then they will work fine.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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