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Magicbarry
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I've been looking into picking up one of the Tarbell books to start working my way through the course.

Is it necessary to work through the entire series in order, or do the books stand independently of one another?

I've got enough of a background in magic that I don't need the absolute basics, so I'm hoping I can just pick up a volume that covers topics I'm interested in. My fear, though, is that I'll be in the middle of learning a spectacular trick in volume 4, and come to a crucial part that says, "use the technique on page 134 of volume 3", thus forcing me to dish out another $40 just to finish the trick.
Huw Collingbourne
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They can all be used independently of one another. Volume 1 probably covers more of the basics (card and coin sleights, etc.) than the others. All the same, it contains a lot of good stuff even if you know those sleights already. However, there is no harm in buying the books out of order. If, for example, you are interested in mentalism and bizarre magic (swallowing razor blades - ugh!) then volume 4 would be a good one. For stage magic and substitutions, volume 6 and so on. Generally each routine is pretty thoroughly described and does not depend upon your having all the preceding volumes.

best wishes
Huw
mike4dice
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I agree that the Tarbell are independent of one another. Funny you should mention Vol 4. as it just happens to be the one that is currently off the shelf and on my desk. Looking at some card transpo ideas in there.

Also don't forget about Mark Wilson's Course in Magic (exact name?). I'm also currently using that as a reference for an upcoming show - that will feature me as Santa - go figure!

mike Smile Smile
"Talents are best nurtured in solitude; but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world." - Goethe
Dennis Michael
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Take a look at the index of the Tarbell courses listed here:
Tarbell 1-8 Volume Complete Table of Con...... Lessons
and you can see every volume has something for everyone. Some focus on presentation, some focus on Illusions, some focus on comedy and most have something to do with cards, coins, and ropes.
Dennis Michael
Peter Marucci
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Magicbarry writes: "I've got enough of a background in magic that I don't need the absolute basics, so I'm hoping I can just pick up a volume that covers topics I'm interested in."

First of all, any Tarbell volume stands alone; you don't need the whole set (but why not?)

Secondly, after 50 years in magic, I still find myself going again and again to Tarbell. Sure the patter is dated and some of the tricks, too. But the basic concepts are still valid; they are absolutes and never go "out of date".

Check the master index, as Dennis recommends, to find a volume with material that you are particularly interested in.
Huw Collingbourne
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Now you tell me!

I just love the Tarbell patter!

Typical sample:

"Will you, madam, give me the name of any city that comes to your mind? Any city in the world... Paris? You must have been thinking of styles for a new dress."

Oh, well, all right, maybe it is slightly past its sell-by date. But then so am I, which probably explains why I like it!

Seriously, though, in spite of some quaint turns of phrase, I really think Tarbell does a good job of conveying a performance, patter and all, rather than just technique as in many other (lesser?) works...

best wishes
Huw
Magicbarry
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Thanks, guys. And thanks for that link, Dennis -- it'll make it much easier to decide which volume to start with.

I'd love to buy the entire series all at once, but it's quite a bit of money to plunk down all at once in addition to the other magic items I'm buying. (I keep making lengthy lists of things to pick up during my next trip to the magic shop, and having to pare it down to something I can actually afford at the moment.) Yeah, I know, Tarbell's uses a lot of household items, but I also like to get the toys, too!

I also like reading dated patter in older magic books. It's stuff I'll never use, but it's fun to read. I've had Hay's Cyclopedia of Magic, Goldston's Exclusive Magical Secrets, and a couple of Walter Gibson books since I was a kid, so I'm used to revising the patter to suit my style.

Actually, I was taken aback the other day when I was reading Bobo, and found myself laughing at the patter for one of the coins across tricks. (It was actually intended to be funny, too -- hence the surprise.) I can almost use that patter word for word. Whodathunkit?
Apprentice
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Quote:
On 2002-09-04 19:45, DenDowhy wrote:
Take a look at the index of the Tarbell courses listed here:
Tarbell 1-8 Volume Complete Table of Con......Lessons
and you can see every volume has something for everyone.


I am unable to access the link. When I get there the page says "sorry you do not have access to this page" and if I try to register it repeats the same error message.

Am I able to access the index?
Callin
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I had the same problem with the link. To help out, I'll post the contents on my site in a few minutes. Just go to http://www.callinsmagic.com/Specials/Tarbell.htm to view them

Thanks,
Richard Green
Callin's House of Magic
The Pacific Northwest's Largest and Oldest Magic Shop. Established 1953.
Visit us at www.callinsmagic.com
Ask me about the New Jerry Andrus Movie
"A Thing of Wonder" is Available Now!
Thoughtreader
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Tarbell was originally a mail order course in magic where you had a new lesson mailed to you every so often. It wasn't until much later that it was bound by Tannen's and sold as it is today. I am constantly appalled at today's "I want everything now" attitudes as well as new magicians who have the "I only want THIS to learn". A brain surgeon or an orthopedic specialist must first be a general practitioner before they can specialize. Magicians should be the same!!!! If you have a love of something, why would you want a half assed job of only learning bits and pieces, even if you may not use it, why not learn as much as you possibly can.

That said, why not start with Volume One of Tarbell and work your way through it. Chances are there is more in there that you have forgotten and it might do you some good to refresh on some techniques too. (It does everyone good to do that every now and then). Learn all you can through that volume and I can assure you that there will be more than enough material in each volume including #1, to interest you. Once you are done learning and refreshing with everything you have in that volume, move to volume two. It is quite affordable doing it that way and you really will be surprised by the range that each volume offers. You will also be surprised at how many times you can go back to Tarbell and find something you forgot a long time ago, even after you have worked through it all and learned it.

Magicians seem to have a "skim the book, find what looks kewl, try it and throw the book on the shelf to collect dust" mentality OR many now seem to have a "I can't learn from a book" syndrome which personally is just sad. Learning from a book is not only a skill that takes practice (just like sleight of hand, although many seem to prefer to avoid that too and go for store bought self working toys instead) but also helps to keep the effect one is learning developed to their own personality as opposed to looking like a clone which is a very easy thing to happen when learning from video only.

BUY the Tarbell series from Volume One, study it and learn it ALL, then move on. You will not regret it!
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Peter Marucci
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Wise words from Paul Alberstat, in the post above.
To quote Harlan Tarbell himself (Vol. 8, p. 3):
"Start with a firm foundation. Build your structure step by step. Fly-by-night methods are flimsy. Know your work thoroughly and you will have a foundation which nothing can destroy. . . . You must be thoroughly grounded first . . . ."
Far too many magicians today are only interested in the latest sleight, routine, or gimmick.
And, because of that, older -- and brilliant -- sleights, routines, and gimmicks are left forgotten.
Well, it's their loss! Smile
rickmagic1
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Great word, Peter.
I was just watching the Bill Malone video on Sam the Bellhop last night (got it for the sleights, not the routine), and I thought it was very important that for every new sleight he showed that was newer (past 20 years), he showed 2-3 that were from Erdnase, Vernon, and even older.
Maybe the pros know something we don't....
Richard Green
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Host of the Haunted Magic show at House of Cards Nashville!
Dennis Michael
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Sorry Fellow Magicians for the Broken Link, It has been repaired:

Tarbell 1-8 Volumes

For a complete Table of Contents and all lessons in the Tarbell Series.
Dennis Michael
KingStardog
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Mr Alberstat is dead on. Don't be another carbon copy David B groupie that only knows the 8-9 tricks from the last show. I was called on last weekend to entertain and thought a half hour was going to be okay. Well it was 9:30 pm when I started and finished up a little after 2am without losing one spectator of 11 that I started with. When I hung it up they were still begging for more.

You cannot and will not be able to do an extended performance like that one without building a good solid foundation, right from the start. You will need to practice. You will also need to seek the honest opinions and advice from veterans (assuming that's why you are here. )Do your best not to build on a foundation of sand. Smile
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Magicbarry
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My point in posting this thread was to find out which book I should START with -- that may not have been clear in my first post, but it certainly was in my second.

All I wanted to know was whether I need to do the entire series in order. Apparently I don't -- I could start anywhere in the series.

Why wouldn't I work through in order? Well, I'm not saying I won't. However, if I'm more interested in rope magic or mentalism, I'll start with the books dealing with those subjects, and come to volume 1 later.

For me, the best way to approach the learning of magic is to learn about the areas of magic you're most passionate about, then branch out.

At the moment, I'm obsessed with Bobo's Modern Coin Magic and Royal Road to Card Magic, as those are the areas of magic I'm most passionate about at the moment. Perhaps, then, I actually will start with Tarbell's vol. 1, since it deals with card and coin magic. But it is my intention to collect the entire series over the coming years, not to learn only a few tricks.
repairman36
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I find tarbells books very informative. Sure the patter is old , but you can change the routines to fit the new language. I have Vol.1 including Set, volumes 2-8 and also spiritual magic for vol.1 and 2. I am using some of the sleights and tricks to adapt to my own show. I think every Magician should own the entire set. I do have an extra copy of spiritual for vol.2 still in platic for sale if anyone is interested.
Thoughtreader
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Quote:
On 2002-10-02 13:21, Magicbarry wrote:
My point in posting this thread was to find out which book I should START with -- ...
All I wanted to know was whether I need to do the entire series in order. Apparently I don't -- I could start anywhere in the series...if I'm more interested in rope magic or Mentalism, I'll start with the books dealing with those subjects, and come to volume 1 later.

For me, the best way to approach the learning of magic is to learn about the areas of magic you're most passionate about, then branch out.

At the moment, I'm obsessed with Bobo's Modern Coin Magic and Royal Road to Card Magic, as those are the areas of magic I'm most passionate about at the moment. Perhaps, then, I actually will start with Tarbell's vol. 1, since it deals with card and coin magic. But it is my intention to collect the entire series over the coming years, not to learn only a few tricks.


Barry,

I mean this with all sincerity and NOT as an attack on you, so please understand this first BUT, start with volume one and work through it all, without skipping anything. Learn it all, even if you may not use it. Students of magic, that have no guidance or no desire to listen, want to specialize without learning anything else and have no real foundations. Believe it or not, you WILL use knowledge and applications from other areas of magic AND you might be surprised to discover that you really like another area of magic that you were not aware of before. Everyone should have a well grounded knowledge of all aspects of magic. I know how to back palm, not well but I do understand all that is needed with it. I may never use it but at least I know it.

As for wanting to study "mentalism" with no foundations in other areas, if you do so, you are doomed to failure. Trust me on that. Good mentalism (read that again, GOOD being the key word) requires a strong presentational skill that only comes from a solid, well versed background in performing, one based on much experience with NO doubts as to moves or what may be coming. Trust me when I tell you to start with Volume One and work through it ALL.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Magicbarry
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Thanks, Paul.

That's definitely good advice, though I the routes I'm considering may actually fit with what you're saying.

I agree completely that a solid grounding in all areas of magic is a necessity for anyone serious about the art. That, in fact, is why I'm considering starting with another volume.

Volume 1, as I understand it, deals mostly with coins and cards. (I believe there's a torn and restored paper section, as well.) I'm already studying coins and cards obsessively, and am looking to continue to study magic by looking to other areas as well. So, by starting with volume 1, I'll be treading on much of the same territory that I'm already covering with Bobo's, Royal Road, and the other magic books in my collection.

What I'm looking to do is extend beyond coins and cards, and master other areas of magic. I'd like to come back to volume 1 in a few years, when another look at coins and cards might be refreshing. (I'm a big believer in the advantages of re-learning things you've learned years before.) But at the moment, I don't want to confine myself too much, which is why I'm looking to other volumes.

I think volume 2 contains a chapter on rope magic -- an area where I have very little experience -- and I'd like to work through that entire volume. Maybe volume 1 will come next -- who knows?

Sure, there will be times when I have to study things I'm not passionate about, and I should be clearer that that's what I intend to do. It's all part of growing as a magician, and I'll never rest until I've completed the entire series. (Patiently, of course. I recognize the importance of mastering what's been learned.)

You make an excellent point about mentalism, by the way. I'd only used that as an example -- it's not an area that I'm particularly interested in, myself. But when you say that you must have a well versed background in performing, I couldn't agree with you more. I've always been a firm believer that a great magician must be a great performer, and I don't dare present a trick unless I can perform it well. (I almost feel like I'd be offending the trick if I did it poorly.)

So in other words, I basically agree with you on everything.

Here's what I'll do: I'll buy volumes 1 and 2 now, and over the next while give them both a skim. (For the time being, I'm focussed heavily on cards with Royal Road and working on some coin routines, so it's going to be a little while before I tackle other things.) Then, when the time comes, I'll start with the volume I think I'll benefit the most from.
tla
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Barry,
H&R have the Tarbell series at $20.00 a volume (Volume 7 is $15.00). Check them out here.
Dennis Michael
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In the last several magic Auctions I attended Tarbell books went at an increditably low price. ($7.00 each at an IBM Meeting) At the Kidabra Conference theses books went for $5 each. At Bob Little's Super Sunday a set 1-6 went for $50.

It pays to attend these auctions, and become a member of magic clubs. Many times you can get great deals! Again, it a matter of Magicians helping Magicians.
Dennis Michael
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