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Topic: Cups and balls, chop cup, or combo?
Message: Posted by: Beetroot (Nov 16, 2002 07:54AM)
I've read other threads and I can't glean the info I'm after, so here's a new post.

I'm interested in learning a chop cup routine, but have an interested in cups and balls also. I need to decide what kit to buy. If I were to buy a cup and ball/chop cup combo set, would I be missing out on anything in particular if I didn't buy a dedicated chop cup?


Message: Posted by: Joedy (Nov 16, 2002 10:10AM)
Personally, I think that a combo set will work out the best for you and will give the best bang for the buck as far as investment concerns go.

Look for a combination set that has all of the cups identical in size and dimensions.

By using gaffed, non-gaffed or a combination of the two types of balls, you can create some astonishing illusions.

Also, consider the sizes of the cups in your decision. Large cups are good for stage presentations, but I find that the smaller cups suit my preferred close up style.

Joedy Drulia
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Message: Posted by: Beetroot (Nov 16, 2002 11:49AM)
Thanks Joedy,

I'm actually leaning towards the combo set that I believe has the sizes of which you speak. I imagine, from what you have said, that perhaps an advantage of the combo set is that you can do straightforward cups and balls, straightforward chop-cup, or some weird combination.

I'm looking into buying one of the following 3 books:

1. John Bannon - Impossibilia
2. Michael Ammar - The Complete Cups and Balls book
3. The Dai Vernon Book of Magic

Do you or anyone else know whether any or all of these cover combo routines?

I've never tried using a chop cup before so I'm quite looking forward to it.
Message: Posted by: Joedy (Nov 16, 2002 09:17PM)
There was an article in Genii Magazine describing Michael Skinner's "Rub A Dub Dub" Cups and Balls routine that uses a total of five balls. The action and the patter work together to form a neat presentation. I've been working on this routine and like it a lot. Basically, the story follows three sailors (the three balls that the spectators know of) and three ships, which happen to be the cups. The story goes on about how they try to jump up on the ship, only to fall down through (penetrate the cups). In the end, the sailors even penetrate the hand that holds a cup.

It's a nice routine and I wish that I could have had the opportunity to watch Mr. Skinner perform it.

There really is no limit on the cups and balls possibilities as far as routines go. The surprise load item idea leaves a lot to mind as far as punch lines on routines.

I wish that I could help you on which set to purchase, but I do not have an intimate knowledge of the many brands and makes out there.

Could anyone else help out?

Message: Posted by: what (Nov 26, 2002 02:33PM)
A great Chop Cup & Balls Routine is "The Mendoza Cups & Balls" by John Mendoza. His routine uses the Chop Cup combo to keep you from having to vanish a ball in your hands with a false transfer (a sleight that many spectators can spot, even when done well). The entire routine is very clean and fun to do and watch
Message: Posted by: fwee (Nov 30, 2002 02:03AM)

None of the books you mention carry combo cup routines. Impossibilia has a cups and balls routine and a chop cup routine. Vernon's book of magic has a cups and balls routine and Ammars Complete Cups and Balls only covers straight cups and balls.

Message: Posted by: Beetroot (Nov 30, 2002 03:45AM)
This is all useful info. Thanks, guys!
Message: Posted by: Scott Ocheltree (Dec 3, 2002 10:47AM)
I have 2 sets of Morrisey cups. One of the sets is the chop/combo set. I have to say that I am not very happy with either set. I haven't actually ever used the chop/combo set. My biggest complaint regarding these cups is the very shallow indentation on the bottom of the cups. The chop/combo set is almost perfectly flat on the bottom. This makes it very hard to have a ball stay on top of an inverted cup.

I have the Steven's Magic Cups and Balls video, it is okay in my opinion as a tool to get some ideas about the basic handling of the cups and balls but not a great instructional tool for learning a specific routine.

I have learned the routine in the Mark Wilson course for the plain cups and I enjoy the simplicity of this basic routine.

I really love this effect but my problem is the formal requirement of standing behind a table to perform it. Even in my parlor work I rarely stand behind my table.

Consequently I have put the Riser/Loomis chop cup on my Christmas wish list. I am hoping that Mr. Loomis' one cup in the hand routine will fit my performing style better.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Ray (Dec 3, 2002 12:41PM)

I also think that combo sets are the best, but maybe you should try all three and then use what you feel most comfortable with? Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: simage (Dec 4, 2002 09:46AM)
I am actually very, very pleased with my Morrisey combo set. I do an adaptation of the Mendoza routine and it never fails me. This, in my humble opinion, is one of the best ways to experience misdirection. There is both spatial and time misdirection in this routine. I also have the Ammar tapes and book set, but have taken very little from it so far. This is not to say that this set is not a great way to develop a C&B routine, I just haven't done so yet.

I have also used the chop cup alone for close up. It works out very nicely. I also use crocheted balls, so maybe they stay on top of the inverted cups better. Anyway, I haven't had any problem with that.

One general statement: the cups and balls are generally performed seated, or with a table and Giberciere or Servante which allows the NATURAL movement of the body, arms, chest etc. I use a small table w/ Servante to perform on. However, it is just about 6" to short. So now I take a bar stool with me which allows me to perform more naturally. As minor as this may sound it is very necessary. :yikes:
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Dec 14, 2002 12:47PM)
Go with the combo set. You don't have to use them that way but if you want or need to, you can. Just buy an extra normal ball and eliminate the M ball as desired.
Message: Posted by: atkinsod (Dec 30, 2002 02:03PM)
A couple of comments:

The Mendoza and the Sequel (that also uses a combo set) can be purchased from Morrissey Magic in Canada. Another book that has combo routines is Shute's Cups Cups Cups. It is a decent book and pretty inexpensive.

I prefer a dedicated chop cup, and I did just get the Riser Micro Chop Cup. It is very nice and I recently posted a review at MagicTalk. However, Johnson Products has just released a Chop Cup that matches their highly praised Cups & Balls set. The set of four would be a bit expensive at around $260 but if you really want to use them, it would probably be worth it!

Finally, my non-commercial website has a reference guide to the Cups & Balls and the Chop Cup. The lists provide many of the books, videos, and products available.

Doug A.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Dec 30, 2002 02:57PM)
I think that a chop cup routine is best performed using a cup that looks ungimmicked. Since nesting is not an issue when you are using only one cup, why not use a coffee mug chop cup or an ungimmicked cup with an Omega Ring (or other something special)?

If you do wish to get into a traditional cups and balls routine, you should look around at some of the upscale sets (Sisti/Riser). Many have matching chop cups you can get at that time.

While you are at it, take a look at Gary Ouellet's "Two Goblets" from the Camirand Academy; it's the best combo cup routine in my opinion (and only uses two cups -- duh!).
Message: Posted by: JSMagic (Dec 30, 2002 05:57PM)
I like Cups and Balls more than Chop Cup. More "amazing" routine. Josh
Message: Posted by: joseph (Dec 31, 2002 07:24AM)
I think cups and balls are ok as long as it is kept simple. If I can't follow what's going on, how can the laymen? I prefer the simple to follow Chop Cup, and Doug Henning's routine is simple, but beautiful. :baby:
Message: Posted by: R2 (Jan 1, 2003 12:01AM)
What is the best idea for Cups and Balls Storyline ever heard or seen by anyone viewing this thread?

I have a very nice set of Copper spun Cups and at least once a day I sit down and perform the routine hoping to watch an original story grow out of the movements.

I have a few goofy stories and such but, none too dramatic or engaging. Can anyone help? :cups:
Message: Posted by: JSRovner (Jan 26, 2003 06:13PM)
I've come up with a routine using one regular cup and a matching chop cup. I use the Johnson Products cups, which are very nice. In my routine, the audience only sees one ball. I think that makes the routine much easier to follow, especially for kids, than the standard cup and ball routine. The ball penetrates one cup, then two, then moves from one cup to the other, then from my pockets back to the cups, and ends with the final production of two potatoes. I allow the audience to inspect the cups and ball beforehand, and bring in the extra ball from under my arm in the guise of folding my arms while the cups are being examined. I like the routine because it has no false transfers, no angle problems and no slow spots. In my view, the chop cup makes the routine much more convincing.
Message: Posted by: zombieboy (May 11, 2003 03:36PM)
Try Charlie Frye's eccentricks video for a great cups and balls/chop cup combo routine. I use it, and the final load sequence is invisible!
Message: Posted by: Magictrickster (May 19, 2003 05:22PM)
They are not cheap, but the Johnson Products cups are a set you'll not be disappointed with. They are beautiful props.

I personally think it's worth learning a routine using the standard cups rather than using a chop cup as part of the set as I think this is more elegant magically. (having said that, I've still not fully mastered the effect - I think it takes a lot of work to perfect).

I've also got a set of morriset cups which started as a combo set, but I banged the magnetic one too hard one day when rehearsing with them and the magnet dropped out!

Message: Posted by: tkuhns (May 19, 2003 08:50PM)
I don't think there's anything wrong with using combo cups, nor anything inherently "better" about using a regular set. Remember, it's not the METHOD but the EFFECT that matters to the spectators.

Of course, without a gimmick it does require skill, and developing that skill will make you a better magician overall. For example, I'm having lots of fun with some of the loading moves in Ammar's book.

But laymen are ignorant of the combo cups and I like the idea of using them to avoid false transfers. I'm always self-conscious about those, and you always have to worry about angles. It's just so much easier to retention vanish a sponge ball or a coin than those light, tiny crocheted balls...
Message: Posted by: kasper777 (May 20, 2003 09:41AM)
Get the Gazzo or Gary Knight cups. I use the Gazzo cups and they are nice. They can take a full size orange as a final load. Learn the C&B first, from there you can do an ungimmicked chop cop routine.

Message: Posted by: blindbo (May 21, 2003 06:34PM)
What makes a "good" set of cups (chop, or otherwise)? I see prices from $ to $$$$.
Message: Posted by: tkuhns (May 24, 2003 11:02AM)
Well, generally speaking, they nest snugly, with plenty of space in between, have a decent well at the top of each one, and are weighted a bit. Folks are probably also talking about looks and durability as well (the finish and whether they dent easily).

My set (a Morissey Combo Set) is a bit frustrating because they are very light (spun aluminum) and they don't stack snugly. Although the cups aren't really important anyway -- I make them work, and wouldn't want to shell out more money just to get a "good set."
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (May 26, 2003 02:21AM)
Per the comments about false transfers and feeling comfortable doing this or self-concious doing it with the cups and balls --that, I believe, is one of the reasons that cups and balls are so fundemental a thing for a magician to master.

In Ganson's Dai Vernon book, Ganson spends a few pages just talking about this move under the heading of "The Vernon Touch."
Also, Tommy Wonder, in his second "Books of Wonder" talks about this issue of confidence during false moves. I take great pleasure in that move. I give it a lot of mirror time. You're an actor as well as a magician. You've got to believe you really are putting that ball in that other hand. Really FEEL IT THERE.

I also like the wand vanish. First few times I did the wand vanish in public, I was nervous. But just get it into your nervous system and you're set.

Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (May 26, 2003 01:42PM)
I used to use a set of combo cups but I do a different routine now not requiring the gaffed cup and ball. Be careful when you place the M ball on the gaffed cup. It will tend to move a little by itself before coming to rest which could tip the method. An easy solution is to keep it covered with the hand as you place it on the inverted cup bottom until it has come to rest. :cups:
Message: Posted by: tkuhns (May 27, 2003 10:01PM)
Jim's comments are true. All I am saying is that a combo set is a good substitute if you don't WANT to do the false transfers. I don't think there's any shame in using a gimmick, because the method is not the point. As a magician/actor, your acting should be believable no matter HOW you vanish the ball.

A case in point here might be if you want a truly angle-proof routine for table hopping.

Also, for those already familiar with the cups and balls -- and who isn't? -- a combo set just adds another layer of mystery to it. Sure it's unnecessary, but I'd imagine the first few magicians who ever saw a combo set routine were beside themselves.
Message: Posted by: Spider (Jun 9, 2003 08:33AM)
I am looking for a first set of metal cups for a magic student of mine. I see no need for him to spend a large sum of money when he is not even sure that he will love the trick, or stick with it seriously.

Thanks to all for your suggestions and comments.

I have posted here and in several other forums. Here is what I have been told, in summary:

1. Magic Inc.'s own Aluminum Cups, $22.50
2. Magic Inc.'s Combo set, $30.00
3. Bazar di Magia Cups, in Aluminum, Copper, or Brass (around $15?)
4. Bazar di Magia Combo set, in Aluminum, Copper, or Brass (around $25?)
5. Morrissey Cups in Aluminum or Brass ($20 - $40) - I am told these don't have indentations for sitting the balls on the inverted cup (?)
6. Morrissey Combo in Aluminum or Brass ($35 - $60) -- Same indentation problem?

Some have praised Combo cups for their versatility, and others have trashed them for the difference in weight between the standard cups and the gimmicked cup.

My oldest budget set is "Magic Inc.'s own" in aluminum, and I still like them. However, they are rather light, and will dent slightly if dropped on a table edge or hit sharply with a wand. On the plus side, they will hold a tennis ball tightly enough for time misdirection, releasing the ball with a slight lean forward toward specs of the base of the cup and a little shake. They are more the traditional "ice cream cone" shape rather than the newer Fox cup shape.

If anyone would like to address any of the above sets, pro or con, or add another suggestion to the list, please jump in!


Message: Posted by: RayBanks (Jun 9, 2003 08:39AM)
I have a set of the Morrisey combo cupps--two regular and one chop. They work great.

I do have one suggestion--If you get a combo set, buy another set of balls with no gimmicks.

I find in practice that no matter I well I keep up with the gimmicked ball, it always gets inthe wrong cup!

The How-To Book of Chop Cups by Shute is a good book devoted only to the Chop Cup. You can get it from most dealers for about $5-6 US.
Message: Posted by: Joe Keppel (Jun 10, 2003 10:43PM)
having performed in the same resteraunt for 21 years and performing it literally thousands of times I think the best chop cup routine is Larry Jennings routine from his book "Larry Jennings on coin and card handling" Its just suburb. I use the Don Alan chop cup made over 25 years ago and if you can find one snap it up.
Message: Posted by: Vibono Magic (Jun 14, 2003 02:52PM)
I have many sets of cups and balls and chop cups( too manny acording to my girlfriend).
1 morrisy combo set
1 Golden cups combo set from El Duco
1 tea cup chop cup from Norm Neilsen
1 set of chinese hindu dragon cups
1 cap cup ( my own trick )

However the ones I tend to use the El Duco cups the most for close up and parlour work and the chop tea cup on stage. I use the tea cup on stage for sound reasons only. Because of the routine and the construction of the cups the if audience can't see the ball on the table the can hear the ball arriving under the cup and that makes it work for audience up to 840 without video screens and stuff.

Vibono Magic
Sweden :cups:
Message: Posted by: Marcus Taylor (Jun 18, 2003 03:30PM)
I have a Morrisey combo set and I am very happy with it. I also had the John Mendoza combo routine with it and I like it. If I were you I would go with the combo set.
Message: Posted by: Croft (Jun 21, 2003 10:39AM)
I have a set of aluminium Morrissey cups that I picked up a number of years ago. They are fine for learning the cups and balls. Mine have very slight indentations in the top, which seem to have been created by a tap of a ball peen hammer. You can rest a ball on the top of each cup, but it is not a particularly stable platform and will affect the presentation somewhat. The cups are also quite light. Having said that, you can't beat the price, and I think they are a great beginner's set.

I also recently picked up a Morrissey aluminium Chop Cup. I am not as crazy about this product, as I find you have to really use a fair bit of force to make the product work properly, and I think that affects the presentation of the effect. Again, though, you can't beat the price. I haven't been able to justify forking out the dollars for a really nice set of cups.
Message: Posted by: Magic1 (May 14, 2007 04:54AM)
I started with Morrissey's aluminum combo. They have been great and have lasted until today. I still use the Morrissey chop cup on it's own. I am looking forward to getting a larger set of copper combo cups.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2007 11:37AM)
Why resurrect this old thread? The market for cups and balls, as well as the available resources have changed radically since it was first started. Look for a more recent one. There are lots of threads on the combo cups.

If you want to see what is available go to http://www.cupsandballsmuseum.com .

Bring a lunch.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 14, 2007 12:44PM)
If you really want to learn everything you can from the cupsandballsmuseum.com, lunch is not enough - you may need tea snacks and perhaps dinner too. Enjoy yourself there. You will like it.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 14, 2007 01:12PM)
See what RNTII has to offer. http://www.rnt2.com
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Jun 3, 2008 12:18AM)
In my humble hobbyist opinion, one cannot go wrong with the John Mendoza combination set by RNT2. It feels so good in your hands, it is just amazing.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 3, 2008 01:37AM)
That's the problem with resurrecting a dead thread. The Mendoza cups were not available when this thread was originally written almost six years ago.

The suggestion that someone use the Gazzo cups or the Gary Animal cups if you want a combo set is nonsense. There are no combo cups available in these models, and stating that one could use one cup from the set for an ungimmicked chop cup routine is basically silly. Without a gimmick, it's not a chop cup. It's a cup.

The Mendoza cups by RnT 2 are excellent cups.

The Morrissey cups are budget cups.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jun 3, 2008 05:45AM)
On 2008-06-03 02:37, Bill Palmer wrote:
That's the problem with resurrecting a dead thread. The Mendoza cups were not available when this thread was originally written almost six years ago.

The suggestion that someone use the Gazzo cups or the Gary Animal cups if you want a combo set is nonsense. There are no combo cups available in these models, and stating that one could use one cup from the set for an ungimmicked chop cup routine is basically silly. Without a gimmick, it's not a chop cup. It's a cup.

The Mendoza cups by RnT 2 are excellent cups.

The Morrissey cups are budget cups.

Oh no! So when the Gazzo 2.5's come out in combo, I can't recommend they be used as combos? OUCH! I've just been swatted! :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 3, 2008 05:48PM)
When they come out as combo's, I am sure they will be perfect for use as combos and as regular cups as well. I'm also sure I'll be ordering a set!
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 3, 2008 06:42PM)
On 2003-05-27 23:01, tkuhns wrote:
Jim's comments are true. All I am saying is that a combo set is a good substitute if you don't WANT to do the false transfers. [/quote]

I've been eyeing the RNTII JM Combo set for a while. I did a lecture/demo on Cups and Balls for our IBM Ring last night. Someone there thought I might be using a combo set and made it a point to switch cups around while I was retrieving the third cup from an audience member. It made me glad I was using a standard set. One less thing I have to keep track of.
Message: Posted by: LVMagicAL (Jun 3, 2008 11:29PM)
Dave V. did a FANTASTIC Demonstration/lecture on the cups and balls at the Las Vegas IBM club meeting last night. He's studied with the absolute best in the world and it shows. If you ever have an opportunity to watch Dave do the cups and balls, don't miss it. Thanks for your time and efforts, Dave! It got me excited to break out the cups and balls and get back to work on a classic that has unfortunately been pushed to the back of my "bag-o-tricks".
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Jun 4, 2008 12:13AM)
During a conversation with Jake, he mentioned that he had done a set of cups that were all chopped. Does anyone have a routine that uses all chop cups?

Just curious, there must be many possibilities.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 4, 2008 12:36AM)
I have a clever bit with all three cups 'choppers' -- Use ungaffed balls throughout, then near the end of routine do multiplication pass sequence to pockets and switch for 'the balls that....' and you can stop and lift all cups to show empty and set 'em down smartly... then lift and reveal all three balls have come back. It's up to you to work out the timing and sequence to fit your routine. :cups:
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 4, 2008 01:06AM)
On 2008-06-04 00:29, LVMagicAL wrote:
Dave V. did a FANTASTIC Demonstration/lecture on the cups and balls at the Las Vegas IBM club meeting last night. He's studied with the absolute best in the world and it shows. If you ever have an opportunity to watch Dave do the cups and balls, don't miss it. Thanks for your time and efforts, Dave! It got me excited to break out the cups and balls and get back to work on a classic that has unfortunately been pushed to the back of my "bag-o-tricks".

And this coming from the guy who tried to trip me up. :fruity: Thanks Al. Really, thanks. I never would have even attempted it if it wasn't for you pushing me into doing it.