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Topic: Chop Cup or Cups and Balls to Start?
Message: Posted by: stuper1 (Dec 21, 2004 08:59PM)
I'm starting to have a decent repertoire including:

Sponge balls
Some solid card tricks
Rubberband tricks
A good paddle routine

I'm thinking next to either learn a chop cup routine or a cups and balls routine. Eventually, I'm sure, I will want to learn both. At this point, I'm wondering whether there are any advantages to starting with one over the other in terms of learning the actual techniques involved?
Message: Posted by: Phil Thomas (Dec 21, 2004 09:02PM)
Why not learn both? Either or, you have some great magic at your fingertips.
Message: Posted by: HGM (Dec 22, 2004 03:58AM)
I think you shoul learn both and wich ever one you like better practice with a bit more.
Message: Posted by: BerkleyJL (Dec 22, 2004 09:02AM)
I say get a combo set and learn both together. There's nothing like completely cancelling out any theories on how you did something...which the chop cup will let you do. Perform a standard C&B vanish and return, followed by the same thing with the chop cup...but show everyhing you couldn't the first time (not explicitly). It really stumps them!
Message: Posted by: what (Dec 22, 2004 09:40AM)
I recommend learning Mark Wilsons Cups & Balls routine from his Complete Course in Magic book. Get some plastic cups from the grocery store. Don't buy nice cups until you know what you want. You could make your own chop cup too.
I have a combo set, but never use it because one cup is much heavier than the others and it is top heavy.
If you do decide to get a combo set, then take a look at John Mendozzas Cups & Balls routine.

Mike,
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Dec 22, 2004 10:34AM)
You can easily do a chop cup routine with a cup from a cups and balls set. Starting out with one cup, and then introduce the other two. You don't necessarily need a gimmicked chop cup to perform- just perform various sleight of hand vanishes. If you really want to get 'fancy' do what I did. I purchased the Johnson brass cups- and a matching brass chop cup. It looks exacly like the other cups. So you have two regular cups, plus a chop cup. All you need is a gaffed crochet ball- and your set to perform both a chop cup routine, and a cups and balls routine. Then to incorporate your sponge balls- use them as final loads to start off with- making one appear under each cup at the end. Then you could go into a sponge ball routine. Keep in touch- hope this helps.

Tomasko
Message: Posted by: oldwilson_2000 (Dec 22, 2004 01:30PM)
With a Chop Cup you may become a little "lazy", relying on the built-in secret, while starting with a set of cups forces you to depend on your technique and dexterity. Therefore, I strongly recommend the Cups and Balls as a starting point.
Message: Posted by: Sean (Dec 22, 2004 09:39PM)
Cups and balls because, IMHO, magic done without a gimmick is always better than magic done with a gimmick.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 23, 2004 01:20AM)
Sean, I guess we might disagree on that. The method is of relatively little importance in any trick (so long as it remains a secret, of course). It's the impact that the trick has on the audience that is the defining thing in whether a trick is good or not - that and whether it fits one's personal performing style, obviously.

While the sleight of hand purists (and I am one to a large extent) decry the use of gimmicks, I have seen someone with a good script and a Brainwave deck, a Raven and a copper/silver/brass set completely blow away a guy that rivalled Jeff McBride in the manipulation department.

It all comes down to the presentation, not the mechanics. Your mileage may vary, of course and opinions differ, but, when it comes to entertaining an audience, gimmick or non-gimmick is not even a consideration for me. It all comes down to how astonishing (or funny) a routine is that determines which effects go in and which effects don't.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 23, 2004 02:14AM)
What a thorny question! Chop cup or cups and balls. There are a few things to consider and then you make your own decision.

Size isn't that important, you can get mini chop cups or jumbo ones, both work fine. Same thing for the cups and balls so here at least, size doesn't matter.

If you have a mini chop cup you can do the routine entirely in your hands. You don't need a table. This makes for some more intimate magic, if that's something that appeals to you.

With a Chop Cup you might get two final loads (final loads are important, they are the surpise appearances at the end). You really shouldn't shoot for 3. The routine that I use with the cups and balls uses 8 final loads.

I don't see how you are going to get much more than a 3 minute routine with the chop cup. You can reasonably be able to expect a 6 or 8 minute routine with the cups and balls.

With cups and balls you should introduce the wand. I've never seen a wand with the chop cup.

There are other considerations. Cups and balls is more traditional, more "magiciany" while chop cup is more edgy and modern.

So, basically, if you like a more lightning fast, bang, bang, bang, BANG type of routine you might want to consider the chop cup. If you want to push the limits of your sleight of hand skills and hone them, you might want the cups and balls.

If you want to concentrate on presentation and crowd management then maybe the chop cup. If you want something that will let you invest time in learning and have practically limitless opportunity for variety then cups and balls.

One is not better than the other. Take your pick. I'd say learn both. I would start with the cups and balls because Mark Wilson has a wonderful routine in his inexpensive book. You are going to have to work hard to find a wonderful routine for your chop cup. I had to make up my own.
Message: Posted by: Sean (Dec 23, 2004 10:02AM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-23 02:20, Lee Darrow wrote:
Sean, I guess we might disagree on that. The method is of relatively little importance in any trick (so long as it remains a secret, of course). It's the impact that the trick has on the audience that is the defining thing in whether a trick is good or not - that and whether it fits one's personal performing style, obviously.

While the sleight of hand purists (and I am one to a large extent) decry the use of gimmicks, I have seen someone with a good script and a Brainwave deck, a Raven and a copper/silver/brass set completely blow away a guy that rivalled Jeff McBride in the manipulation department.

It all comes down to the presentation, not the mechanics. Your mileage may vary, of course and opinions differ, but, when it comes to entertaining an audience, gimmick or non-gimmick is not even a consideration for me. It all comes down to how astonishing (or funny) a routine is that determines which effects go in and which effects don't.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
[/quote]

I agree with you on this. Presentation and entertainment is ultimately the final and determining consideration. My point, which I didn't really make well, is that someone should be able to entertain without having to rely on the gimmicks. By learning cups and balls, you can do an effective routine almost impromptu with a coffee cup, a final load, and some dollar bills wadded up as balls. You can't do that if you rely on the chop gimmick.

That said, I did just buy a mini chop cup and have been learning a routine with it. But I won't be abandoning cups and balls.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 23, 2004 10:27AM)
The two tricks are not mutually exclusive. I do both. I personally enjoy the cups and balls more but that's because I have more flexibility in what I can do. I like the playfullness of the chop cup though.

So I'm torn. I tend to think that you should start with the chop cup because you get up and performing quicker.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Dec 23, 2004 11:49AM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-23 11:27, rikbrooks wrote:
So I'm torn. I tend to think that you should start with the chop cup because you get up and performing quicker.
[/quote]

I find this thinking flawed at best. If one devotes himself to building a solid routine with either, the routine will not be based on how quickly the performer can show it to an audience. A study of both can provide avenues for when the performance setting is more conducive to one or the other.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 23, 2004 03:35PM)
Hmmm, I find I must disagree with you, Mr. Wilder. While your point is certainly well taken, there are skills that one can only attain in front of an audience. Those skills in presentation and in recovery from when the inevitable gods of chaos strike, are simply not learned in quiet devotion to building a solid routine.

They come only under the direct fire of the avid spectator. Hence, my postulate, that learning the techniques, learning them well, then getting out in front of spectators has, I think, unassailable merit and is anything but flawed.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Dec 23, 2004 04:43PM)
But that wasn't your point in your original post. You stated that you can get up and start quicker with a chop cup. The flaw comes in the mentality that the performer should take the quickest route to an audience. A chop cup routine can entail as much complexity as any other routine (linking rings, 3 cups, coins, etc.). To take the quickest route is flawed.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 23, 2004 11:51PM)
Again Jim, I repectfully disagree, this time on more than one point. I believe that you mistook my point in my original post. As a magician that performs a chop cup routine that routinely draws gasps of amazement AND performs linking rings, and cups and balls, I must insist that of the three, the mechanics of the chop cup are the easiest to learn. It took many, many hours to be able to adequately perform linking rings and cups and balls. I can't even begin to estimate the hours that it took. With the chop cup I had a decent routine in about 10 hours of practice or so. It took months of work with cups and balls before I felt comfortable enough to perform it and even longer with linking rings.

I'm not claiming that one is better than the other because it is harder to master, I'm just saying that linking rings and cups and balls are both harder to master by far than the chop cup. As for coins. I do some coins, but I really don't feel comfortable trying to compare the relative effort of each. To me they are just too dissimilar, although I acknowledge that this is opinion and may be due to the fact that my fingers don't work as well as they should since I was shot in the left hand in SE Asia about thirty years ago.

My point with my original post, the point that I insist that you missed and apparently I have yet to be able to communicate, is that there are different aspects to magic and getting up in front of spectators is a very important facet. This is the second point on which we disagree I think.

There is much to be learned apart from the effect by just getting up and performing. I'm not saying to take the quickest route to finalizing your routine. I'm saying that, given the choice of which to learn FIRST, and granted that you will learn both eventually, I say learn that effect that will get you up and performing earlier.

Let me give you an example. I was performing "Just Pretend", a coin routine from Bobo. As I dropped my right hand the half dollar just would not go into the Down palm. My fingers fumbled. If I were practicing I would have just started over, but here I was, a spectator staring at me and wondering what I would do with my left fist stuck out there, palm up, apparently with a half dollar in it.

What did I do? I turned my left side towards her. I slowly lowered my fist and gazed at it as my right hand moved back out of her sight altogether and, using my thigh for leverage, the coin went into the Down palm.

"This coin, that is in this palm, will vanish, No! ----not merely vanish, I'll pull it invisibly from my hand, coaxing the very essence of the coin into the ether." I said with a low and intense voice.

During that short 30 second routine she gasped twice. Tell me that getting up and presenting quickly shouldn't be a priority. I would have never learned to do that if I had simply been practicing in the mirror.

After all, this is all about performing, isn't it?
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Dec 24, 2004 12:17AM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-24 00:51, rikbrooks wrote:
To me they are just too dissimilar, although I acknowledge that this is opinion and may be due to the fact that my fingers don't work as well as they should since I was shot in the left hand in SE Asia about thirty years ago.
[/quote]

I can see how that would dampen coin work.

[quote]
My point with my original post, the point that I insist that you missed and apparently I have yet to be able to communicate, is that there are different aspects to magic and getting up in front of spectators is a very important facet. This is the second point on which we disagree I think.
[/quote]

No disagreement there... or rather, I disagree that we disagree on that point, but respectfully.

[quote]
After all, this is all about performing, isn't it?
[/quote]

Yes, but the original post certainly lends itself to be interpreted that one can quickly engage an audience with the chop cup because it is easier. A reasonable assertion would be that a chop cup routine is potentially easier to master physically. But what about psychologically? With a chop cup, the performer is only dealing with one cup, without the assistance of two other cups and two other balls (in most cases). Therefore, all the heat is not divided, therefore making one less flexible.

Regardless, each has its own complexities.
Message: Posted by: Chris Miller (Dec 24, 2004 12:20AM)
I started out with a combo cups and balls set, thinking it would have the most flexibility, but was often bothered by the difference in cup handling. Someone else mentioned not liking the difference in top-heaviness. I was the same. Early, on, I would also get frustrated by having to keep track of the M-ball. I found the routine was that much more complex, because I would lose track of which ball had the magnet, and from a learning point of view this extra complexity was frustrating. I sold the combo set, purchased a regular set, and found I could really get into the moves and routining. There will be different views, but I would avoid the extra complexity. I'd like to explore a chop-cup only routine sometime though..... - Chris
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 24, 2004 06:55AM)
Jim, as I suspected, we really don't disagree on anything. You are right that the original post could easily be misinterpreted. I wasn't meaning to cheapen anything or to tell anyone to take the easy road.

My point, that I think you see now, is that the presentation is as important as the time one spends in the mirror and that one should master an effect as quickly as he can and get before spectators to round out and perfect that trick.

Normally I spend a great deal of time on any trick, then perform it a couple of times and then I'm back to perfecting it in front of a mirror, armed with new knowledge of my weak spots. Then it's back to performing.

Following this routine I hope one day to be able to perfect a trick.

My chop cup routine is unique. It is done with my own leather mini. The routine is almost completely unique. It's done entirely in the hands and was inspired by a single phrase that Ammar said while doing cups and balls. He did something cool and no applause. He turned to the audience, "Come ON, THAT doesn't impress you?"

So I named the routine, "Would you be impressed?". It's highly interactive and I designed my own cup to support doing this routine right in the spectator's face.

So, my routine, which started as almost a complete copy of Don Allen's, is radically changed, right down to the prop, because of presentation.

That's what I meant when I said to get out there in front of a spectator as soon as possible.

I still maintain that, unless you are willing to settle for the simplist cups and balls routine, you will be out in front of a spectator quicker with the chop cup.

Magical Mystifier, your discoveries with the combo set are common. I've heard them over and over again. Luckily I was warned away from those years ago for the very same reasons that you profess.

Besides, with a combo cup you can extend your routine, but I don't think that you want to do that. Already my cups and balls is about 8 minutes long. That's mighty long for a single trick. Add a 3 minute chop cup routine and I think you have just exceeded the attention span of just about anybody.

I do both effects, but I seperate them with some other effect in between.
Message: Posted by: stuper1 (Dec 25, 2004 12:09PM)
The discussion above jogged my memory about a good book I have called Pure Magic by Henry Gross. He's got a routine with one regular cup and three (actually four) regular balls that he recommends as a good starting point before venturing into a three cups routine. Based on what everybody said above, this sounds like good advice. Thanks for all the input.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 25, 2004 09:08PM)
Stuper, you might want to consider a little break though. Say, do your one cup routine. Then leave it on the table while you do an ambitious card and maybe Matrix or float something. Then come back, "Oh yeah, hey, about this cup..."

Kind of like eating crackers between items in a taste test - to clear your palate.
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (May 11, 2015 02:03PM)
[quote]On Dec 23, 2004, Lee Darrow wrote:
Sean, I guess we might disagree on that. The method is of relatively little importance in any trick (so long as it remains a secret, of course). It's the impact that the trick has on the audience that is the defining thing in whether a trick is good or not - that and whether it fits one's personal performing style, obviously.

While the sleight of hand purists (and I am one to a large extent) decry the use of gimmicks, I have seen someone with a good script and a Brainwave deck, a Raven and a copper/silver/brass set completely blow away a guy that rivalled Jeff McBride in the manipulation department.

It all comes down to the presentation, not the mechanics. Your mileage may vary, of course and opinions differ, but, when it comes to entertaining an audience, gimmick or non-gimmick is not even a consideration for me. It all comes down to how astonishing (or funny) a routine is that determines which effects go in and which effects don't.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.H. [/quote]

This is correct, as Jamy Ian Swiss mentions in one of his articles "The method is not the trick." You can accomplish much more amazing things with gaffs and gimmicks than you could with just sleight of hand. I combine both for maximum impact. However being very skilled in sleights allows you to maneuver gimmicks a lot more smoothly, and change gaffs/gimmicks in and out if needed. When you get down to it though all that matters is if the effect astonished and entertained the audience not "how" it was accomplished.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 12, 2015 10:46PM)
I would suggest you focus on what you think would be most entertaining in the end. Between the two, the performance that was most entertaining and inspirational to me was Paul Daniel's Chop Cup routine. That made me more interested in chop cups than cups and balls.

Start with the end in mind.

KJ