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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Cups and balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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krowboom
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Chicago area
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I am interested in cups and balls. The posts I have read indicate the Ammar videos are the best ones to get. Am I right about that? Also, what is a good cup and ball set to get? I am referring to size, metal (brass, copper, etc.) or whatever. Price is not a consideration. Thanks for your help.
MickeyPainless
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California
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Check out the "Ever so sleightly" section, read a few pages and, if you still have questions, don't hesitate to ask! This is where all the C&B addicts hang out!
Mick
matt kemp
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I agree that the Ammar videos are the best for people starting in cups and balls.
They give you a complete introduction. As for cup size, it depends on the performer.

There are mini cups which are meant for table hopping, but many moves cannot be done with the tiny balls and tiny cups. Also, IMO, vanishes do not look as impressive with small balls.

Cups that I consider "regular" size take a final load of 2.25" (racquetball) to 2.6" (a tennis ball). The working balls are generally between 3/4 inches to 1 1/8 inches in diameter. The cup size and ball size REALLY depend on the performer. Cup material also depends on your personal preference, but most people do not like aluminum cups. People tend to like other metals because they are quite a bit heavier.

Jumbo cups take a baseball (2.9" in diameter). Working balls for these cups are usually 1 1/8 inches or larger in diameter. These are typically used for street performances or large stage performances.

Most people have "regular" size cups.
Father Photius
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Ammar's videos are excellent and a good place to break into cups and balls. There are quite a few other resources as well, and if, as Micky suggests, you check out the "Ever so sleightly" section, you will find a ton of information on cups and balls there. In addition, our resident expert on cups themselves is Bill Palmer, and you will find many a post by him in that section. You will find sets from inexpensive to very expensive, and each has its own unique properties depending on how you intend to use them. Read a while first before plunging into an expensive set. You can learn the basics with a cheap set.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Keith Mitchell
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I have the Micheal Ammar C&B vids 1&2, and I am amazed as how much material that is on these DVDs. These DVDs are worth it, and I am glad to have them.

Makes me wonder what else is out there. Are they more advanced or what? How much better could they be?
Father Photius
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Madkiki,
Spend some time with Pete Biro or Bill Palmer. Those two guys have forgotten more about cups and balls than most folks have ever learned.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
matt kemp
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Madkiki,

From the DVDs I have seen, there isn't really more advanced material.

Other performers take a different approach on cups and balls. For example, John Mendoza teaches a combo cup routine (2 regular cups and 1 chop cup). Other performers have different loading methods, different vanishes, or different sequences.

Ammar has the only "complete course" that I have seen. Other magicians just teach their own routines and talk a lot about the theory behind them.
sethb
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The only other DVD I have seen that contains more "advanced" material than the Ammar set is Bob White's DVD, "A Practical Approach to the Cups & Balls," click HERE for more info.

Bob's video is more about presentation, small tips, tweaks and subtleties, and being natural than it is about moves. For example, have you ever thought about the best color for the balls, and why this might be so? Hint: It's not white or red, the colors that are usually supplied nowadays!

Bob was a student of Dai Vernon and continues the Vernon philosophy. His DVD is a little pricey, but I found it a good addition to my Cups & Balls resources and a good supplement to the Ammar set. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
sethb
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Forgot to add my two cents on a Cup & Ball set, as was requested.

Even though you said price wasn't a consideration, I would suggest getting a relatively inexpensive Bazar De Magia set in brass. As others have noted, the aluminum set is OK, but it is really too lightweight. The brass set is currently around $70, and it won't tarnish quite as badly or quickly as the more expensive copper set. It is plenty heavy and will ring like a bell when tapped with a wand. The Bazar set will take a lacrosse ball as a final load, is nicely made, stacks well, and has a good attic to work with. They are durable, look good, and are a fine starter set, even though you could easily spend much more on other fancier cups.

Whatever set you buy, get yourself an extra set of crocheted balls at the same time (specify the Morrissey brand from Canada; the ones from India are cheaper, but use thinner wool, aren't always round, and talk too much in use). This way, your performances won't come to a screeching halt if you lose a ball. The Morrissey balls come in 1" as well as 3/4" for smaller hands; either size looks fine with the Bazar cups. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Lantiere
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Although I love Michael Ammar's C&B book & videos, I think Gazzo's C&B video(s) & book(s) are much more entertaining and practical in the real world. You can't always perform in ideal conditions. You can use parts of his routines as a guide and adjust your patter to fit your own character. Some of his remarks can be rather biting, but they work for HIM.
Nedim
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I agree. Michael Ammar is a master and also a great teacher. You must really see Ammar's Cups and Balls DVDs, and also read the book.

Don't give up, cups and balls is a great school for close up magic.


magically yours,


Nedim Güzel
kentfgunn
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Merritt Island FL
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I think that the book by Michael Ammar is one of the very best laid out and illustrated books, on any topic, I've ever seen. The DVDs are also astonishingly well produced. Michael Ammar's routine is very engaging. He is a truly polished performer on many levels. All of that being said, Ammar's routine is NOT the place for a beginner to start.

Get Ron Bauer's booklet. It is the very best place to start. The routine is solid and it has more solid performing tips, germane to the routine it presents, than any other source!! Google "Cups and Balls Ron Bauer". You'll have a dozen magic shops with it in stock. I'll bet it is ten to fifteen bucks these days. It is a bargain at twenty times the price. That booklet's greatest feature is:

It has no video, so you'll have to think to learn the routine!!


The cups you use simply do not matter, not on any level. Surf the web, buy the ones that strike your fancy. Just don't ever believe they'll make you a better magician. It ain't the cups, it's the guy/gal handling them that makes the magic.

Take whatever cups you have, then:

STEP 1.
Get Bauer's booklet and learn the routine, with Mr. Bauer's performance tips.

STEP 2.
Then, video tape yourself and watch it like a hawk.

Be honest with yourself and repeat steps one and two until you know you are flawless.

All that being said, there is no best source for anything. I like the cups and balls books by Al Schneider much more than the Ammar book. Go to World Magic Center. I think that is where Al Schneider's site is.

Once you've mastered Ron Bauer's routine, then attack Ammar's routine, if you're fascinated with it.

YouTube has Vernon, Mendoza, Wonder, Ammar, all at the click of a button. Don't be lead astray by their mastery. You may get to their level someday. Now, go find the Bauer booklet!

Also, consider getting the Dai Vernon Book of Magic. Lewis Ganson wrote up Vernon's routine in there. I learned that routine as a kid. A very, very close version is also in Michael Ammar's book.

The real gem at the end of this cups and balls madness is to construct your own routine. . .

Don't do other people's magic.

Just one old man's opinion.

Get the Bauer book and go practice!!!!!!!!!!
hendoo
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IMHO, Al Schneider's routine is one of the best I have seen.

Al really understands what NATURAL movements are. I think this video and routine are a lesson for us all.

Check it out here, the title is Schneider Classic Cups.

http://www.worldmagiccenter.com/videoc/video.htm

You cannot go wrong with a nice set of Ireland Cups from Magic, Inc. I think they are made by Morrissey.
kentfgunn
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Krowboom,

It doesn't matter the routine you focus on, the cups you choose are of little concern. Pick one and start.

Let us all know how your sojourn with the cups and balls turns out!!!
Many folks here were, or are, in your shoes. Don't focus on the great routine you'll have someday. Don't dream of greatness.

Get the cups out of your magic drawer/closet/case. Put them in your hands. Learn the sequence until it is in the very pit of your soul.
professorwhut
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I waited 20 years before I got serious about the cups and balls.
Boy, do I regret that. Oh well, at least now I am trying to make up for lost time, and I love it!
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
kentfgunn
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Professor Whut,

Whut do you do for a routine? I have to ask because it took me nearly 20 years to get off my backside and come up with my own routine?
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2008-01-20 10:47, Lantiere wrote:
Although I love Michael Ammar's C&B book & videos, I think Gazzo's C&B video(s) & book(s) are much more entertaining and practical in the real world. You can't always perform in ideal conditions. You can use parts of his routines as a guide and adjust your patter to fit your own character. Some of his remarks can be rather biting, but they work for HIM.


You must walk before you can crawl. Get the Ammar DVD's. Learn a couple of the routines from those DVD's. Also, see if you can get a copy of The Complete Cups and Balls by Michael Ammar. It's out of print, but there are copies on various sites all the time.

Once you have gone through the complete Ammar material on the DVD's, then get the Bob White DVD. Both Michael Ammar and Bob White studied with Dai Vernon. Bob also studied with Charlie Miller.

Get the Greater Magic Library DVD on cups and balls. There is good stuff there.

As for more advanced material, ask yourself whether anything you see is really more advanced. There is a tendency for cups and balls workers to over-complicate matters sometimes.

The essence of a good cups and balls routine is learning what to leave out. It's like great art. Would the Mona Lisa be more impressive if there were a highly detailed scene of a stone castle in the background?

This said, the Paul Gertner material and all of the Al Schneider material will also make you think when you want to work on more advanced material.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2008-01-23 17:26, kentfgunn wrote:
Professor Whut,

Whut do you do for a routine? I have to ask because it took me nearly 20 years to get off my backside and come up with my own routine?


It's a nice routine, by the way. I have seen a video of it.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
sethb
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Quote:
On 2008-01-25 00:53, Bill Palmer wrote: The essence of a good cups and balls routine is learning what to leave out. It's like great art. Would the Mona Lisa be more impressive if there were a highly detailed scene of a stone castle in the background?


This is a great thought. For better or worse, there is a now such a plethora of Cups & Balls moves, routines, books, and DVD's available, it's hard to know where to start, let alone where to stop. After creating and performing a C&B routine for the past several years, I have also found that "less is more"; it's better to take your time and do a couple of impressive vanishes and reappearances than to just have the balls quickly hop all over the place. The goal should be to mystify and entertain people, not confuse or befuddle them.

This is one reason why I thought the Ammar DVD's were the best place to start -- they are basically a library of Cups & Balls moves, and it's up to the users to pick and choose what works for them, and then structure them into an original routine, working with Michael's suggestions and explanations. Although Michael does perform and explain his own routine, it's clear that he expects you to emulate it, not just copy it. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
professorwhut
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My primary routine is the Vernon routine as taught by John Mendoza. However, I have changed up the vanishes and deleted a portion of it. It also took Bob White’s no nonsense approach to the cups and balls to finally get my cups out of the drawer once and for all.
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
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