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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Tarbell's versus Wilson's (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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othelo68
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Any thought on these two publications? If you had to learn from one what would you choose and why?
dsalley13
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I like the Tarbell books better, but they're kind of pricey (8 volumes = $$$) compared to the Wilson book, which can be had for usually under $20.00 in hard cover from (eBay). Get the Wilson book and the first Tarbell volume. Add more Tarbells as you can afford them if he keeps your interest. The language is kind of old in Tarbell, but it will get the job done. There is so much more content in the Tarbell books, taken as a whole. A lifetime's worth at least. Probably several!!!


dsalley13
Father Photius
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Start with Mark's Complete Course in Magic. It covers a broad area of the basics and gives you a very well founded introduction to magic. You can get it autographed from Mark and Nani if you buy it from their website http://www.markwilsonmagic.com

Then get Tarbells. Tarbells was initially designed to be a correspondence course way back when it was first published. You will find a few "dated" things in it but anything is adaptable. Tarbells is certainly a more complete course and an excellent reference that any serious magician probably has on his bookshelf. Later editions were edited and updated somewhat. It certainly covers a broader range of magic and goes well beyond the beginner level, but is not a set of books that affords itself to an easy introduction to magic.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
othelo68
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I have Mark Wilson's cyclopedia (the little book) is the full edition more comprehensive or is it a lot of repeated material?
Father Photius
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It is more comprehensive. There is repeated material, but CCIM is considerably more material, especially the later editions.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Bob Sanders
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First we really need to know what you are trying to accomplish.

If you are a very serious student of magic you will ultimately want both.

The advantages of Mark Wilson's Course are lower price, well written and illustrated, and you will have material you can use immediately.

The advantages of the Tarbell Course is the vast collection of information and wide assortments of techniques to achieve ends. It is many times more comprehensive than the Mark Wilson Course but the sheer size would tell you to expect that. You can get it just one volume at a time currently. However, that could come to an end.

It's a choice and you win either way.

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
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MMark
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I own the Tarbell set and Mark Wilson's book. Both are excellent. Wilson's book comes out ahead in terms of value. It's a massive book with a low price tag. You can get the Tarbell volumes one at a time, as mentioned above. That way you can test the waters and then decide if you want to complete the set.

Mark
troppobob
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G'day Othelo

Both publications, as already confirmed, are good value and both are regularly recommended for new magicians. I have them both and still refer to each of them on a regular basis.

Wilson is certainly a great reference to help you get a good overview of a wide range of magic and it's performance, while being economical. I use the basic sponge ball routine from Wilson in most shows that I perform.

Tarbell is like an encyclopedia that even comes back and revisits topics and effects in later editions. Recently I was looking for a method to perform a specific effect which I had thought was a new innovation and I found the basis of what I needed tucked away in Tarbell (it just paid for itself again).

Enjoy your reading.

Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Anatole
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Definitely Tarbell, but naturally price is an important consideration. The Wilson encyclopedia is great for a beginner, but Tarbell is an indispensible reference guide once you've progressed beyond that stage. It's like the difference between _The World Book Encyclopedia_ and _Encyclopaedia Brittanica_. If I were a beginner in magic, I would probably find the Wilson course more palatable and easier to use. Once I got past the beginner stage and have decided that I really want to get into magic seriously, I would start saving up for the complete Tarbell set. (When I was beginning in magic, the World Book had a very skimpy section on magic, whereas Brittanica had a multi-page entry that included details on the history of magic, including some nice info on the history of levitations from Robert-Houdin's ethereal suspension to the Aga levitation. I copied information from Brittanica into my magic notebook. Both encyclopedias hired recognized magic experts like John Mulholland to write their entries.)

Remember the _Classics Illustrated_ comic books? They were a great introduction to some of the world's great literature. But at the end of each issue, there was a note: "Now that you’ve read the Classics Illustrated version, read the original, obtainable in your school or public library." For some of the CI versions, I did indeed (when I was older) follow up and read the original.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
m.ruetz
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The Wilson Encyclopedia can be picked up for a few bucks on eBay or on an online used book store which is big advantage over the Tarbell course.
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Ruldar
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If you serious about magic and can afford the time and money: Tarbell's.
If you want a solid overview reference at a good price: Wilson in paperback.
pradell
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One does not need to buy the complete Tarbell course to see if they like it. I purchased a used volume 1 a while back and spent a long time in there. I was hooked and now have the whole set. So you can afford to buy both the Mark Wilson book (which is a great investment) and volume 1 of Tarbell. If after spending time in Tarbell volume 1 you find that it is not worth spending the funds to buy the whole set, you have not spent too much. If you do decide to buy the rest, see if the package deal of buying the complete course saves you money and resell (or give away) volume 1 so someone else can give it a shot.

:magicrabbit:
othelo68
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Great advice thanks for all the help praden
HerbLarry
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Flip a coin you can't go wrong.
Lybrary.com has the complete original correspondence of Tarbell at $40 if Ebooks don't put you off. Got mine for $20 but that's a different story.
Got MWCCIM for $1 at a used book store. No need to break the bank.
You know why don't act naive.
Lash
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I always answer that question this way: if you only have enough to buy one book, then pick Wilson's. Like previously stated, it covers everything from beginner's material to advanced all in one volume. It's like a condensed version of the Tarbell series. If you have the means to invest in a series of books, go with Tarbell. You can't go wroong with either one.
Anatole
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It should perhaps be pointed out that it is not necessary to read the Tarbell books sequentially. My favorite volume in the set is Volume II. Look at the contents of this volume:
Lesson 20: How to Please Your Audience
Lesson 21: Magic with Wands
Lesson 22: Double Paper Mysteries
Lesson 23: Magic with Coins (including The Miser's Dream)
Lesson 24: Cigarette Magic
Lesson 25: Sleight of Hand with Cards (including Back and Front Palming; Productions of Cards One at a Time from Back of Hand; Productions of Cards One at a Time from Front of Hand; Flourishes
Lesson 26: Selected Card Mysteries
Lesson 27: Rising Cards (especially check out "Pack Full of Pep" where the entire deck rises from the card case; great opening for a sequence of card manipulation; chapter includes a few card fountain ideas)
Lesson 28: Egg Magic
Lesson 29: Billiard Ball Manipulation (including Ireland golf balls, rainbow balls)
Lesson 30: Handkerchief Magic
Lesson 31: Rope Magic (including Ted Collins's Panama Rope Mystery, a great rope routine)
Lesson 32: Ghostlite Mysteries (luminous paint)
Lesson 33: Illusions
Lesson 34: Mental Magic by Karl Fulves (I really don't remember this lesson in the original set)

Once you've studied this volume, you'll be addicted to the course. But again, any serious student of our art would eventually get the entire set. The only thing not included in this volume that would make it perfect is the linking rings, which was covered in depth in Volume 4.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Renaldo
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I'd suggest both also. Definitely grab Wilson's book, then I'd suggest picking up the Tarbell's a volume at a time as you can get them. You're not going to read them all at once so there's no need to buy them all at once, you know? I'm lucky enough to live near one of the largest used booksellers in the world and have been picking them up one every couple of months as they come in. Amazon and B&N both have sellers doing used copies though, as does Ebay.

The thing I've found with used copies of Tarbell's is that they tend to be like new. I think people who buy them and actually use them tend to keep them, while people who sell them never really used them at all.
othelo68
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That's a great idea I think I'll look for some used tarbells and pick up a signed copy of wilsons.Thanks for all the help
Loggerhead
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You won't be disapointed with either..
HJE - Walker, Minnesota
David Waldorf
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I have a CD-ROM that has many old public-domain magic books on it. Included was Tarbell’s original 60 lesson mail order course, which I am still working through. Go to ebay and type in Tarbell, you should find the CD-ROM for about $12.00 from a store called Everything 4 less. It is worth the money.
Didn't your mother ever tell you not to believe anything you hear and only half of what you see?


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