Muscle Pass

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 01/20/02 04:20 PM

The muscle pass is hard. Really really hard.
Is it that I am not talented?

Or do I not have the right sized hands?

Or is there is some trick that I don't know about?

If anyone can do it, I would love some hints.

:eek:
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/21/02 02:25 AM

It took me almost a week to get the muscle pass. Its one of those things that takes time. It really isnt all that hard once you get it. Also, sometimes ill go an entire month without doing it and I can pick a coin up and just do it. Once you acquire the knack it stays. Jut keep working on it and you'll get it. Try passing it horizontally rather then vertically. The muscle pass should be used as a hidden sleight anyways, rather then a show-off move. Unless of course your around other magicians where even the pass is a show off move.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/02 07:31 AM

Originally posted by Matt Sedlak:
The muscle pass should be used as a hidden sleight anyways, rather then a show-off move. Unless of course your around other magicians where even the pass is a show off move.


That is a matter of opinion. I think the move is valid as a utility sleight or a flourish. You could validly argue that you feel it is better used as a hidden sleight. But lets be honest.... It is still most famous for "The Coin that Falls Up" which is definately a show off usage.

I personally like to use the muscle pass within a coin flurry routine. Right after a coin invsibly jumped from one hand to another, I let the spectator see it fall back up to where it came. Then without hesitation continue on with the flurry.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/02 03:20 PM

I just checked out www.coinvanish.com and it had the best printed description of the muscle pass I have seen. Coloured pictures and all.

I think the muscle pass might be one of those moves that is so hard to do that people want to show off their talent rather than using it as a hidden sleight.

Is it that strong as a hidden sleight?

I guess that is the magician's ego.
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Postby Guest » 01/21/02 03:34 PM

Thank you for the comliments on the instruction.

Don't get my wrong on the previous post about the strength of it as a hidden sleight. I totally agree it is very usable as a hidden sleight and I have used it myself in an invisible manner.

I just disagree with the comment that it should ONLY be used invisibly. I have seen great reactions from lay audiences when a coin inexplicably flys into the air.

Forget egos... it's all about entertaining your audience is it not? If it entertains, mission accomplished.
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/21/02 05:08 PM

I guess it all depends on your personal style. I should rephrase my statement to be, "I believe that the muscle pass should only be used as a hidden sleight in my personal style of performing." I have a very high energy style with a very minimal amount of flourishes. I agree that the vertical muscle passes has some use in magic, just not however in the way I see many people do it where they just shoot it up. "Falling To The Fingertips" is a good example of using it vertically for a nice effect.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/21/02 05:46 PM

Like just about everything else in magic it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

If you want a quick laugh with a minor degree of mystery (what did he DO?) then the coin that falls up is a valid use of the move.

If, on the otherhand (sorry! :) ), you want a miracle then the Coin Through Glass Topped Table is a good reason to learn the muscle pass.

Sadly, I've never developed the knack. I need a dollar sized coin but the weight of the coin is too great for any real vertical lift. I can do about 10" to 12" horizontaly but the "slow coin" gag isn't worth the effort...
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Postby Guest » 01/21/02 06:48 PM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
the weight of the coin is too great for any real vertical lift.


Keep trying with the silver dollar. When I learned I used a half dollar. I got to a point I could consistently shoot it a foot or so up. I then decided to try to learn with a silver dollar. When I started I could not even get it to jump at all. I found that with the silver dollar I had to position it farther forward (toward my fingers) than the half dollar. It started to pop. After a month or two I could shoot a silver dollar consistantly a foot. So if you can muscle pass in the first place, with practice you can get the vertical height even with the dollar coin.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 01/29/02 05:46 PM

Or prehaps you could try doing it with a casino chip. These are dollar size and light weight. The substitution of chips for coins in certain routines, is "food for thought". Chips are colorful and interesting and it's easy to create patter themes around them. Chips are quieter than coins (less talking) and you can always find literally hundreds of different varieties for sale on Ebay. Anyone have more thoughts on this?
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/29/02 11:44 PM

I agree completely with Brad Jeffers.

Many if not most coin effects are, in my opinion, improved by using poker chips. Certainly if you there are any members of your audience whose eyes are even ten feet away from your coins, poker chips will provide much better visibility than even the shiniest coins. (Actually, shininess can work against you. A fan of three coins reflecting a stage light is almost impossible for the eye to resolve.)

I've seen magicians do Spellbound or David Roth's Copper/Silver Classic and get no reaction simply because the audience couldn't really tell the difference between the two coins. From just a few feet away.

I realize that coins have a built-in meaning that is an integral part of the effect in many cases. I just think that coins are so much harder to see than most magicians realize. If you're not getting the reaction you think you should from a coin trick, try it with poker chips and see if you don't get a better response.

A couple of years back I worked out a version of Threefly which used a red, white, and blue poker chip. It wasn't perfect but the basic idea of using different colored chips made the effect about a thousand times easier to see.

If you have any doubts about this, have a friend hold up a fan of coins containing either two, three, or four coins (half dollars or silver dollars) while you stand ten feet away and try to tell how many there are. Now try the same thing with different colored poker chips from thirty feet.
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Postby Guest » 01/30/02 08:11 AM

I guess it depends on what kind of poker chips you use. I personally prefer the weight, feel, and sound of real coins.

I would guess that a spectator would also be less likely to guess any gaffus (if used) with real money instead of manfactured chips.

I don't perform stage magic so it rarely am in the position where I am so far away from a crowd they can't see the coins.

One other thing to think about is the psycological effect. In a misers dream routine for example, a lot of it has to do with the idea of producing money from thin air. Pyscologically I think the effect is greater when you are producing money then plastic disks. What do you think?

Getting back to the original topic on the muscle pass.... After I had learned the muscle pass I happened to pick up one of those cheap thin poker chips that you can get at a local drug store. Those things are so light you can honestly muscle pass them 3 feet or so. You can definately get greater height, but I don't know if learning the mechanics of it would be any easier or not.

Dan
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/30/02 09:31 AM

First, about the coins vs. poker chips. I dont think one can substitute for another. They are similar but should be used in different situations. Most of my coin work is done rather close up and when dealing with coin fans I usually have a contrasting coin in the center. Secondly, about the muscle pass. Using those Bicycle poker chips from the local pharmacy will definatly get you more height. However, it will do nothing for you unless you can do it already. My suggestion is to start with a half dollar sized coins(unless of course you have Krenzel Hands).
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/30/02 11:18 AM

The first time I saw the Muscle Pass performed, John Cornelius was doing it at a TAOM Convention. He was the Johnny-Appleseed of Promotion, the magician most responsible for stimulating interest in this odd and daunting little move. The technique itself is the kind that inspires and challenges youngsters. As a youth I was also drawn to skill stunts of every kind because they can be scored and quantified. They permitted you to COMPETE.

Yes, I scaled cards in the good old days. How far you could scale them was a test of your mettle. Ricky Jay was the King back then, although he no longer holds the record. (He reputedly scaled a card OVER the roof of the Magic Castle.)

When the Muscle Pass was "new and hot," there was a local kid (not a magician)who was challenged by the move. He could eventually do it with half-dollars and silver dollars and was able to really propel the coin quite high. His goal was to "squirt" it higher than anyone on the planet. He onced asked me, "What's the distance record for muscle-passing?"

I had no answer. Nobody every quantified such a thing; nobody ever measured distances.

He said that he was trying to bounce it off the ceiling of his bedroom. "I've hit it twice," he said.

I told him that he probably owned the UNOFFICIAL world's record for Muscle Passing.

He seemed pleased.

Another magician once said:

"Why don't they hold a Magician's Olympics? They could feature events such as the Muscle Pass, Clocked Faro Shuffles, Timed Charlier Cuts, Kick-Move Shuttling Contests, Card Scaling, Back-Palming Coins (10 or more to qualify)and so on. In other words, anything that can be timed and measured could be an event."

My comment was, "Who would watch?"

"I would," was his curt reply.

P.S. I think that Charles Bertram once boasted that he could execute over 75 Charlier Cuts in one minute? (I could be wrong about the actual number; however, it was high.)During my training days, the most I could do without a mishap was 64.

Ah, those were the days!
Or were they?

Onward...
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/30/02 12:06 PM

I would love to watch a "Magicians Olympics". They should have a little contest like that at a convention. Anyways, as far as the Charlier Pass it says in Expert Card Technique that Bertram could do it 80 times a minute.
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Postby Guest » 01/30/02 01:19 PM

I'd pay to see someone scale cards over a roof or muscle pass a coin all the way to the ceiling.

I guess it starts to get out of the realm of doing magic and more doing stunts more along the Ripley's Believe it or Not or people with unique and goofy skills on the Letterman show.

Not neccessarily magic, but entertaining nonetheless.

Dan
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 01/30/02 01:23 PM

Not neccessarily magic, but entertaining nonetheless. I remember seeing a Garfield comic strip one time where garfield is doing a magic show and to make his dog disappear all he does is kick him off the stage and then says the same line as above. I thought it was an interesting comic especially because it was written by a layman.
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Postby Guest » 01/30/02 01:29 PM

One other thing to think about is the psycological effect. In a misers dream routine for example, a lot of it has to do with the idea of producing money from thin air. Pyscologically I think the effect is greater when you are producing money then plastic disks. What do you think?


Originally Miser's dream was amazing because the coins had value. Coins these days have little value but poker chips can be worth thousands.

But also, if you doubt the power of using a borrowed coin for an effect you haven't lived in Australia where, until recently, we have not had any locally gaffed coins on the market.

We now have them and it is a delight to borrow a ten cent coin and put in a bottle.

and the muscle pass the bottle ;)
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