Gimmicks vs sleight of hand (coins)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by karhum719, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. hey guys. Yesterday i was having a discussion with a friend of mine on whether to do coin magic with gimmicks or with sleight of hand. I was arguing for sleight of hand while he opposed and was arguing for gimmicks . My argument was that with sleight of hand at the end of any routine you can hand out the coins to be examined and can perform magic anywhere rather than only when you have those altered pieces of silver on you. His argument was that with gimmicks you can solely focus on your presentation and can perform surrounded.

    Can you please tell me your thoughts since this is an argument most magicians have and i want to know where i stand. I do own a lot of gimmicks but not nearly as much as him. To conclude my state, i want to know what you do coin magic mostly with, if you started coin magic with gimmicks or sleight of hand. Or if you keep switching out the gimmick for the real coin...


    Milaad nasser mehran khodadoust
  2. Honestly, I don't think it really matters. Neither in coins nor cards nor anything else. As long as the effect is usable and doesn't raise the suspicion that "something tricky" is involved, it's good. As far as being examinable, things like Tarantula aren't seen and people aren't aware that they exist. And most of the card or coin gimmicks can be either switched or palmed off and therefore if it's the matter of being examinable, the spectator can do that. Personally, I think the number of "miracles" you can do with a gimmicked coin(shells, gaffs, double sided, etc) is much more than normal coins. And I don't mean that you can't perform good coin magic with normal coins, but an experienced handler can often do much more with gimmicks compared to normal coins.
    In card magic, I'm sort of a purist, which means I don't ever go to gaffs and gimmicks unless they're really necessary for achieving the effect. For example, you can do a really easy and beautiful with Lloyd Barnes's "diffuse", but I personally like to put the work in and learn an ungimmicked version like Raise Rise by Ray Cosby. But when it comes to something that needs flap cards or specific gaffs that don't look like normal cards, I have no choice but to use "abnormal!!! :)" playing cards.
    Well, that was my opinion about the whole gaff and gimmick thing in magic.
    JoshL8 likes this.
  3. You will end dirty often when using a gimmick or sleight of hand...but neither necessarily prevents people from handing out the coins at the end. You don't have to hand out the coins all the time either, don't run if you are not being chased. But there are many tricks that put the coins in the audiences hands that also uses gimmicks.

    I use a gimmick in a version of coins across but still end clean while the coins end in their hands 2 times, inspect-able both times. In my gimmickless coins across I end dirty but the coins are of course also inspect-able.

    A gimmicked C/S routine often ends dirty (not suspiciously so) but the coins you hand out are inspect-able.

    Now it is true that some gimmicks are probably not best handed out for inspection, but I've had people hold a flipper before and they weren't any the wiser. If people handle the coins casually (like don't tell then to inspect it but ask them to hold it while you do something else) most people will assume its all in the clear otherwise you wouldn't have let them hold it.

    I wouldn't think of gimmicks as replacing sleight of hand in some sort of 'either or' scenario but rather as complimenting sleight of hand.

    I've seem performers start fair, having the audience inspect the coins at the start...then bring in a gaff unbeknownst to the audience in the middle of the routine and ditch it before the ending...leaving the coins at the end perfectly inspect-able just as they were at the start.
    Mr_ARPY likes this.
  4. The important question is what does your audience think?

    Exactly.... they can't tell the difference. They just see the "effect" of the gimmick or sleight of hand.

    As for gimmicks being easier, I don't necessarily agree. It takes a level of skill to handle gimmicks like a shell. Also, when you are using sleight of hand, your sleights should be so that you do them without thinking. That means you can easily focus on presentation because the sleights are automatic... much like a gimmick.

    As for handing stuff out at the end... DON'T. That is a challenge to your audience -- "here, figure out how I did this because its not a trick coin." As @JoshL8 said, don't run if you aren't being chased. Remember, the goal is to entertain with magic which requires the absence of consideration of a method -- not to trick or fool your audience which requires the presence of a method and the audience not being able to figure out that method. Rather, the design of your effect should establish that you are using real coins without you actually saying that (i.e. don't say "examine these coins, they are real." Impossibility should be establish before the result of the effect is known.

    So the answer is, decide what the stronger effect is and go with that, regardless of method.
    Maaz Hasan likes this.
  5. Both require a different sort of skill set.

    With sleights, you need to perform them undetected.
    With gimmicks, you need to dispose them undetected.

    Neither is 'better'.
  6. I like the possibilities that gimmicks can offer, however that’s gimmicks, not a gimmick. I prefer slight of hand because you can often only preform one effect with one gimmick.
  7. They can easily coexist. When I am working with coins I will do completely gimmickless coins across, then bring in [ and do a coins across to the spectators hand and still end clean. Gimmicks and gaffs are just tools. Completely ruling them out can be crippling to your own magic and imagination, of course that is only my opinion. And just because you use a gimmick or gaff means you are doing any less SOH. I think you have to know where you can use it and where you can't and all the practicalities of it. It may even depend on what you are doing. If I am doing strolling magic, I will do a gimmickless Scotch and Soda routine just because it is completely instant reset and I can use any form of coin that I choose. If I am doing more bar work, then I might use the standard magic shop set of S&S just because I wont need it again for a while and will have the time to reset. Again, all just my thoughts and opinions. but I strongly suggest not ruling out gaffs and gimmicks in magic.
  8. That's not necessarily true, there are quite a few gimmicks that can be used in a variety of ways, and for virtually any gimmick you can think of at least a couple effects
  9. I first got into Magic when I was 8 or 9 years old. At that time everything I used was sleight of hand and basic magic tricks per se, Sands of the Desert, color changing scarf, dancing/disappearing cane, Etc. I work really hard at the slide of hand and got fairly accomplished. We then moved and I got into other things that got away from Magic. At 59 years old I have just returned to Magic and I'm teaching my son who is eight. Given some loss of dexterity and some arthritis we did pick up a few Gaff coins and gimmicks to mix with the sleight-of-hand as well. A combination of the two allows for a variety of different tricks that I can do returning to Magic as well as starting my son out. He seems to like using both and has even come up with a few combinations of his own. Nothing new earth-shattering but things he's thought of his own that I had not showed him yet. I think it's just you go where your strong point is. I have a difficult time with flashing cards in any of the card tricks. I'm much more comfortable with coins with my size hands (I have gigantic hands. Special made gloves big). I do agree that if you're going to get the Gaff coins or card systems spend the money you get the best.

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