Motivating the Top Change

Oct 5, 2012
Hi All,

So I have been thinking a lot about the Top Change. To me, the essence of the move is not the mechanical component (though fluidity with that aspect is of course critical). Instead, it is finding a way to motivate the movement of the hands so that bringing them together is not conspicuous or unnatural. Obviously, a lot of these motivations will be specific to the routining of a particular effect.

However, I thought it would be interesting for people to share what actions/motivation they use to do the Top Change. Gathering a list of possible actions/motivations would be a fantastic resource.

I appreciate your thoughts...
May 21, 2011
Bedford, England
Whenever I perform a Top Change, I always try to find an excuse to point towards something or someone. For instance, I may ask them something like "Could you hold out your hand please" or "Do you still remember your card? as I gesture towards them. "Or, I may reach across to pick up something depending on the routine. Of course, it's when my hands cross each other that I perform the Top Change.
Jul 16, 2011

I've done the top change for years, and when done with proper technique and misdirection, it flies right over people's heads. Here's how I've misdirected the move.

So you have the card you'd like to switch in your right hand, and the deck in your left hand. What you do is you gesture to them with the card in your right hand a little bit below their eye level, as you start to ask them a question like "hey tell me something..." As you're starting to ask that question, you bring the card down from their eye level but while keeping eye contact with them. While maintaining this eye contact, you continue the as the question "...are you right handed or left handed?" But as you're asking this, you perform the top change and immediately point at their hands with your left hand (hand with the deck). This is when you break eye contact to look at their hands, which is where you're pointing.

I hope that doesnt sound too confusing! This method has worked for me and I hope it helps!
Oct 5, 2012
Some really solid suggestions! I think eye-management of the spectator(s) is essential for the move, and the handedness question is a great way to point to it. I have watched the Williamson video, which has a number of excellent ideas. His theory/structure for creating a moment of smoke for the move is very strong, and I was curious to see what motivation people use.
Apr 6, 2011
Lansing, MI
I have a method that I like quite a bit. It requires no real gestures or questions to motivate or misdirect, and can be used in any effect, any situation. And it's pretty easy once you figure out what I mean. So you need at least two spectators, if your deck hand is your left, begin by facing the right spectator. Look in the eyes of Ricky (right), followed by turning your head to look into the eyes of Larry (left). This will draw all attention to Larry, and you will have ample misdirection here alone. I personally will use this to execute just about any hidden sleights. However, specific to the top change, or any move that requires bringing the two hands together, I like to go a bit farther in covering the move. So with your hands at their resting height (navel if standing, chest if sitting), immediately after turning to look at Larry, your body follows the turn of your neck. While this happens, your left hand will rotate slower than your right. Slow enough, that whilst turning, your hands come into contact. The correct speed is easy to find. This allows your hands to come together completely unnoted, as their are no unwarranted or strange actions. Upon contact, execute the top change, and then allow your right hand to slow down. Don't speed up the left, allow the right to slow down. It looks much more natural that way. I do this nearly every performance, spectators don't even know your hands came together.
Dec 29, 2011
I use really heavy misdirection usually, and I do it really slow. So, hands together with a break under the top card, ask them a question, then pause, then slowly switch the cards and separate your hands.
Jul 19, 2010
A good Top Change is only about misdirection. If you don't have misdirection, the Top change is not a good move, cause if it was people would use that instead of the double lift. A convincing Top change with good misdirection that has perfect timing is probably the best move in card magic!

{[{ searchResultsCount }]} Results