Okay, so what's the difference between all of those rope tricks? In this post we are going to focus primarily on Professor's Nightmare style routines. These routines usually involve three ropes that stretch, shrink, have moveable or removable ends and the like.
Professor's Nightmare Pro by Bob Carver:
This is a nice set of ropes which includes the basic Professor's Nightmare instructions. Three ropes of different lengths stretch and shrink until they are all the same length.
Strengths: The ropes are taped at the ends to avoid fraying, the ropes are examinable, and they can be used for the Fiber Optics and 'Fraid Knot routines.
Weaknesses: The text instructions are very limited. There is a lot of room to expand on this set of ropes and it only goes over the very basic routine.
Optical Ropes by Mark Mason:
This is a fun routine with a lot of transformations and multiplying ends. The thing I like the most about it is that it uses a technique I've never seen before.
Strengths: Very well-made gimmicks. Includes instructional DVD which is good because text instructions can be really hard to follow with rope magic.
Weaknesses: The ropes are not examinable and can only be used for the effects demonstrated in the video demo.
Fiber Optics by Richard Sanders:
This instructional DVD does not come with ropes, but it does come with tons of super-visual moves that can be used in any rope routine.
Strengths: A lot of work went into this DVD and it shows. This is some of the most visual rope magic I've ever seen.
Weaknesses: As I said before, it doesn't come with ropes and it jumps right into pretty advanced stuff. I wouldn't recommend it for beginners.
'Fraid Knot by Christopher Ballinger:
I shouldn't be reviewing my own routine, but it was requested, so I'll try to be objective... This is the rope routine that I have been working on since I was ten years old and I use it all the time on the streets and at paying gigs.
Strengths: It's a full routine, which means that you can perform it as-is or take the moves from it and use them in a different order. It gets the spectators involved which is always a plus in my book.
Weaknesses: It's an instant download so you aren't getting any physical product and the routine takes some practice to get it down.
Hopefully that helps you decide which rope routine will work best for you. I would like to thank one of our customers for requesting this comparison in one of our past entries. If you have any routines that you want compared please contact us and let us know. (It makes my job of guessing what you want to read much easier.)