Here’s a question about shopping for a bullwhip that was emailed to me:
“Hi Louie , I’ve come across your site with interests in whips.What do you recomend for a starter ? Is a used or inexpencive whip a bad idea ? I have a double whip variety act in mind.”
When you are starting out with bullwhip cracking getting the best bullwhip you can afford is a good idea. Now keep in mind the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive bullwhip. Figure out what you want to do with it…are you to be doing a faster mulitple cracking routine, or are you just wanting to make the thing crack?
There’s nothing wrong with a cheap whip, but usually a cheap bullwhip is made with inferior materials (like cow) or with inferior methods (like less bellies or no bellies!). Those are things to consider when shopping for a cheap bullwhip and before you buy you can ask what’s inside the bullwhip. You don’t need super detailed info, but a quick answer like two bellies and two bolsters is all you need.
I’ve heard that one particular guy that sells bullwhips on ebay uses felt as the core for his whips…personally I’d steer clear of any bullwhip that had felt for a core! A little bit of homework will take you a long way, but also don’t necessarily buy into the seller’s hype.
The guys who really “pimp” thier whips on either thier websites or ebay generally aren’t top notch (there are probably execptions to this)…however if you look at guys like Paul Nolan, Joe Strain, David Morgan, Bernard Del Carpio’s websites they don’t whore out thier work like other people. In fact any of the guys I just mentioned make fanstatic whips and you can’t go wrong getting one from them!
My first whip was a cheap-o bullwhip, but I learned to crack it and that carried me onto the next level. I may have learned faster with a nicer bullwhip, but at first I all I could afford was an $80 whip. Once you move your bullwhips skills into some type of performance you will need to start thinking of investing in a higher quality whip. If you are using your bullwhip in a show, you need to rely on it, and it needs to do what it is supposed to every time. In my show’s I use a bullwhip that was made by Paul Nolan and it’s been in close to 2,000 shows (in addition to practice sessions) over the years! That’s how a show bullwhip is an investment, it’s never failed me!