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Plain Bob Minor

The ringing method, Plain Bob,
is a simple extension of Plain Hunting; it enables 60 changes to be rung on 6 bells before returning to rounds; and with some calls, (i.e. bobs and singles), all 720 unique change rows can be rung without repetition.

In Plain Bob, as in other plain methods, the treble is a fixed bell, it simply hunts up and down as it does in Plain Hunting. The remaining bells, (known as working bells or inside bells), perform a simple dance around the treble, and the majority of this is also plain hunting.

The difference between Plain Hunting and Plain Bob comes whilst the treble is leading. In Plain Hunting when the treble leads, 6ths place is made, the pairs in 2-3 and 4-5 cross, and rounds is reached. In Plain Bob, when the treble leads, 2nds place is made, and the pairs in 3-4 and 5-6 cross. This causes the bells in those places to make step backwards in their hunting path, known as a dodge.

Consequently, the first time the treble leads, the bells at backstroke fall in the sequence 135264, and at that point all six bells start ringing plain hunting once more, but this time each bell starts from a new place within the change. E.g. Bell number 4 will start hunting from the sixth place in the change-row 135264.

This pattern is then repeated a further 4 times until after 60 change rows the bells return to rounds.

The 60 changes without bobs and singles is termed “a plain course”, and with bobs and singles, “a touch”. A touch of 720 changes is known as “The Extent”. We will deal with bobs and singles later.

So in a plain course, we get 5 sections of 12 changes, each section having an identical pattern, but also having the working bells start from a different position each time. Viz:

Extras

Page Downloads:

Useful:

Interesting:

Plain Course
(and grid).

Structure

Written out by numbers, and also shown as a grid, we get:

A Plain Course of Plain Bob Minor

Plain Bob creates a distinction between the treble which rings a simple, fixed course, and the other bells are known as “working bells” or “inside bells”.

Turning now to look at each of the pairs of bells in turn: 

Links

1-2

Ringing 1-2 to a Plain Course

1-2 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

3-4

Ringing 3-4 to a Plain Course

3-4 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

5-6

Ringing 5-6 to a Plain Course

5-6 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

Touches

Ringing Touches of Plain Bob Minor

What is a touch?

A Plain Course of Plain Bob Minor is 60 change rows, and to go beyond this without repetition we need to link in further changes before getting back to rounds. We do this by making temporary alterations, one at a time, to the method; these alterations are known as a call. Two types of call are needed, and these are known as a “bob” and a “single”.

Bobs and Singles

Bobs and Singles

Bobs and singles affect the work of the bells in 2nds, 3rds and 4ths places at the lead end where the call is made. Calls are always made on the backstroke before the treble’s full lead, and take effect on the backstroke of the treble’s lead..

The call of a bob means that as the treble leads, 4ths place is made, and the two bells in 2nds and 3rds cross over. The bells in 5-6 are unaffected.

At the call of a single the bells in 2nds 3rds and 4ths place all remain in place and only the pair in 5-6 swap over. The bells in 5-6 are unaffected.

Plain lead, bobs and singles - grid layout

Impact on one bell

The impact of calls on the working of an individual bell:

PLE = Plain Lead End

  • PLE: Make seconds over the treble
  • Bob called
  • Run out to thirds
  • Make seconds over the treble next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: Dodge 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in to 2nds
  • Dodge 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds place
  • Make 2nds next lead end
  • PLE: about to dodge 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • make 4ths place
  • hunt in to lead
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 4ths place
  • hunt in to lead
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • PLE: dodging in 5-6
  • Bob called
  • Unaffected
  • Single called
  • Unaffected

Impact on pairs

The impact of calls on the pairs of bells:

In the following paragraphs we have enumerated all of the combinations of lead end and call but this is a lot of information to memorise. However, we would advise looking closely at the information and ensuring that it is properly understood.

As all of the plain hunting patterns have already been learned, a good way to cope with calls is to look at which of your bells is affected and how, and then to ring plain hunting from the new pair of positions in the approprpriate pattern until the following lead end. In this way the skill of watching the treble is rewarded, and reliance on knowing your exact placing in the double lines is reduced.

1-2

Ringing 1-2 to a touch:

Once the work of 1-2 in a plain course has been thoroughly assimilated, the addition of bobs and singles adds interest and can be learned quite easily from the following:

  • Leading and making seconds
  • Bob called
  • Run out to thirds place,
  • Hunting: coursing pair,
  • Make seconds next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected, make seconds and carry on coursing
  • Leading and about to dodge 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in to 2nds place
  • Hunting: coursing pair,
  • Dodge 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds place
  • Hunt out (still coursing)
  • Make 2nds next lead end
  • Leading and about to dodge 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • Make 4ths place
  • 2-3 hunting pattern
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called –
  • As for bob, but both blows in 4ths are over the same bell
  • Leading and dodging in 5-6 either way
  • Unaffected by calls

Impact on inside pairs

Ringing an inside pair to a touch:

  • PLE: 2nds and 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • Run out and make 4ths
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • 2nds and 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 2nds and 4ths
  • Hunting: Coursing
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel) next lead end
  • PLE: 2nds and 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in and run out
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 2nds and 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 2nds and 3rds
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 2nds and 3-4 down next lead end
  • PLE: 2nds and 5-6 up
  • Bob called
  • run out and 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Coursing out
  • 2nds and 3-4 up next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: 2nds and 5-6 down
  • Bob called
  • Run out and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern (start with m&c in 4-5)
  • 2nds and dodge 5-6 up next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: Dodge together in 3-4
  • Bob called
  • Run in and make 4ths
  • Hunting: Coursing
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel) next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 3rds and 4ths
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • 2nds and 5-6 down next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 up and 5-6 up (parallel)
  • Bob called
  • Make 4ths and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • Dodge 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart) next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 4ths and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • Dodge 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart) next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart)
  • Bob called
  • make 4ths and dodge 5-6 down
  • Hunting: coursing down
  • Dodge together in 5-6 next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 4ths and dodge 5-6 down
  • Hunting: coursing down
  • Dodge together in 5-6 next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 down and 5-6 up (scissors together)
  • Bob called
  • Run in and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • Dodge together in 3-4 next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Coursing out
  • Make 2nds and dodge 3-4 up next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel)
  • Bob called
  • Run in and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 up (scissors together) next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern (start with m&c in 4-5)
  • Make 2nds and dodge 5-6 up next lead end
  • PLE: Dodge together in 5-6
  • Bob called
  • Unaffected
  • Single called
  • Unaffected

Example touches

Example Touches of Plain Bob Minor

Touches are often rung using the tenor bell reference point (a.k.a. an observation bell). It is perfectly ok to make calls that affect the tenor, but very often the tenor is unaffected. The calling positions are known by their impact on the tenor viz:

  • W: "Wrong" - 5-6 up
  • F: "Fourths" - 3-4 up
  • B: "Before" - 2nds
  • I : "In" - 3-4 down
  • H: "Home" - 5-6 down

Very short touches of Plain Bob Minor

36 Plain Bob

This is the shortest possible touch, three consecutive bobs, 5 makes the first, tenor makes the second, and 4 makes the last bob.

72 Plain Bob

In this simple touch, bell no 4 makes 4ths at both bobs, 5-6 run in and out at the first bob, and 2 and 3 run in and out at the second. This is "Before and Home".

Short touches of Plain Bob Minor

120 Plain Bob

In this simple touch a bob is called every time the tenor dodges in 5-6; it would be spoken as: Wrong, Home, Wrong, Home.

120 Plain Bob

This simple touch is: Single Home, Single Home. Only the ringer of 3-4 is affected.

120 Plain Bob

This simple touch is: Single Wrong, Single Wrong. Only bells numbered 2 and 5 are affected.

240 Plain Bob

In this simple touch is: Bob Wrong, Single Wrong, Bob Wrong, Single Wrong. Bell no 5 makes 4ths at each bob, and 3rds at each single.

720 Plain Bob

The addition of a bob home gives 42356 as the final lead end, repeat twice to achieve the extent on 6 bells.

360 Plain Bob

This touch is derived from no 3 by omitting the final bob home, and repeating the touch twice to give 360 changes, the maximum possible without using a single.

720 Plain Bob

This touch is derived from no 8 by the simple addition of a single at the final home and then repeating the sequence of calls, thus producing the extent of 720 changes.

Getting going with touches

Getting started with touches

The major factors seem to be:
The overall strength of the band,
The speed at which concepts and challenges are being tackled and overcome.

If you are lucky enough to have two experienced handbell ringers and only one "improver" in the touch then just working down the above 9 touches, watching for mistakes and learning points should be enough to get up to quarter peal standard.

If your situation is more of a struggle, the following are suggested:
Brief the band on what the touch entails,
Specifically get the weaker person on the inside pair to learn how their bells are affected.
It can be useful for the conductor to call out when the lead ends occur that have no call.

Putting a weaker ringer on 5-6 and briefing him / her on the repeating pattern of the calls, and the repeating structure of the work of their pair of bells can enable progress to be made, and very importantly, practise to be gained by all concerned. See touches numbered 3 and 6 for examples of repeating patterns.