Plain Bob Doubles
Tips on ringing Plain Bob Doubles
Before you start:
- Make sure you can plain hunt:
Not just from one bell with a following wind but from any bell, and from any bell with the order of the bells changed before you start. If you are ringing the 2nd and the conductor calls "2 to 3", "2 to 4" (or "3 to 1", "4 to 3", according to local practice) you are now in 4th place. At the command "Go plain hunt" you start as if you were the 4th - go in to lead. If you can do this then your rope-sight / rhythm is up to the minimum standard required for Plain Bob.
- Make sure you can hear your bell:
If you can't hear your bell in Plain Hunt, your striking will not be good in Plain Bob. It is worth spending time listening to achieve a good level of striking.
- Practise your bell control:
Practise dodging - this can be achieved easily by ringing rounds (on the 2nd say) and the conductor calling "2, 3 dodge". Ring over the third at handstroke and over the treble at backstroke until "That's all" is called. Now practise the reverse (over at back, under at hand) and try on different bells to get the feel of moving them around. Listen carefully to ensure you are striking accurately. You are aiming to achieve a good sense of the different speeds required in order to perform a dodge - this will be essential when you start ringing Plain Bob.
- Ring the treble to touches of Plain Bob and Grandsire:
With your skills in 1 to 3 honed you should find plain hunting whilst others are ringing methods a walk in the park - this will not only improve your ringing but make you a more useful member of your tower (helping by ringing the treble accurately whilst others are practising ringing touches of different doubles methods). If you find this difficult then try to analyse which of the steps is not up to scratch and go back and practise.
Learning the Method (The plain course)
Plain Bob Doubles is not a difficult method to learn. In fact it is so easy that people often try to over-complicate it.
For this section it will be helpful of you have the blue line (or preferably the grid) of Plain Bob in view.
We shall make some simple observations about the method:
- The treble always plain hunts.
- There are four other bells.
- These all plain hunt - except when the treble makes it's backstroke lead.
- At this point, one bell makes 2nds, one bell makes 5ths and the other two bells dodge in 3-4.
Lets break this down into what it actually means:
- The treble always plain hunts
This means that the treble rings the same ten blows over and over again. This makes it ideal for being a point of reference.
- There are four other bells
These four bells are "Inside". Each ten blows they swap around until they've all been in all four positions at the trebles backstroke lead. This makes the plain course of Plain Bob four times longer than a course of Plain Hunt.
- These all plain hunt - except when the treble makes it's backstroke lead.
Because of this, Plain Bob is 90% plain hunt, however, each lead you start as a different place bell e.g. if you are ringing the second you plain hunt until the trebles backstroke lead. At this point you dodge (3-4 Down) and are in 4th place to start your plain hunting again, so you plain hunt in to the front as if you were the 4th bell.
- At this point, one bell makes 2nds, one bell makes 5ths and the other two bells dodge in 3-4
All this does is make sure instead of rounds at the treble's backstroke lead (which you get in plain hunt) the bells change sequence for the second set of 10 blows (12345 becomes 13524) and the plain hunting starts from this point.
This should be a doddle if you've had plenty of plain hunting practise on different bells and with different starting rows. Beware that the bell making 5ths has already made two blows in 5ths position and 5ths place bell has another to make when plain hunting is resumed. All together this makes 4 blows in 5th place for that bell.
Note: Each bell moves to a new starting point and this is shown in the line to the right and in the circle of work below by encircling the bell number. Thus bell number 2 becomes 4th placed bell on the backstroke after the 3/4 down dodge, then 5th placed bell on the third blow at the back, 3rd place bell on the backstroke after the 3/4 up dodge and back to 2nd place bell on second blow (backstroke) in 2nds. Each of these positions is the place bell start and it can be useful when learning to ring each bell to become more aware of these starts.
The Circle of Work
To help you remember what "work" is coming up next you can follow "the circle of work". Starting from any bell (shown in a ring) you follow the circle clockwise from your starting point.
Ringing by the Treble
You can also know what work to ring next by noting in which position you pass the treble. If you pass it in:
- 1-2 then make 2nds.
- 2-3 then dodge 3-4 up.
- 3-4 then do four blows in 5ths place.
- 4-5 then dodge 3-4 down.
Beware that relying on the treble alone may not be sufficient, as as the treble ringer may be the least experienced and most likely to go wrong.
- You get lost
--- Don't Panic ---
It is likely that someone will be able to tell you where you are. If they say lead, then lead and plain hunt out. When the treble leads do the work appropriate to the position you are in. Similarly for any other position that you are instructed to move into. Don't waste time trying to explain how you went wrong - this is a clear recipe for a fire-up.
- You seem to always clip bells at dodges
This is the one big difference in Plain Bob from Plain Hunt. Dodging requires you to go from hunting in quick, to hunting out slow (or vice versa) in one blow. This requires a bigger change of speed than you are used to. Practise the dodging exercises in the previous page and don't be too disheartened. This skill will come to you eventually.
- You dodge the wrong way
The dodges are all BACKSTROKE dodges. That is to say, the change in direction is always at backstroke with the next handstroke resuming your previous direction of hunting e.g. the 3-4 down dodge from the point where you leave 5ths place is:
5ths place at handstroke, 4ths place at backstroke, 3rds place at handstroke (while the treble is leading at handstroke), 4ths place at backstroke (this is your dodge at the treble's backstroke lead), 3rd place again at handstroke and continue plain hunting in to lead.
As you can see, the dodge puts a little "blip" in the plain hunting - BUT DOES NOT CHANGE THE OVERALL DIRECTION OF TRAVEL.
Going the wrong way after a dodge in any method is fairly inexcusable for this reason. Therefore it is best to be hard on yourself to get it right now. You will save conductors the trouble of having to change two bells back over in touches to come. This could (dramatically) increase the chances of you getting quarterpeals or peals in the years to come.
As I noted at the start of this - Plain Bob Doubles is not a difficult method :-)
If you have the handling, listening and plain hunt skills that were detailed at the beginning of this page then you should find this stage merely a matter of bringing together those skills with a little theory. You will find it challenging, but don't stress. Relax and it won't take long for you to master this.
Once you have mastered a plain course, try being called "observation" in a touch. This means that bobs will be called when you make 4 blows in 5th place (changing the other bells but leaving you unaffected. If you can do this then you will be well on your way to ringing your first quarterpeal "inside".