Thomas A. Alspaugh
Useful Facts for Plain Bob
on Any Number of Bells

# Course and after bell

## You are at the back only over treble, after, and course

I had to memorize most of these facts in order to learn Plain Bob. I was learning Doubles, but the same facts apply to any number of bells; for more bells, you'll need more of the facts, and for fewer, fewer of them. Perhaps they will be useful for you, too.

Some people (other than me) memorize all these and remember them; others memorized all when they were learning but now only need some of them; and still others were able to learn to ring Plain Bob with fewer facts. Just about all ringers seem to need the Passing the Treble facts.

After I got the cadence of Plain Bob firmly in my mind and arms, I no longer had to keep all these facts in my head. But they still prove useful, especially when trying to teach others or straighten out someone who's gone wrong (including straightening myself out when I go wrong).

# Which stroke in even and odd places

These are true for Plain Hunt, Plain Bob, and many but not all other methods. They are useful if you lose track of your place but are still on the right stroke (if you've gotten on the wrong stroke, heaven help you).

Hunting Out
2nds Hand
3rds Back
4ths Hand

## Hand out = even / Back out = odd

If you are hunting out and you are ringing a handstroke, then you should be in an even place (2nds, 4ths, etc.)

And if you are hunting out and are ringing a backstroke, you should be in an odd place (leads, 3rds, etc.)

Hunting In
4ths Back
3rds Hand
2nds Back

## Hand in = odd / Back in = even

If you are hunting in and you are ringing a handstroke, then you should be in an odd place (leads, 3rds, etc.)

And if you are hunting in and are ringing a backstroke, you should be in an even place (2nds, 4ths, etc.)

You can think about why this is so in terms of being in leads (1sts place):

• When you hunt out, your last blow in leads (1sts) was a backstroke, so all your backstrokes on the way out will be in odd places.
• When you hunt in, you will arrive in leads (1sts) at a handstroke, so all your handstrokes on the way in are going to be in odd places.

# You always Make 2nds over the treble

## The treble takes you off leads before Making 2nds

(To take a bell off leads is to ring over it in 2nds and then under it in leads.)

# Passing the treble

You just have to memorize this; sorry! Fortunately many of them are the same for any number of bells.

## True for any number of bells

These things are the same for any number N of bells:

### Each lead you pass the treble one place earlier going up

Going up, you pass the treble at the back before Dodge 3‑4 Down, then one place before the back before the next work, and so on until you pass the treble at the front before Make 2nds.

### Each lead you pass the treble one place later going down

Going down, you pass the treble at the front after Make 2nds, then one place after the fron before Dodge 3‑4 Down, and so on until you pass the treble at the back after Dodge 3‑4 Up.

### Passing the treble in 1-2

You pass the treble in 1-2 (= the treble takes you off lead) when you are starting to Make 2nds.

### Passing the treble in 2-3

You pass the treble in 2-3 when you are going to Dodge 3‑4 Up starting on the next stroke.

### Passing the treble going up at the back

You pass the treble going up at the back — that's in 3-4 for Minimus, 4-5 for Doubles, and 5-6 for Minor — (= you take the treble off the back) when you are about to Dodge 3‑4 Down.

### Passing the treble going down at the back

You pass the treble going down at the back — that's in 4-3 for Minimus, 5-4 for Doubles, and 6-5 for Minor — (= the treble takes you off the back) just after you Dodge 3‑4 Up.

### Passing the treble in 3-2

You pass the treble in 3-2 as you are finishing Dodge 3‑4 Down.

### Passing the treble in 2-1

You pass the treble in 2-1 (= you take the treble off lead) when you are finishing Make 2nds.

## Minimus (4)

There are no additional facts for Plain Bob Minimus beyond those true for any number of bells. This table summarizes them in the context of Minimus.

Pass the treble
(going up) in:
Then do: Then pass the treble
(going down) in:
At the back = 3-4 Dodge 3‑4 Down 3-2
2-3 Dodge 3‑4 Up 4-3 = At the back
1-2 Make 2nds 2-1
Underscored places are those in which you ring over the treble.

## Minor (6)

Minor adds Dodge 3‑4 Up and Dodge 3‑4 Down.

Pass the treble
(going up) in:
Then do: Then pass the treble
(going down) in:
At the back = 5-6 Dodge 3‑4 Down 3-2
4-5 Dodge 5‑6 Down 4-3
3-4 Dodge 5‑6 Up 5-4
2-3 Dodge 3‑4 Up 6-5 = At the back
1-2 Make 2nds 2-1
Underscored places are those in which you ring over the treble.

The treble passings at the back are further and further out, of course, but they still herald Dodge 3‑4 Down and Dodge 3‑4 Up.

## Major (8) and higher even numbers

Each higher even number N of bells add two more dodges in (N-1)-N:

• Major adds Dodge 7‑8 Up and Dodge 7‑8 Down.
• Maximus adds Dodge 9‑10 Up and Dodge 9‑10 Down.
• And so forth.

Passing the treble at the back still heralds Dodge 3‑4 Down and Dodge 3‑4 Up, but at the back gets further and further out as the number of bells increases.

## Doubles (5)

Doubles adds the landmark Long 5ths to those for Plain Bob Minimus so there are two additional treble-passings to memorize.

The two treble-passings at the back now take place in 4-5 and 5-4.

Pass the treble
(going up) in:
Then do: Then pass the treble
(going down) in:
At the back = 4-5 Dodge 3‑4 Down 3-2
3-4 Long 5ths 4-3
2-3 Dodge 3‑4 Up 5-4 = At the back
1-2 Make 2nds 2-1
Underscored places are those in which you ring over the treble.

## Triples (7) and higher odd numbers

Each higher odd number N of bells adds dodges in (N-2)-(N-1) and moves Long Nths further out:

• Triples adds Dodge 5‑6 Up and Dodge 5‑6 Down and replaces Long 5ths with Long 7ths.
• Maximus adds Dodge 9‑10 Up and Dodge 9‑10 Down and replaces Long 7ths with Long 9ths.
• And so forth.

Passing the treble at the back still heralds Dodge 3‑4 Down and Dodge 3‑4 Up, but at the back gets further and further out.

# The coursing order

Quite a few things happen in the coursing order, so it's essential to have this memorized. It's the same for just about everything other than Plain Hunt, so you can reuse it. (The treble is in the plain hunt course, so 1 appears in the coursing order for Plain Hunt only, and not for any methods).

 Minimus 2-4-3 2-4-5-3 2-4-6-5-3-2

The coursing order is:

• Even bells from 2 up to the biggest, then
• Odd bells from biggest down to 3.

The coursing order repeats ad infinitum, as shown by the circle diagrams in the table at right, though we usually just write it once through. For example, for Minimus we write 2-4-3 but we mean …-2-4-3-2-4-3-….

These things happen in the coursing order:

1. The working bells come into leads.
2. The working bells arrive at the back.
3. You pass the working bells on the way out.
4. You pass the working bells on the way in.
5. Each working bell Makes 2nds.
6. Each working bell Dodges 3‑4 Down.
7. And so forth.

It's worth noting that you don't want to confuse this (course evens up then odds down) with the mnemonic for which way each bell moves at the beginning of Plain Hunt (odds start out, evens start in).

## You pass all the working bells to your left …

… then all the working bells to your right, then all the working bells to your left again, then all the working bells to your right, and so forth ad infinitum.

This is more useful for larger numbers of bells, but always true in any case. With this knowledge, especially once you also memorize where you pass the treble, you won't have to whip your head back and forth as you hunt in and out. It's a handy consequence of the coursing order.

(Of course, it's trivially true for the outer working bells too: if you are on the 2, you pass all the working bells on your left, then the zero working bells on your right, and so forth; or if you are ringing Doubles on the 5, you pass the zero working bells on your left, then all the working bells on your right, and so forth.)

# Course and after bell

Now that you've memorized the coursing order, each time you are waiting for the treble to call Look to remind yourself which bell is your course bell and which is your after bell. Your course bell is the one that precedes you in the coursing order; your after bell is the one that follows you in the coursing order.

You are the 3 and ringing Minimus (…-2-4-3-2-4-3-…). Your course bell is the 4; your after bell is the 2.

You are the 3 and ringing Minor (…-2-4-6-5-3-2-4-6-5-3-…). Your course bell is the 5; your after bell is the 2.

## You take your course bell off leads (except when Making 2nds)

When you are hunting in to leads, the bell in leads when you are in 2nds is your course bell.

If you are shaky when hunting in, look to your course bell which should be two strokes ahead of you until its second blow in leads, when you should be in 2nds at back. Your next blow should be in leads at hand.

## Your after bell takes you off leads (except when Making 2nds)

When you are leading, the bell you are about to ring over in 2nds is your after bell.

## You are at the back only over treble, after, and course

Which pair you are over at any particular time at the back tells you where you are in the method:

### Treble-after means you are about to Dodge 3‑4 Down

This is true for any number of bells.

### Course-treble means you are about to Make 2nds

This is true for any number of bells.

### Course-after means you are about to do something else

The something else depends on the number of bells:

• Minimus: You and the rest of the band are about to be called to stand, because something's direly wrong; you are never at the back over course-after in Minimus.
• Doubles: You are in the process of making Long 5ths over course-after-course-after.
• Minor: There are two possibilities:
1. You are about to Dodge 5‑6 Down, or
2. You just finished Dodge 5‑6 Up and are about to Dodge 3‑4 Up.
• Triples: There are three possibilities:
1. You are about to Dodge 5‑6 Down, or
2. You are in the process of making Long 7ths over course-after-course-after, or
3. You just finished Dodge 5‑6 Up and are about to Dodge 3‑4 Up.
• Major: There are four possibilities:
1. You are about to Dodge 5‑6 Down, or
2. You are about to Dodge 7‑8 Down, or
3. You just finished Dodge 7‑8 Up and are about to Dodge 5‑6 Up, or
4. You are about to Dodge 3‑4 Up.

And so forth. Being at the back over course-after gives you less and less information as the number of bells (and thus the number of landmarks) increases, because only treble-after and course-treble indicate a specific landmark.