Plain Bob Doubles

This page only describes a Plain Course, if you are ready for a Touch see Plain Bob Doubles - a Touch.

The Doubles variant of Plain Bob indicates that 5 bells are working, the Tenor (bell #6) is always in 6th position. The Treble (bell #1) performs a sequence of four consecutive Plain Hunts. The other four bells plain hunt but a variation in each of the plain hunts. Each of the 4 inner bells perform the same four variations in the same sequence but they each have a different starting point. The variations from Plain Hunting all take place when the Treble (bell #1) is leading. The following illustrates the four variations, or pieces of work, in sequence as applied to bell number #3:

2nds
3 5 1 4 2 6   This starts of with leading as usual with a handstroke and backstroke, this is followed by a handstroke and backstroke as the second bell and then back into the lead with another handstroke and backstroke.
3 1 5 2 4 6  
1 3 2 5 4 6 a pointer to this row
1 3 5 2 4 6 a pointer to this row
3 1 2 5 4 6  
3 2 1 4 5 6  
dodge 3-4 down
5 4 1 2 3 6 This is a dodge down, i.e. while hunting from 5th place towards the lead and involves taking 3rd place, 4th place and then back to 3rd place.
5 1 4 3 2 6  
1 5 3 4 2 6 a pointer to this row
1 5 4 3 2 6 a pointer to this row
5 1 3 4 2 6  
5 3 1 2 4 6  
long 5ths
4 2 1 3 5 6   In practice you simply lie in 5th place for four consecutive strokes. (The two additional blows are actually inserted between the two you would normally expect to do if you were just plain hunting and take place when the treble is leading. This seems a rather esoteric point but explains why bell #5 appears to start part way through long 5ths when in fact it starts at the end.)
4 1 2 5 3 6  
1 4 5 2 3 6 a pointer to this row
1 4 2 5 3 6 a pointer to this row
4 1 5 2 3 6  
4 5 1 3 2 6  
dodge 3-4 up
2 3 1 5 4 6   This is a dodge up, i.e. while hunting towards the back you take 3rd place, 4th place and then back to 3rd place. For the third bell this is a little peculiar since it comes at the very end of the method but it is very clear if you go straight into another plain bob doubles.
2 1 3 4 5 6  
1 2 4 3 5 6 a pointer to this row
1 2 3 4 5 6 a pointer to this row
2 1 4 3 5 6  
2 4 1 5 3 6  

A "Plain Course" for Plain Bob Doubles on 6 bells is illustrated below. Also illustrated is another way in which more experienced ringers describe the cycle of work associated with this method.

1 2 3 4 5 6  
2 1 4 3 5 6  
2 4 1 5 3 6  
4 2 5 1 3 6  
4 5 2 3 1 6  
5 4 3 2 1 6  
5 3 4 1 2 6  
3 5 1 4 2 6  
3 1 5 2 4 6  
1 3 2 5 4 6  
1 3 5 2 4 6  
3 1 2 5 4 6
3 2 1 4 5 6
2 3 4 1 5 6
2 4 3 5 1 6
4 2 5 3 1 6
4 5 2 1 3 6
5 4 1 2 3 6
5 1 4 3 2 6
1 5 3 4 2 6
1 5 4 3 2 6
5 1 3 4 2 6
5 3 1 2 4 6
3 5 2 1 4 6
3 2 5 4 1 6
2 3 4 5 1 6
2 4 3 1 5 6
4 2 1 3 5 6
4 1 2 5 3 6
1 4 5 2 3 6
1 4 2 5 3 6
4 1 5 2 3 6
4 5 1 3 2 6
5 4 3 1 2 6
5 3 4 2 1 6
3 5 2 4 1 6
3 2 5 1 4 6
2 3 1 5 4 6
2 1 3 4 5 6
1 2 4 3 5 6
1 2 3 4 5 6

As mentioned earlier, bells 2, 3, 4 and 5 follow the same cycle of work but start in a different part of the cycle. To show the work of a particular bell choose from the following:

Cycle of Work

Plain Bob Doubles cycle of work

This diagram illustrates the order of work in a clockwise direction and also indicates where each bells starts in the order of work. Each bell starts as a piece of work ends, e.g. bell #5 will have just finished the two extra blows in 5th place and will start in the same way as they would for Plain Hunt Doubles.

What has to be achieved is clear enough, but how? The way in which I learned to Plain Hunt could be used, i.e. learn the sequence of bells that need to be followed for the entire cycle of 40 strokes. Using bell 3 as the example you would proceed as follows:
4 5 1 2 4 5 lead lead 1 1 lead lead 2 4 5 1 2 4 5 4 1 5 lead lead 2 4 1 5 2 5 2 1 4 5 lead lead 2 1 4 2

Unfortunately, my memory is not up to learning such long sequences and I have had to move on to another approach to learning a method such as this one. The approach I am using is to learn my relative position in the cycle - "counting places". This is trickier and involves "rope-sight" which I am trying to get the hang of. It is also a little more resilient since if someone that you are meant to follow goes wrong you know where you are meant to be. Using bell 3 as the example you would proceed as follows where the number this time represents your position in the sequence 1 to 5:


 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 3
             -- 2nds ---             dodge             -5ths--             dodge

In practical terms I still have some things to remember, although for me it is easier. The key is to bear in mind that the method is just a series of four plain hunts. Using bell 3 as the example for plain hunt you would proceed as follows (this time it is position not which bell is to be followed):

 4 5 5 4 3 2 1(lead) 1(lead) 2 3
which basically means that if I can count I can keep track. The tricky thing is to also remember the cycle of work. In each of the 4 plain hunts something different has to be taken in to account, i.e. 2nds, 3-4 down, long 5ths, 3-4 up.

As you study the method there are other cues which remind you that something needs to be done and when to do it. If you look at bell 3 you find that you follow bell 2 immediately before something needs to be done. I'm told that this is called your course bell.

Passing the treble

Here is a cue that will help you know what piece of work to do next. After leading and hunting towards the back you will "pass" the treble in one of four different places. If, for example, you are in second place and the treble is leading, then you are passing the treble in second place. The following table shows what your next piece of work is for each of the four possible places that you can pass the treble.

I've come to know this as "passing the treble". Reminder: this only applies when hunting out to the back!

passing the treble in:next piece of work
2nd place 2nds
3rd place dodge 3-4 up
4th place long 5ths
5th place 3-4 down
Valid XHTML