When you start to learn methods, there is often very little help given on how to learn them. And as there are so many different ways of learning them, you may be offered conflicting and confusing advice.
On this website you will find several different ways of learning, and depending on how your brain works, hopefully there will be one to suit you.
In actual fact, I think that most ringers use “a bit of this and a bit of that”.
If you can follow this article, then this is probably the best way for you to start, as this will help you to learn the more complicated methods that you will come to in the future.
Let’s start with Bob Doubles.
I assume that you can already Plain Hunt, and know which “place” you are in on each blow. If you don’t, then I should abandon this article for now and have a look at the Plain Hunting pages.
When your Plain Hunting is really rock solid, you need to learn the shape of the “blue line” for a Plain Course of Plain Bob Doubles. BUT, don’t do what I did! Don't learn the whole line in one piece.
Here is the blue line for the 5th, ie “5’s place bell”.Learn the shape of this line. Draw it on squared paper, or even on blank paper. Recite it in your head: "Lie in 5th's, hunt down to lead, hunt up to 4th's place, then step back into 3rd's for one blow ("Dodge 3 - 4 up"). Become 3rd's place bell".
Now learn the work for 3rd's place bell. "Hunt out to the back, ring two blows in 5th's, hunt down to lead, then ring two blows in 2nd's, over the Treble ("Make 2nds"). Become 2nd's place bell".
2nd's place bell starts by leading, hunts out to the back, then hunts back as far as 3rd's place, where it stops and turns around to ring one blow in 4th's ("Dodge 3- 4 Down"). Become 4th's place bell.
The last piece of work to learn is the 4th's."Hunt down to lead, then out to the back where you lie for three blows." You might think that I was going to say four blows - but the last blow actually belongs to the 5th, as you will see if you look back to the top. After 4th's place bell you become 5th's place bell.
That is the whole plain course of Plain Bob Doubles completed.
Now you are ready to have a go. First ring 5th's place bell and as soon as you've finished that, start ringing 3rd's place bell. 2nd's place bell joins on immediately after you've finished 3rd's place bell, and lastly you add 4th's place bell.
- "Oh dear", you say, "The 5th is much too heavy for me to ring". It doesn't matter, you can ring any bell! If you want to ring the 2, start ringing the 2nd's place bell's work, move on to 4th's place work, then 5th's place work, etc.
- When we say "ring in 2nd's place", we mean that you must ring where the 2 would be ringing if the bells were in Rounds. So, if the bells are ringing in the order 214356, the 2 is leading, the Treble is in 2nd's place ( or "in 2nd's"), and the 4 is in 3rd's etc.
- Don't be confused between "making 2nd's and being in 2nd's place." Making 2nd's means ringing two blows in 2nd's place.
- 2nd's Place Bell means the bell that is in 2nd's place at the Lead End. (The Lead End is when the Treble is leading at Backstroke.)
- One advantage of learning in this way is that you will never need to look up and say "What's my start?"
- Another even more important advantage is that when you come to learn more complicated methods, you won't need to learn them from scratch. The place bells can just be joined together in a different order to make a different method.
- The order of the Place Bells for Plain Bob Doubles is 2453. (You could also write it as 4532, 5324, or 3245.) The order of the Place Bells for Bob Maximus is 2,4,6,8,10,12,11,9,7,5,3
Moving on to Touches
If you have learnt the method in the way described above, moving on to touches will present no problems at all. You won't be the one shouting, "Can we just have a plain course please?"
Starting with the easiest bit, if you are ringing 4th's place bell when the bob is called, you are unaffected. At least, that is what everyone will tell you, but it's not quite the whole truth. The bells ringing in front of you will be affected, so instead of alternately following the two bells who are dodging, you will follow the bell who is making 4th's twice consecutively. But anyway, you still make your blows in 5th's and carry on as you were.
If you are ringing 3rd's place bell when the bob is called, you forget about making 2nd's and you plain hunt towards the back instead. As you pass through 3rd's you become 3rd's place bell, which is of course what you were doing before the bob. So, you start the 3rd's place bell work again - go out to the back, in to the front and then make 2nd's and become 2nd's place bell.
If you are ringing 2nd's place bell when the bob is called, it will be just as you are about to dodge and become 4th's place bell. Abandon the dodge, hunt towards the front and become 2nd's place bell again.
That just leaves 5th's place bell. This one is a little bit different. The bob will be called as you are following the treble, when you are just about to dodge 3- 4 up. Don't do the dodge. Instead, ring two blows in 4th's, and become 4th's place bell.