Thomas A. Alspaugh
Ringing Plain Bob Minimus in a Touch


The coursing order is 2-4-3: (You need Firefox or another modern browser
        to view this SVG image)

The three pieces of work in Plain Bob Minimus are:

The 2nds work Dodge 3‑4 Down
The 4ths work Dodge 3‑4 Up
The 3rds work Make 2nds

As in a plain course, the work your bell does corresponds to the place your bell was in at the previous lead end backstroke:

Except when there is a call, the sequence in which you move from one piece of work to the next is the coursing order 2-4-3.

You may wish to memorize the sequence of places. If so, when you recite them to yourself, look to the right at each place in which you are over the treble, so you will habitually look to the right (toward the treble) at the right points in the sequence when you are ringing too.

2nds work 4ths work 3rds work
1 1 2 3 4 4 3 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 3 4 4 3 2 1 1 2 2

In a touch, the roles of the bells change, so which bells are your course and after bells can change. It is helpful to consider what can't change.

  1. The treble. The treble is unaffected by calls.
  2. The order of the landmarks. A call may change where you are in the sequence of landmarks, but after the change the sequence (beginning from your new starting point) remains constant.
  3. What passing the treble signifies. The relation between where you pass the treble and which landmark you reach next remains constant, except of course when a change affecting you is called between passing the treble and the landmark.
    Pass the treble
    (going down) in:
    Then pass the treble
    (going up) in:
    Then do: To
    2nds 2-1 3-4 = At the back Dodge 3‑4 Down 4ths
    4ths 3-2 2-3 Dodge 3‑4 Up 3rds
    3rds 4-3 = At the back 1-2 Make 2nds 2nds
    Underscored places are those in which you ring over the treble.
  4. You always Make 2nds over the treble.
  5. You always Dodge 3‑4 Down with the bell you pass in 1-2 on the way out to the dodge (your course bell).
  6. You always Dodge 3‑4 Up with the only bell you didn't pass on the way out to the dodge (your after bell).

    (That was the bell you passed in 2-1 on the way in to leads before the dodge.)

  7. What you do with your course and after bells does not change (even when which bells they are changes):
    • You always turn your course bell (= take your course bell off lead) (= ring in 2nds over your course bell before ringing your first lead) except before you Make 2nds.
    • You are always turned by your after bell (= your after bell takes you off lead) (= ring in 2nds over your after bell after ringing your second lead) except after you Make 2nds.


As in all ringing, calls are made two strokes before any bell will ring in a different place due to the call, to give ringers enough warning that they can pull the stroke before appropriately to make their bell ring in the requested place.

Calls in Plain Bob are made at the backstroke before a a lead end. This is the stroke at which the treble is in 3rds, hunting in. The call takes effect two strokes later, at the lead end backstroke.

(In common usage, the lead end is the pull during which the treble is in leads, or more specifically the backstroke that is the treble's second blow in leads. Sometimes it is called the lead end backstroke for emphasis. Technically speaking, that backstroke is the lead head, and the handstroke preceding it is the lead end, but one rarely hears it spoken of this way.)

No bob called

Figure 1. No bob called

Figure 1 shows a lead end at which no bob was called.

  1. Green is Making 2nds, which puts it in 2nds place at the lead end, so it will next do the 2nds work (Dodge 3‑4 Down).
  2. Blue is Dodging 3‑4 Down, which puts it in 4ths place at the lead end, so it will next do the 4ths work (Dodge 3‑4 Up).
  3. Orange is Dodging 3‑4 Up, which puts it in 3rds place at the lead end, so it will next do the 3rds work (Make 2nds).
Bob called

Figure 2. Bob called;
⟸ marks the stroke
at which something
different happens

Figure 2 shows the same lead end with a bob called. The bob is called at the backstroke before the treble comes into lead; the lead end backstroke is the subsequent backstroke.

The least information to memorize:

Would have done At Bob Then
Dodge 3‑4 Down. Run In Hunt out and Dodge 3‑4 Down
Dodge 3‑4 Up Make the Bob:
two blows in 4ths
then Run In
Hunt out and Dodge 3‑4 Up
Make 2nds Run Out Hunt in and Make 2nds

An additional conceptual step, but more useful in the long run:

Would have done At Bob Then
The 2nds work
(Dodge 3‑4 Down)
Run In,
will be at 2nds at lead end
(as if finishing Make 2nds)
The 2nds work:
Dodge 3‑4 Down
The 4ths work
(Dodge 3‑4 Up)
Make the Bob,
will be in 4ths at lead end
(as if finishing Dodge 3‑4 Down)
The 4ths work:
Dodge 3‑4 Up.
The 3rds work
(Make 2nds)
Run Out,
will be in 3rds at lead end
(as if finishing Dodge 3‑4 Up)
The 3rds work:
Make 2nds

And where you pass the treble after a bob is always the same, no matter which other bells are doing what work:

What you did Where you pass the treble
Run Out 4-3 down
(at the back)
1-2 up
Run In 2-1 down
(at the lead end backstroke)
3-4 up
Make the Bob 3-2 down
(immediately after the bob)
2-3 up
Plain Bob Minimus all bells
Chart key

All bells for
Plain Bob Minimus
All working bells
(2-5) perform
their landmarks at
the same time

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