Calling your first quarter of Plain Bob Minor

The following is an explanation of how to conduct what I consider to be the easiest extent of Plain Bob Minor and the accompanying 540, although others will disagree!  I have set out the composition in traditional format at the top, followed by an explanation of what each bit means.  At the bottom of this page is some general tips to help.  All of the below refers to you ringing the tenor.


720 PB Minor

23456    W   H

52436    b

32456    s

53426    b

42356    s   b

3 Part



  • b = bob and s = single

  • W = wrong (calls at 5-6 up)

  • H = Home (calls at 5-6 down)

  • The numbers on the left show the rows (excluding the treble since it will always be first) at the trebles back stroke lead at the end of each course.  Notice that calls at W and H will not affect the tenor and therefore it will always be in 6th place at the course end - it rings plain courses!

  • "3 part" means do it three times!

The first thing to do to understand what is happening in the above 720 is to write out the figures for each lead end (ie every treble backstroke lead).  I have done this for the first part;



23564 (bob)





25364 (single)





32564 (bob)





35264 (single)




42356 (bob)


Notice that if the last bob had not been called (the one at home) the touch would come round, this being at 240 changes (1/3 of 720! as expected).  In other word, bob, single, bob, single at wrong brings the bells back into the plain course.  How does this work?

  1. Both the 6 and the 4 are unaffected by the calls at wrong.  You can tell this because they are in either 5th's or 6ths place at each call.

  2. The 5 does the same thing twice (4th's at Bob and then 3rd's at single).  Bringing the five back into its home position after 10 leads, hence the row '32456'. 

  3. The 2 and 3 swap over preventing any repetition in the touch.

The bob at home at the end of each extent swaps the position of 2, 3 and 4.   The results of this are that in the second part the 3 and 6 are the unaffected bells and in the 3rd part the 2 and six are the unaffected bells. 


Notice that the 5 and 6 are in their home positions (5th's and 6th's place respectively) at the end of the part and therefore do exactly the same in each of the three parts.  In fact as we have already discussed, the six rings plain course (12 of them) through out the entire piece and the 5 rings the same 10 leads six times.


The next question is the 540.  Obviously, to make 1260 changes a 540 must be called alongside (I advise after) the 720.


Looking at the figures for the 720, you should be able to see that each part is 240 changes long (20 leads).  To reduce a 720 to 540 changes, 180 need to be left out (15 leads = 3 courses).  Following from this, you should notice that by calling the first 2 parts of the 720 you produce the row 34256 after 480 changes.  You should also be able to see that by simply calling another bob at Home you would add on the 60 changes needed and produce the row 23456 (rounds).  If in doubt, write out the figures and see for yourself. 


One of the first things I explained was that bob, single, bob, single at Wrong brings you back to the plain course leaving this block of calls out has no overall effect on the rows other than the fact that 3 courses of changes are missing!


Now have another look at the figures at the top and make sure all this makes sense.




Always call a single wrong after dodging in 3-4 with the 5th.


The 5 makes 3rds at every single.


After dodging in 5-6 with the 5 call a bob at wrong. - This obviously doesn't apply to the last bit you leave out in the 540.


At the end of each 120 changes 5 and 6 dodge together in 5-6 (being the only times they do).  The rows at each of these points are:

32456 - no call

42356 - bob at home

24356 - no call

34256 - bob at home

43256 - no call

23456 - bob at home.


From this notice that on alternate times of dodging at the back with the 5th you make a call.  Also, only two of 2, 3 and 4 are swapped at the no call rows where as all three are moved at the lead head with a call.


Now you know everything there is to know about this extent I will tell you what you really need to know to call it;


Remember; bob, single, bob, single at wrong and a bob home, three times for the 720 and bob, single, bob, single at wrong and a bob home twice followed by a bob home for the 540.  

Which equals: bob, single, bob, single at wrong and a bob home 5 time, followed by a bob home for the full 1260.