Chapter 4 - A few call changes

Chapter 4 – A few call changes #

Once you have mastered the basic rhythm of ringing rounds with a closed handstroke lead it is time to introduce some call changes. In this chapter we are going to watch a call change peal that is 16 changes long and quite logical. It introduces the principles of 60 on 3rds without going too far. This call change peal will be the target.

Again this video is of me ringing the treble with five young ringers all of whom were ringing closed handstroke lead call changes for the first time. I rather surprised them, but we had a videographer present for another reason so I took the opportunity to make film specifically for this book. It may be a bit rough around the edges but as with the rounds in the previous chapter, this is a learning process and I hope we show how it is accessible but challenging. To be fair to them they did really well.

This video starts when the bells are about two thirds of the way up so the first minute and a half is the end of the raise. These ringers did not know the bells so were learning about the odd-struckness during the raise!

Then at about 1:43 I start the calls as follows:




Those three calls is how the famous “60 on 3rds” starts, by getting the bells into Queens. So watch the video now and pause when the bells get to Queens at about 2:00.

Note how I dispense with the word ‘to’ in between the bell numbers. You don’t need it and in my experience the Devon ringers don’t say it. It is quicker and clearer just to say “45” rather than “4 to 5”. (It is actually the way call changes are done in Birmingham city centre as well so I am used to it.)

In case you were wondering whether the bells are called down or up, the answer is up. There is no arguing here. If you’re about to say calling up is somehow wrong, get over it. It’s part of the style.

Second thing to note is the rhythm of it. The style is to have the calls at regular metronomic intervals. I am calling the changes every second handstroke, which gives four rows for each change. You could go for every third handstroke to start with, but every second handstroke should be the aim.

OK, now go back to the video and play on. What I do next is call the treble up to the back – again this is how 60 on 3rds starts. The calls are:

13 (3 leads)



14 which takes the bells to 352416

Pause at 2:27

That segment then includes one of the things that is hardest to get right for a band doing this for the first time – a different bell taking the lead and getting the handstroke in the right place straight away. It is quite hard to do because you really have to push the handstroke in, without letting the backstroke drop. Watch the ringer of the 3rd as he is called to lead. Is he just a wincey bit slow?

Go back to the video and play on again. What happens next is that the 3 comes up one place, making the 5 lead, and then the treble ‘hunts’ back to the front again. 5 has to push in quickly and demonstrates neatly how it is quite difficult to get this right first time. Treble comes down to the front and then I put my hands up and admit I was slow leading too ☹

So the calls are:





51 which takes the bells to 153246 (nice)

Pause again

60 on 3rds then continues with a systematic process which will be explained in a later chapter but for now I am going to call this back to rounds and it is going to serve as the first practice peal. So, I move the 5 up after 3 to get back into Queens, and call it back to rounds.

The calls are:




54 which takes the bells to rounds.

That therefore is the peal I recommend you practice now. It is useful because it introduces some of the principles of 60 on 3rds, bringing it round after a convenient amount of time.

The main takeaways from this chapter are:

• Regular changes - try and be consistently two or three handstrokes apart

• The bell going into lead will need to try very hard not to be slow

• This principle of the treble hunting up and down the change is common in Devon call change ringing

• The tenor ringer needs to be as steady as a rock