Using TOUCHLINE to learn bob calling


Download Touchline

play store imageVisit the PLAY STORE on your Android phone and search APPS for the words TOUCHLINE BELL. Install and Open. (Not done this before? See help here)


Who is this App for?

  • Anyone who is interested in calling. If you have read Steve Coleman’s very accessible introduction “The Bob Caller’s Companion” then you should be able to understand Touchline.
  • If you have even RUNG a variety of touches, then you should be able to use Touchline at a basic level
  • If you are a very humble bob caller but need special touches to support your learners, it can really boost your understanding of “who is doing what” in a touch.

The Welcome Screen

You are invited to Compose, Contemplate and Conduct…. these notes cover the smartphone aspects of Composition and Contemplation but not the conducting itself! Press START for the main screen.

The Home Screen

screenshot_2016-03-11-09-27-28.jpgYou are looking at the whole composition collection for 6 bells. Clicking ALL METHODS will allow you to narrow it down to a specific method; clicking “6” allows a change to other numbers of bells.

screenshot_2016-03-11-09-33-38.jpgTouchline comes pre-loaded with some basic compositions.  If you click one, you can then  either COPY it (2 squares icon, bottom of screen, or VIEW it (eye icon).  Once Copied, it can be EDITED/DLETED as well.

For this exercise, please select the first composition, “72 Plain Bob PPBPPB”, Copy it, then Edit the copy…


  • screenshot_2016-03-11-09-37-16.jpg
    The BBPBBP touch

    123456 is the order of bells at the start of the first lead.

  • The first “call” is plain (ie no call) and the bells are 135264.  Plain Bob continues
  • Then another Plain…
  • Then a bob and the bells are 156423. Try changing that to a Single,…
  • After the 6th lead, you will notice that now the bells are 123465 so the method has not come round.
  • Change the 3rd call back to a Bob and the 6th lead will be 123456
  • Try changing EVERY call to a Bob. The method is now FALSE because you have brought it round in 3 calls to 123456, but then tried to carry on. Press the MINUS icon 3 times to get rid of the superfluous leads, and it will show TRUE again. This is a Bob Course.


A Bob Course

Top Right of the composition screen are 2 small icons – a coloured diagram and a save icon.  Press the diagram and you can explore what each bell does during this particular touch.

Note for teachers: 

This is very useful if you want to compose short touches which give learners plenty of practice with one particular “move” in a method. The 2 and the 3 keep practicing running in/out in this touch. Other touches would repeatedly force a bell to “make the bob” and so on. 

When you return to the home screen Tocuhline will check whether you want to save your new composition – Of Course You Do!

Using the Method Library

screenshot_2016-03-11-09-57-07.jpgReturn to the main composition screen and click the PLUS icon at the top to create a brand new composition.  If you stick with 6 bells and click select method, you will get a black screen because you have not done this before.  Ditto “most Refererenced”… but LIBRARY  will give you what you want. Alphabetical order does mean you’ll some odd methods – touch METHOD NAME and start typing St Clements College Bob, select it, then CREATE.

If you click PLUS you can add new leads. 5 leads of plain course will bring it round.

Now experiment – can you compose a TRUE touch? Have a look at the lines – who is unaffected?

Note for Teachers:

Because you can check who is unaffected, you can put weaker ringers on those bells and people who are “up for touches” on the affected bells. Telling learners what to expect is considered by some to be cheating, and by others to be helpful in boosting confidence. Adult learners in particular may really value some prior warning!

An Example – Teaching “Thirds and Out” in Plain Bob Minor


Back to the Compositions Screen, click the PLUS icon (top right) and select PLAIN BOB from the method library.

Compose a touch which is PSx4

Have a look at the bells and you will see that the 3rd makes seconds, then thirds and out, 4 times in 96 rows. We used this touch repeatedly at t a practice recently:

What Happened when we did this

  • screenshot_2016-03-11-10-13-23.jpg
    PSx4 showing 3rd bell

    I set the touch up in ABEL and printed out a few copies

  • The ringers studied the printouts during the practice and went back to them between touches if they had made a mistake
  • Each learner rang the 3rd several times over the evening
  • By the end of the evening, both the people who had set out to learn this move were confident and happy, having made 3rds at least 12 times!!!
  • The learners could have downloaded Touchline and studied the touch on their phones – ABEL was not needed

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