Superlative Surprise Major

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Superlative is a double method.  This means that the work on the back is the same as on the front but upside down and it has an extra axis of symmetry.  It also makes the method easier to learn as there are fewer different pieces of work.

Because of its double nature, what happens on the front at the lead-end happens on the back at the half-lead and vice versa.

Superlative has the same lead-end order as Cambridge (2,6,7,3,4,8,5) and there are some sections which are already familiar from Cambridge but, unlike Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland, it is not Cambridge above the treble.

The Method

Looking at the line I suggest that you start with 3rds place bell.  This will be very familiar as it is exactly the same as Cambridge, bringing you to 4ths place bell at the lead-end.  Making 7ths under the treble at the half-lead is the familiar point of symmetry.

4ths place bell starts like Cambridge; you do Cambridge places down in 3/4 but then you have to add a bit on to the end – 3rds and dodge 3/4 up.  This add-on turns you round so that you’re now heading back out.  Whilst you can think of it as an add-on or a turn round, some people see it as a “treble bob 3rds” (3/4 down, 3rds, 3/4 up) with the first dodge being shared with the places.

Having finished the places and turn round, you now hunt straight out to the back where you do a double dodge up in 7/8, lie behind and do a 5 pull dodge 7/8 down.  This 5 pull dodge is across the lead-end so you become 8ths place bell on the 3rd dodge.

8ths place bell starts by finishing the 5 pull dodge and it then hunts straight through to the front.  As it does so it passes the treble in 5/4 – this is the extra point of symmetry.  (If you’ve learnt this far, you have now learnt all of the pieces of work and for the remainder of the method, you will just repeat them back to front and/or upside down!)  When you get to the front, you do a 5 pull dodge in 1/2 down (the half-lead occurs on the middle dodge), lead and double dodge 1/2 up.  Leaving the front you pass the treble in 2/3 and dodge 5/6 up to become 5ths place bell.

5ths place bell is the turn round for the start of 5/6 places (the same as the 3/4 places in 4ths place bell but upside down and back to front) so it makes 6ths and then does Cambridge places in 5/6 down.  It then does 3/4 down and on to the front where it does a double dodge, lead and dodge with the treble.  Making 2nds over the treble at the lead-end it is now 2nds place bell and this is the last point of symmetry.

2nds place bell therefore starts by dodging with the treble, leading and double dodging 1/2 up.  It then dodges 3/4 up and does 5/6 Cambridge places followed by a turn round, 6ths, 5/6 down dodge to become 6ths place bell at the lead-end.

6ths place bell hunts straight in to the front to do double dodge, lead and 5 pull dodge.  It then hunts out to the back and does a 5 pull dodge in 7/8 up across the lead end to become 7ths place bell on the 3rd dodge.

7ths place bell completes its 5 pull dodge and then hunts down to 3/4 where it does the turn round of dodge and 3rds followed by Cambridge places up finishing with a dodge in 3/4 up to become 3rds place bell.


The 5 pull dodges on the front and back are with your course and after bells; the double dodges are not.

The most common mistakes in Superlative are in miscounting the 5 pull dodges and in getting the turn rounds right at the beginning or end of the places.

The 5 pull dodges on the back are across the lead-end so if you think on the 3rd one “lead end” you then only need to count 2 more.  With practice you may also be able to see the treble leading at the lead-end and that will help you.

The 5 pull dodge on the front is across the half lead.  This means that, if you’re watching who you’re leading off, you will see the treble arrive at the back, do its dodge, lie, dodge and move away again.  When the treble comes off the back, it’s time to stop dodging.  You can use this together with counting the dodges to ensure that you do the correct number of dodges.

The turn round at the end of the places happens when there are 2 other bells doing their 5 pull dodges on the front or back, i.e. at the lead-end or half lead.  When you’re doing your Cambridge places you can try to think about where you are in the lead and, therefore, where the 5 pull dodges are happening.  You can’t go where the dodging pair is so you have to turn round and go the other way.  At the lead-end there is a dodging pair in 7/8 so the bell doing 5/6 places up has to turn round as does the bell which is about to do 5/6 places down.  At the half-lead there is a dodging pair on the front so the bell that’s in 3/4 places down has to turn round as does the bell which is about to make 3/4 places up.

The other way to think about it is to decide whether are you doing places up or places down and that will help you to put the turn round at the right end of them.