|A Complete 20 Hand/Desk Bell Set|
(these are in order,
but both purple-red "B" bells
look more red than purple in the picture)
You can either get hand bells as just hand bells or in a combo hand bell—desk set. The ones pictured to the left are the combo ones I purchased. They are a little more expensive than the regular handbells, but can be played two ways; by shaking in your hand and by pushing down the top button while the bells are standing on a table. Playing it as a desk bell is great if you are only having one person play them. I use them this way to demonstrate with sometimes or to have the children listen and name the tune. If you don't plan on using them in the ways I just mentioned, then for just having the children play the bells, you really only need the hand bells set.
There are 20 bells in the whole hand bell set; however, they do now have an additional 5 note super expansion set making the whole ensemble now 25 bells. You can sometimes buy the whole 20-bell set or they are also sold in smaller group sets, which makes it easier on the budget if you are just starting out. Here is the breakdown of the various sets:
- 8-Note Handbell Set: This is the basic starter set that gives you an octave of notes from middle C up to high C—middle C, D, E, F, G, A, B, & hi C. You will be able to play any songs within that range that do not have any sharps or flats. You will pay roughly around $40+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
|This is a picture of just the handbell set of 8|
verses the combo hand/desk pictured above.
- 5-Note Chromatic Add-On Set: This may be the next set you may want to purchase to add to your 8-note set. This set includes C#, D#, F#, G# & A#. These bells will increase your playing options by allowing you to play songs with many common sharps and flats. Most sets come with black handles or sticker to differentiate them from the regular notes. You will pay roughly around $35+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
- 13-Note Chromatic Set: This set is both of the above sets grouped into one. If you plan on buying both sets, you will usually save money by getting this combined set. You will pay roughly around $70+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
- 7-Note Expanded Range Set: As its name implies, this set will greatly expand your range of songs to play. This set includes Low A, Low A#, Low B, Hi C#, Hi D, Hi D# & Hi E. You will pay roughly around $45+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
- 20-Note Handbell Set: This set groups the 8-note, 5-note and 7-note into one complete set. With all 20 bells, you should be able to play just about any song within the average singing range. I've only seen the 20 set in the combo hand/desk bell set and you will pay roughly around $135+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
- 5-Note Super Expansion Set: If you already own the set of 20 bells and you really want to increase your range of play, then you can get this new super expansion set which includes Low G, Low G#, Hi F, Hi F# & Hi G. Since most Primary songs are rarely sung using these notes, where these may come in handy is when you would play the descants or obbligato pieces. You will pay roughly around $45+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
When using a bell chart, I like to use my dancing dot stick that I made from an old clear, acrylic Levelor blind stick (used to adjust the angle of the slates of the blinds) and a big, red plastic jewel blingy thingy that I glued on one end. You can use a dowel or something else. This is reminiscent of the dancing dot you see bouncing across your screen when you are doing a sing-along or karaoke. The kids like it and sometimes it is fun to let a kid help do the dancing dot.
Below and attached is a color key for the hand bells. If you want to make your own pipe chimes, as I mentioned in a previous post, you can use the color key file to color-code your pipe chimes to work with bell charts made for hand bells. Please note that the sharps for bells (the bells laying down in the top picture) are denoted by a slightly lighter color of its note color with a black handle instead of a white handle for the hand/desk combo set. For pipe chimes, you could color code it the same as its note color but add a thick, black stripe around the top or middle of the pipe. Below to the left is also a list of the notes, numbers and colors in scale order for a complete 20 bell set plus the new 5-note super expansion set.
|This pdf does not show the new 5-note super expansion set.|
Click here for the pdf of this color key
Low G# Teal Blue
Low A Blue
Low A# Blue
Low B Purple-Red
1 C Red
2 D Orange
3 E Yellow
4 F Green
5 G Teal Blue
5#/G# Teal Blue
6 A Blue
7 B Purple-Red
8 C Red
Hi C# Red
Hi D Orange
Hi D# Orange
Hi E Yellow
Hi F Green
Hi F# Green
Hi G Teal Blue