Which singing bowl is best?
There are many great musical instruments worth learning, but few are as fascinating as the Tibetan singing bowl. Also known as standing bells, these metal instruments have been used by Buddhist monks and other spiritual practitioners for thousands of years to calm the mind during meditation.
Today, people from all backgrounds are drawn to the singing bowl for its beautiful appearance and purported health benefits. The DomeStar Tibetan Singing Bowl Set is the top pick because it’s compact and crafted from seven high-quality metals.
What to know before you buy a singing bowl
Unlike other percussive brass instruments such as the cymbal — which is typically played alongside other instruments — the singing bowl is generally played alone as a form of sound therapy. Although there isn’t much scientific evidence to back it up, the vibrations and clear tones produced by Tibetan singing bowls are widely thought to reduce stress and improve a sense of well-being. Practitioners of traditional medicine may recommend the singing bowl as a way to treat high blood pressure and even respiratory problems. That said, always use sound therapy as a complementary treatment to, not a replacement for, conventional medicine.
Potential side effects
The singing bowl is thought to be a very safe form of sound therapy, but there are some minor side effects to consider. If you tend to get headaches from certain sounds or instruments, the high ringing tone produced by a singing bowl could be unpleasant. This is particularly true if you place your head too close to the instrument. People who have a sensitivity to certain metals should be cautious when handling singing bowls, as many of the bells are constructed from metals such as copper or tin. People with epilepsy may want to talk with their doctors before trying any kind of sound therapy involving singing bowls.
Playing a singing bowl
A singing bowl is essentially an upturned bell that has been designed to produce certain tones when struck. To play the instrument, the user lightly strikes the side of the bowl with a singing bowl mallet and sustains the sound by running the mallet along the rim. The force you use to strike the bowl and the speed at which you rotate the mallet affect the volume and sound of the note. According to traditional practices, you are supposed to let the note completely dissipate before striking the bowl again.
What to look for in a quality singing bowl
Most commercial singing bowls are designed to fit in the palm of your hand, which encourages proper posture and spine alignment. Different-sized bowls produce different sounds, so it isn’t uncommon to find singing bowls in a variety of sizes.
Singing bowls are traditionally constructed from some kind of metal, such as gold, copper, iron or tin, but you can find modern instruments molded from crystal such as quartz. These bowls are considerably more fragile but could appeal to individuals who are interested in crystal healing and other New Age practices.
The mallet is almost as important as the singing bowl itself. These tools are usually constructed from metal or wood and have a felted tip for softening the sound produced when the bell is struck. Many singing bowls come with a matching mallet, but you can buy them separately.
How much you can expect to spend on a singing bowl
The cost of a singing bowl can vary widely depending on the quality of its construction. Palm-sized metal bowls with accompanying mallets typically cost $15-$75, while crystal bowls and larger instruments can be $100 or more.
Singing bowl FAQ
Are singing bowls hard to play?
A. Singing bowls are considered relatively easy to play, but it may take a bit of time to produce the sound you want. Check out video tutorials online or read the instructions included with your instrument until you get the hang of it.
Should you add water to your singing bowl?
A. While it certainly isn’t mandatory, many people choose to add a bit of water to their singing bowl because it produces a unique sound and provides an interesting visual effect when the bowl is played.
What’s the best singing bowl to buy?
Top singing bowl
What you need to know: This bowl has a unique design and sturdy construction for a reasonable price.
What you’ll love: Inspired by traditional standing bells in Nepal, this singing bowl is constructed from seven different metals, including gold and copper. The purchase includes a mallet, a storage bag and a hand-sewn silk cushion.
What you should consider: A few users had trouble producing sound with this singing bowl, so it may not be the best choice for beginners.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top singing bowl for the money
What you need to know: This metal bowl was hammered by hand and comes with a cushion and mallet.
What you’ll love: This handmade Nepalese singing bowl set is budget-friendly and portable, and includes everything you need to start playing. The bowl itself is small enough to fit easily in the palm of your hand.
What you should consider: The singing bowl was smaller than what some people expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This singing bowl is constructed from real quartz and comes with helpful accessories.
What you’ll love: The purchase includes a quartz singing bowl tuned to the F note, a carrying bag, a suede mallet and a food-grade silicone ring for holding the bowl in place during performances.
What you should consider: The crystal bowl could break easily if you aren’t careful when playing it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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