This article is for those that are on their way to buying their first Tibetan singing bowl and need help deciding on their purchase.
Singing bowls are special since they are used in meditation, relaxation and therapy. Having met with so many customers over the years in Europe, India, Nepal and Australia, I can offer the advice below:
Decide what you want to get out of the bowl: If you would like to use it as a souvenir, then I would recommend an inexpensive one and place importance on aesthetics. However, if you decide that you'd like to incorporate this into your meditation practice or use it as a tool for relaxation, then a well crafted bowl with great tones and vibration is what you should select.
Active Listening and Alignment with Chakras: Different notes harmonise with different chakras or energy centres in your body. Play as many bowls as you can on their corresponding chakras and see which one 'connects' with you the most. Listen carefully to the sound of each bowl. Notice the fundamental (base) note and the overtones. Notice the effect that the bowl has on you and how you feel. Some people have also told me that what might work on a particular chakra works better on a different chakra for them. There is no right or wrong here, and you will just have to go with your gut since we all have different energy fields.
Old vs New Bowls: Old bowls have aged and their sounds have matured. They are generally lighter than their newer counterparts and their vibrations are stronger. Old singing bowls will cost you more.
Large vs Small Bowls: Large bowls produce stronger and deeper vibrations. Small bowls on the other hand have a higher/more noticeable sound and less intensity in their vibrations. Our mind and body therefore responds differently to these bowl sizes. Many of our customers prefer to buy a larger bowl for their lower sound and powerful vibrations. Others often buy a smaller bowl to compliment a larger bowl that they already have or to use in their meditation practice.
Hand Hammered vs Machined Singing Bowls: I will admit that some machined bowls are very well made and close to hand made bowls in terms of sound quality. However, we find that they lack character and that the sound quality from hand hammered bowls is always superior. Handmade bowls are also light and easy to play, and have been meticulously crafted by skilled artisans, who often pass their knowledge from one generation to the next.
- Budget: Singing bowls can vary wildly in terms of variety and price range. Have a budget in place and choose one accordingly.
At the end of the day, there are many bowls to choose from and it's entirely up to you. Active listening and paying attention to what you feel are critical to choosing the right bowl.
Starting your Singing Bowl Journey
We'd suggest buying a larger bowl (15 cms and over) to use for general relaxation. A smaller singing bowl is also effective for meditation. A ball felt mallet is recommended for use in healing.
There is no right note when choosing your first bowl, other than what sound connects the most with you. For example, I find the F (fundamental note) bowls connect very well, opens my heart chakra and put me at ease. So this was the first bowl that I ever bought. If I had only bowl that I'd have to choose, it would be an F note Tara or full moon bowl.
Therefore, listen to the recordings and see which note connects with you the most and relaxes you.