Wonderful! You’re considering buying a singing bowl!
These gems make tremendously beautiful sounds just about everyone who hears one instantly falls in love and wants to bring one to their home, their studio, or their office. They do make wonderful gifts – for you or for loved ones.
With so many different sizes of bowls, tones, chakras, and so many other things that people speak about when referring to their singing bowls, how does one decide what bowl to buy?
First, a note about singing bowls and their sizes. The size of a singing bowl refers to the diameter of the bowl, from one exterior edge all the way to the opposite side of the bowl. Some of these bowls are actually surprisingly large. A 12” bowl is actually a foot across from side-to-side.
The bowls range from smaller bowls of 8” to the larger bowls of 20” and more.
Each singing bowl is “tuned” to a particular tone on the musical scale from C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. These are the white keys on the piano. The sharps (or flats) are the black keys on the piano and singing bowls also come in C#, D#, F#, G#, and A#.
Just like on a piano, there can be more than one C tone, all the way from the bass on the left, up to the treble on the right. The deeper, more bass, sounding bowls are wider while the higher pitched, more treble sounding bowls are not as wide. So, for example, you can have an 8” bowl in C, a 12” bowl in C, a 16” bowl in C, and a 20” bowl in C. That’s just an example. Any size bowl can come in any tone.
For a first purchase, we often recommend a 14” bowl in C or D. This is a really wonderful starting place and you can think of it as the “middle C” on a piano. Some think that the smaller bowls are “tinny” while some think the larger bowls “throaty.” We’re not often one to quote fairytales, but if Goldilocks were listening she would say that a 14” bowl in C or D would be just right.
And, the 14" bowl in C is the perfect start place to begin as you can start a nesting set of 7 bowls: 14" in C, 13" in D, 12" in E, 11" in F, 10" in G, 9" in A, and 8" in B. Oh, what's a nesting set? Think of Russian dolls, with each bowl fitting inside a larger bowl.
Another note, the wider the bowl, the harder it is to get it to start singing. This has been a source of frustration for some their first time playing a singing bowl. With a bit of practice, it’s a sure thing and the bowl becomes easier to play. Right out of the box, with a 14” in bowl or smaller you’ll have no problem at all. We should say, after you finish playing all of these bowls, they continue ringing! And the wider the bowl, the longer it will ring. You can expect your singing bowl to play for a solid few minutes after your mallet last touches the bowl.
It really is a wonderful sound to behold.
Among all singing bowls, frosted crystal singing bowls are the easiest to play. We’ve literally seen an 18-month old pick up the mallet and – after a wee bit of instruction (that is, showing him not to hammer the side of the bowl with the mallet) – he was able to play the singing bowl. Just like that! Voila!