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Customer Reviews

New Thadobati singing bowl 6 5/8", Bodhisattva Trading Co.

There’s something enchanting about the resonance of a singing bowl— tones that still the mind and transcend ordinary sound. Tibetan singing bowls, steeped in tradition and known for their healing properties, make a captivating and soulful gift. Here’s your comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect singing bowl for a gift.

Do I need to Understand the Recipient’s Preferences?   
Not so much. You can consider their musical aptitude, their spiritual practices, any interest in meditation or mindfulness, etc. But ultimately, it will come down to one thing: how does the bowl resonate with them?  It’s easy to overthink it! More often than not, if the bowl resonates with you, it will resonate with them, too. Plus, whenever they strike it, its tone will remind them of your love and intention for years to come.

Quality Matters
Look for bowls made by skilled artisans in Nepal and India who adhere to traditional forging techniques, using an alloy of bell metal bronze (mostly copper and tin), and hand beating them into the size and shape to produce balanced harmonics. Each handcrafted bowl produces a discrete blend of harmonics, so your gift will be as unique as the recipient of your gift. The harmonies of the bowl should sound clear, with no excessive beat patterns that tend to agitate, not calm the body.

Budget Considerations
Singing bowls come in a range of prices. Hand-forged singing bowls average $100 and up, while bowls under $100 tend to be machine-made, mostly with handcrafted decorations. Even the ones completely covered in perfectly round hammer marks are machine-made, and decorated to look hand-forged. This type of bowl is fine for a child and is ubiquitously available on the web; so you have limitless choices at this price point. But for a yoga or meditation practitioner, set your sights on higher quality.

While you will always pay more for hand-forged bowls, you can still find beautiful, resonant gift choices in a variety of budgets and tones. Consider that in Bodhisattva’s store, our 4″ – 6” New Small Singing Bowls average $100 – $160. If you’re flush, our Antique Small Singing Bowls average $300 – $400, and they come with a certificate of authenticity. In the antique categories, the larger and older the bowl, the higher the price points. Consider also that whether new or antique, this gift will last your recipient the rest of their lives. The time and energy that you invest to find just the right tone for them is a part of the gift; and they will always feel your love and intention through the bowl’s vibration.

Consider the Size, Thickness, and Tone
Tibetan bowls come in various sizes, each producing a distinct harmonic sound pattern. Most are flatted fifth intervals comprised of the lower tone, (fundamental), and higher tone (over tone or rim tone), and sub-harmonics in between. Most larger bowls produce lower frequencies, while smaller ones create higher tones. The thinner the bowl’s wall is, the more complex its harmonics. The thicker the wall, its timbre will be more focused and bell-like.

Also, remember the thinner the bowl, the quieter its volume will be. Contemporary and antique singing bowls come in various sizes and produce different harmonics. Always listen to the sound of the bowl before purchasing, listening for the sweetness of its harmonics. Avoid singing bowls with discordant harmonics. Discordant harmonics are out of tune; and if a bowl is not in tune with itself, it will never be able to tune anybody else! Your recipient will most likely end up putting stuff in it, no matter how sincere your intention is.

Listen to the Sound
When choosing a Singing Bowl gift online, never but one without hearing a clear recording of it – ever!  Always listen to the recording with earphones, air pods, headphones, or really good computer speakers and deeply listen to the sound. If there is a recording of the strike, make sure the bowl produces a clear, resonant sound with pleasing harmonies and good sustain. If the recording cuts off after a few seconds, you really won’t have a clear understanding of that bowl’s sustain, If there’s no recording of the rim tone – ask yourself: “Why not?” It could mean the rim tone is discordant, or the rim is rough and noisy to play due to excessive friction of the mallet against the rim’s surface.

If choosing a bowl in person, strike the bowl gently with the covered end of the mallet and pay attention to the resonance and vibration. A clear, sustained tone with rich harmonics signifies a well-crafted bowl. If you are unfamiliar with how to play a rim tone, ask for help or watch my video “How to Play a Singing Bowl”

Assess Craftsmanship and Design
Examine the craftsmanship and aesthetics of the bowl. Some bowls are adorned with intricate designs or symbols, while others have a simpler, elegant appearance. Authentic Tibetan singing bowls are handmade and show slight irregularities, which add to their charm. If you see a beautifully decorated, smaller “gift” bowl with no individual recording, beware! The US-based seller most likely has added the artwork to lower-grade inventory to keep the prices of the bowls affordable. Ultimately, while a bowl’s artwork is lovely, it’s the sound that matters! 

Authenticity Matters
If you’re considering an antique for your singing bowl gift, authenticity matters! Choose from a reputable source, preferably one with a signed certificate of authenticity. Ask the seller how the age of the bowl is assessed, and listen to the specificity of the answer. At Bodhisattva, a certificate of authenticity comes free with every singing bowl circa 19th century or earlier. We welcome questions about our dating techniques, and it’s a possible red flag if you can’t engage a seller in specific discussions about dating techniques. Bear in mind that the great majority of bowls marketed as antiques today are reproductions.

Purchase from Trusted Sources
When choosing a singing bowl gift, only buy from reputable sources that support artisans from the region. This ensures the authenticity of the bowl and supports ethical practices. Make sure you have a money-back guarantee just in case the gift does not resonate with your recipient for any reason.

In Conclusion
Gifting a Tibetan Singing bowl is more than offering an object; it shares ancient wisdom and spirituality. Each bowl carries a unique resonance, inviting tranquility and balance into the recipient’s life. With these considerations in mind, you’re well-equipped to choose a singing bowl that will bring harmony and peace to its new owner for years to come.