Singing Bowls For Beginners – What You Need To Know

Tibetan Singing Bowls are one of the best instruments for sound healing and can heal the mind and bodyaccording to research from Tamara L. Goldsby, PhD at the University of California: San Diego  [1].

 Buddhist monks have been using them for more than 3000 years, alongside other traditional instruments like gongs.  And more and more people are using singing bowls as a tool for meditation. So let me show you the best ones.

Best Singing Bowls for  Beginners

best singing bowls for beginners

1. Best cheap one

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If you’re looking to buy a cheap singing bowl, I recommend this one from the Ohm Store. It’s cheap but good and great for beginners who just want to try out an inexpensive bowl.

There’s a lot I like about this little one. Best of all is the fact that it looks good for such a cheap bell. And it sounds great too. The frequency is 552 HZ, D-flat. I tested it by using the water technique and I can confirm that it does make water ripple and jump (which is a traditional way of testing them). It is also very authentic, having been hand hammered in Kathmandu Nepal. 

Made of brass and without seams, this Tibetan bell produces a good sound quality. When you wake the bell it makes a sound at G Flat, and when you make it sing it sounds at D Flat. 


2.7 Chakra Set (Metal) ($$$)

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I highly recommend TheMelMart’s set, which is available in different sizes: 4 inches, 4.5 inches, 5 inches, 5.5 inches, 6 inches, and 7.5 inches.

I really like this set and I found that each of the seven bowls dig sing, although it was harder getting the smaller bowls to. For professional musicians I would recommend a more expensive set with more reliable response, but for beginners this one is great. 

The set comes with a 7-ring cushion and 7-piece wooden mallet, plus one or two drumsticks.

Both the look and sound of TheMelMart’s set are authentic. And they produce a fantastic audio range to open the chakras.


3. Crystal Set ($$$$)

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 You will definitely want to consider TopFund’s quartz crystal singing bowls. As a meditation teacher, I have seen a lot of different bells, and these are among the best.

These bells look and sound beautiful. And in my experience, they are the best ones for chakra-opening because they reliably produce an accurate sound at the different chakra frequencies.

I love the way they look too. They have a beautiful, icy clean aesthetic that makes for wonderful decoration at home. They are made from 99.9% pure quartz, which creates a deep, resonant sound.

Plus, you can choose your size. There are options from 8-20 inches. It comes with a rubber base to sit the bells on, and a rubber mallet.

 


4.  Best For Chakra Healing ($$$$$)

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This is a beautiful set that is perfect for sound healing. Made from frosted quartz, it is more effective for healing than metal bowls. 

Because the human body is made predominantly of water, it is predisposed to respond to crystal more than metal (the human body has comparatively little metal).

I recommend buying a bowl made of 99% pure quartz that is finely tuned to the frequencies of the seven chakras. This one is my favorite.


About Chakra Singing Bowls+

Why Use 7 Chakra Singing Bowl Sets?

crystal chakra singing bowl set

You probably noticed that in the buying guide above I said that Chakra singing bowls are the best, but why?

These sets have existed for thousands of years, ever since around 2500BC. Today they’re everywhere, from your local Buddhist temple to your yoga studio.

You’ve probably listened to one of these sets during yoga when you meditate in Savasana. Or you may have listened to one during meditation. Today you can even see these sets at health spas, hospitals, churches and in therapy sessions.

They activate the chakras. The chakras are wheels through which energy (prana) flows. A Sanskrit word, “chakra” literally means “wheel”. It’s a concept that has existed for 2600 years after being first introduced in the classical spiritual text the Upanishads.

The chakras are energy centres located along the spine from the pelvis up to the crown of the head. They are pivotal for our wellbeing. When one chakra is out of balance, it can negatively impact physical and mental health.

Thankfully, we can use Singing Bowls to open the seven chakras.

Frequencies

Different chakra singing bowls create frequencies of sound uniquely tuned to each chakra, like so:

Root chakra:  UT – 396 Hz  

Sacral Chakra:  RE – 417 Hz  

Solar plexus chakra: MI – 528 Hz  

Heart chakra FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships (the 4th Chakra)

Throat chakra: SOL – 741 Hz  

Third eye chakra: LA – 852 Hz  

Crown chakra: 963 Hz

How To Choose+

How To Choose A Singing Bowl


1. Fakes Are Everywhere.

Keep this in mind if you want to buy antique singing bowls: Fake ones are everywhere.  It can be difficult to tell the difference between an authentic antique bowl and a fake. Sooo….  (see 2)


2. How to Buy Authentic Antiques

If you want to buy an authentic antique, make sure it is marked as at least one hundred years old. Some vintage bowls in private collections are thousands of years old.  You can tell if it’s an authentic antique by looking for specific markers:

  • Authentic ones will have markings on both the inside and outside.
  • Authentic ones will be thinner on the bottom.
  • They may have a certificate saying it has been certified as authentic and will cost from $100 (for a very small bowl) to many thousands of dollars for a large one.
  • Antiques are metal and made from different materials to new ones. The new ones are typically made of a type of bronze called “bell metal”, which is made of copper and tin. Authentic antiques are crafted out of high-quality bronze and various other metals, such as gold, silver, meteoric iron (sky-metal) and thogcha.

singing-bowl-235269_960_720


3. Picking One That’s Perfect For You 

What is your main reason for buying a Tibetan bell? Is it:

  • Healing?
  • Grounding?
  • Chakra meditation?
  • To use in yoga classes?
  • For decoration?
  • To add to a collection? 

These are essential considerations to make before choosing a singing bowl. For instance, if you want to pick one for chakra healing, you will want to make sure it has the right frequencies for chakra activation. If you’re choosing one to add to an antique collection, you will want to make sure it has a certificate of authenticity. And so on.


4.  Mallets

Mallets come in different sizes and weights. Popular materials are suede, wood, and felt. Make sure the set you buy comes with a suitable mallet (or buy a mallet separately).


5. Sound quality

Don’t choose based on the image alone. Make sure you have a good idea of what it sounds like. The best singing bowls sound rich and resonant. You should be able to hear the overtones it’s producing. If it doesn’t hold its sound, it is poorly constructed. Even good cheap ones should hold their sound. Does it sound tinny? That’s another sign of a bad bowl. Don’t buy it.


6. Where to buy

I recommend visiting an antique store specialising in world culture or spiritual items. For all other times, it’s easier (and reliable) to use an online store.

Contact your local Buddhist temple or community. They may sell them themselves. If not, they should be able to direct you to someone who does. 


7. Crystal Vs Metal 

Today, many people argue that if you’re looking for the best ones, grab a crystal set. Traditionally, however, Tibetan bells were made of metal.

The argument is that the sounds of traditional metal singing bowls do not penetrate the body to the same extent as crystal ones because the human body is made mostly of water, not metal. Therefore, we naturally respond better to the sound of crystal singing bowls because our bodies are crystalline.

In the buying guide, above, I mentioned that quartz bells are the best option for healing. There is a good reason for this. Quartz is a highly conductive transmitter. After all, it’s the same material that is used in a lot of computers and other tech, precisely because it transmits electricity so effectively. And of course, we humans function largely off electricity.  Therefore, it does seem logical that a quartz bell would have more of an effect on us than a metal one.

You can hear the difference between crystal and metal ones.

It is curious that for thousands of years all Tibetan bells were metal. Then again, even the spiritual field is not immune to evolution. So, is this simply the future of these instruments? Will we all be buying crystal ones from now on?

Either way, a crystal singing bowl makes for a beautiful and powerful addition to your spiritual healing toolkit. And they are one of the best ways to balance the seven chakras.


Types o f Singing Bowls+

Types of singing bowls

Jambati:

A type that was once used for storing grains. These are hundreds of years old, and the sound is generally in the 2nd and 3rd octave with an occasional small and extra thick bowl producing sound at the low end of the middle octave.  

Thadobati:

 This is a traditional Nepal singing bowl type. It is a straight type with vertical sides and a flat bottom. They tend to be deep at up to five inches and up to 8 inches in diameter. They are one of the easier-to-find antiques, some being around 500 years old. Often they are made of copper and are typically golden. They produce sounds that span over four octaves, which is the most extensive frequency range of all the types. 

Remuna:

A straight type with a flat bottom named after a small town on the Bay of Bengal. They have inward-sloping walls.  They are decorative and usually feature artwork etched into them. Inscriptions are common on this type.

Manipura:

If you want to buy the antique, the Manipura should be your go-to. They are the original type, made of metal and named after Manipur, a state in India that is a centre for brass production. Because they were used frequently and are old, they are generally worn.  They range from 3 inches to one foot across. Their sound ranges from the lower second octave to the high fifth.  

Mani / Mudra:

This type is distinguishable by its thick walls and flat bottoms and because they are wider in the middle than at the top or bottom. They are an antique type of bell dating back to the 16th Century. The sound is a high tone, generally in the 5th and 6th octaves.  

Lingam:

This is the rarest Himalayan singing bowl. They were made for ritual purposes and feature a protrusion of metal in the middle and feature intricate artwork. Of interest to the antique buyer is the larger, round lingams, which are very rare.  Be warned, however, that many of those for sale are fake antiques. The fakes tend to be newer ones made to look old. A genuine antique lingam will feature thick metal, where fake ones are much thinner.   

Pedestal:

“Stands” often called “Naga”. They have round bottoms and an attached base so that they can be placed on a surface without toppling over. Generally, they feature inscriptions and are often used for ceremonial purposes. They range from 4 inches to 10 inches. This type has a wide sound range, going from the third to the sixth octave.

Trapezoid:

A modern antique type that produces a sweet sound.  They feature straight, symmetrical sides and a flat bottom. The name refers to the fact that they looked like a trapezoid when viewed from the side. They range from 4 inches to 8 inches and produce sound in the 4th and 5th octave.  

Ultabati:

A larger type starting at around 7 inches. The side of the bell curves inward beneath the rim.  They produce low tone sounds around the second octave.

Crystal sets: 

Today, everyone likes to buy crystal bowls. They are all the rage. And they are generally regarded as the best for healing the chakras in meditation. The reason for this is because crystal is better for sound quality and has a more pronounced effect on the body [see: Crystal VS Metal, above]. Ones made of quartz produce a stunning sound. 

Benefits of Singing Bowls+

Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls

tibetan singing bowl

Meditating with a singing bowl is a deep, relaxing, and therapeutic experience. You can heal your mind and body by meditating on the sound of these instruments. But how? 

When you play a singing bowl, you make a sound comprised of two frequencies: a first harmonic and undertones. Together, these sounds produce a chord that is a “flattened fifth”. Scientific research shows that the flattened-fifth chord is perfect for meditation and spiritual healing. Plus, it helps balance the chakras.   

Naga Shakthi says, “They produce layers of rich additional overtones, which, when heard binaurally, create beat frequencies that alter brain waves from a Beta brainwave state to an Alpha state”.  As you listen to or meditate with bowls, your brain waves synchronise with the sound, the unique tones inducing a deep state of meditation and opening your mind.  

  • Balances the seven chakras
  • Relaxes the mind
  • Some research shows it can cure illness
  • Some research shows it can even cure cancer
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Balances blood pressure
  • Reduces anger
  • Improves blood flow
  • Good for pain relief
  • Balances emotions
  • Promotes inner peace and stillness
  •  Boosts the immune system

Research published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine and based on participants from the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas, California, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, and the California Institute for Human Science,  revealed that bowl meditation may be a “feasible low-cost, low-technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being.”

Facts+

Singing Bowl Facts  

Here are some interesting facts about the history of these beautiful instruments.

  1. Some antiques for sale today actually age at more than 5000 years old, meaning they predate almost all other tools used in meditation.
  2. Bronze Tibetan bells have been used since the 10th Century BC. And some are even as old as 5000 years.  
  3. Many people believe they are Buddhist in origin, but they actually predate Buddhism. It wasn’t until about 2500 years ago that Buddhists began these Buddhist bells. The monks found the sound the bells made to be very relaxing. It is a healing sound. And that is why Buddhist monks have meditated on the sounds ever since.
  4. Many people believe they are crafted from seven metals that are astrologically related to stars and planets: Gold (sun) Silver (Moon), Copper (Venus), Iron (Mars), Tin (Jupiter), Mercury/Quicksilver (Mercury) and Lead (Saturn) (1). In fact, they are usually made from a bronze alloy of copper and tin. There are also expensive ones made of quartz and even pure gold bells.  
Singing Bowls Meditations+

Singing Bowl Meditations

Now that you have chosen a set you probably want to know how to use them.  There are lots of different ways to use them and meditation techniques vary.  

Here is a simple guide to playing and meditating on singing bowls.

1. “Around the Rim”  

  1. Hold the bell in your left hand.
  2. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length.  Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  3. Tap the mallet on the bell’s side to warm the bell.
  4. Using even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell, as though you were stirring soup.
  5. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the bowl.
  6. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  7. Meditate on the sound for twenty minutes.

 2.  “Wah Wah”:  

  1. Repeat stages 1 to 5 from the “Around The Rim” technique above.
  2. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  3. Pull the mallet away from the bell while it is still singing.
  4. Hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth.
  5. Now imagine that you’re saying “Wah. Wah. Wah.” Make the mouth shape of this sound while your mouth is an inch from the rim.  Do you hear how the sound has changed?

3. Water Bowl

  1. Repeat stages 1 to 5 from the “Around The Rim” technique above.
  2. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge.
  3. Pull the mallet away
  4. Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim.
  5. Now swirl the bowl to create the sound of dolphins.

4: Movement & Sound

  1. Start by using the Around The Rim technique that we looked at above
  2. Continue to move the mallet around the rim
  3. Be mindful of the action of moving your wrist and hand to turn the mallet
  4. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the movement
  5. Continuing the mindful movement, start to focus on the sound
  6. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the sound
  7. You should now be meditating on your movement and the sound
  8. Observe the connection between the movement and the sound. Feel the oneness between movement and sound
  9. Focus on the oneness of sound and movement for 108 breaths

And that is everything you need to know about these beautiful instruments! I recommend simply picking one up using the Buying Guide above.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations.

8 comments

  1. Thank you for this very useful information. Being a first time user of a singing bowl, I almost bought the recommended one from Amazon but chose another instead. Had I found you sooner, I would have most likely taken the recommendation. I may just get that one anyway! Who says you only need one! The bowl that I purchased has a nice tone, I would say deeper than higher pitched although I just received it yesterday so have not explored it’s full sound yet. I have a lot to learn! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. Thank you for this article, it was very helpful. I want to use the singing bowls for meditation, can I just start with one bowl? or I should get the set of 7?

    1. Hi. If you want to use it for just general meditation, such as for relaxing, then a single bowl will be fine. If you want to get it for genuine healing or chakra activation, I’d recommend getting the set of 7.

  3. Namaste,post how the sound frequency attract the affected part frequency range to heal,need the sound philosophy

  4. Thanks for giving somany details, now a days people who is looking for alternative therapy your guidance is best tonic.

  5. Great article, very helpful, how to choose right bowl for meditation /healing and opening 3rx eye for a beginner?? Any info greatly appreciated

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