All about accessories for your singing bowl
Mallets and sticks:
To play your new singing bowl you will need some sort of a striker. For the smallest bowls this may be a stick with leather covering the striking end. (This type of stick is also useful for those who prefer to rub the bowl's rim). We now offer sticks with a felt cover on one ends which softens the strike a little. Felt sticks are NOT suitable for rubbing. For larger bowls you will need a mallet with a felt head of the appropriate density. Very large and giant bowls require a large and heavy headed mallet that is neither too hard nor too soft - our Giant Mallet is just right. Most singing bowls are pretty standard in the size and type of mallet or stick you need to play them and you will find the right stick or mallet on our accessory chart that you see on the each instruments page. Some individual bowls will sound best with a different stick or mallet and we will tell you about that on that bowls recommendations. If you have a number of different bowls or gongs it is wise to have an assortment of mallets of varying hardness. It can also be fun to discover the different sounds your bowl can make with a different mallet. A general rule is: the larger the bowl, the softer the mallet. We strike all of our bowls with our "soft strike technique" which we developed to bring out all of the complexities of hand hammered singing bowls.
Pad, cushion or ring?
Most of the time the choice between an embroidered pad, a brocade ring cushion, a square silk cushion or a felt cushion is a matter of personal choice, what you like to see your bowl sitting on will be the best choice for you. In some situations. However, you might find a particular type of support useful.
What size do I need?
Please refer to the recommended accessories list at the bottom of each bowls description and to our Accessories Guide here!
First, why do you need anything under your bowl at all?
- Protection for storage - your singing bowl can be scratched or dented by a hard surface and you don't want it to fall down either.
- Security while playing - when you strike a bowl with a stick or mallet it moves - but you want the bowl to stay where you put it. It is not fun to chase a bowl across the floor while you are participating in a guided sound meditation and if you knock it into another bowl it makes a horrid clang. A pad or cushion helps keep the bowl in place.
- Quality of sound - While most of the sound is produced by the rim, the whole bowl vibrates strongly when you play it. A too hard surface may cause an unpleasant buzz, too soft a surface can dampen the sound and make your bowl sound dull.
- Ambiance - A beautiful bowl on a rich fabric helps create a mood and the feeling of stepping out of the ordinary, very nice to keep the eyes and day to day mind occupied so the other parts of your being can find expression. For professionals, an appropriate setting helps your clients relax into the mood that will best allow you to help them. Small details make a big difference in your client's total experience.
What is the difference between the different types of bowl support?
- A pad is usually embroidered or in a brocaded silk fabric and is less than 1/2" thick. They are useful for most applications and offered in a wide variety of sizes. They are affordable and attractive. Select a pad with same diameter of the bowl or larger for best results
- A square cushion is much thicker and is very luxurious to look at, being made in a rich fabric with a center button and often tassels on the corners. We use these to raise the bowl to the height we need for sound massage. They must be large enough that the bowl nestles somewhat into the indentation created by the button to keep the bowl from sliding off when struck. You can use a larger square cushion than the chart indicates but please do not use a smaller one, except for display.
- A round turban cushion is quite thick and especially useful for placement between a clients feet or knees, or between the arm and the body, to raise a bowl into a playable position for sound massage. You want to order a pad with about the same diameter as the bowl to minimize bulk.
- A ring cushion is the best way to keep a bowl from sliding around and gives excellent tone quality. Care must be taken in selecting the size. A bowl is not secure on a ring that is too small and will fall off when hit. It will sink into a too large ring, which will damp its sound or, in a worst case, will fall right through the ring and buzz against the floor. We have provided a chart to help you select the right size for your bowl.
- Felt cushions - A Nepal tradition and our favorites. These traditional felt cushions are hand felted in Nepal and are of a thickness appropriate to their diameter. They are unimpressive to look at, being somewhat primitive in appearance and not always exactly round - but - after you use them you discover how steady they are and how clear your bowls sound on them. They are not flashy but we consider them to be the ultimate bowl cushion and well worth the extra cost. If you keep them dry and the moths away (they are made of wool after all) they will last for many years. Upon repeated use they actually take a shape that best accommodates your bowl. We highly recommend these felt cushions.
- Support pillow - for professional sound practitioners and therapists. These small pillows are designed to secure a bowl on a client's body so that they stay in place while you play them. You want the bowls to be in contact with the body but humans are not flat. Tuck one or more of these pillows under the edges of the bowl to provide support without losing any sound. We carry these useful little workhorses in a variety of sizes.
Heaven of Sound Singing Bowl Oil
A lightly scented organic oil that we specially formulated to clean and protect the finish of your bowl. This special singing bowl cleaning and protection oil will not react with the metals in your bowl and so will not leave a sticky residue, even after repeated use. If you live in a coastal area you will need to oil your bowl more frequently to protect it from the corrosive sea salt air.