three singing bowls in a row on a wooden table with white candles in the background

Why Won’t My Metal Singing Bowl Sing? Troubleshooting Metal Singing Bowls

Sometimes singing bowls simply do not want to perform. Find out why here!

If you have been on the lookout for a singing bowl but have had varied results with their sound quality, or them not singing at all, you may be wondering if the problem lies with you, or the bowl. The answer is probably a mix of both!

There are many factors that will impact the sound quality of a singing bowl ranging from the size, placement & techniques employed, as well as environmental factors. So, if you were wondering why you are not getting results with your singing bowl, check out our list of the top 10 reasons why your singing bowl won’t sing!

  1. Surface Contaminants: Dirt, dust, or oils on the surface of the bowl can dampen vibrations and affect the sound. To fix this problem, ensure that your bowl is free from dust and contaminants. Wipe your singing bowl with a damp cloth to remove the dirt, and dry with a soft towel to remove any excess water.
  2. Improper Striking Technique: Striking the bowl incorrectly can
    woman striking a singing bowl that is placed on another woman's head
    hinder its ability to produce a clear sound. To fix this problem, experiment with different mallets and striking techniques. Some bowls need to be struck to build up the sound, whereas some can create sound by simply running the mallet around the rim- I have personally found that the smaller the bowl, the more likely you need to strike it to get a vibration started and produce sound (however placing it on someone's head is probably not the right way to get it to sing).
  3. Inadequate Pressure: Applying too much or too little pressure while striking the bowl can affect the sound. Find the right balance to allow the bowl to vibrate properly. This problem is more of a technique issue. The same goes for moving the mallet too quickly or slowly around the rim of the bowl- when you get a feel for using your singing bowl you will realise that if you move too slowly, the sound will simply die, however, if you move too quickly you will actually feel the mallet skip on the metal- this is an indication that you need to  slow down and “tune in” to your bowls vibrations.
  4. Quality and size of the Bowl: The composition and craftsmanship of the bowl can impact its sound quality. Lower-quality bowls may not resonate as well as higher-quality ones. Also, the smaller the bowl size, the less easily they sing. I have personally found that the larger the singing bowl, the easier it is to create a sound first up.
  5. Mismatched Mallet: Using a mallet that doesn't complement the bowl's size and thickness may result in a muted sound. Ensure
    brass singing bowls with assorted mallets
    you have a mallet suitable for your specific bowl. I have personally found that some of the small bowls require mallets that have felt around them. If you have a plain wooden mallet, try one of the felt tipped ones and see if you get better results.This again comes down to practice. 
  6. Environmental Factors: External factors like humidity, temperature, and air pressure can influence the sound of a singing bowl. Changes in these conditions may affect the bowl's resonance. You cannot do much about these issues and they usually don’t affect the bowl singing, just the tone of the sound.
  7. Cracks or Damage: Physical damage, such as cracks or dents, can significantly impact the ability of the bowl to produce a clear sound. Inspect the bowl for any visible damage especially if you notice the mallet “skipping” across the surface of your singing bowl.
  8. Improper Placement: The surface on which the bowl is placed can affect its sound. Make sure the bowl is on a stable and flat surface for optimal resonance. If you are holding the bowl whilst
    woman playing a singing bowl
    playing, ensure that your hand is only touching the underneath of the singing bowl. If your hand touches the outside of the bowl, it will break the vibration, causing it to stop singing. Singing bowl pillows can be handy for this as they cradle the bottom of the bowl creating a stable surface.
  9. Inconsistent Thickness: Variations in thickness across the bowl can result in uneven vibrations, affecting the sound. Higher-quality bowls are often more uniform in thickness.
  10. Lack of Experience: Playing a singing bowl requires a certain level of skill and experience. If you're new to using singing bowls, it may take some time to develop the technique needed for a clear and sustained sound. Use your singing bowl as often as you can initially to get a “feel” for it. You will start to notice how the differences in speed and technique can greatly affect the performance of your singing bowl. You may even start to notice how your own moods and energy can affect the quality of sound you can produce with your singing bowl.

Before assuming that the problem lies with the bowl itself, it's a good idea to troubleshoot these factors to ensure optimal conditions for producing a beautiful sound. Chances are, by keeping your bowl clean, tweaking your technique and ensuring correct hand placement, you can get your singing bowl to sing beautifully!

Is there anything you would like to add to our list? Let us know in the comments section.

*If you are looking for singing bowls, check out our singing bowls  here.


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