Monday, March 22, 2010

Buy Tibetan Singing Bowls in Washington, DC

I finally got them! After a couple weeks searching, I picked up two singing bowls yesterday. Along with the one I'm borrowing from a generous colleague, these three bowls will form the sonic basis of my opera's dream scenes.

Once my new H4n digital recorder arrives later this week, I will post detailed information, a picture, and audio of each bowl. Until then, here is a list of shops in Washington, DC, that offer singing bowls (updated March 22, 2010):

1. Woven History and Silk Road, 311 7th St SE: A nice selection and reasonable prices. Medium-small machine-made gold and copper(?) bowls ranging from $60 to $80. More than a few larger, hand-made gold bowls from about $120 and up. The employees and owner were extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable, even allowing me to sit on their floor and play around for nearly an hour! They had no wooden or leather "sticks" when I went in - only large drum beaters - and could use more variety of items. But overall, this my #1 pick for DC-area singing bowls.

2.Eastern Market's Flea Market, C St SE & 7th St SE: Just across the street from Silk Road, John Kicklighter's Distant Treasures at Eastern Market also sells bowls. You'll see Tibetan prayer flags in front. Ranging from tiny $29 bowls, to $70 mid-sizes, to huge hand-made gold bowls costing hundreds of dollars, this stand's selection variety made up for the owner's minor impatience. Some bowls are lopsided, producing "wobbly" singing, but they're properly discounted. Others are simply gorgeous, and most really like to sing. If you buy multiple bowls, you may get a break.

3. Tibet Shop, 2407 18th Street NW: This place had a few shelves worth of bowls, many of which were very nice. Bowls for $69, $79, and $89 seemed the best deal, though some fine $115 pieces had me thinking for a moment. The employees were quite nice and patient, and even filled one bowl with water for an "extended technique" demo! Definitely worth the trip, and likely would have gotten one here if I wasn't hopping here and there by Metro.

4. India Art & Craft Inc., 2602 Connecticut Ave NW: On your way back to the Woodley Park Metro Station, you might as well stop by this shop. When I arrived, it had only two medium-large bowls - a nice-quality copper-engraved piece for $215, and a "wobbly" hand-made one for $110 or so. The owner was offering steep discounts for the pair, possibly a sign of overpricing. Clothing is certainly the focus in this shop, but I likely caught the place low on inventory. Another look might be worthwhile.

5. www.himalayanbowls.com, online: Out of the many websites offering singing bowls, this one seems the most legitimate, helpful, and reasonably-priced. The #1 perk of this site is its media; each hand-made bowl listed features an individual picture and audio clip! So, if you have thousands of dollars to throw around, this is a fun place to do so. Many large and/or antique bowls with "supersonic" bass notes are offered, along with moderately-priced smaller hand-made ones. For the budget-minded, a wide selection of cheaper machine-made bowls are also shown. Unfortunately, pitches may vary slightly from these samples, and unless you have it in your hand, it's hard to tell how well your "special bowl" will sing for you. (The site doesn't like Chrome or Safari.)

8 comments:

  1. P.S. - For my two bowls, I paid $60 (Silk Road) and $90 (Eastern Market + 2 sticks). Do you have any bowl-buying experience, suggestions, or questions?

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  2. Kyle: Thanks for the post. It's interesting to see how many options are now available when shopping for a singing bowl. One other website of note is our site http://www.Bodhisattva.com It's full of high quality photos and stereo accurate Mp3's of each of the singing bowls we offer. And it is browser friendly for Firefox, IE, Chrome and Sarari (amongst others)!

    We've been in business for 30+ years, I live 6+ months of each year in the Himalayas and personally hand-select each singing bowl. Each bowl comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, professional playing mallet, Tips & Information Brochure, a Tibetan silk brocade cushion (in your choice of color), and a 30 Satisfaction or your money back Guarantee.

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    1. I buy from Bodhisattva.com for my bowls and I have to say they are ALWAYS so high quality and the customer service (from the mp3s online to the packaging of the bowls for shipment) is wonderful.

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  3. Rain Gray: I think we are lucky here in DC, having a rather diverse set of shops and goods. Thank you for your additional online source.

    I unfortunately had the dual constraints of needing rather cheap bowls in a short amount of time. But I do hope future readers will peruse your site as well.

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  4. Great Post, I have been to many of these shops in DC and they all have pretty unique products.

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  5. NIce post. Did you receive the H4N digital recorder? How is it for recording Tibetan singing bowls?

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  6. Hi Singing Bowls. :) Yes I did receive the H4N recorder, but I have been so busy completing my opera (due in just over a week!) that I haven't taken it out of the box yet.

    When I do, I'll be sure and blog about it and include some samples of my three bowls. Thanks!

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  7. Singing bowl
    3 to 12" singing bowl at www.mytibetshop.com , best quality and you can listen to sound before purchase , fast and Free Shipping

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