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I am looking for a loud handbell.
September 11, 2010 1:27 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a loud handbell.

I’m looking for a bell- what I’m looking for is I think called a hand bell or a school bell. Something that looks more more less like this

What I want is to get one that will be really loud. Does anyone have advice on where to get a particularly loud handbell? I’m guessing I need to order it online. I’m in Toronto now, and will need the bell in a little over a week, when I’ll be in San Francisco. I’m guessing – a place I can order from online that’ll deliver fast to SF would be good, though I guess a bricks-and-mortar place in Toronto or SF could work.

Any tips, thoughts much appreciated!

(For some background: I want the bell for a participatory performance event I’m doing: where around 100 people, in a very echo-y space, will be making sounds using their voices, mostly with their eyes closed. I want to be able to ring the bell periodically to signal them to change what they’re doing. I did some practices recently, with a small hand-held bell, and a couple of people said they had trouble hearing it. So I’m looking for one that’s louder – especially, I guess, that can be heard over a lot of human voices, in a very live space…)
posted by ManInSuit to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have any inside information about where to get one, but you could also consider a cowbell or an air horn.
posted by cider at 1:33 PM on September 11, 2010


Would a cow bell be louder?
posted by ManInSuit at 1:33 PM on September 11, 2010


You can probably find something to suit your needs at most any music shop. You might not find the sort of bell you're hoping for, but most music shops that carry a variety of percussion instruments should have all sorts of toys that can achieve what you need.

A quick search of 'guiTarget':
finger cymbals
triangle
jingles

or you could just find a cheap/loud set of windchimes if you're looking for something resonant. There are also plenty of cowbells that have a nice rich tone and most of them are quite loud.
posted by palacewalls at 1:49 PM on September 11, 2010


I suspect that what I really want is a handbell - partly because, for practical reasons, I need something I can ring with one hand, partly because I like the aesthetic of it. I suppose I might change my mind, in the face of some other good idea, so I'm happy to hear them. But my guess is I'm stuck on handbell.

I went to a couple of the biggest music stores here in Toronto (Steve's, Long and McQuade) and they had just one handbell between the two of them.
posted by ManInSuit at 1:52 PM on September 11, 2010


(Oh and - the one handbell I did find in town here was not that much louder than the little, not-loud-enough one I was using.)
posted by ManInSuit at 1:54 PM on September 11, 2010


I was just at a high school football game where the lady a few rows from me had a hand held cow bell. There was a single handle like on the bell in your picture, but the bell part was square and was friggin loud like a cow bell. I wish you would take hers it was so loud.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:56 PM on September 11, 2010


Like this.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2010


These seem fantastic. Let me know if you need an SF shipping address.
posted by judith at 4:16 PM on September 11, 2010


:)
Judith - those do look nice. I wonder if they'll be louder than what I have. That site suggests - bigger/heavier = louder, which is what I guessed. Also lower pitch. I wonder if lower pitch will make the bell less effective at cutting through the sound of all those voices.
Thanks for the offer re: SF address - I think I can ship to my hotel there. I'll confirm...
posted by ManInSuit at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2010


Just FYI- when I was a kid my mom had a bell almost exactly like this and we could easily hear it a 1/4 mile away across open fields, a bit less through the woods.
posted by TDIpod at 6:43 PM on September 11, 2010


Would a cow bell be louder?

OMG ask the woman who was ringing it and marching all around inside my office building for almost 10 minutes shouting "Happy Friday Everyone!!". You could hear that thing all over the building. And ditto the football game - my friend has one and I refuse to go with her any more.
posted by CathyG at 8:26 PM on September 11, 2010


I bought this bell, from the site Judith suggested. I actually talked to a person there on the phone who was very helpful. Delivery to my hotel in SF was prompt, and the bell really was pretty remarkably substantial and well-contructed for $15. And a lot louder than the bell I was using before. (Loudness, I'm guessing, determined by the size/weight of the bell and also the size/weight of the clapper, about which they brag). In retrospect- I might have gotten the small bell instead of the medium. The medium bell is still pretty big!!
posted by ManInSuit at 2:55 PM on October 12, 2010


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