Wind Chimes: a short brief:
Wind Chimes have been known throughout the centuries to have soothing and healing effect on the mind, body and spirit. The Chinese and Japanese are known to have turned them into decorative art pieces. More recently, their popularity has moved west. They are still used today for the same primary reasons: health, art and relaxation.
Wind chimes make an excellent addition to any garden or outside deck or porch. There are special kinds of wind chimes that are meant for indoor use as well. If you have ever been to a house or yard that had a wind chime you most surely realized how beautiful they sound when the wind blows through them and creates a musical noise. Countless stores sell wind chimes and we have even seen them sold in artist’s galleries that have been hand crafted with stained glass and other unique touches. When looking to purchase a wind chime, look for features like durability, the ability to have it tuned to notes, indoor use options, color varieties, and materials. If you plan on placing your wind chime in your yard (outdoors), you will want a durable material that can withstand not only wind but harsh weather like rain or snow and hot sun.
Metal wind chimes are the most durable and therefore the most popular types of wind chimes available. Besides being durable, metal wind chimes have the ability to be tuned to specific notes and tones. Owners say metal wind chimes make beautiful music and play famous songs and themes. Consumers also say they prefer metal wind chimes since they are weatherproof and rust resistant. Bamboo wind chimes may not be quite as durable as metal ones, but the deep, hollow sounds they create are relaxing. Bamboo chimes can not be tuned like metal wind chimes, but the sound quality is still excellent. The one tendency of bamboo wind chimes over time is to split. The wood is lightweight and exposure to sun and rain can eventually lead the bamboo to split. The material of choice for those searching for unique and decorative wind chimes is either glass or ceramics. They are great for both outdoor and indoor placement and the shapes and designs are endless. If you want a wind chime that can play lots of melodies and harmonies, look for one with lots of tubes. The more tubes on the wind chime, the more notes it can play. Length of the wind chime tubes will also directly effect the sound quality. Higher pitched sounds will come from shorter wind chimes and longer wind chimes will provide lower, fuller tones. The wind chime sail is the piece of the chime that extends lower than any other part and is responsible for catching the wind and moving the tubes of the chime. The top selling wind chimes are set up to start chiming at about 8-10 mile per hour winds. When it comes to wind chime design, the tubular wind chimes are in the highest demand. Tubular wind chimes are usually made of pewter or aluminum and they offer accurate sound quality along with great looks. Bell wind chimes are designed with multiple bells that play as the breeze hits your chime (often made of brass). The top brand names in wind chimes are Woodstock, Corinthian, Arias, Harmony Hollow, Music of the Spheres, Weatherland, Spirit Winds, Asli Arts, Heritage Pewter, Kenroy, JW stannard, and Goose Rock Designs. Wind chimes cost about $20-$2000. Once you have bought the wind chime, put them in a good spot in your yard where the breeze will catch the "sail". Many homeowners hang wind chimes from tree branches, overhangs, decks, porches, and doorways. Below we have tried to list the most popular and best selling products in each category.
Our Rules for Buying Wind Chimes:
1. Pick one you can afford. There are Chimes for all Budgets, but expect to spend 25 to 200 for a decent set, and more for the best, (Music of the Spheres)
2. 90% of the metal chimes made in china are trash. (JW Stannard is the one exception I know of) This is one type of chime where buying USA made is worth the price.
3. Check the design, make sure you like it and it fits your needs. Any of the made in the USA Metal chimes are a best bet for durability, Glass chimes reflect sunlight best, and Bamboo chimes have a sweet sound like no other. Got a Big Purse? Go with the expensive look of Pewter, or copper.
4. Fit the Color to your chimes surroundings. Green chimes go well in the garden and Black chimes have great contrast, silver, and gold look great hanging from a bracket on your home. And don't forget the modern look of Midnight Blue, or Black Spectrum.
5. Be sure the wind chime you choose will stand up to the wind in your area and buy accordingly. Some Chimes have a magnetic hook that will silence your chime, and some have a removeable sail.
6. Remember even indoors, they’re a lovely addition to your home. a smaller set, (29" or 36") Hung near a open window will work with even a small breeze.
7. DON"T FORGET YOUR NEIGHBORS! While the soft sounds may sooth and relax you, does it do the same for the John & Jane Doe next door?
8. First pick the set you want, then shop for price. There are huge price differences for the same set.
What to look for when buying a Wind Chime:
1. The number of tubes that a wind chime has determines the number of notes that it can play. Wind chimes with many tubes have the ability to combine more sounds and create different harmonies. Wind chimes with fewer tubes ensure a smaller range of well-tuned sound.
2. The tube finished wind chimes primarily affects overall visual appeal. Since wind chimes are usually on display for all to see, this can be just as important as getting the right wind chime sound. Cheep Chimes sound bad, and look terrible.
3. Overall wind chime length determines the tone and depth of the sound. Longer wind chimes produce lower, fuller tones, while shorter wind chimes produce higher pitched tones.
4. The wind chime's clapper is the piece that comes into contact with the tubes. The point of contact is carefully calculated to provide the best possible sound.
5. The size of the wind chime sail determines how much wind is needed to cause the wind chime to sound. most are designed to begin chiming in eight to ten mph breezes. This is a desirable size because a less substantial sail would compromise durability, while a larger, heavier sail would result in less sound.
6. Chimes are measured by overall length, top hook to bottom of sail. Many people write to us asking how long the tubes are, well This is one time i can say, "size don't matter" IT'S WHAT THE CHIME SOUNDS LIKE that's important.
Metal Wind Chimes:
Since most people put their new wind chimes outdoors, finding a durable chime is the #1 feature consumers look for. We feel the Corinthian Bells Wind Chimes ($38 to $350) is an excellent choice for a top rated metal wind chime. The overall length of the chime is from 29 inches to 74 inches, and the tubes are made of aluminum with 6 finishes offered (copper vein, midnight blue, patina green, green, black spectrum and black). All have 6 tubes and the heavy-duty design of this wind chime make it perfect for any outdoor setting. There is even a 5-year limited warranty assuring you have years of trouble free use. If you go online to any serious chime dealer, they will have sound files. Listen to the chimes right through your computer to see how it sounds. Another, more expensive choice is the Music of Spheres Wind Chimes ($60 to $3100). The tubing will never rust on these chimes and the corrosion-resistant finish makes for the best durability around. This particular wind chime has a huge price range, and lengths available from 30 inches to 14 feet! (YES, an amazing 14 FEET!). Each length option corresponds to a sound - soprano, mezzo, alto, tenor, and Bass. Listen online and you will agree the sounds are incredible.
Bamboo Wind Chimes:
The most natural looking wind chimes are those made of bamboo. Our favorite is the various models produced by Woodstock Percussion. The mellow tone from these bamboo wind chime will keep your backyard sounding exotic and looking terrific. Owners say these particular chimes look best in a garden or hanging from a porch.
Glass Wind Chimes:
Goose Rocks Designs is a popular choice for those seeking a unique, yet stylish glass wind chime for their backyards. These colorful hands made wind chimes have hand-tuned Glass and acrylic frames. For an authentic glass wind chime, consider the Riverside wind chimes, designed to resemble a covered bridge over flowing water. List price $130, but it’s discounted around $92.50. This beautiful glass chime will help show off any garden.
Ceramic Wind Chime:
For a real showpiece in your garden or yard, go with a ceramic wind chime. The styles and designs are truly unique without costing too much. Our favorite is the Earthenware Rooster Wind Chime that is only $29.99. The brightly colored ceramic rooster sits above the solid steel tubes.
Solar Wind Chime:
If you get more sunlight than wind in your yard, consider a solar wind chime. Solar wind chimes are a great alternative to traditional wind chimes since they run on solar power (sunlight). Many people say the solar wind chimes are great for indoor use as well if you have rooms that get sun exposure. The Spiral Solar Wind Chime ($80) is a bit pricey, but the design and style will make this product a conversation piece. It's made of aluminum and is almost 1 foot long. There are 3 tubes that run off of solar cell technology. The amount of direct light given to the cells will determine the sounds it emits. Reviews of this chime are all positive and the solar wind chime is sure to improve the feng shui around your house.
Making Wind Chimes:
Do you want to make your own wind chime? It's really pretty easy if you have the right tools and directions. We found an excellent online tutorial with step by step instructions from Loews home improvement store. Their how to guide on "Making Pipe Wind Chimes" is very good. The skill level is considered intermediate. There are sections on tools & materials, selecting the chime material, setting the length of the chime, cutting the chimes, drilling the chimes, making the platform and clapper, and assembling the wind chime.
Repairing your old chimes.
We do not recomend this. Unless you got great pitch, the will never sound very good, and the strings are hard to get.
A few final thoughts.
Don't be cheep. You get what you pay for! Always buy a name brand, or that sweet sounding chime will quickly turn into a clanging, rusting anoiance in your backyard.
I have 3 sets of chimes, and 1 wind bell hanging in my backyard (below my deck) A bass, a tenor, and two altos. on a sunny breezy day, I got me an orchestra!