Tips on picking out the right Shofar/Ram's Horn for you...

1) If you are a first time buyer, always ask questions, and lots of them.  If you can’t get people to answer your questions, search for books or information on the net. The better you are informed, the better decision you can make in picking out your own Shofar. The most important question however, is to ask God if you need to have one.

2) If you are ordering and buying from suppliers via distance (where you are not able to see the actual item for yourself beforehand), it is not advisable to buy a Shofar based only on its claimed size (e.g. Small, Medium, Large, or X-Large) Always find out how many centimetres/inches a size represents.

3) Make sure of the standard used for measuring the size of the Shofar.     
4) A Shofar can be finished in several ways.  Be sure you know which way yours will be finished. You can get:
  • Completely Natural Shofar
  • Completely Polished Shofar
  • Half Polished & Half Natural Shofar
  • Completely Polished Shofar, Sealed Inside & Out
5) When ordering over distance, always ask to see a picture of the exact Shofar you will be getting, and not only a catalogue picture.
6) Generally, the larger the Yemenite Shofar, the more notes or tones you will be able to play.
7) Generally, the larger the Yemenite Shofar, the larger the Shofar mouthpiece will be, and the easier it will be to play.
8) Do not buy based on your budget.  Buy based on what God wants you to have.  
9) Remember when buying a Shofar that the size of the mouthpiece is normally in direct relation to the size of the Shofar. The smaller the Shofar, the smaller the Shofar mouthpiece will be.  The smaller the mouthpiece, the more challenging it will be to play.  Don’t make the mistake of buying a small Shofar as something to start off with and have a very hard time trying to learn how to play because of the small Shofar mouthpiece.  It is actually easier to learn on the bigger Shofar with the bigger Shofar mouthpiece.
10)  Beware of claims that a Shofar makes 8, 9 or 10 notes.  If buying over distance, always call and ask to hear the Shofar before you buy it.  If a claim of hitting 7, 8, or 9 notes is made, they should be able to do it for you in person and over the phone, if buying over distance.  If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
12)  Beware of manufacturers’ claims that Shofars are individually fine-tuned.  With the exception of modifying the mouthpiece, there is no way to tune a Shofar.  If a Shofar was not cleaned out properly at the factory, you can sometimes clean them out a little better to improve the sound.
13)  When buying over distance, beware of guarantees that sound too good to be true, because they usually will be.

Example:  100% Money Back Guarantee for Any Reason, No Questions Asked.  Full Refund of the Purchase Price.

In the afore-mentioned example, if you return it, you will pay shipping both ways. Return shipping with insurance is normally very expensive.  Sometimes the only way to get insurance on shipments is by Express Mail, which is costly
Guarantees are only as good as the company backing them.  I have heard of people saying things like, "I ordered a Shofar from a company, and they told me I could return it for any reason.  It doesn't produce sound.  I have tried to return the Shofar, but they do not answer the phone or will not return my email."
Someone else said:  "I returned a bad Shofar to a company that guaranteed my satisfaction for any reason, and I never got my money back."
So my final advice would be:  Deal only with a well established, reliable, and reputable Shofar companies.
In South Africa I can recommend dealing with Jacobus and Marinda Du Preez who own and manage Shalom Shofars in Brits, North-West Province. They can be contacted at 0834329082 or 0835640770

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