Black Beauty - archtop mandolin

Let's start with an 'art pic'. Making archtop guitars and mandos is quite difficult but not half as tricky as photographing a gloss black one! Gloss black lacquer is like a mirror and shows every reflection, piece of dust and fingermark so I am particularly proud of the pic above! It is my normal archtop mando using fine spruce and maple (under the lacquer so you don't get to see it) with ebony fingerboard, bridge and scratchplate. Binding is ivoroid and hardware is gold plated. The frets are Warmoth gold coloured nickel silver. Don't know how they do it but the gold colour goes right through and, like the rest of the hardware, contrasts beautifully with the black. It has the typical sound of an archtop with the added advantage of the Highlander pickup installed in the bridge so you can amplify it to your heart's content. The battery for the Highlander preamp is in the tailblock which is enlarged on the backside to allow it to fit but remains small in the contact area with the top so does not affect the acoustic sound.