African Blackwood banjo

The resonator is Gibson style curly Maple

I put Blackwood and celluloid overlay


The center added.

Celluloid pieces.
 Gold and silver laminates are adhered underside with  acetone solved clear celluloid glue.




The center gold piece, with too much acetone glue, the dark brown color of Blackwood, which is soluble to alcohol, bled and is dyed dark partially .

Sanded and engraved.


The side,  veneered with Blackwood, is engraved and inlayed.


African blackwood looks like Ebony but it’s a kind of rosewood. Very heavy and hard.
In Japan, an average grade Shamisen has Pterocarpus indicus neck, higher grade one has rosewood neck, highest grade has Red sanders neck.
Red sander is very heavy and hard, and extremely rare and expensive , too.
On the contrary, in spite of the grade , most of Shamisen have Pterocarpus indicus body.
So, Pterocarpus indicus body(rim) is best choice for sound box and for the neck wood, the heavier and harder, the better.

Glued with center strips.


Vinnie sent this brass flange of unknown origin to me. It is very heavy and sturdy but the flange openings are in oblong shaped and not charming.

Modification was done with jig saw and file.


Art Deco inspired design.

Black, bronze and gold MOP were used other than usual white MOP and I assembled these into one inlay so that it shows different reflection of light .

I used black pearl, bronze pearl and gold pearl.

Stars fell on Alabama.

in the black sky.

It’s a shirt button.

Glued to the neck.

Block rim of pterocarpus indicus

One ply of the same wood added to make it stronger.

Turned to fit with flathead tonering.

This is blackwood tonering.


Finished. The long arm rest is given by Vinnie. Thank you.
Tension Lock Tailiuece from Dan Goodrich

Another beautiful creation!
Thank you Mash, for sharing these pictures and your process.

Thanks for watching,Vinnie