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2012/44/1 Banjo, 'Emperor Deluxe' and case, five string, wood / metal / plastic, made by Roger Buckmaster, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2005. Click to enlarge.

Five string banjo

Made 2005

This is the first five string banjo to be acquired into the Powerhouse Museum’s collection. It is important as an example of banjo construction in Australia, as there are relatively few local makers working in this area despite the popularity of the instrument in country, bluegrass and jazz music. The decorative inlay, marquetry and engraving is also distinctive and typical of Buckmaster’s work. It follows a long tradition of making highly decorated musical instruments which has historically als...


Object No.


Object Statement

Banjo, 'Emperor Deluxe' and case, five string, wood / metal / plastic, made by Roger Buckmaster, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2005

Physical Description

Five string banjo with case. Banjo features maple neck fitted with tension rod, ebony fingerboard with pearl inlay. The fingerboard with 22 frets is inlaid with historic sites in China. The lower back and heal of the neck has a selection of hand carved and painted Chinese flowers. Circular maple rim forming the body has a fitted skin on the front side within circular brass metal frame able to be tensioned. The back or resonator features two ornately inlaid Chinese style dragons. The side of the resonator features a stylised Great Wall of China done in marquetry. A metal armrest has a dragon engraved on it. Maple bridge with ebony and pearl top.


Serial number: 38.



Made by Roger Buckmaster during 2005. The Certificate of Authenticity states the banjo was completed on 28/7/2005. Buckmaster has made violins, guitars and numerous banjos. He has sold banjos to players and collectors in Australia, the USA, Japan, China and Singapore.





Roger Buckmaster, son of Australian artist Ernest Buckmaster, was born in Melbourne in 1944. After a 5 year apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner he worked at Maton Guitars for 7 years. His first musical instrument, a banjo, was made at the age of 18. He later studied with various violin makers both in Australia and England such as William Dolphin and Colin Kerr in Melbourne and Wilfred Saunders in England. He established his own business in Melbourne in 1975.


Credit Line

Gift of Roger Buckmaster, 2012

Acquisition Date

30 April 2012

Cite this Object


Five string banjo 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 August 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Five string banjo |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 August 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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