A guitarist for most of his life, Dr Brian Dyskin of Caulfield Park Dentists in Victoria invented a brand new musical instrument
I invented a musical instrument called a RalBar [pictured at left]. It’s an easy-to-play electric guitar with only three strings. Anyone can pick it up and play hundreds of songs within minutes. It has completely different fretting and tuning to a normal guitar. The player simply presses a finger across all three strings and starts strumming while moving the finger to different numbered fret positions. When you play a RalBar, you sound really good very quickly.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13. When I was younger, I thought I had to choose between being a rock star or being a dentist. I was thinking about starting a new skill like guitar, I even checked out things like these brands to see what sort of guitar I should get. Guitar shopping is super fun! That said, buying a guitar can get pretty expensive so I did plenty of research on websites like Instrument Find before I actually bought one. Then, when I was about 40, I decided to make my own guitar. I imagined that working with wood would just be like working with teeth. It was only later I discovered that it’s not the same at all.
“Fortunately, I happened to visit a guitar shop where a guy was about to start a guitar building course. He was a master luthier and his guidance was invaluable. My first guitar turned out wonderfully well.
“As soon as I finished my first guitar, I started on another one. I was constantly thinking about designs and how to put my individuality into it. I’ve made 10 or 11 guitars to date. I’ve even made a guitar for Tim Minchin based around a recyclable bag.
“The idea for the RalBar came to me when watching my eldest son attempt to learn guitar. He wanted to rock out but instead was plunking strings trying to play ‘Ode to Joy’. There was no motivation to put in the effort so he didn’t practise and didn’t progress.
“Anyone can pick up a RalBar and feel like they’re a musician immediately. This gives them the motivation to learn more songs, put in more effort and get better.
“I have the RalBar patented in Australia and the USA so I went on the TV show, Shark Tank, looking for an investor. Ultimately, none of the ‘sharks’ decided to invest but interest in the RalBar went through the roof. Hundreds of people contacted me through my website (www.dyskinguitars.com) and a large percentage were keen to place an order. I’ve organised to have 200 RalBars manufactured overseas. That shipment arrives soon.
“Building guitars—and RalBars—that are functional and beautiful is a lovely thing to do. There’s a sense of achievement in producing something that brings people joy and immerses them in music. It really feels good.”