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Talking To A True Working Man’s Guitarist, Greg Koch



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In this exclusive video podcast, guitarist Greg Koch talks to JGT’s Bob Bakert about touring, teaching, recording, writing, designing pickups, and his Reverend signature guitars.

Above photo credit: Kristin Shafel 

JGT: How has your time in music school affected your playing style?

Greg: It definitely helped me expand my style by widening my knowledge of harmony and advancing my technique but it advanced my musicality by me having to perform in a variety of genres and scenarios that I may not have had the opportunity to delve into had I not gone to school. 

JGT: Have you noticed any changes in the audiences in the last decade…? 

Greg: Well, I have definitely been able to reach a lot more folks via the internet so I get folks coming out to gigs who are very familiar with what I do which is great. I do find it interesting that people are either looking at their phones or filming footage with their phones at shows quite a bit. It doesn’t bother me per se but I do think that it seems that people’s ability to be in the moment and just let go and listen has been lessened by the cell phone fixation. 

JGT: What is your favorite thing about your life in guitar?

Greg: I really have no complaints about my life and career in music. I have been extraordinarily fortunate in that I have managed to be able to make a living playing and pretty much saying whatever I want. I enjoy everything I get to do and since I never have to depend on any one thing to make my living, I never get overloaded. That being said, being in a band with my son, who is the perfect drummer for what I do and having him find Toby on organ and have him be the perfect third piece for the band, has really been unbelievably great. Going out on the road and playing music with this trio has definitely been a high point. 

Greg Koch Tour Dates

Greg Koch – photo credit: Kristin Shafel 

Latest CD’s

Reverend’s Greg Koch Gristlemaster Signature Series

Greg Koch and Reverend Guitar’s Joe Naylor

Reverend Guitar’s Joe Naylor: We released the Greg Koch Gristlemaster guitar in January 2019. Greg had been working on a signature guitar with another company, but he wasn’t totally happy with it and that fizzled out. He told us he’d be happy to work with Reverend, and my first thought was “hell yeah!”

Greg loves Teles. But they look a little bit small on his 6 foot 7-inch frame. So we made the body larger by about an 1/8 inch all the way around the perimeter, and that did the trick. It looked less tiny on him, but still looked like a Tele – in fact, most people don’t notice the size increase unless you tell them.

Next up was the raised center section. It looks cool, and the center mass increases sustain, while the thinner wings add resonance for a more lively tone. I then designed a new pickguard to compliment the raised center.

The guitar features Greg’s signature Fishman pickups, which are hum-free, and have two distinct voicings via a push button on the control plate: up is a cleaner 60’s tone, while down is a beefy, boosted 50’s tone. We originally had a metal mounting plate for the neck pickup, but found it suppressed treble frequencies. So I switched that to a plastic plate that matched the pickguard – problem solved!

Some projects take months, others years. But Greg knew what he wanted, and we have similar tastes when it comes to aesthetics, so the project went smoothly. It quickly became a big seller, so we felt a P90 model would be a great follow-up. Hence the 2021 release of the Gristle 90 guitar, which has the same body, but with a set-neck and Greg’s signature Fishman P90 pickups, which are tonally based on the Reverend 9A5 pickups that I designed years ago.

Greg Koch Instructional Books

Greg Koch in concert – photo credit: Kristin Shafel 

Jazz Guitar Today would like to thank Kristin Shafel for the photo inserts within the video!

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