In this Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster review, I’ll reveal all the remarkable features of this guitar and a few things you might not like.
So, if you’re familiar with Greg Koch, you know what an incredible guitar player he is in every genre of modern music! Is he even from this planet? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he is an escapee from Area 51! Just look at some of the body colors and their names, and you’ll get a small idea of what I’m talking about. ?
Anyway, Reverend partnered with Greg to develop the Gristlemaster and the Gristle 90, which gives you the tones of P-90 pickups.
Read on to learn more about the Signature Gristlemaster!
You can use the table of contents below to take you to the area that interests you. Click on the little box to open it, and then click on the section of the article you want to read, or you can read from start to finish if you want the full Gristlemaster experience!
What Is The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster?
The Gristlemaster is a classic T-style guitar with a slightly oversized body that was conceived by Reverend and inspired by Greg Koch’s vintage Tele guitar-playing wizardry. Greg was intimately involved in the design and refinement process, from the modern enhancements, right down to the vintage Tele capabilities that harken to the classic sounds of the 50s and 60s.
A steel bridge with three compensated brass bridges helps give it that traditional “Tele Magic.”
On the modern side, the guitar has rechargeable active noiseless pickups, locking tuners, a 6-bolt neck plate, and a roasted maple neck to give it exceptional sustain, resonance, and harmonic response.
Gristlemaster – Cheat Sheet
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ☆ 9.6 Out Of 10
Price $1,700 (Street)
The Gristlemaster is a Tele-type guitar that is super-versatile and can easily cover any genre of popular music.
It has an active circuitry that can switch between “white guard” and “black guard” Tele tones.
If you want to go directly to the guitar’s specs then click here.
✅ Active Noiseless Pickups
✅ Midrange Boost
✅ Compound Radius Neck
❌ Out Of The Price Range Of Most Beginning Players
❌ Hardshell Case Not Included
❌ Pickups Need To Be Charged (can be a “Pro,” depending on your preference)
9.8 Out Of 10
9.7 Out Of 10
9.8 Out Of 10
9.0 Out Of 10
Reverend Company Profile
Reverend Musical Instruments, commonly known as Reverend Guitars, was started by Joe Naylor in a garage in East Detroit in 1977, where he created the first Guitar.
Joe is an outstanding designer, builder, and graduate of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery.
Reverend has been run by Chief Executive Officer Ken Hass & Chief Operating Officer Penny Haas since 2010, while Joe continues to oversee things in the R&D department. The company has produced over 30 models of guitars and bass guitars, including ten signature models.
The guitars are manufactured at Mirr Music in South Korea and then set up and inspected in Toledo, Ohio. They feature Reverend’s custom pickups and “Bass Contour Control (BCC),” which works in conjunction with the guitar’s traditional bass and treble control to add or remove additional low frequencies.
Who Is The Gristlemaster For?
The Reverend Gristlemaster is for the player that wants a “Super-Tele.” This guitar can cover a wide variety of Tele tones, including vintage “white guard” and “black guard”sounds.
It is not a low-priced beginner’s guitar. The Gristlemaster is aimed at the guitar enthusiast and pro player that wants a highly versatile instrument with a high-quality design, parts, and sound.
This guitar combines traditional Tele sound with all the modern enhancements necessary to take your playing to the next level. Keep reading, and you’ll find out why.
Specifications For The Reverend Greg Koch Gristlemaster
|Body||Korina Solidbody with Gloss Polyurethane finish|
|Shape||Tele-Type with raised center ridge, and a chamber under the pickguard|
|Colors||Wow Red, Blucifer, Pow Yellow, 3 Tone Burst, Tobacco Burst, and Butterscotch Blonde (Peach Guitars Exclusive)|
|Neck||Roasted Maple (6 Bolt-on) Medium Oval, or Custom Fat Gristlemaster V (Black)|
|Branding||Reverend decal with logo on the headstock, Signed in the back by Greg|
|Fingerboard Material||Roasted Maple|
|Fingerboard Specs||10-14″ Compound Radius with 25.5″ scale length|
|Nut||43mm Width – Boneite|
|Frets||22 – 0.110″W x 0.050″H (6105)|
|Transport||Two-Toned Teardrop Hardshell Case (Available Separately)|
|Bridge/Tailpiece||Wilkinson Classic 3-Brass-Saddle Bridge (string-through-body)|
|Tuners||Reverend Pin-Lock (locking tuners)|
|Neck Plate||6-Hole, not embossed|
|Neck Pickup||Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristletone (noiseless/rechargeable)|
|Bridge Pickup||Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristletone (noiseless/rechargeable)|
|Controls||Volume, Tone, Midrange Boost (button between volume and tone control)|
|Switching||3-way blade pickup switch|
|Miscellaneous||Weight: Approximately 7 to 7.5 pounds|
Two-Toned Teardrop Hardshell Case (Available Separately)
D’Addario Round Wound Strings: 10-46
Warranty: Limited one year
|Cost||$2039, ($1,700 street)|
Comparison Of The Gristlemaster To The Gristle 90
|Neck & Fingerboard|
|Neck Material||Roasted Maple||3-Piece Korina|
|Neck attachment||6-Screw Bolt-on||Set Neck|
|Fingerboard Material||Roasted Maple||Ebony|
|Fingerboard Radius||10-14″ Compound Radius||12″ Radius|
|Fingerboard Scale Length||25.5″||24 3/4″-inch|
|Fret Number And Size||22 – 0.110″W x 0.050″H||22 – 0.118″W x 0.057″H|
|Triple-tree string tree||Yes||No|
|Neck Plate||6-Hole, not embossed||None (Set Neck)|
|Bridge/Tailpiece||Wilkinson Classic 3-Brass-Saddle Bridge (string-through-body)||Bigsby B-50 with Roller Bridge|
|Neck Pickup||Signature Gristletone||Signature Gristle P90|
|Bridge Pickup||Signature Gristletone||Signature Gristle P90|
|Out Of Phase Control||None||Push-Pull Switch On Tone Control|
|Pickup Battery Life||Up To 250 Hours||Up To 60 Hours|
|Weight||About 7 to 7.5 pounds||About 7.75 to 8 pounds|
|Cost||$2039, ($1,700 street)||$2,279 ($1,900 Street)|
Features And Benefits
Check Out These Great Gristlemaster Features!
Roasted Maple Neck
The Gristlemaster has a roasted neck that is treated at over 300 degrees. This gives the maple a lighter weight, a darker “caramel” color, and makes the neck more stable by removing moisture, sugars, and impurities. Roasting gives you a neck that looks more “vintage” and requires less seasonal adjustment.
A 6-bolt neck plate gives the guitar more tuning stability and sustain.
The Gristlemaster has pin locking tuners to make changing strings a breeze and help keep the guitar in tune. A triple-tree-string eliminates G string “nut buzz” with aggressive picking.
Also known as White Limba, Korina is a light to medium weight and highly resonant wood used in many vintage and boutique guitars. It makes the Gristlemaster toneful and helps bring out the harmonics. Korina tends to be brighter than alder but not as bright as ash.
The body under the pickguard is chambered for enhanced dynamic response and harmonics.
The Tele Body Is 2 to 3% Larger because it was made to fit a big guy like Greg, but it still fits inside a regular guitar case. It’s also a little thinner on both sides of the mid-body elevation to give it a bit of weight relief and a look reminiscent of the Gibson Firebird, which adds to the “cool factor.”
The Fishman Fluence Greg Koch Gristletone Pickups are hum-free and have excellent clarity and “treble shimmer.” The pickup system features a push-button switch on the control plate that adds a “midrange gristle.” This gives the pickups a “white guard” and a “black guard” Tele sound.
The pickups are active and recharge via a USB port near the input jack. Greg claims that the pickups can adequately function for 250 hours on a single charge!
The Gristlemaster features a genuine Wilkenson bridge with uniquely shaped compensated brass saddles for excellent intonation and sustain. The saddles are mounted on a heavy-duty steel bridge plate, which gives the instrument a serious “Tele-Twang.”
What I Like About The Gristlemaster
Here are some of the features that I think really make this guitar worth considering.
While most guitars with active pickups have a battery compartment, these pickups are rechargeable via a USB connection near the 1/4 inch input jack. Greg claims that a single charge can last for 250 hours of playtime, although I wouldn’t suggest pushing it that far to find out.
Although I don’t typically favor rechargeable batteries because if you run out of power, you can’t use the instrument by simply changing the battery, this system seems very practical. You can avoid a precarious situation by plugging it in every once in a while.
Having to recharge the pickup battery can be more of a hassle than an advantage, depending on the player, which is why I also listed it in the next section.
Midrange Boost Button
The “Boost” control between the volume and tone control gives a “midrange” boost for all three pickup positions. The “Fluence Core” that powers the active pickups delivers “chimey” 60s “white guard” and twangy 50s old-style “black guard” Tele tones with the push of a button.
The Gristlemaster is designed to keep its treble profile from getting dull when turning down the volume knob. This is useful when you want to go from a lead tone to rhythm without losing the guitar’s edgy sound and dynamics.
Compound Radius Fingerboard
The 10 to 14-inch compound radius fingerboard is comfortable for chording and progressively flattens out as you move up the neck for exceptional string bending and shredding, even at the highest register. This makes the guitar very versatile for practically any type of music.
Takes Stomp Boxes Well
The Gristlemaster sounds great with stomp boxes between the guitar and amp and in your effects loop. The active pickups really push overdrive, distortion, and fuzz effects well and make time-based effects shimmer with all the dimension you can imagine.
See What Is A Guitar Stomp Box – Attractive, Little, Tantalizing for more info.
What You Might Not Like About The Gristlemaster
There’s not much to dislike about this guitar. Reverend makes exceptional instruments. The Gristlemaster was designed to hold up under Greg’s demanding on-the-road schedule and cater to his incredible musical repertoire.
Out Of The Price Range For Most Beginning Players
If you are just beginning your guitar journey, this may not be the instrument for you. It is priced for more advanced players and pros. On the other hand, if you can afford it, this guitar will never disappoint you, no matter how good you get or what music you play.
So, if you really love how the guitar looks, sounds, and plays, it’s worth the investment. If you decide playing the guitar is ultimately not for you, the resale value should be pretty good.
Hardshell Case Is Not Included
At a list price of over $2,000, the guitar should come with a hardshell case, at least in my opinion! In the next section, you can read more about the optional hardshell case available through Reverend.
Pickups Need To Be Charged
Some players may not be comfortable with the idea of rechargeable pickups. At a performance duration of “250 hours,” they are made to give you maximal quality and output, no matter how long your gig is.
It’s just something to be aware of, even if it isn’t an issue for you. It makes me wonder what will happen if someday you need a battery replacement and the guitar is no longer available.
Beware Of The Hardshell Case Issue!
Reverend says the hardshell case is “optional,” which means you’re on your own to make guitar transport arrangements!
They sell a TKL Premium Teardrop Guitar Case, which features a multi-ply, hand-laminated wood shell with forge steel-plated hardware.
This case will set you back about $220, but it’s very high quality. You can use any hardshell case that holds a Fender guitar and save yourself some money.
If you buy this guitar without a hardshell case, be sure to bargain for a free gig bag to store and carry it in. It really deserves something more substantial for players who will use the guitar professionally!
Is The Gristlemaster Legit?
Absolutely! If you’re looking for the next step in the evolution of the Telecaster, I sincerely recommend you check out the Gristlemaster!
It probably won’t replace your original 50s or 6s vintage Tele, but overall, I would say it’s worth every penny for all that you get.
Those white and black guard sounds are definitely lucking inside, and what could be better than noiseless pickups that sound great?
And let’s not forget, it’s “Greg Koch approved,” which is really saying something in my book!
Hey, click the link below to check out “Blucifer.” it’s a gorgeous color!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions I get asked about the Reverend Gristlemaster guitar.
If your question does not appear here, please put it in the comments, and I will get right back to you with an answer.
Where Are Reverend Guitars Made?
The guitars are manufactured at Mirr Music in South Korea and then set up and inspected in Toledo, Ohio. Mirr Music is owned by Hank Cho, a third-generation high-quality guitar builder.
Do Reverend Guitars Come With Cases?
A hardshell case is optional with Reverend guitars. Reverend sells a TKL Premium Teardrop Guitar Case, which features a multi-ply, hand-laminated wood shell with forge steel-plated hardware.
What Strings Do Reverend Guitars Use?
Reverend uses D’Addario Round wound nickel-plated strings. The Gristlemaster comes with string gauge 10-46.
How Does Reverend Set Its Guitar String Height?
4.5/64 inch for the E, A, D, & G strings and 4/64 inch for the B & E strings. Measurements are made from the bottom of each open string to the top of the 12th fret with the guitar tuned to standard pitch and held in the playing position.
How Does Reverend Set The Gristlemaster Pickup Height?
Reverend sets both pickups at a height of 4/32 inch to 5/32 inch, measured from the bottom of the two outside open strings to the top of the pickup pole piece.
The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster is an exceptional guitar if you’re looking for those white and black-guard Tele sounds in an instrument that sounds as good as it looks. So, check out all the available body colors, which are as dazzling as the guy who named them.
The Gristlemaster’s modern appointments, like the compound radius fingerboard and noiseless Fishman pickup system, will undoubtedly take your playing to the next level.
It remains to be seen if Greg Koch will partner with Reverend to design a signature Stratocaster, but let’s hope that’s in the works! If you’re not familiar with Greg’s playing, you owe it to yourself to check out his music for an incredibly eye-opening experience!
Tell Me What You Think
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this Reverend Gristlemaster review, have any questions about this product, or want to leave your own review. I will be happy to help you.
- Have you played or owned a Reverend Gristlemaster? What do you think of it?
- What is your favorite body color?
- How do you think the Gristlemaster’s sound compares to a Fender Telecaster?
- Do you like the Gristlemaster’s pickup system?
- After reading this review, are you interested in checking out the guitar?