Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster – Killer Tone!

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Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster - Blucifer
“Blucifer”

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!


Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster - Pow Yellow
“Pow Yellow”

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)

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster - "Wow Red" body color
“Wow Red”

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.

PROS

✅ Active Noiseless Pickups

✅ Midrange Boost

✅ Compound Radius Neck

CONS

❌ 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)

Design

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.8 Out Of 10

Overall Quality

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.7 Out Of 10

Functionality

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.8 Out Of 10

Price

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.0 Out Of 10

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster - The Reverend Logo

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.


Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster - Tobacco Burst
“Tobacco Burst”

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.


Gristlemaster Specifications

Specifications For The Reverend Greg Koch Gristlemaster

ItemSpecification
BodyKorina Solidbody with Gloss Polyurethane finish
ShapeTele-Type with raised center ridge, and a chamber under the pickguard
ColorsWow Red, Blucifer, Pow Yellow, 3 Tone Burst, Tobacco Burst, and Butterscotch Blonde (Peach Guitars Exclusive)
NeckRoasted Maple (6 Bolt-on) Medium Oval, or Custom Fat Gristlemaster V (Black)
BrandingReverend decal with logo on the headstock, Signed in the back by Greg
Fingerboard MaterialRoasted Maple
Fingerboard Specs10-14″ Compound Radius with 25.5″ scale length
Nut43mm Width – Boneite
Frets22 – 0.110″W x 0.050″H (6105)
TransportTwo-Toned Teardrop Hardshell Case (Available Separately)
Hardware
Bridge/TailpieceWilkinson Classic 3-Brass-Saddle Bridge (string-through-body)
TunersReverend Pin-Lock (locking tuners)
Neck Plate6-Hole, not embossed
Electronics
Neck PickupFishman Greg Koch Signature Gristletone (noiseless/rechargeable)
Bridge PickupFishman Greg Koch Signature Gristletone (noiseless/rechargeable)
ControlsVolume, Tone, Midrange Boost (button between volume and tone control)
Switching3-way blade pickup switch
MiscellaneousWeight: 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

ComparisonGristlemasterGristle 90
Neck & Fingerboard
Neck MaterialRoasted Maple3-Piece Korina
Neck attachment6-Screw Bolt-onSet Neck
Fingerboard MaterialRoasted MapleEbony
Fingerboard Radius10-14″ Compound Radius12″ Radius
Fingerboard Scale Length25.5″24 3/4″-inch
Fret Number And Size22 – 0.110″W x 0.050″H22 – 0.118″W x 0.057″H
Hardware
Triple-tree string treeYesNo
Neck Plate6-Hole, not embossedNone (Set Neck)
Bridge/TailpieceWilkinson Classic 3-Brass-Saddle Bridge (string-through-body)Bigsby B-50 with Roller Bridge
Electronics
Neck PickupSignature GristletoneSignature Gristle P90
Bridge PickupSignature GristletoneSignature Gristle P90
Out Of Phase ControlNonePush-Pull Switch On Tone Control
Pickup Battery LifeUp To 250 HoursUp To 60 Hours
Miscellaneous
WeightAbout 7 to 7.5 poundsAbout 7.75 to 8 pounds
Cost$2039, ($1,700 street)$2,279 ($1,900 Street)

My Guitar Lair - Features and Benefits Section

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.

Locking Tuners

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.

Korina Body

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.”

Fishman Pickups

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!

Wilkinson Bridge

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.”


My Guitar Lair - Pros (Thumbs Up) Section

What I Like About The Gristlemaster

Here are some of the features that I think really make this guitar worth considering.

Rechargeable Pickups

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.

“No-Treble-Bleed” Circuit

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.


My Guitar Lair - Cons (Thumbs Down) Section

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 an issue in this review

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!

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster – Teardrop Two Tone Case
Teardrop Two Tone Case

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!


My Guitar Lair - A scale trying to balance a guitar player on one side and a stack of coins on the other side.

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.

Best Telecaster Players - Greg Koch's Instructional Guitar Book

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!


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

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.


Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

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.

Keywords-Included

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!


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

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?

About Frank

Click Here To Learn More About Me!



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4 thoughts on “Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster – Killer Tone!”

  1. Wow!

    The Reverend Greg Koch Signature GristleMaster guitar seems perfect for professional and experienced guitarists. 

    I like the fact it is built to last, with a roasted maple neck and quality components.

     What a shame there’s no hard case included, still, maybe some people want to save the money, and they already have got a hardshell case they can use.

    I love the Blucifer but I must admit, I love the name as much as the actual colour!

    Great article – thanks!!

    Julia

    Reply
    • Hi, Julia

      Thank You for your comments!

      It is a great guitar, and I love all the available colors. The Gristlemaster plays as good as it looks! Check one out if you get the chance.

      Frank

      Reply
  2. The Gristlemaster is a classic T-style guitar, but more than this, it is custom designed and enhanced to bring you a type of music style. Super-Tele is the attraction, and in this category, the guitar seems to be top-flight. It has been built to last and has many quality features.

    Features include; Roasted Maple Neck, Locking Tuners, Korina Body, Fishman Pickups, and Wilkinson Bridge; all speak of the incredible value of these guitars.

    Add to this impressive list  Rechargeable Pickups, Midrange Boost Button,  No-Treble-Bleed” Circuit, Compound Radius Fingerboard, and the ability to Take Stomp Boxes Well, and you have all the ingredients for a guitar that will be valued for so many features and quality.

    Reply
    • Hi, Toplink

      Thank You for your summary of this guitar’s features.

      If you are thinking of purchasing one, you can’t go wrong. It can easily cover anything you can play with a standard Tele.

      Frank

      Reply

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