Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Review & Prices

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Review
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  • From Reverend's 2021 Signature series
  • Greg Koch Signature
  • Made in South Korea
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 10" to 14" Fretboard Radius
  • Korina body
  • Roasted Maple neck
  • Roasted Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristle-Tone (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristle-Tone (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Wilkinson Classic 3-Saddle Bridge bridge
  • Medium Oval, Custom Fat Gristlemaster V (Black) Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Jumbo frets
  • Reverend Pin-Lock tuners
  • Weight between 6.9lbs (3.1kgs) and 7.75lbs (3.5kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 72
Sound 80
Build quality 70
Value for money 69
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Boneite Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Multi-Voicing Pickups
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in South Korea
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $1300, which means that the Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster costs around 31% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in South Korea.

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Videos

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster • Wildwood Guitars
Mason Music Demo Lab: Reverend Greg Koch Gristlemaster
Greg Koch on his Signature Reverend Gristlemaster
Greg Koch Demos His New Signature Reverend Guitar
Reverend "Gristlemaster" Greg Koch Signature
More Videos

Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's construction is balanced for most hand sizes.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster weighs between 6.9lbs (3.1kgs) and 7.75lbs (3.5kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Scale Length Comparison
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Neck Profile
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a V type neck. This is a vintage type of neck that is not so common nowadays. Some people like it because they can rest their hand easily while letting their thumb hang over the edge of the fretboard. It's thicker than most modern necks, so it's great for playing chords but not so much for shredding.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Fretboard Compound Radius
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's Compound Fretboard Radius

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster has a compound fingerboard radius of 10" to 14".

A compound radius is the best you can get because you'll get the best of both worlds. It starts curved at the nut, but it flattens as you get closer to the body. This means that you'll get great comfortability for chords on the first few frets, but also a flatter fretboard for playing solos without problems on the higher frets.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Nut Width
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Nut Width

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster Fret Size Comparison
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's frets are Jumbo size. This is a tall fret size that is becoming increasingly popular because it makes it easier to press down the strings cleanly. With this fret size, you won't feel the fretboard when playing, so if you press down too hard, you will get the notes out of pitch. However, this is something you can overcome by getting used to the taller size.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 72

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Limba wood pattern used for guitar building
Limba Body
Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple Neck, Fretboard

Limba Body: Available in either black or white, it's a type of wood with beautiful natural patterns decorated with long dark chocolate stripes. As a tonewood, it is comparable to Mahogany but with more mid-tones.

Roasted Maple Neck and Fretboard: Similar to simple Maple, but even stronger, darker, and more stable to temperature changes. This is thanks to the treatment process that consists in using high temperatures to drain the water, sugar, and resins from the wood.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fishman. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's configuration is SS. This is the classic Telecaster configuration and it's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Multi-Voicing option. This means the pickups can change their output, tone, or sound. Piezo, Fishman and similar are considered multi-voicing pickups.

Diagram

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with SS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Country or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 75
Versatility 64
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 80

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster is made in South Korea. Guitars made here are well-built and tend to have good quality control, even though they focus on mass production. This used to be the most premium option just below Japan or the US, but other countries like Indonesia are becoming great competitors because of even cheaper labor without sacrificing quality.

Bridge

Wilkinson Classic 3-Saddle Bridge: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster has a Boneite nut. This is a synthetic bone material made to look, feel and sound like bone. It's more consistent than bone since it's human-made, so many people prefer this type of nut to guarantee a good nut.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 75
Quality Control 80
Build Quality 70

All Specs

Reverend Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster
General
Brand: Reverend
Year: 2021
Configuration: SS
Strings: 6
Made in: South Korea
Series: Signature
Colors: Blue, Brown Burst, Red, Yellow, Sunburst Burst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Korina
Bridge: Wilkinson Classic 3-Saddle Bridge
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Reverend Pin-Lock
Fretboard: Roasted Maple
Neck Material: Roasted Maple
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Medium Oval, Custom Fat Gristlemaster V (Black)
Frets: 22 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 10" to 14"
Nut: Boneite
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Multi-Voicing
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristle-Tone (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristle-Tone (Single Coil / Passive)

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