Greg Koch (born June 23, 1966) is an American guitarist from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Koch grew up in the Milwaukee area and began playing guitar at the age of 12. He was influenced by the guitarist and singer-songwriter Jimi Hendrix.
In April 2012 Fender Musical Instruments Corporation named Koch one of the top 10 unsung guitarists.
When Koch is asked about his abilities on guitar he says that it is all hard work and practice. Koch claims to have no hobbies, and he has said that he only plays guitar and procreates. Greg Koch does not drink alcohol and has been sober for more than 25 years.
Koch grew up in Wisconsin and he was the youngest of seven children. Koch attended college for jazz performance at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Koch met his wife Sarah while he was attending college and together they have four children, two boys and two girls. Koch and his wife have been married since 1993. Their oldest son (Dylan Koch) is the drummer for Koch's band, The Koch Marshall Trio.
Koch won first place in the 1989 Bluesbreaker Guitar Showdown judged by singer/guitar player Buddy Guy. Koch has also played with Joe Bonamassa. Greg Koch is currently a Martin Guitar clinician. In addition to playing guitar Greg Koch has authored many books on various guitar methods and styles.
Greg Koch and the Tone Controls
The group was formed as a trio that included guitar, bass, and drums. The original band members include Journeyman drummer and vocalist Gary Koehler, bass and vocals Kevin Mushel, and Greg Koch on six-string guitar and vocals. Other members of the band include John Calarco on drums and Tom Goode on bass.
Greg Koch and the Tone Controls won five Wisconsin Area Music Awards for Blues Artist of the Year (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998).
Greg Koch and Other Bad Men
Koch recorded a live album (Greg Koch and Other Bad Men Live on the Radio) with bass player Roscoe Beck and vocalist Malford Milligan and various musicians on the drums: John Calarco and Tom Brechtlein.
The Koch Marshall Trio
The Koch Marshall Trio is the most successful band that Greg Koch has assembled. The band has been well received and reviewed. In previous Greg Koch bands there have been some vocals. The Koch Marshall Trio has not used a singer.
The Koch Marshall Trio is an instrumental organ/guitar trio established by Koch in 2017. The Trio includes Koch's son Dylan Koch on drums, Toby Lee Marshall on Hammond organ and Koch on guitar. The Koch Marshall Trio has signed a contract with the Mascot Label Group. They released their debut studio album, Toby Arrives, on February 23, 2018.
The Koch Marshall Trio's debut album "Toby Arrives" was submitted for a Grammy nomination 2018.
Greg Koch Solo
Greg Koch works as a clinician for Fishman and Martin. In addition, Koch has his own signature amplifier ‘The Greg’, manufactured by the Koch Amplifier company. Koch also has a signature guitar which was released in 2019 by Reverend Guitars, named the ‘Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster’. The guitar colors were given somewhat humorous names like: Kochwork Orange, and Blucifer.
Since 2011 Greg Koch has for Wildwood Guitars in Colorado each month. He has made approximately 4000 videos which have over 50 million views.
Greg Koch released an acoustic album in December 2019. The 38 minute album has 14 songs.
In 2019 Koch signed with True Grit Talent Agency.
Koch has developed his own style of picking which is referred to as "chicken pickin’” and has taught his method of picking, referred to as hybrid picking. Koch uses a guitar pick held with the index finger and thumb of his right hand to pick the bass notes; he uses his other three fingers to pick the treble strings.
Koch has termed his style of playing "gristle" and has been called the "Gristle King". Gristle is usually instrumental, guitar-driven music that leads to a crescendo of trading solos.
Koch's ability on the guitar has been admired by other guitarists. When guitar pioneer Les Paul had his 100th birthday celebration Koch was invited to play. Two contemporary guitarists had this to say about Greg Koch:
- 1953 Fender Telecaster
- Wildwood Spec #10 Fender Telecaster with Fishman Fluence pickups
- Fender Stratocaster
- Fender Custom Shop Greg Koch GSK Stratocaster
- Reverend Guitars Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster
- Fishman Fluence Signature Series Greg Koch Gristle-Tone™ Pickups
- T Jauernig Electronics, Greg Koch The Gristle King V3 effect pedal
- Koch Amplifier signature amp "The Greg"
Books authored by Koch
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 1: Book/CD Pack By will Schmid and Greg Koch January 1995
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method - Blues Guitar by Greg Koch January 2002
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Complete Edition: Books 1, 2 and 3 By Will Schmid and Greg Koch May 2002
- Rhythm Riffs: Over 200 Riffs in All Styles Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Songbooks)) by Greg Koch May 2003
- Lead Licks: Over 200 Licks in All Styles Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Songbooks)) by Greg Koch January 2003
- Hal Leonard Country Guitar Method (Hal Leonard Guitar Method) by Greg Koch January 2004
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 2: Spanish Language Book Only (Spanish Edition) by Will Schmid and Greg Koch December 2004
- Greg Koch (Guitar Play-Along, Vol. 28 by Greg Koch February 2005
- Hal Leonard Metodo Para Guitarra - Libro 2: Spanish Edition Book/CD Pack by Will Schmid and Greg Koch January 2005
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Book 1 - Left-Handed Edition (Hal Leonard Guitar Method Books) by Greg Koch August 2009
- Guitar Gumbo: Savory Licks, Tips & Quips for Serious Players by Greg Koch June 2012
- Slide Guitar In Standard Tuning by Greg Koch March 2016
- Hal Leonard Guitar Method - Book 1, Deluxe Beginner Edition: Includes Audio & Video on Discs and Online Plus Guitar Chord Poster by will Schmid and Greg Koch January 2016
- Guitar Clues: Operation Pentatonic by Greg Koch 2017
- Brave New Blues Guitar: Classic Styles, Techniques & Licks Reimagined with a Modern Feel by Greg Koch May 2018
- Greg Koch and the Tone Controls (1993)
- Double the Gristle (1997)
- Defenestrator (1998)
- The Grip (2001)
- Radio Free Gristle (2003)
- 13 X 12 (2003)
- 4 Days in the South (2005)
- Mixed Feelings (2005)
- Live on the Radio (Greg Koch and Other Bad Men) (2007)
- Nation Sack - Greg Koch and Malford Milligan
- From the Attic - Greg Koch Trio (2010)
- Strat's Got Your Tongue (2012)
- Plays Well with Others (2013)
- Unrepentant (2017)
- Toby Arrives (Koch Marshall Trio) (2018)
- Acoustic Gristle Soup (2019)
- Guitar Gristle (2004)
- Guitar Signature Licks: Blues With Greg Koch (2004)
- Guitar Licks: Lead Lines & Phrases In The Style Of 25 Great Guitarists (2009)
- Vivid Gristle Greg Koch and the Tone Controls (2015)
- Xpensive Dogs - Xpensive Dogs/Wat Tyler [Split CD] Greg Koch: Group Member, Guitar (1996)
- Sigmund Snopek III - Beer - Greg Koch: guitar (1998)
- Willy Porter Falling Forward (1999)
- Discover Wisconsin Music: Art-Of-The-State - Track 1 Ila Rose (2000)
- Various Artists - Where Blues Meets Rock, Vol. 5 - Track 10 Ain't Got Problems (2003)
- Xpensive Dogs - Dog Eat Dog (2004)
- Lisa Lauren - It Is What It Is Greg Koch: Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Dobro (2004)
- Joy Jackson - To Be With You Greg Koch: Audio Production, Drums, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, backing vocals (2004)
- Alaria Taylor - Unfinished Business Greg Koch: slide guitar (2004)
- Various Artists - Acoustic Christmas Favored Nations - Track 5 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (2004)
- Various Artists - Where Blues Meets Rock, Vol. 6. Track 4 Bored to Tears (2005)
- Roger Powell - Fossil Poets - Greg Koch: Bass, Effects, Guitar (2006)
- Lisa Lauren - Lisa Lauren Loves the Beatles - Greg Koch: guitar, Dobro (2006)
- Blues Power - Track 13 Change Is Gonna Come (2009)
- Ray Riendeau - Atmospheres - Track 4 Alias (2010)
- Various Artists - Pepper Shakers: Pepper Cake Label Sampler 3 Greg Koch Trio: Agree To Disagree (2011)
- Various Artists - Grooveyard Records: Best of, Vol. One (The Sound of Guitar Rock) Track 15 Foolish Mortals (2012)
- Carmen Grillo - A Different World - Track 1 Come and Gone (2013)
- John Sieger - A Walk in the Park - Greg Koch: Composer, Featured Artist (2013)
- Various Artists - Blues Essentials [Pepper Cake] Disc 2 track 7, Disc 3 track 13, Disc 5 track 6 (2014)
- Various Artists - Blues From A Smoky Bar, Vol. 2 Greg Koch: Track 3 Sleep Tight (2015)