Greg Koch is a man of many hats. He has recorded sixteen albums to date, with his most recent offering, ‘Toby Arrives’ by the Koch Marshall Trio, garnering critical reviews and enthusiastic response on a recent worldwide tour. Joe Bonamassa has called him ‘pound for pound the best guitar player in the world today’.
He has an extensive bibliography of instructional books and transcriptions of his original works, and has represented such brands as Fender, Fishman, Koch Amplification and Reverend Guitars.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg at a recent Fishman clinic at Long &McQuade Music in Orleans, Ontario. In this interview you will gain insights into the new recording tour with his son Dylan Koch on drums and the addition of Organist Toby Lee Marshall.Other recent projects discussed include his newest instructional video book ‘Brave New Blues Guitar’, a signature amplifier (The Greg) and a signature Reverend guitar powered by his Fishman Fluence Gristle Tone single width pickups. He also gives credit for his unique humour and vocabulary.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Greg Koch clinic, search YouTube for a taste of the most entertaining combination of musical and linguistic virtuosity. As an author, player, songwriter, presenter, he may be the greatest ambassador the guitar has ever known.
The Full Interview
On the Koch/Marshall Trio and touring with his son.
Dylan Koch added drums on the Plays Well With Others cd as well as playing on the accompanying tour. He was more involved with the formation of the Koch/ Marshall Trio as he had known and played with Toby Lee Marshall around Wisconsin. Dylan organized the first jam, which led to the debut cd Toby Arrives and a tour that took the trio to Italy, Germany, Lithuania, and Greece among other stops. Expect more from the trio, as well as a solo Greg Koch album.
On social media and his colourful vocabulary
Greg has a Facebook following of close to 30,000, an astonishing 4000+ YouTube videos for Wildwood Guitars, and numerous live clips. His social media presence is used to update new projects and tours, as well as for ‘having fun’. His interactive ease and humour is as virtuosic as his playing. He credits his inventive use of the English language on his Father, an attorney with an impressive vocabulary, and an early exposure to Frank Zappa.
On the Brave New Blues Guitar video book
Greg’s latest Hal Leonard publication, Brave New Blues Guitar, is an examination of the styles of the blues guitar greats. He examines the nuances of the artists, and includes a number of combinations, where he will play amalgams of several players at the same time, such as Albert Collins and Alnbert King. Three hours of accompanying video footage is available.
On the Koch amplifier
Greg discusses the development of the amplifier and his association with the Koch family (no relation). The amp has five gain stages, a harmonic vibrato, and two 10 inch speakers. It sounds and looks amazing.
On Fishman pickups
This interview was conducted at the Orleans branch of Long & McQuade music, who generously hosted the clinic. The Fishman Fluence Gristle Tone Greg Koch pickups are multi voiced Telecaster replacements that includes a pre-wired control plate with a long-life rechargeable lithium battery that fits the original cavity. A great deal of time was spent getting the pickups right, and I can definitely vouch for the tone and noise-free operation. Fishman pickups systems are standard in the appropriate Martin guitar models, and the clinic a amply demonstrates the time and clarity. Combined with the Fishman Aura Spectrum Acoustic Imaging DI, a Mexican Martin provided a phenomenal result.
The clinic also demonstrated pickup sets deigned for the Stratocaster and Les Paul guitars. All told an amazing demonstration of guitar gear, numerous demonstrations, and of course one of the best and easily most entertaining guitarists on the planet. A very appreciative capacity audience witnessed something special.