#1
I know that at some point I want to improve my setup, get better equipment, a new guitar, etc. However, I am not rolling in money so I need to do this piece by piece... but I haven't a clue what pieces I should get first.

My current stuffs!

Epiphone S-210 from somewhere in the mid-90s
A California CG-15 practice amp
a Fender Sidekick 65 Bass amp (it's a giant ass thing)
Forgot to say this originally, but I also own the Vox amPlug AC30 and Metal

I also own a bass, but I haven't really touched that yet. The guitar is more than enough to learn for now.

My musical preferences are towards hard rock and metal, with bits and pieces of other things thrown in. Budget wise, I have no clue really. I probably can scrape 400 dollars together, and if I had to, I could get 600 maybe.

This is more so I can start planning ahead, than going out tomorrow and buying this stuff.


Oh! And since I saw a thread mention the need of telling where I'm from, I should probably tell ya. I live in the Midwest, US.

If you need anything else, just ask!

Have a great (insert appropriate time of day here)!
Last edited by JakeFrmStatFarm at Nov 9, 2013,
#2
What you really need is a new amp
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#4
First thing to do to IMPROVE your overall sound is to upgrade your amp. Nothing else you can buy matters more to your tone than the quality of the tubes and speaker cones tht deliver your skills to ears.

I'd look at:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Tweaker112/
http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Orange-Tiny-Terror-Combo-15-watt-Guitar-Amp-/97129115

However, shaping your sound has a lot to with your pedal selection. For hard rock & metal, that means some distortion, maybe overdrive and some others. On a budget, I'd look for quality and versatility.

One to consider would be the Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde: a dual-purpose distortion & overdrive pedal.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JekyllHyde?device=t&network=g&matchtype=&gclid=CLrmpemJ17oCFTJp7AodrAEArQ

The MXR Carbon Copy delay:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CarbonCopy
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 9, 2013,
#5
Your tone is roughly determined in this order:
Amp
Guitar / FX
Pickups

But you also need to bear in mind what you want to do. If you want to play live then the best possible amp to improve your sound is a good idea, if you just want to play at home for fun, a better quality instrument might be what you want to invest in.
I teach guitar, so if you're in Uxbridge, United Kingdom and fancy brushing up, get in contact! Uxbridge Guitar Lessons
#6
I'll just be playing at home. Nowhere near good enough to perform live. I'd have to hire an audience and/or threaten them.
#7
What sort of sound shape do you like? Lots of mids? Heavy/loose bass end? Lots of sag?
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#8
That's a good question NJBB! (is that what you like being called?) Uhh... I honestly don't know. As far as personal experience goes, it's really limited. I've only ever played my one guitar, through those select pieces of equipment. Honestly, I don't know what to listen for, or quite what those mean, in practice. (Here's to hoping this isn't a forum where ignorance is attacked... ) I've only been playing guitar for maybe 6 or 9 months, but I've only been taking it seriously recently.

I'm really sorry that I couldn't be of more help! The best I can do is give genres, maybe a few select guitarists that I admire.
#9
Don't be so timid we're here to help you.

Who do you want to sound like? Who has a tone you enjoy?
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#10
do you have a decent guitar shop near you? if so then i'd consider saving as much as you can and then investigating the used dept. for your $600 you should be able to get a good amp and a better guitar. now I know people are saying get a way better amp but having a decent guitar is just as important. try to have money for a good set up for the guitar as that will make a world of difference. you may want to look at something like the Peavey Vypyr amps as they sound decent and have fx built in as well. great for a beginner
#11
I've seen Peavey JSX and XXX combos suggested in situations like yours, maybe pop over to a shop and see if you can demo one? Apparently, they have good cleans, and can do good mid-high gain well. And seem to go quite cheap used (300$ ish)

May work, not sure yet as you haven't given us too big an idea of what music you wanna play
#12
the guitar most mostly help you play better, which can be big, but not really a huge contribution to your overall tone. pickups matter lots, probably more than the guitar itself, and if you need something like a Floyd, well, then you need it.

however, i would say #1 amp no question. then quality any type, setup of effects pedals. have the right effects can make a rig quieter, and be far far better than just BS cheap ones. even they are kinda pointless if you are running through a bad amp.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#13
Quote by JakeFrmStatFarm
I know that at some point I want to improve my setup, get better equipment, a new guitar, etc. However, I am not rolling in money so I need to do this piece by piece... but I haven't a clue what pieces I should get first.


In the immortal words of Maria Muldar, "It Ain't The Meat.."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvrupRQD44I

I've been through (and still have) a lot of amps and guitars.

At this point, however, I can go to some gigs and most practices with little more than a guitar and a Pod HD stuffed in the gig bag pocket.

Your guitar is the most important bit of the whole interface; it is, after all, What You Play -- it's your instrument. It's not SO important What it is (the "which is better, a _____ or a ________?" threads notwithstanding) as it is that you develop such a deep familiarity with it that you really don't have to look down to know where you are on the neck; your muscles will simply take you to the right spot at the speed of thought.

I'll spend money on a really good initial setup for the guitar, complete with a PLEK job and a fret superglue (if you don't know what those things are, ask) before anything else. And I'll do that on a $200 guitar as quickly as on a $4000 guitar, even though that setup will probably cost more than the cheap guitar itself. By the time it's over, both of those guitars will play the same. Having a well-set-up guitar is worth more than any amp or FX.

I love tube amps and all the little nuances they bring to the game, and I've got at least 15 of them. But a good modeler (Pod HD, Axe-FX, 11R, Kemper, etc.) can now bring so much of that as well, and it's SO much more versatile (and SO much lighter <G> and a lot more practical. The trick is in setting it up.

After that, you can run it into a whole raft of output devices. For example, I have AKG240 headphones for quiet practice anywhere. No screaming wives or neighbors. I have a pair of KRK Rokit 8s for nearfield personal practice in a small room. I have Atomic Reactor (tube-amp-powered cabs) that can function as combo amps of either 18 or 50W at small gigs. I have a pair of fEARless F115s (each cabinet has a 15" LF driver, a 5" mids and a 1" tweeter) that can handle up to 900W apiece, and I have a 1500W power amp to push them. These cabinets are around 40 lbs each and were originally designed as full-range bass cabs; I use them for bass, modeled guitar and keys (I play all three and started as a keyboard player). They'll blow SVTs and Marshall stacks off the stage, and teach aggressive drummers what loud really is. And finally, the modeler can run direct to the PA.

While there will be a bit of EQ to be done depending on the output device, my entire set list of amps, cab simulators and FX can be handled within one electronic gizmo, and I don't have to worry about the snarl of cables and connectors, the wall warts and power distribution systems, the fragility of tubes and transformers, the positioning of the mike(s), etc. that goes on with a traditional setup. The guitar goes into the Pod, I dial up User Bank Whatever and play.
#14
Your guitar is the most important bit of the whole interface; it is, after all, What You Play -- it's your instrument. It's not SO important What it is (the "which is better, a _____ or a ________?" threads notwithstanding) as it is that you develop such a deep familiarity with it that you really don't have to look down to know where you are on the neck; your muscles will simply take you to the right spot at the speed of thought.

I'll spend money on a really good initial setup for the guitar, complete with a PLEK job and a fret superglue (if you don't know what those things are, ask) before anything else. And I'll do that on a $200 guitar as quickly as on a $4000 guitar, even though that setup will probably cost more than the cheap guitar itself. By the time it's over, both of those guitars will play the same. Having a well-set-up guitar is worth more than any amp or FX.


I won't go as far as this, but a well set-up guitar that you feel comfortable playing is absolutely crucial. If you aren't comfy when you play, you won't play. And that means you won't improve.

The same applies to the parts and build quality of the guitar. Bad tuners will discourage development as he process of consantly retuning becomes a chore. Bad electronics put noise into your signal..or kill it.

I love tube amps and all the little nuances they bring to the game, and I've got at least 15 of them. But a good modeler (Pod HD, Axe-FX, 11R, Kemper, etc.) can now bring so much of that as well, and it's SO much more versatile (and SO much lighter <G> and a lot more practical. The trick is in setting it up.


I have found that portable digital modelers are among the best investments I have ever made as a guitarist.

Boss Micro-BR 4 track
http://www.guitarcenter.com/-i1169092.gc

Pocket POD
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pocket-POD-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104391875-i1173933.gc

Tascam GT-R1
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-GT-R1-Portable-Guitar-Bass-Recorder-105125306-i1401677.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-DR-1-GT-R1-Accessory-Kit-105020473-i1402140.gc

Korg Pandora Mini
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-Mini-PXMINI-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-H70754-i1746466.gc

Korg Px4
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX4D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-103381554-i1124641.gc

Korg Px5
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX5D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104821715-i1387080.gc

Here is a visual comparison of (left to right) Tascam, my PX-5 and one of my Px4s to my old Aiwa cassette player:



Only the Tascam has decent acoustic recording capacity. All DO have features like tuners, metronomes, drum synthesizers, and digital amp & pedal modeling.

So with decent headphones, you can rock out like you were playing Texas Stadium. And yes, they are all about the size of an old Walkman.

The ones I own: the Tascam has the external mics, a phrase trainer (loop & slow down stuff for practicing), and takes SD cards. Both it and the PX5 can connect directly to your computer via a USB port. The PX4 is discontinued, but it can still be easily found. It is less powerful than the PX5, but, oddly, the PX5 does not have a belt/strap hook.

The ones I don't own: The Line6 PocketPOD is, I believe, the most popular device like this; the Boss might be the most powerful (and priciest); the Pandora Mini is the smallest (its about the size of a stack of business cards), cheapest, and least powerful.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 9, 2013,
#15
you got me in a lot of shit with the wife calling at 3AM.

jake from state farm.
Why don't they make mouse flavored cat food?
#16
Quote by gregs1020
you got me in a lot of shit with the wife calling at 3AM.

jake from state farm.




Khakis!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#17
Alright! Time to supply a little more information!

After some thought (and quite a few Youtube vids) I've decided that Charlie Parra del Riego has the sound that I want the most. Hell, he has the playingstyle I want too. (Him and Morgan Freeman could turn my heterosexual existence around).

I don't have a guitar store near me, but I travel around quite a bit because of family, and all of them have guitar stores near them, and I'll be visiting for Thanksgiving later this month.

I'm looking to work up to playing hard rock and metal. My tastes are pretty varied, going from Shinedown to Metallica to Opeth to Eluveitie to Epica to Saturnus, so it's hard to just point to a single thing and say "I want to play THAT" because as of now, all of that seems unfathomably far from my level, and there are so many things I want to learn to play. The joys of being a new guitarist!

Sorry 'bout that Greg! Hope it doesn't happen again!


I think that answered all the questions. If I missed one, just pipe up.
#18
From what I've seen of him, it looks like he's using EMGs- a kind of active (battery powered) pickup. Those a pretty popular among metal guitarists.

As such, the brands that metal guitarists favor will have lots of EMG-equipped guitars in their product line- you're probably going to see Ibanez, Schecter, BC Ritch and Dean all over the place.

However, if you see a Fernandes or Godin with active pickups, give them a try.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 10, 2013,
#19
I'll keep EMGs and those brands in mind then Danny. Thanks.
Last edited by JakeFrmStatFarm at Nov 9, 2013,
#20
I would sell all your equipment on Ebay, Craigslist, or whatever and buy a decent guitar to start. If you go used you could find a nice ESP LTD 400 series guitar for around 400-500 dollars easily. With your left over money I would invest in the best amp/modeller you can afford and then upgrade to a tube amp later. Tone is important at some point, but the development of your playing is more important and a good guitar that is really playable, doesn't fret out, sound muddy, go out of tune easily is really important. Your Epiphone probably doesn't fit this criteria.

With technology today you can get more than passable tones to practice with until you have the money for a tube amplifier.
Gear:

Fender Strat
PRS SE Custom 24
Agile AL-3100

Jet City JCA50H
Randall 2x12 wV30s
#21
If you're just playing/practicing and are a relatively new guitarist then just find a good solid-state modeling amp, like the Peavey Vypyr 15. It gives you a lot of amp models to mess around with and it sounds pretty good for a small solid-state amp.

Other posters are right about the guitar though: you definitely want it to feel very good in your hands. You don't have to go out and blow a ton of money on a high end instrument, but find something that fits your style and feels good to play. You can find many used guitars on ebay, some of which may fit your style very nicely (like an Ibanez Rg1570). Honestly, go to your nearest guitar store and try a bunch of different types of guitars, and then look those up online to find a good deal. You should be able to find a decent used mid-level guitar and a nice modeling amp for bedroom practice for $500-600.
Axes:
2010 Carvin ST300C
1994 Jackson Soloist XL Professional
2008 "Jacksbanez"
2007 Gibson Flying V
2003 Epiphone Les Paul Plus

Amps:
Peavey 6505+ Combo
Peavey Classic 30
Peavey Vypyr 15
#22
Generally speaking, I prefer the portable digital modelers over digital modeling amps. All the little tools- metronomes, tuners, etc.- coupled with portability is a powerful combination.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#23
I'd forgotten about the little modelers.

I've got an old Korg PX-3D and a newer PX-5 (the silver one in dannyalcatraz' photo). Between that and an iPhone or iPad, there's an awful lot you can do.

The Korgs have an impressive list of amps/cabs/FX (plan on doing some tweaking if you're picky about the sound). Mine also has drum patterns, bass patterns, metronome, tuner, etc. I can bring in a song or backing track on the phone, play along with that through the Korg. I can use the iGizmo to look at tab, "sheet" music, etc. I can record sections onto the Korg and use that as a phrase trainer (over and over and over and over...). The Korg will shift its pitch without changing the timing, or it can change the timing without shifting the pitch (so that I can ramp up my speed). You can record via USB to a computer (my PX5D came with Ableton or some such) or to an iPhone/iPad (Garage Band or other DAW). Tons more. I've actually run the thing into a 50W tube-amp powered 2x12, and it makes a pretty decent preamp. In a pinch, you could gig with it.
#25
Plug & play, baby!

Essentially, all will have a jack for headphones/guitar cable output and one for your guitar input, plus possibly some others, like a USB and/or some kind of removable chip drive.

There will be gain, volume, bass and treble controls like on an amp.

There will be some preprogrammed models for certain kinds of amps and effects, a tuner, a metronome, and maybe even some drum beats.

The more expensive models will offer looping/phrase training, programmable models that can be saved, and so forth.

Now, in all honesty, some of those digital models are terrible. But so far, every one of them I've tried has had some great ones, too. Oddly, it will even very within brands, from model to model- just because you like the "Jazz" setting on one Korg doesn't mean it will be good on a different Korg modeler.

They run on batteries or with adapters, and they will fit in your guitar case, so you can take them anywhere. That means you can grab your guitar and jam in the park on a sunny day.

And because they work primarily with headphones, you can practice at 2AM while your housemates and neighbors are sleeping.

And as was pointed out, there are apps for smartphones and tablets (at least, iOS and Android) that deliver similar functionality.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 12, 2013,
#27
The cheapest ones are the size of a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and cost @$99.

The more powerful ones can cost $150-300. That does not include your cables, headphones batteries or power adapters.

Yes, that does mean they can cost more than a modeling amp. However, miniaturization always costs money. And its a lot easier toting around one of these little things than a modeling amp.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#28
Is it worth going for a 200 dollar model, or do you get a LOT more for 300? Since I am on a very limited budget, I need as much bang for my buck as possible.
#29
I just looked- $200 will get you a lot.

1) the Boss Micro BR 80 is running $250
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BR80/

2) the Korg Px5 can be had for $200
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX5D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104821715-i1387080.gc

3) the Korg Px4 has been resurrected as a stompbox
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PandoraSTOr/

4) the Pocket POD is still a winner for $129
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PocketPOD/
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 13, 2013,
#30
Versatile little buggers, aren't they? I mean, just taking a real quick glance at 'em, and it seems I can do anything with 'em. Wanna jam in silence? Put my headphones on. Wanna impress the friends? Plug it into anything! (Seems like you can at least. I see no reason I couldn't get it to play through a stereo if I wanted to.)

Thanks. I will consider one of those for sure. I'll have to try a few out first, but I wouldn't be surprised if I owned one pretty soon.
#31
They're not a sub for a true amp, but they are incredible practice tools, and I actually used one for 3 years before buying an amp. In a sense, it bought me time to sort out what I really wanted...and save up for it.

I figured out that my primary desire in an amp was a crystal clear clean channel...a tabula rasa I could muck about with using a ton of pedals. So I bought a 40w Fender HRD combo.

I ALSO figured out my secondary desire is to have a good amp for heavier genres, especially since the HRD ain't gonna cut it. So an Orange combo amp is on my GAS list.

I see no reason I couldn't get it to play through a stereo if I wanted to.


I'm not sure if I could hook one up to my current component system, but I know I could plug into most boom boxes. And I bet you could hook into any car with an AUX jack or USB connectivity.

That last trick would be even easier if you went with a smartphone/tablet modeling app...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 13, 2013,
#32
I know my little Vox amPlugs can be played through a stereo just through your standard audio jack, which I assume these have if you can use headphones. Regardless, I'll be putting them on my list.