If you just want my summary questions, skip to the last paragraph.

Hey guys, I have been floating around the forums and on the net for a while, checking out some sweet gear and such. I am 17, new to guitar, but very committed. I hope you guys can give me some advice-- any advice. Especially on an amp, but critique on my planned setup is encouraged too! =D Allow me to explain...

I want to be able to play nearly everything except perhaps the heaviest of metals. I am looking at Strats right now, even though I would be happy with nearly any tone or style. Hard-hitting, cutting, jangly/pop, or groovy, I like it all. I have only been playing on my acoustic for a few months, but I love it-- a lot-- and I am serious about this. I plan on sticking with it, so I want something good. I spent $250 for some HFI-780's just for my MP3 player, so I care about sound. I expect I will have to use those headphones with my amplifier the majority of the time, so that is an important factor in my purchase.

I am willing to spent about $1000 total for my guitar and amp, and plan to spend money later on some middleman effects. Because of my extremely diverse taste, I really want a Roland VG-99 for effects. From what I have seen of it, I am committed to buy a VG-99... after a few paychecks. It seems like the best effects processor out there... Suggestions on alternatives are very welcome. I expect to spend about $600 on my guitar; I want to find a really sweet Light Ash Strat-- or something else with a great sounding body, recommendations encouraged-- that I can upgrade with different components later.

The rest of my current budget will be spent on the amp. I want an amplifier-- preferably around $300, but I am willing to pay for quality if necessary-- that will sound good both straight from my Strat, but also through an effects processor like the Roland VG-99. The VG-99 takes precedence, since I like so many styles: I want an amp that would respond well to modeling. Also, tonal qualities of the amplifier itself are more important than the sound from the speakers, since I will use them with headphones so much. I figure this means I should check out solid-state amps, and let the VG-99 take care of the rest.

Everything I know is from my experience with an acoustic and internet research-- I've only been in a music store once, and that was for my acoustic guitar! I am a noob; research only gets you so far.

So you pro's out there-- whats your experience? Know any good electric guitars that would be good candidates for upgrades down the road? (pickups, bridge, etc)
Any amps that would be especially good for using with modeling effects like on the VG-99, and with headphones? Any advice about modeling in general?

Thanks guys, this place rocks! Literally!
The best thing to do is spend the majority of your money on an amp and find a guitar that plays well.

For you, I would get a Mesa F-30 (around $600 used) and a Schecter C1 PLus. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you won't be able to use headphones with any amp that is really great. There are some alright amps with headphone capabilities, but none that really take me by surprise and really kickass. It is a give/take thing though because any amp worth having has a volume knob and will sound better than through headphones (even high quality ones). Also, I have experience in "high quality" multi effects and none of them impressed me enough to dump a bunch of cash on one. If I were you, I would get the amp and guitar first. Then, build up a nice group of effects pedals based on what you need most for your styles. You will eventually spend more money and take more time to aquire the effects, but you will be so much happier in the end since I can tell you are finicky about your sound.

Sorry if I sound too pushy about my views, but I know a lot of this from hard lessons (buying multieffects and never using them, spending too much on guitar and not enough on an amp)

Good luck and happy rocking!
And experience wins! The C1 Plus really does sound like a fantastic choice-- great value, versatile, and it also happens to have my favorite style headstock! =D

The F-30 seems like a great product too, but I do have a question. From what I know, tube amps sound better at high volume levels while solid states sound better at low levels-- Should that be a significant factor if I plan on playing at low volume levels? Regardless, it looks like a very nice amp, if I could find one at a good price.

And I'll take your word on effects-- it IS better to enter into new hobbies slower than faster, after all. I have learned that in life! =D

Thankyou very much for the advice!

Edit: Alright, thanks again guys! I don't want to bump the thread, but I did want to thank you for the guidance! After reading about Mesa's amps as well as others, the F-30 seems like a good choice-- but since I am just slightly partial to cleans and blues and don't need any crazy deathcore crunch, I will probably go with a used Express 5:25. Either one, actually, if I can find on used
Last edited by Xenodius at Dec 21, 2008,
^I find that any tube amp that is more than $200 sounds better than most SS amps at low volumes. It is just a misconception the tube amps only sound good loud. Although they sound their best loud, they souind plenty good enough at low volumes to blow away SS amps of a similar price.
^ +1

depends on the tones you're after, of course. but generally, agreed.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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