Which piece of gear do you consider to be the most essential in your chain? It can be pickups, effects, etc. For me, it's my distortion pedal. I can get thick chugga distortion or smooth distortion for solos, which is great.

So how 'bout you?
Equalizer... my tone would be ****e without it.
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My fingers.

I really love my Fulltone Ultimate Octave. And my TS9dx.
PRS SE SC ♦ Dean Cadi ♦ Squier Strat ♦ Crate V5 ♦ AXL Akita AT30 ♦ Alhambra 4P ♦ Takamine f-349 ♦ Goodall KCJ
Boss ME-20 ♦ Monteallums modded TS9DX ♦ DOD Grunge ♦ #1Echo ♦
My Guitar, followed by my Fuchs pedal.
I'm Joel. I play guitar. I am a student. I look at the cost of tuition, not in a dollar value, but in the guitars I'm sacrificing now, to be able to buy later.
My amp.

I am willing to put out $900 for my JCM 900 Half Stack, but will put out $600 at the most for a guitar.

That is why I am spending money on a good amp before I get something better than my Epiphone G-400.

That also ties in with the "You can sound better with a beginner guitar through a great amp than a great guitar into a bad amp" fact.
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It's a 3-way tie between my 7-strings, my EQ, and my TS.
I'm looking for an amp which I won't need any pedals to get from some non-boosted amazing lead tones to nice cleans, with-out having to hit a bunch of switch's, so it definantly isn't my 6505. A MIDI switching system will most likely be in order, but I need a new amp regardless for some better cleans.
So having said this, I'm gonna say my 7's.
Amp, without a doubt. Everything else just colors the tone a bit compared to the amp. The amp gathers all the sounds and overtones from the guitar at less than a milliamp, and puts out all that awesome, dynamic, compressed sweet goodness that is a Marshall 1987 that you can feel in your bones.
My hands.
the amp models on my pod

/phail because of lack of gear

Ibanez RG7321 w/ D-sonic in bridge

Peavey 5150 mk ii & b52 4x12 cab

line 6 podxt for recording

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definatly my mockingbird special...
as far as gear goes though, i do like my boss digital delay dd7, and my rc-2 loop station
Peavey JSX 120 Half Stack
Mockingbird Evil Edge SE
Mockingbird Special(White)

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So I dub Thee Unforgiven Three! -How it should have been
my ac30cc2
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^Hows your V18 sound with the Private Jack?
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^Hows your V18 sound with the Private Jack?

it sounds pretty good. I dont think its broken in yet, but it sounds better than how it was stock.
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this is like comparing a flushing toilet to a hole in the ground
Between the guitar and amp I have to have a delay, most used effect in my chain.
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Amp by far. Biggest impact on tone...thus..biggest impact on overall satisfaction
Baron K2 SE 120
MILLS 4x12 Afterburner
Eventide TimeFactor Delays
ISP Pro Rack G Noise Suppressor
BKP Warpig pickups
Other than the guitar, definitely the amp. It's the main part of the tone!

That being said, the F-50 head I bought has definitely been an upgrade for me
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
It can be different for everyone, but for me:

Amp>picks(obviously)>guitar>EQ pedal>effects> & so on
Peavey XXX combo *upgraded screen resistors, Tung-Sol's, and 6L6's*
Schecter Syn Std. * modded, scalloped, and worn*
Schecter C-1 Elite *still sexy*
Ibanez AEL 12-string

"He who sticks his dick in peanut butter is fucking nuts"
Honestly, they all are a part of my tone and are all vital. But I'm obsessed with my DS-1 right now...
PRS SE SC ♦ Dean Cadi ♦ Squier Strat ♦ Crate V5 ♦ AXL Akita AT30 ♦ Alhambra 4P ♦ Takamine f-349 ♦ Goodall KCJ
Boss ME-20 ♦ Monteallums modded TS9DX ♦ DOD Grunge ♦ #1Echo ♦
my guitar because i would play guitar without a guitar. an amp or effects are useless to guitar playing in itself as they do nothing without a guitar.

tonewise, i gotta say amp.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
My orange rockerverb is the secret weapon..it does every genre extremely well, and looks like a millon bucks.
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Fender American Tele

Orange Rockerverb 50
Orange PPC412
my mxr kfk 10 band eq, i couldnt get my tone withought it
Member of the Schecter Hellraisers
Esp Ltd KH-603, Schecter c-1+ and Epiphone Les Pauls
Carvin amps, Sperzel Trim-Lok, Emg active pickups only, Tonepros bridges.

i love the thing, im pissed cos my cable fvcked and i cant use it atm i have to go straight into my amp
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If hands count, that'd be first. But the amp. I canusually play any guitar no problem. I don't need any special features. But my amp is extrememly important to me