Ok, so i just started getting seriously into recording (well, not *seriously* but to the point that i'm sick of my recordings sounding like grainy ****.) and i know almost *nothing* about the kind of equipment i should be looking into.

Essentially i need suggestions on a good mic for recording my Electric guitar and bass, A mic (perhaps a contact mic?) for my acoustic guitar, What brand of drum mics to look into, and what kind of mixing board/direct input i should get. also a good, very simple user friendly recording/ mixing software would be helpful, i'm still just using Audacity.

My current setup is ... really kind of depressing, I'm using a Line 6 Toneport ux2 interface with the included ableton live 6 software to record my clips (i *HATE* both of them. line 6's models are god-awful, and i just for what ever reason cannot stand ableton) with Audiospectrum as400 mics and it's kind of suited my purposes to this point (recording stuff to send to friends i don't see often so they know what the hell i'm talking about) but now i need something that sounds better so i can start recording and mixing full songs.

As far as a budget goes... well i'd like to just keep this as cheap as i can. i don't need Pro Quality gear, i just need to stop sounding like someone recording through a tin can.

any advice?
i have done some pretty sweet sounding recordings with a toneport, amplitube, guitar rig 3 (borrowed) and reaper daw
ESP Eclipse I CTM FR (KGC BRASS BLOCK + IronGear Blues Engine + Dirty Torque + BCS Wiring Kit
Jet City Fusion

Blackstar S1-104 EL34

Engl Standard 4x12 (V60's)

Korg PitchBlack
ZCAT Delay-Reverb
Snarling Dogs Whine-O-Wah
I'd say you buy a decent USB/firewire ext. sound card. A m-audio or a mackie.. In the 150-200$ range you should be good to go. If you want anything to sound at least a bit decent you should go for this price range. For decently (and cheap) mic'ing your electric guitar a Shure SM57 mic is the way to go, they cost around 90 bucks..For recording your bass you'll wont need anything, if your soundcard has a good built-in pre-amp it'll sound fantastic with some good plugins. And for drums, well I cant help you there