Hey there. First off, I'll just list my current gear, location and genres:

Jackson RR3
Some old squire started guitar (never seen another one like it, broken input jack as well)
Cheap Oscar Schmidt by Washburn classical guitar ($100 impulse buy )

TL-2 Digitech Hardwire distortion pedal
Digidelay Digitech delay pedal
535Q Crybaby Wah

30W Spider II combo amp.

I play anything from classical to metal. Black/death metal, prog, rock/classic rock, classical, jazz and blues.

Lots of text ahead. Some of which may be entirely useless. tl;dr short version at the bottom.

I've been saving up, and been wondering if I should look more into getting a new guitar, or a new combo amp or head+cab setup.

I've been looking at both 6 and 7 string guitars. I don't necessarily need a 7-string, but I playe everything from metal to jazz and classical, so I thought it might be fun to try something new.
Some reasons I'd get a new guitar:
-24 frets, and better top fret access than my RR3.
-No trem system to all quick tuning changes
-Maybe try active pickups and/or 7 strings.

About 4 years ago I started playing guitar again after a long hiatus with my old squire and a terrible little lunchbox amp. About a year and a half ago, I had borrowed a family friend's Spider II 30w combo amp and loved it (Hey, it was a lot better than my lunchbox amp ). A few months later, my parents bought it from him as a christmas present for me. A little while ago I tried my guitar and pedals on my dad's cabinet, and I couldn't believe how much better it sounded than my Spider.

I'd like something like a amp+cabinet setup so I can change things up in the future if I need to, and be able to push enough sound to play a small venue (I played guitar at my cousin's wedding a while ago with my Spider. It was decent, but the sound didn't really fill the room and sounded worse as I turned it up). I'd like to try out a tube head and cabinet setup without any modelling effects built in. I'd also like to continue using my current pedals, but could replace my TL-2 with something else or sell it if I could replace it with my amp's built in distortion.

I have an RR3. I love it, but the top fret access and FR tremolo sometimes pose problems. Would like a guitar where I can just change the tunings on the fly, maybe even a 7-string. Budget would be around $500 maybe?

I used an old lunchbox amp for a while and moved up to a Spider II 30w. Would like a tube head+cab setup that could fill a small venue but still work in a small place if possible, and work well with my pedals.

I play everything from rock and metal to jazz and classical, so both decent distortion/gain and cleans would be perfect. I'm not sure how much a decent head/cab setup costs (The only one I know if is a 5150/6505 setup, which is a tad pricey for my blood :x) , so could I get a decent small/mid to mid-sized setup for under $1000 CAN?

One thing I should probably factor in is that I'm heading out to University next Sept, and will be moving across provinces and staying in a dorm or apartment. For this reason, I'm thinking I should either get a new guitar or nothing at all, but I've always dreamed of having my own half-stack .

This got very long winded very quickly >_> Hopefully you can pick something out of here to help me out. I'm not necessarily looking for specific recommendations, just whether you guys think I should look more into a new guitar or new amp based on my current equipment and if you've ever been in the same shoes as me. I'm leaning towards a new amp right now because I'm thinking that even if I get a new guitar, it's still going through my Spider II and it'll play differently for sure, but might sound exactly the same :\ I'm open to new ideas, and I'm still learning a lot about guitar equipment every day, so if I said something wrong or wonky feel free to correct me.

Thanks a ton. You guys know your stuff, so maybe you can point me in the right direction
I would definitely go for the new amp. You should make that priority numero uno.

Quote by elsporko
I know if is a 5150/6505 setup, which is a tad pricey for my blood :x) , so could I get a decent small/mid to mid-sized setup for under $1000 CAN?

The 6505+ 112 Combo is only $600 USD. I'm sure you could find a used 5150/6505 head for under a grand. Look into those and I'd try out a Bugera 6262 which is only $650 USD for a 212 Combo.


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Last edited by JayT44 at Dec 7, 2009,
Thanks for your response.

Is it worth it to get a combo? I've heard they're easier to carry around and probably cheaper, but since all of the parts are together the vibrations can damage the components over time and it's easier to mix and match heads/cabs rather than changing the sound of your combo. Is the amount of money you can save by getting a combo worth it over a head/cab?
I'd get a head/cab, I have a combo and regret not going the head route. Easier versatility in the long run. It is easier to carry around (why I got it), but I'll probably get a nice cab to use with it anyways.
JVM 410H
Blackstar HT5c
Avatar 2x12 V30s
Jackson KV5FR
Last edited by ninjab at Dec 8, 2009,
Get a new amp. The Spider amps aren't the best tone wise.

When it comes to the whole Combo Vs. Head/Cab debate, each has their advantages and disadvantages. I haven't heard about anyones combos being damaged due to vibrations but some of the other downfalls is they aren't the best to record with (My buddy had a few probs with recording with his Fender Deville) and, if you don't like the speakers, they can be a pain to change. Though a Combo is way easier to lug around than a Head and Cab.

Head & Cab can, at least in the beginning, cost a little more than a combo of the same type (Basic example: Blackstar HT-5 Combo $500, Head & Cab $600). Though, once you buy a solid cab, you'll never need to buy one again. Plus, if you don't like the sound out of the cab but love the head or visa versa, its an easy switch.

I personally am a fan of Combos because they are easier to lug around from place to place :p
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
nothing at all, then an amp.

you're fixing to be living in a dorm man, halfstacks in a dorm are a no-go.

save your beans & drop 'em on a nice amp when you've got a place where you can actually turn it up and play it.
In comes GrisKy with the cold, hard truth >_<

Anyone have experiences with using half-stacks in apartments? The only real place I can see as being suitable for a half-stack is in your own house. With years school ahead of me, I don't see that happening. But there's no way I can stick with my Spider for that long, and I'd feel bad for buying a new combo amp when I could save that money for a new halfstack.

Maaaaaaan XD
im in pretty much the same boat as you, well kinda i have a jackson WRMG, with a trem and was getting sick of changeing tuneing but i have decided to go for a a new amp, nopoint in getting guitars when we already have sick ones, and crappy amps.
alright, what are the chances you'll be putting a band together while you're in college? if you do this, you can all split the rent on some cheapo dump to practice in... perfect for cranking it up.
Definitely get a new amp. Better yet, try getting a good tube amp. A 5150/6505 does Metal much better than it does cleans, so if you're concerned with getting a decent clean tone, you might need to consider something else. Why not save some money and get something like a JSX? It comes in a combo and head version with a matching cabinet, it's tones are very good and it's not insanely overpriced.

There are several advantages of having something like a half stack setup over having a combo amp. Of course, power will be one thing. The size of the cabinet and amount of speakers provide for you better tones. The different brands of cabinets can provide different voicings.
Quote by elsporko
Anyone have experiences with using half-stacks in apartments?

A lot of it depends on the wattage. Combo amps can also produce a lot of sound, especially tube amps. I would suggest a lower watt tube amp (Something like a Vox AC4, Vox Night Train or Blackstar HT 5). This way, you don't have to worry about having cranking it to get good tone and let your roomies be happy :p
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
Quote by GrisKy
nothing at all, then an amp.

you're fixing to be living in a dorm man, halfstacks in a dorm are a no-go.

save your beans & drop 'em on a nice amp when you've got a place where you can actually turn it up and play it.

Well thats a little exaggerated. I'd agree if TS wanted a Marshall Plexi or an amp like that because without power amp distortion the whole point is lost but TS doesn't seem to want that. He wants to play Jazz to Metal so unless he wants genuine classic rock tones, cranking isn't a prerequisite.

Sure the amp won't sound as good as if you got it up to 4-5 but it will still sound great. Just because he's in a dorm doesn't mean he has to settle for a Spider.

TS, if you still don't want tubes get a Line 6 Vetta combo.
imagine a drumkit in an apartment. that's about the same spl as a 5w ht-5.