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#1
I've been playing about 3 months consistently now and I'm progressing along pretty good... and I'm to the point that I know I'm going to keep playing as I've been through the phases of putting it down and look forward to practicing every day. With that being said, I'm ready to upgrade either my crap amp or my crap guitar, so that's where I need your help!

This is what I have right now:
Epi Special II w/ elixir strings
Frontman 15G
Boss DS-1 distortion pedal

I want to either replace the amp with a vox or line 6 spider jam, and the guitar with an epi LP standard. I know the guitar will be easier to play and feel better and slightly more versatility, but the amp will give me way more versatility and better sound. But which is more important right now for someone like me? I'd appreciate any expertise and experience!
#2
I'm sure everyone here will tell you the amp, but I would say guitar. I have my BC Rich as my downtuned guitar and every time I pull it out I hate playing compared to my RR24 (I don't downtune this because it has a whammy bar). A nice guitar will make you want to play more but a nice amp will sound better, which might make you want to play more too.
#3
depends what vox. anything really is better than your current amp so i'd go for the vox. its still not a great amp but its decent enough to let you try out different effects to figure out what you like
[Cool Post-N00b of the Pedalboard Thread]
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Amp:Fender Blues Jr.
Pedals:EQD Dream Crusher->Polytune->PH-1r->Fulldrive 2->Barber LTD->Catalinbread DLS->CE-3->Strymon El Capistan->EQD Ghost Echo
#4
The Valvetronix series (I assume that's the Vox you're going for) are pretty good, and miles ahead of a Line 6 Spider any day. An Epi special isn't great, but as long as the guitar isn't uncomfortable to play on, I'd upgrade the amp at this stage. With a modeling amp, you can get a variety of tones that will be a lot more satisfying for a beginner than a new guitar.
Quote by Joshua Garcia
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#5
For sure the amp, most of the tone comes from the amp, And obviously your amp is lacking, I'd say get a Roland Cube or Peavey Vyper, or a VOX VT, avoid MG's or Spiders.

/obvious answer.

Still though, amp. your guitar isnt all that bad, especially for a starter.
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#6
Quote by farmosh203
I'm sure everyone here will tell you the amp, but I would say guitar. I have my BC Rich as my downtuned guitar and every time I pull it out I hate playing compared to my RR24 (I don't downtune this because it has a whammy bar). A nice guitar will make you want to play more but a nice amp will sound better, which might make you want to play more too.


Kinda what I'm feeling and why I'm conflicted as to which way to lean lol. I could see either or both being true. Bleh.


To Reisgar and Championguitar... yes the VT series, specifically either the VT40 or VT80. So it's definitely a better option than the line 6?
#7
A crap guitar can be made to sound much better through a better amp, however a better guitar will never sound better through a crap amp - replace the amp first.
#8
Quote by Tango616
For sure the amp, most of the tone comes from the amp, And obviously your amp is lacking, I'd say get a Roland Cube or Peavey Vyper, or a VOX VT, avoid MG's or Spiders.

/obvious answer.

Still though, amp. your guitar isnt all that bad, especially for a starter.


Ok then.. majority says amp so amp it is. I appreciate it guys VERY much.
#9
what's your budget?

honestly if you plan on upgrading both in the future, it doesn't really matter....the feel of a new guitar will boost your moral as would new possibilities with you sound. If the time you'll have to wait until you can upgrade the other piece of gear is too long, you might want to go with a new amp however
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
#10
Quote by megano28
what's your budget?

honestly if you plan on upgrading both in the future, it doesn't really matter....the feel of a new guitar will boost your moral as would new possibilities with you sound. If the time you'll have to wait until you can upgrade the other piece of gear is too long, you might want to go with a new amp however


$500. If I can get a decent amp for 300 then I can get my LP standard even sooner, but it doesn't really matter. I don't want to spend 300 and then in another 3 months feel like I need to step up AGAIN.... sooo I'm feeling I should go ahead and just spend 500 on either right now. Next month I'll be able to spend another 500 on the other piece I get 2nd.
#11
Quote by NolaStrings
$500. If I can get a decent amp for 300 then I can get my LP standard even sooner, but it doesn't really matter. I don't want to spend 300 and then in another 3 months feel like I need to step up AGAIN.... sooo I'm feeling I should go ahead and just spend 500 on either right now. Next month I'll be able to spend another 500 on the other piece I get 2nd.



for 500 you could definitely get a good amp or guitar. I mean you really only have like 3 stages in your transition of amps, the first is a modeller/practice amp which lets you find your sound. Then people usually go tube and then finally they go with a really good tube amp. What styles do you like? Where are you located? When it comes to your guitar, exactly what do you want in it in terms of shape, pick-up configuration?

Letting us know all of that, You could definitely get a great set-up
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
Last edited by megano28 at Apr 1, 2011,
#12
Quote by megano28
for 500 you could definitely get a good amp or guitar. I mean you really only have like 3 stages in your transition of amps, the first is a modeller/practice amp which lets you find your sound. Then people usually go tube and then finally they go with a really good tube amp. What styles do you like? Where are you located? When it comes to your guitar, exactly what do you want in it in terms of shape, pick-up configuration?

Letting us know all of that, You could definitely get a great set-up



Well, I like rock, classic rock and a little grunge/metal - even some blues. Influenced by guns and roses, ac/dc, led zep, metallica, nirvana, etc. I'm in New Orleans and I typically like LP shapes and the pickups, but I also like the versatility of say an ibanez with a 5 way switch and 3 pickups. I've had both in my hands and feel like the LP standard is more comfortable and easier to play so that's why I have that in mind to get.
#13
Quote by NolaStrings
Well, I like rock, classic rock and a little grunge/metal - even some blues. Influenced by guns and roses, ac/dc, led zep, metallica, nirvana, etc. I'm in New Orleans and I typically like LP shapes and the pickups, but I also like the versatility of say an ibanez with a 5 way switch and 3 pickups. I've had both in my hands and feel like the LP standard is more comfortable and easier to play so that's why I have that in mind to get.



with what you've said you could try these out

Peavey Classic 30

Peavey Valve King

Both of these could do almost everything you need, with the classic 30 being more oriented to blues/classic rock and the Valve King better for rock/grunge. The latter can do some metal, but it is recommended you get an overdrive to boost it. Buying these amps could potentially mean you skip the modellers all together and would sound better at what they do then a modeller could. What you sacrifice is variety, the modellers are sold on that basis, they can do almost everything to an extent.

If you look on ebay/used you could find those amps for under $400 very easily...closer to $300 with patience.

Now if you want to save some cash and go with the modellers you could check out the

Peavey Vypyr 30 Watt

A great modeller to have, even after you upgrade, it could be your practice amp

or the Line 6 Flextone

These amps are currently discontinued so you'd have to look used...they're nothing like the Spiders(which get a crapload of hate here...I personally don't get it).

You could even check out the Roland Cube 30x

I've only heard good things about those, but I can't say too much, I've never played one.


All of those amps are in a $200-350 dollar zone at most, if you look for deals, even cheaper.


Now for guitars I only have one suggestion, check out the Agile LP, they aren't as known as the Epi's, but they're just as good if not better at much lower prices

I'd recommend this one in particular, it's a beauty and gives you so much for the cash you spend. But if you don't like it, go here, you can pick the one you like.


Hope that helps man
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
Last edited by megano28 at Apr 1, 2011,
#14
A crap guitar can be made to sound much better through a better amp, however a better guitar will never sound better through a crap amp - replace the amp first.


Yeah but a crap guitar will be much harder to play than a nice guitar, making you play crappy, thus sound crappy.

In the end... both need to be upgraded, just go in with the intentions of replacing both and flip a coin.
#15
Wow, I didn't realize I could get a tube that cheap. But... I also live in an apartment, and from what I've heard, you really have to get a tube cranked up and hot to sound the best. Is this true? I'm not going to be in an apartment but for maybe another year at the MOST though... so perhaps it won't be that big of a deal?

And wow I've never heard of that brand... but the specs look great and the price even better compared to the epi. I've never seen those anywhere around here though and wish I could get my hands on it before buying it
#16
I have a Vox Valvetronix and they are a really good solid sounding amp, even at low volumes.
#17
Oh and this is a TOTAL noob question but what do you mean by modelling? I'm assuming you're talking about electronic amps as opposed to tubes? You've been a ton of help megano.
#18
Quote by farmosh203
Yeah but a crap guitar will be much harder to play than a nice guitar, making you play crappy, thus sound crappy.

In the end... both need to be upgraded, just go in with the intentions of replacing both and flip a coin.


I've played both. Not necessarily true. Not unless your crap guitar cost $25 new. I have a $200 Ibanez sitting in here that isn't all that bad. It's not quite as nice as the $3000 guitar hanging on the opposite wall, but still very playable. I've also played my son's $100 Squire. Same argument - it's not that bad of a guitar. It ain't great, but it's certainly playable. Most Epiphone guitars aren't that bad. They may not sound good, but they're certainly playable. So, I maintain my original position. Replace the amp.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Apr 2, 2011,
#19
I've played both. Not necessarily true. Not unless your crap guitar cost $25 new. I have a $200 Ibanez sitting in here that isn't all that bad. It's not quite as nice as the $3000 guitar hanging on the opposite wall, but still very playable. I've also played my son's $100 Squire. Same argument - it's not that bad of a guitar. It ain't great, but it's certainly playable. Most Epiphone guitars aren't that bad. They may not sound bad, but they're certainly playable. So, I maintain my original position. Replace the amp.


Hehe, maybe the BC Rich I have is just a piece of crap then...
#20
Oh and this is a TOTAL noob question but what do you mean by modelling? I'm assuming you're talking about electronic amps as opposed to tubes? You've been a ton of help megano.


Modeling means it "models" the sound of a tube with the use of solid state transistors (a tube is a transistor but solid state refers to the fact that it is made with doped silicon, blah blah I'll stop there). When a signal amplified by a tube reaches the voltage rail it is powered with (saturation) it apparently clips softly while a solid state transistor clips harder. I've never actually measured the difference on an oscilloscope but I'll trust the UG'ers. I've also heard that the "warm" sound from a tube amp really just comes from the output transformer, which is a necessary component in tube amps since the tubes have too high of an output impedance.

But in English, modeling amps "imitate" the roll off effects when the tubes saturate by using solid state transistors / digital effects. I think the Peavey has an Analog Devices DSP, so it uses this to do filtering with digital filters.

The combos typically just have a tube pre amp. My brain is too tired to explain pre amps.
#21
I've never played a BC Rich. Personally, they don't suit my style, which is why I've never touched one.

One man's piece of crap guitar is another man's treasure. Seriously. As long as the frets are smooth, it has decent intonation and will hold a tune, the guitar is useable for learning to play. For Pete's sake, Eric Clapton has actually played in front of people using the crapiest gear known to man - and it still sounded like Clapton. As long as the frets aren't tearing up your fingers, the guitar is playable. It may not sound the best, but it can still be used to learn. When you're learning to play, having a $3000 guitar isn't going to make you a better player, nor will it give you better tone. Think about it.

Most new guitar players wouldn't know tone if it walked up and bit them on the crack where God split 'em. And if you tell me they do, I'll tell you that you're wrong.
#22
Most new guitar players wouldn't know tone if it walked up and bit them on the crack where God split 'em. And if you tell me they do, I'll tell you that you're wrong.


What's your definition of a new player? I've only been playing since August 2010.
#23
Quote by farmosh203
Modeling means it "models" the sound of a tube with the use of solid state transistors (a tube is a transistor but solid state refers to the fact that it is made with doped silicon, blah blah I'll stop there). When a signal amplified by a tube reaches the voltage rail it is powered with (saturation) it apparently clips softly while a solid state transistor clips harder. I've never actually measured the difference on an oscilloscope but I'll trust the UG'ers. I've also heard that the "warm" sound from a tube amp really just comes from the output transformer, which is a necessary component in tube amps since the tubes have too high of an output impedance.

But in English, modeling amps "imitate" the roll off effects when the tubes saturate by using solid state transistors / digital effects. I think the Peavey has an Analog Devices DSP, so it uses this to do filtering with digital filters.

The combos typically just have a tube pre amp. My brain is too tired to explain pre amps.



Whoa.... Stop. Your statement that a tube is a transistor, but solid state refers to the fact that it is made with doped silicon is totally wrong. I'm an electronics technician.

All transistors and integrated circuits are silicon that has been doped. The doping gives us the NPN and PNP. Different dopants create different types of junctions, due to their impurities. A tube is a tube is a tube - it is not and will never be a transistor. A tube is a voltage device, while a transistor is a current device.

The voltage rails are what supply voltage to the tube or transistor. A signal produced from a tube or transistor does not get applied to the voltage rails.

Tubes go into overdrive slowly (soft knee), while transistors have a hard knee and rapidly go from clean operation to overdrive. When a transistor clips, it doesn't do it softly - it's either clean or completely distorted. I have seen the difference on an oscilloscope.

The warm tube sound comes from the tubes themselves and the rest of the circuit design - not just from the output transformer.

Other than that, you pretty much nailed it.
#24
Quote by NolaStrings
Wow, I didn't realize I could get a tube that cheap. But... I also live in an apartment, and from what I've heard, you really have to get a tube cranked up and hot to sound the best. Is this true? I'm not going to be in an apartment but for maybe another year at the MOST though... so perhaps it won't be that big of a deal?

And wow I've never heard of that brand... but the specs look great and the price even better compared to the epi. I've never seen those anywhere around here though and wish I could get my hands on it before buying it



It's true, but it's not as prevalent in those amps, now if you had a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, it's almost required that you crank it to sound good, that classic 30 or valveking sound great at lower volumes, even better cranked.

Trust me Agile is a great brand and it isn't known by many people. If you search the forums you'll see that vast majority of people who have played them just love them. It's true that you can't actually play it, but they have a great return/exchange policy and if for some unfortunate reason they give you a crappy guitar, you could change it, no questions asked. Most people who own an Agile stand by them and as an owner of one of their 7 strings, I would put my hand in the fire for them.


Quote by NolaStrings
Oh and this is a TOTAL noob question but what do you mean by modelling? I'm assuming you're talking about electronic amps as opposed to tubes? You've been a ton of help megano.



To explain it simply without too many details(the posters above me did a great job in explaining) Modellers try to copy the sounds of many amps, they might not do it 100% but they can do many things and they are usually used by beginners to see what they want to sound like and by more experienced players to practice. They have modellers which are tube as well an example would be the Vypyr 60W tube.


No problem man, if you ever have a question, feel free to send me a pm, no question is a dumb one as long as it helps you find what you want
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
Last edited by megano28 at Apr 2, 2011,
#26
Quote by farmosh203
What's your definition of a new player? I've only been playing since August 2010.



No offense, but you're still considered a fairly new player. Most guitar players won't "find" their tone until they've been playing for a few years. Again, not trying to be mean, just being honest. So, please don't be offended.

Too many new guitar players want to run out and buy the most expensive gear they can afford, only to later realize it's not what they really like or want. Again, this takes a couple/few years to form. Buy yourself an intermediate amp, something like the Peavey Valveking that was suggested earlier. They're decent amps for the money. Actually, go out and play several and pick the one you like the best. But don't worry about needing to find that one amp with the perfect tone - you'll have plenty of time to do that later. Relax, learn to play and take the time to "discover" your perfect tone.
#27
Well then... I think I'm going to go to GC tomorrow and try out the vypyr 30 and see how I like it. If I grab it, then I'll go home and order the Agile 3000 and I've scored both upgrades for a little over budget. Otherwise, I'll get one of the tubes and wait until next month for the guitar.

Thanks again for everyone's input... perhaps in a few years I'll know enough to contribute myself
#28
(Going back a page to TS's last comment) Modeling amps mean that they're made to sound like a bunch of different amps. Vox Valvetronix series are pretty much the most versatile and highest quality modelers. I have a VT30 and I can get it to sound like a bunch of things, pretty much the only thing that I can't get it to do is super-high-gain styles (though that may just be because I don't play that music at all). I'd recommend a VT for anybody that wants versatility, and even more to anyone who wants to spend a slight bit extra to be sure that there's quality to it too.

I'd take your $500, get a VT, and then put the rest into a rainy-day fund until you save up enough to get a better guitar.
Quote by Joshua Garcia
my chemical romance are a bunch of homos making love to a mic and you like that cuz your a huge gay wad. You should feel pathetic for being such a gaywad you gay mcr loving gaywad olllol.
#29

Whoa.... Stop. Your statement that a tube is a transistor, but solid state refers to the fact that it is made with doped silicon is totally wrong. I'm an electronics technician.

All transistors and integrated circuits are silicon that has been doped. The doping gives us the NPN and PNP. Different dopants create different types of junctions, due to their impurities. A tube is a tube is a tube - it is not and will never be a transistor. A tube is a voltage device, while a transistor is a current device.

The voltage rails are what supply voltage to the tube or transistor. A signal produced from a tube or transistor does not get applied to the voltage rails.

Tubes go into overdrive slowly (soft knee), while transistors have a hard knee and rapidly go from clean operation to overdrive. When a transistor clips, it doesn't do it softly - it's either clean or completely distorted. I have seen the difference on an oscilloscope.

The warm tube sound comes from the tubes themselves and the rest of the circuit design - not just from the output transformer.

Other than that, you pretty much nailed it.


Hmmm I guess a tube isn't considered a transistor my bad. I just have the image of this when I think of "first transistor" but I guess this was after tubes.



A MOSFET is a voltage controlled current device, and a BJT is a current controlled current device. So not all voltage controlled devices are tubes.


I might have explained it poorly but when I was saying that the signal clips to the voltage rail, I meant if you have a 110V supply rail, your signal will clip as it approaches 110V at the output.
Last edited by farmosh203 at Apr 2, 2011,
#30
Quote by KG6_Steven
No offense, but you're still considered a fairly new player. Most guitar players won't "find" their tone until they've been playing for a few years. Again, not trying to be mean, just being honest. So, please don't be offended.

Too many new guitar players want to run out and buy the most expensive gear they can afford, only to later realize it's not what they really like or want. Again, this takes a couple/few years to form. Buy yourself an intermediate amp, something like the Peavey Valveking that was suggested earlier. They're decent amps for the money. Actually, go out and play several and pick the one you like the best. But don't worry about needing to find that one amp with the perfect tone - you'll have plenty of time to do that later. Relax, learn to play and take the time to "discover" your perfect tone.



I agree, I've been playing for about 7 years and I didn't find my tone until like 3 years ago, it takes time and most kids don't get that really I dunno
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
#31
I don't disagree that I am new, I guess that would explain why I have 3 guitars and 5 amps... haha trying to find my tone . I would have 4 guitars but I can't find the one I want for sale, it's built in Japan only.
#32
So after watching a hundred videos on the amps, it looks like I'm going to spend some time with the vypyr and the valveking and pick one in person. Hoping I like the vypyr though so I can go ahead and order the agile 3000
#33
Quote by NolaStrings
So after watching a hundred videos on the amps, it looks like I'm going to spend some time with the vypyr and the valveking and pick one in person. Hoping I like the vypyr though so I can go ahead and order the agile 3000



that sounds like a good idea, that AL3000 is on par or better than many midrange guitars, if you ever need another, it'll be when you're ready to find a high end guitar
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
#34
Quote by megano28
that sounds like a good idea, that AL3000 is on par or better than many midrange guitars, if you ever need another, it'll be when you're ready to find a high end guitar


That's exactly my goal when upgrading the guitar. You're right, EVERYTHING I'm reading about them is positive in every way for anyone that has had their hands on it. But... what I don't get is the neck profiles, wide, normal, slim... does that mean the depth and shape of the neck, or the width of the neck? I really want the yellow tiger stripe model but so far I only see it in the slim profile. If it's the width of the neck (IE: comparing a typical electric to an accoustic neck) then I definitely don't want any less room than I have on my LPS2.
Last edited by NolaStrings at Apr 2, 2011,
#35
Quote by NolaStrings
That's exactly my goal when upgrading the guitar. You're right, EVERYTHING I'm reading about them is positive in every way for anyone that has had their hands on it. But... what I don't get is the neck profiles, wide, normal, slim... does that mean the depth and shape of the neck, or the width of the neck? I really want the yellow tiger stripe model but so far I only see it in the slim profile. If it's the width of the neck (IE: comparing a typical electric to an accoustic neck) then I definitely don't want any less room than I have on my LPS2.



that has more to do with the shape of the neck, a slim neck profile means that the thickness of the neck is smaller than normal LP styles. When it comes to shape, it's all personal preference, for me they have their advantages. If you really want to see what you prefer, go to a GC and try a Gibson SG/Les Paul and then try an Ibanez RG. The Rg has a slim neck while the Gibson is probably going to have one of the thickest necks there. But like I said it's personal preference, I'm fine with any neck, some guys are more picky
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
#36
Quote by megano28
that has more to do with the shape of the neck, a slim neck profile means that the thickness of the neck is smaller than normal LP styles. When it comes to shape, it's all personal preference, for me they have their advantages. If you really want to see what you prefer, go to a GC and try a Gibson SG/Les Paul and then try an Ibanez RG. The Rg has a slim neck while the Gibson is probably going to have one of the thickest necks there. But like I said it's personal preference, I'm fine with any neck, some guys are more picky


Ahhh... ok, that's what I needed to know. I've played a couple RG's before... wizard necks are what they're called, I believe. Supposedly better for fast playing, but I personally didn't find it too comfortable. I have bigger hands so it's not as comfortable to me at this point personally. Thanks again!
#38
Quote by Ironic Maiden
Amp. I had a Frontman too! Just sold it.


oh God it's terrible... the better I get the more I realize how bad it is. Luckily enough, I've already got my LPS2 and frontman sold to a friend of mine that wants to start playing, so he's just waiting on me to get the new amp and guitar
#39
Quote by NolaStrings
oh God it's terrible... the better I get the more I realize how bad it is. Luckily enough, I've already got my LPS2 and frontman sold to a friend of mine that wants to start playing, so he's just waiting on me to get the new amp and guitar
I had it for a year and my like for it deteriorated. Now I have a Roland Cube 40xl and it's amazing

Might not be best for what you like though
#40
Quote by NolaStrings
Ahhh... ok, that's what I needed to know. I've played a couple RG's before... wizard necks are what they're called, I believe. Supposedly better for fast playing, but I personally didn't find it too comfortable. I have bigger hands so it's not as comfortable to me at this point personally. Thanks again!



Well, the width of the neck has alot to do with it as well, if you want one to have the traditional style neck, sent kurt an email, he'll let you know when the next line is coming out.

Also note that that neck will not be wizard size, they are thicker than that, I only used it as reference
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
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