#1
I'll try to keep this pretty short and simple.

Budget: I'm hoping to sell my Epi Explorer and a B.C. Rich Warlock soon for about $600 total so that's what I intend to buy an amp with.

Genres: I'm a huge fan of Vai's tone but would like to get some modern metal sounds as well but that's really just a side note.

New or Used: Either works for me.

Home or Gig: I'll be playing at home but hope to gig as well soon. I'm not too worried about it getting quiet or whatever so if something big and loud is best, then by all means recommend it. My family can deal with it

Closest City: Jacksonville, North Carolina, U.S.

Current Gear: Ibanez RG350DX, Modtone Speedbox, and Marshall MB30. To sum it up... it sounds horrible. Distortion pedal into a bass amp... not really surprising. Don't laugh at me... my Mom's idea of a birthday present. She had no clue what she was doing I do have an old Crate practice amp is well but the distortion+bass amp actually sounds better than it.

It actually makes me angry playing, because it sounds so awful. Which is horrible since I love playing. So any help would be muchly appreciated.
#3
Wow your area sucks... I went through a month of Craigslist ads and saw nothing of interest to you.

That being the case I think you'll need to look new, which limits you a lot. I'm not much of a metal guy so I'll let some of the head bangers help you out with the rest. Good luck!
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#4
For that budget, I'd wait before getting yourself a genuine US hi-gain type rock amp (think Mesa Boogie, Carvin, Bogner, etc; most of those amps'll cost ya thousands of dollars) which you wouldn't be able to fully enjoy anyways since you're not in a band yet and you seem to be relatively new to this "I'ma buy me an amp" thing. Maybe check out some Marshall (like the AVT Valvestate lines), Hughes & Kettner or Peavey. They tend to offer decent to pretty great amps within that price range. Perhaps a Carvin's SX50??

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#5
buy off ebay for used, and yes peavey or maybe bugera amps would be your best bet, vai plays carvin amps but his signature model probably costs a fortune
My Gear:
BC Rich Gunslinger Retro Blade
Vintage V100 Paradise + SD Alnico Pro Slash APH-2's
1963 Burns Short Scale Jazz Guitar
Dean Performer Florentine
Bugera 6260
Orange Micro Terror + cab
Digitech Bad Monkey
Zoom G2G
#6
Well The old Carvin Legacy 1 series can go for cheap on Ebay. If you are looking for just pure versatility Check out A Line6 Spider Valve (yea you find an ALL valve amp that has that many features for that price) Or a Peavey Vypyr Valve....mind you the peavey is a hybrid amp (meaning not full tube) But you can get some very Vai sounds out of either, and modern metal.
#7
Well I have 3 guitars and no decent amp simply because as a noobie, I thought that was the most important thing to my sound. After lurking quite awhile on here, and playing for close to 4 years now, I've come to realize that isn't true. But too late to change anything about it.

Yeah our used market seems to suck pretty bad, from what I can tell. Which makes absolutely no sense to me, being a huge military town with being always coming and going. But that's just how it is I guess.

I suppose I'll have to take a look around, and probably save up more. I was hoping maybe you guys would know of something I didn't that would help. Like I said, it's rather frustrating having to play with this kind of gear. Local shops are pretty much out though. There's only two, one carries nothing but Crate, and I refuse to shop at the other due to some issues I've had with them in the past. And the nearest Guitar Center is in the state capital... which is a good couple hours away. Thanks for your replies though! I'll look around and see what happens.