#1
I'm currently playing around on a Fender Squier Strat (Affinity Edition, if it makes a difference) and a Fender Frontman 212R amp. After being able to play around with Gibson guitars and other amps, I'm not pleased with either of mine.

So, I have a budget of about $300 for a new guitar, and probably around $200 for a new amp. I don't mind buying used or new (Near Kansas City, KS). The only gigging I do is at my Youth Group, through a PA System. The biggest thing I like to play is alternative rock, Pop rock/punk, and also a lot of classic rock.

I don't really know where to start as far as looking into new amps and guitars, because I'm pretty clueless about it all.

Aside from that, I'm also looking into effects pedals. I'm torn between a Line 6 POD X3, or going with stomp boxes, such as BOSS and whatnot. The only thing I have now is a Digitech RP90, and the distortion and overdrive is crap.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#2
what makes you more unhappy - your guitar, or your amp/tone? if you're okay with your guitar for the time being, i suggest you invest more in a new (used) tube amp - your amp has a lot more bearing on your tone than your guitar. $200 really won't get you anything decent. and yeah, buy used. you can get some killer deals on good stuff.
#3
take your amp and guitar budget, mix them together, go on craigslist, start finding good tube amps, try em out. get one you really like.


amp has more influence than guitar.
#4
Alright, that makes sense. Reality, the tone sucks. My dad picked out the amp/guitar a few years ago for Christmas, I didn't get any say. He bought it because it was big.

What sort of amps do you suggest? Spider, Line 6, Marshall, or should I try another Fender?
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#5
if your planning on putting down up to 500, then i'd suggest looking into some jet city. its a great sounding tube amp with a nice crunch and with a tubescreamer or a nice overdrive (full tone ocd is great) then you could really hit almost any tone your looking for. in the way of effects, work on your playing before you really start to mess around with them.

if you do decide to get some effects, a wah is probably one of the better starters. wah, delay, and maybe a phaser/flanger will make for some cool stuff. but, don't overuse them, tasteful amounts are great but wen over done it really takes away from what you playing
#6
Alright. I just know that I need no where NEAR 100watts, which is what I have now. The volume is so touchy that one minute I could barely hear it, and if I just barely turn it up, my ears are on the verge of bleeding. 50 would probably be max.

Looking int Jet City now, though.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#7
For effects, I'd get a mfx pedal like the zoom g3 or the digitech rp355. Both sound great and have many good effects. I have the rp355 and it has never let me down. Click on my recordings in my sig. Both of those clips use the rp355 for amp modeling and effects. And the g3 and the rp355 also have a drum machine and a looper, which are great practice tools.
Guitars: Fender FSR Standard Strat, Squire Affinity Strat, Epiphone Nighthawk
Amps: Vox AC15C1, Roland Cube 15x, Peavey KB-1
Pedals: Digitech RP355, HD500, Joyo AC-Tone, EHX Soul Food
#8
Quote by kutless999
For effects, I'd get a mfx pedal like the zoom g3 or the digitech rp355. Both sound great and have many good effects. I have the rp355 and it has never let me down. Click on my recordings in my sig. Both of those clips use the rp355 for amp modeling and effects. And the g3 and the rp355 also have a drum machine and a looper, which are great practice tools.

The thing is, I've NEVER had very good luck with Digitech products. I own the RP90 now, and everything sounds good, except for overdrive and distortion. The same with an RP1000, which a friend owns that I've gotten to play with. Flange, Phaser, wah, all those sound pretty good, but as far as the crunchy tone I've been looking for, I can't get it from digitech.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#9
You just haven't spent enough time tweaking it. You can get it to sound good, as long as you know how to tweak the settings correctly. And it might be you guitar and how youre running the 90 through your amp.
Guitars: Fender FSR Standard Strat, Squire Affinity Strat, Epiphone Nighthawk
Amps: Vox AC15C1, Roland Cube 15x, Peavey KB-1
Pedals: Digitech RP355, HD500, Joyo AC-Tone, EHX Soul Food
#10
Quote by kutless999
For effects, I'd get a mfx pedal like the zoom g3 or the digitech rp355. Both sound great and have many good effects. I have the rp355 and it has never let me down. Click on my recordings in my sig. Both of those clips use the rp355 for amp modeling and effects. And the g3 and the rp355 also have a drum machine and a looper, which are great practice tools.

Please, no. Please, for the love of all that is holy/unholy, don't do this.

In most rigs the amp is the glass ceiling. Upgrade your amp and a whole new world will be opened to you. May I kindly ask why you have more to spend on a guitar than an amp? I second the above Jet City recommendation. If you can put more toward an amp, you'll probably be happier in the long run. If you meant that you have $500 total, get a Vox AC something or other used and worry about the guitar in the not-so-distant future. Most of my church-playing friends are quite pleased with their ACs.

As far as effects, I highly recommend against any multi-fx unless you get into the expensive rack-mount stuff which isn't what we're looking for right now, is it? I'd rather go guitar-to-amp than use a cheap multi. I play at two different churches for at least three services per week, so I'll tell you what I use most:

Overdrive/distortion/fuzz: I play a one-channel amp, so this is my most used area of effects. I'd recommend a Digitech Bad Monkey to a budget shopper. It is surprisingly good. I also use a Caroline Olympia and a Big Muff clone I made. They're both really good and affordable.

Delay: I almost always have some form of delay going. Right now I use a few DL4s (they break the multi-fx rule) and they're quite good. On a budget, go for any of the Boss DD delays. They have nice, clear digital delay sounds. If you want something warmer, try an MXR analog delay.

Chorus: I often use a chorus on cleans. Rocktron makes a few good ones that are fairly low in price. MXR also has a great chorus. The EHX small clone is worth looking into as well.

Everything else: I'd say hold off on your wah, flanger, phaser, etc. until you've got a tone you like. Then go wild as budget permits.

Don't take my advice on guitars. I go against what everyone tells you to do. It works, but I wouldn't recommend it. I buy $200-400 guitars and mod the crap out of them, usually spending more than the guitar was originally worth. I mean if you're into that stuff, by all means it's a great hobby. I just don't have experience with classier guitars like I do with effects and stuff.

Of course, tone is a constant pursuit. Buy as your budget allows and don't cheap out because you're impatient. I promise you'll be happier getting a nice amp and a few quality effects than you will be getting a $300 multi board and $200 Ibanez RGsomething.

Don't take my words as gospel. Go forth and experiment. Take advantage of return policies. Borrow from friends. Scour Craigslist. Blahblahblah. Good luck, my friend.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
#11
Quote by Phoenyx
The thing is, I've NEVER had very good luck with Digitech products. I own the RP90 now, and everything sounds good, except for overdrive and distortion. The same with an RP1000, which a friend owns that I've gotten to play with. Flange, Phaser, wah, all those sound pretty good, but as far as the crunchy tone I've been looking for, I can't get it from digitech.
That's because you guys don't know how to use it. If you aren't messing with the cabinet models then you are missing out on 80% of the control over your tone.

Here's an example of a tone on the Digitech dialed in to match a tone on my Crate Vintage Club 50 (all tube amp). I'm using the 4CM hookup and can swap the Crate preamp with the Digitech amp model with the amp loop switch. The tones are very close.

Crate vs RP1000
#12
Quote by underoath0902
Please, no. Please, for the love of all that is holy/unholy, don't do this.

In most rigs the amp is the glass ceiling. Upgrade your amp and a whole new world will be opened to you. May I kindly ask why you have more to spend on a guitar than an amp? I second the above Jet City recommendation. If you can put more toward an amp, you'll probably be happier in the long run. If you meant that you have $500 total, get a Vox AC something or other used and worry about the guitar in the not-so-distant future. Most of my church-playing friends are quite pleased with their ACs.
Nobody was suggesting he not buy an amp. He's asking if he should buy a multifx vs pedals. And I think the answer is get a multifx if you want to get a complete pedalboard for a low cost. There are many pitfalls in buying separate pedals.

If fact if he was to buy an RP1000 and get a tube amp with an FX loop. He could run 4CM like me and have good tone and far more versatility when retaining the tube tone. Plus the RP1000 has a stomp loop so he can gets pedals as time goes on and have the best of all worlds. Not only that, but the stomp loop integration has robust buffering and will nearly eliminate tone loss issues that frequently happen with loading up a pedalboard.
#13
Quote by fly135
Nobody was suggesting he not buy an amp. He's asking if he should buy a multifx vs pedals. And I think the answer is get a multifx if you want to get a complete pedalboard for a low cost. There are many pitfalls in buying separate pedals.

I know you weren't suggesting against an amp, but I was suggesting against multiFX. For the $400 or whatever the cost of the 1000 is nowadays, TS could get some nice pedals. But, there's a reason they sell them (other than the mass market of pre-pubescent guitarists who want to play something with Mustaine's name on it). I can't argue whether or not your opinion is right, I can only state mine along with yours.

Out of curiosity, what are these devastating pitfalls you speak of? Don't say batteries. Do not say batteries are the reason not to get pedals.

Anyway, to stay on topic: TS, if you want to play around with multiFX, I have friends who like the Boss ME and GT units. I won't say any more as to keep your opinion of them un-tainted.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
#14
@Fly/Kutless: I've spent probably a total of 5 hours dicking around with my mfx. I don't know whether its just me being an idiot or being to picky, but the distortion sounds grainy. And distortion is what I want. Not only that, but the up pedal doesn't always want to work (which isn't from abuse, as I've never pounded on it before). But, as I've read before, part of it may be the amp. I never turn my amp up as loud as I'd like, and some effects just don't work (like overdrive) like they should on lower volumes. If anyone has a patch, feel free to share.

@Underoath: The only thing I'd really be using is clean, distortion, and the occasional flange/phaser. I think the lead guitar at my church uses a Phaser on two songs, but they play them quite often. If need be, I can hook my RP90 up for the Phaser. Thanks for the suggestions for the distortion, though. And to answer your question, its just a rough estimate of what I'd be willing to spend at this point in time. Being 16/jobless doesn't allow for much of a budget. That, and I'm just a noob when it comes to this stuff. I know what I want it to sound like, but when it comes to actually getting the sound, I may as well be blind and deaf.
As far as the guitar, it sounds like something I would enjoy doing. I still have no idea how to do it, so I might as well buy a $50 guitar at the pawn shop and do research on the anatomy of a guitar from there. But again, as far as knowing which brand of pickups to buy, humbuckers vs single coil.. I'm an idiot.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#15
Quote by Phoenyx
I don't know whether its just me being an idiot or being to picky, but the distortion sounds grainy.

That's exactly what I was getting at. It's all fizzy high-end on any unit I've ever used.

Quote by Phoenyx
If need be, I can hook my RP90 up for the Phaser.

I know people who use multi for weird modulation things. It's not a bad idea overall. It's really the gain-based settings that suck and bring the whole shebang down. If you do mod-only, you won't have too much of an issue. Just stick it where you would a flanger or phaser and go to town.

Quote by Phoenyx
As far as the guitar, it sounds like something I would enjoy doing.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
#16
Quote by underoath0902
Out of curiosity, what are these devastating pitfalls you speak of? Don't say batteries. Do not say batteries are the reason not to get pedals.
Today is your lucky day because batteries didn't even come to mind. The pitfalls I speak of are tone loss from the chain of pedals. It's very easy to encounter and without a means to A/B your setup when you change things around, tone can occur and you not even know what's going on. Also just buying separate pedals is no guarantee that the pedals you buy are going to be any better or as good as what's in a multifx.

It's not always easy to even know what sound you are looking for, or even when you find it. A person's experience is important as someone learning may think they like something, but then dislike it when they hear something else as they gain more experience.

Quote by underoath0902
:Anyway, to stay on topic: TS, if you want to play around with multiFX, I have friends who like the Boss ME and GT units. I won't say any more as to keep your opinion of them un-tainted.
I have lot of experience with multifx. The song Sneaky in my link was done with an ME-25. About 3 min in I use the Freeze effect which is not common in most multifx. Also "Unsynced Jam" in my profile was done with the ME-25. Good tones are in it. I had a GT-8 and wasn't particularly found of the fizz in the amp modeling.

All of the songs in my link were done with a multifx or a combination of multifx and pedals. I have a full pedalboard in the stomp loop of my RP1000. So I've got an M5, Yamaha Magicstomp, 535Q wah, EHX Germanium 4, MXR Classic Overdrive, F&C EQ, EB Volume pedal, and a DOD FX100 Even Harmonic OD in the loop of an RP1000. That's 2 multifx in the loop of a multifx. Most people would cringe at the idea.

Songs 1,2,5, & 7 in my link below were done with a G3 it's looper and internal drum machine running on batteries sitting on a park bench into a handheld recorder. So I got nothing against batteries. That's hardly what I call high end and the recording quality and tone IMO is nothing to sneeze at.

My experience tells me if you can't find good tone in a modern multifx then the problem is you. I don't mean to offend you but the proof is in the recording and I don't see any in your profile. Post some links to your recordings.

There's another thread on this forum that got ridiculous with the guy's demands on the amp he wanted. When he got his expensive amp the tone in the recording was about a good as a Line 6 Spider 15. Good tone is everwhere, but it's usually hidden by the users lack of experience or ability.
Last edited by fly135 at Sep 20, 2011,
#17
Quote by Phoenyx
@Fly/Kutless: I've spent probably a total of 5 hours dicking around with my mfx. I don't know whether its just me being an idiot or being to picky, but the distortion sounds grainy. And distortion is what I want. Not only that, but the up pedal doesn't always want to work (which isn't from abuse, as I've never pounded on it before). But, as I've read before, part of it may be the amp. I never turn my amp up as loud as I'd like, and some effects just don't work (like overdrive) like they should on lower volumes. If anyone has a patch, feel free to share.
What you hook up to makes a difference. I found out how important it was to deal with cab/amp modeling in two different situations. First I was running an RP155 into a 67 Gibson Hawk amp I have. I couldn't get a good tone to save my life. It was very harsh and the EQ didn't deliver. It ended up that just bypassing the amp modeling and using the distortion pedals made a huge difference for the types of tones I was looking for.

The second time was when I was trying to match the Crate gain channel with my RP1000. I could not get a good match until I finally realized the cab modeling was too extreme to eq out. Turned out that changing the cab made a huge difference. There are a couple setting, one is direct meaning "bypass the cab" and the other is speaker compensation which is a fairly neutral low pass filter. They are good to work with when starting a patch because they are neutral. Once you get the gain sounding about right then play with the cabs because the effect is significant and sometimes not at all close to what you want. If you ignore the cab model then you are basically not even close unless by luck.
Last edited by fly135 at Sep 20, 2011,
#18
Quote by fly135
The pitfalls I speak of are tone loss from the chain of pedals. It's very easy to encounter and without a means to A/B your setup when you change things around, tone can occur and you not even know what's going on. Also just buying separate pedals is no guarantee that the pedals you buy are going to be any better or as good as what's in a multifx.

Let me start from the last bit. I completely agree that there are single pedals that are much worse than the respective sound from a multiFX unit. That being said, the converse is quite true as well, especially in the realm of distortions.

As for the second point...that's the point of experimenting.

And not the first point: Buffers help with the tone loss. I'm not a true bypass snob...I agree that a good buffer can do much for a chain (notice I said good buffer). That being said, I don't want to have a "bypassed" signal still being coloured by what the effects unit sees fit.

Quote by fly135
I don't mean to offend you but the proof is in the recording and I don't see any in your profile. Post some links to your recordings.

No offense taken, though you should now see a recording on my page. One thing multiFX are very good at is recording. The song which I just referred to was recorded with various Line 6 HW/SW products, so it's not really meant to further my point, just to provide some more more tunes for the community. But (this is a big but)...tone in a recording situation and in a live mix are, although related, not nearly the same thing in methods of execution. This is a post about live setups, not recording. Therefore my original statements stand.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
#19
Your point about a multifx not being good in a live gig is lost on me. My buddy is a professional musician and gigs with a multifx into a miced Rebel 20. Nobody complains about his tone. And if you are doing a wide range of covers a good multifx has advantages over pedals. Especially for someone on a budget.

His rig is a Pod HD500 with a Digitech GSP1101 in the loop. His primary tones come from the GSP, but he uses the dual amp paths to mix the HD amp models with the GSP. Plus some FX on the HD. The HD500 is also a MIDI controller. He can make a big tone change with a single footswitch, which is an advantage when you are covering different artists and the songs transition with little or no pause. And I have no reservations to say he could pull it off using just an RP355 and people wouldn't know the difference.

IMO cork sniffing on these boards often precedes experience by too wide a gap. This isn't against you, and I have no idea about your experience. But there are some very experienced players that have strong opinions about pedals and amps vs digital stuff. Sometimes their music skills far outweigh the time they spend with digital gear to really get a feel for it. And sometimes the nuances in the tone they look for aren't really relavent to the people getting the advice. As with all things YMMV
#20
I don't see how mfx can be hard to gig with, when you usually only have to press one button to switch your tone/patch. With single pedals, you have to turn each one on and off, which can be a hassle.
Guitars: Fender FSR Standard Strat, Squire Affinity Strat, Epiphone Nighthawk
Amps: Vox AC15C1, Roland Cube 15x, Peavey KB-1
Pedals: Digitech RP355, HD500, Joyo AC-Tone, EHX Soul Food
#21
Quote by underoath0902
No offense taken, though you should now see a recording on my page. One thing multiFX are very good at is recording. The song which I just referred to was recorded with various Line 6 HW/SW products, so it's not really meant to further my point, just to provide some more more tunes for the community. But (this is a big but)...tone in a recording situation and in a live mix are, although related, not nearly the same thing in methods of execution. This is a post about live setups, not recording. Therefore my original statements stand.
Your chops sound great. The recording would further your point because it's from digital modeling and I agree that it's not great (not the playing it's really good). I think you could do a much better job with the same Line 6 interface. I've heard better. Although I've never warmed up to Pod Farm that much.

I'm not a high gain guy, so I never give advice to people about metal tones. And especially metal tones in a live situation. But I have heard much better high gain recordings using multifx, and interfaces with Pod Farm software.
#22
Well first off the 1101 is a rack-mount, which I made reservations for in my first post. I do have plenty of experience with both types of equipment and I feel each has their place. Since every response to this type of a question has to do with opinions, I wouldn't (and shouldn't) recommend something that I wouldn't use myself. But.....we've gone far enough into our own conversation for our poor TS here. Let us agree to disagree...both have advantages and disadvantages. What you use all depends on which gives you more former and less of the latter. I think the TS has a fair sample of opinions from both the world of stompboxes and multiFX to go and explore on his own time.


EDIT: I just saw your post. Thanks for listening, man. Like everyone else, we're learning as we go and each time is a constant improvement.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
Last edited by underoath0902 at Sep 20, 2011,
#23
Quote by underoath0902
Like everyone else, we're learning as we go and each time is a constant improvement.
True dat! I've been playing for 6 years now and it's been a slow grind. I've had relatively brilliant (to me) spells early and then long droughts of inspiration. This last year has been my best in that I've laid down more songs than all the years together previous.
#24
I can admit to lack of experience (hence why I'm here). I do thank you all for the recommendations, but I think I'll hold off on effects until I can go to Guitar Center and test them all out for myself.

@Kutless: mfx is hard to gig with when all of a sudden a button decides to stop working. I've had that happen to me (another reason I'm leaning toward individual pedals instead of another mfx). Maybe its a rare case, but it does happen.

One other thing.. My guitar sounds.. tinny, I guess, in the higher frets. If I try and play the main riff to a song that involves upper frets, its kind of like listening to tin cans in a relative tune, the farther up the neck you get. I'm using Elixir strings (nanoweb, I believe), so I'm considering trying Ernie Ball (I play anywhere from standard E to drop c, and it sounds tinny in any level). I guess that's another reason I want a new guitar, unless any of you have a fix.

Plus, a n00b question. I've never had to deal with gain, so I'm not exactly sure what it is.. What is it?
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#25
Gain is basically how much distortion or "clipping" is influenced in the sound. More gain= more distorted tones, and vice versa.
Guitars: Fender FSR Standard Strat, Squire Affinity Strat, Epiphone Nighthawk
Amps: Vox AC15C1, Roland Cube 15x, Peavey KB-1
Pedals: Digitech RP355, HD500, Joyo AC-Tone, EHX Soul Food
#26
Technically speaking "gain" is amplification. In a guitar amp there are gain stages. IOW each stage provides amplification. Typically some of those early stages are designed to distort the guitar signal when the gain is increased. The later stages generally provide clean amplication when gain is increased.

So in the venacular of the guitar world it was decided to label the early stages of gain that provide distortion "gain". And the later stages of gain that provide volume increase "volume". Now all gain in all stages will have an effect on volume. But gain stages that distort has less of an effect because distortion starts increasing when the sound is clipped. So a highly distorted tone when not increase volume much when gain is increased. It mostly increases the distortion.

That was the long answer in case you want to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs. The short answer is the gain dial on and amp normally increases the volume and distortion some at low gain settings, but mostly increases distortion more at high gain settings.

And Kutless gave you and even better short answer.
#27
I did?
Guitars: Fender FSR Standard Strat, Squire Affinity Strat, Epiphone Nighthawk
Amps: Vox AC15C1, Roland Cube 15x, Peavey KB-1
Pedals: Digitech RP355, HD500, Joyo AC-Tone, EHX Soul Food
#28
Quote by Phoenyx
Alright. I just know that I need no where NEAR 100watts, which is what I have now. The volume is so touchy that one minute I could barely hear it, and if I just barely turn it up, my ears are on the verge of bleeding. 50 would probably be max.

Looking int Jet City now, though.



max, i would tell you 30 watts. 30 watt tube amps are giggable. i have a 60 watt fender tube amp, and i can overpower everyone on stage, and them some (and some after that).


look towards vox, non mg marshalls, fenders (such as hotrod deluxe, and blues jr., and the devilles), orange amps, etc.

don't go with line6, whatsoever. and try to stay away from ss amps (although the vox valvetronix are hybrid, and they sound very good for the price.
#29
Quote by 00_hns_00
max, i would tell you 30 watts.
...
look towards vox, non mg marshalls, fenders (such as hotrod deluxe, and blues jr., and the devilles), orange amps, etc.

Pretty much this. I assume since you're playing church services they have you mic'ed? If so, your focus should be getting as high a quality sound into that mic and then relying on the rest of the system for volume (to a reasonable extent).

If you go used, you'll more than likely get the "next-step-up" than you would afford new. One note on the Orange amps...they're not what they used to be. Don't get me wrong, they're still really good...they're just not up to the par they were a few years ago so the premium price is not as justified.

I have had Blackstar amps recommended to me. I've never tried one, so take that for what it's worth, there were mixed responses along with that recommendation. If you can find a used Crate V-series amp in your desired wattage, they're pretty good for a really tight budget. I wouldn't put it as priority, but I wouldn't mark them off. I've also heard mixed reactions on the Peavey Windsor, but it's worth a shot.

If you get a one-channel amp, just be prepared to get a decent OD pedal or something if you don't want clean or grit 100% of the time.
My pedalboard is worth more than my car, but that doesn't say much for either.
#30
You could get a new vox vt for a couple hundred. Then a used mim strat or epiphone(+new pups if they're still factory). Poof, you got guitar, amp and fx to learn for a few years. Check craigslist too. I've found some really good stuff, really cheap on craigslist.
#31
Quote by underoath0902
Pretty much this. I assume since you're playing church services they have you mic'ed? If so, your focus should be getting as high a quality sound into that mic and then relying on the rest of the system for volume (to a reasonable extent).


Actually, we play through a PA system. Bass, Guitars, Mics, all into a mixer, through Peavey speakers. The amp would be for my own device, and we also have a band competition coming up in November that I may or may not be apart of, so having an amp by then would be helpful, as we supply our own gear.

Thanks for explaining gain, by the way.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.