#1
I have been looking for a new guitar for about 6 months now and I have narrowed it down to 3 guitars. I currently own a Squier Stratocaster and I had a Fender Starcaster (bought at Target) and stripped the paint repainted it and put new pick ups in it. I like the sound of Stratocasters but I would like to explore something different.

I play mainly blues based music. Mainly Blues, Rock, Alternative. The Bands and Musicians I play the most are White Stripes/Jack White, The Black Keys, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Pearl Jam, GNR,Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Eric Clapton, Foo Fighters, Kenny Wayne Shephard Oasis and Joe Bonnamassa.

I know that is a lot but I need something that will play everything. I was looking at Telecasters. Either a MIM or a Squier Classic Vibe Custom, an Epiphone Les Paul, or a Epiphone 335(Dot). As you can see I am keeping it under $500.

I am open to any other suggestions but please keep it under $500. I play into a Fender Frontman and have a Boss DS-1, BD-2 and a Big Muff Pi USA.
#2
If you like Telecasters, then by all means take a look at Fender's Modern Player and Blacktop Telecasters. I believe they both sell for just under US$500.00. You might also find a higher-grade Telecaster in your budget if you go used.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#4
If you like Teles, look at G&L ASAT

Also you can afford a used Gibson LP studio for <$500 look here www.guitarcenter.com/usedgear
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#5
I know you want to keep it under 500, but for a little bit more you can get a G&L legacy Stratocaster, and their mid range is the same sort of quality as most companies high end. I mean, you get a swamp ash body on their 500 dollar guitar. That is nanners.

I personally think you can't go wrong with a stratocaster type guitar, but you might check out some ibanez guitars also. With ibanez you aren't paying for the name nearly as much as you would with a fender or gibson. Also, they make a good guitar.

Above all, make sure you play the guitar and you really like the way it plays and sounds. Don't get caught up in names or badges. A good guitar is a good guitar, no matter who made it.
#7
Just watched the Dunlop video of the Swollen Pickle and that does not even come close to the big muff. The swollen pickle is amazing so mush more versatile.
#8
If you're interested in used gear, 1980s Japanese Stratocasters can be had for $500 or less and they're very high quality. There are also Japanese Telecasters, but in my experience they go for a bit more than $500.
Axes:
2010 Carvin ST300C
1994 Jackson Soloist XL Professional
2008 "Jacksbanez"
2007 Gibson Flying V
2003 Epiphone Les Paul Plus

Amps:
Peavey 6505+ Combo
Peavey Classic 30
Peavey Vypyr 15