#1
I'm a metalhead who listens to bands like Megadeth, early Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Blind Guardian, Evile and Avenged Sevenfold (don't judge).

My current setup is:

1. Ibanez RG421
2. Fender Mustang I with a bunch of downloaded presets

That's it. Don't know why I bothered numbering it even. For a list's sake, I shall add that I use a Stagg cable and yellow Tortex picks.

What's my next, most needed upgrade?

For God's sake keep it real, my rig is like this not because I haven't heard of Marshall and Gibsons but for more obvious reasons. *ahem*

Any tips and stuff?
Last edited by josonmj at Jan 14, 2016,
#2
Well Dave Mustaine uses Marshalls, so I would get one. Thing is, you obviously don't want to spend a fortune on a massive JVM stack, but try out one of the DSL1 or DSL5s. Might be able to pick up something used cheap too!
#3
Forget the whole Dave Mustaine thing then. I'm just looking for better overall metal tone, pointing towards thrash.

I will have to stick to solid state. But are you sure amp is the next most needed upgrade?
#4
Yes. Your amp shapes your tone more than any other single piece of gear.
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#5
Quote by josonmj
I will have to stick to solid state.


Why? Cheap solid states suck for metal tones with practically no exceptions

Quote by josonmj
But are you sure amp is the next most needed upgrade?


Well, you could just get a decent cable. Your guitar kind of sucks. But if you want to play metal, the Mustang doesn't really cut it. So, if you want better and more comfortable playability, get a new guitar. If you want a better metal tone, get a new amp.
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#6
Quote by josonmj

I will have to stick to solid state. But are you sure amp is the next most needed upgrade?

Absolutely.

I suggest going used if money is tight. Where do you live? What's available for a good price depends a bit on your location.

Anything besides metal you play?
#7
Okay...let's get real...

It's apparent you're not at the point you want to go join up with a metal band and gig. So I'm not sure what you're after as far as the next upgrade.

What you have to bear in mind that's NOT being said here by people advocating a new amp, is that a new amp is going to require pedals to achieve anything close to the sound you're hoping to get. As you well know you can get a reasonable metal sound for home practicing just from a decent preset on the Mustang, without the cost of another amp and pedals.

When and if you get ready to take it beyond the bedroom then it's reasonable to look at new amps (and pedals) if you want to go that way.

The same is true for your guitar. No amount of equipment will make you a better musician. Practice will. If you're okay with the tone you're getting from the amp and the guitar plays well enough through it, I don't see where investing additional money into the rig is going to be of much benefit until you're ready to do more with it.
#8
Quote by dunedindragon

It's apparent you're not at the point you want to go join up with a metal band and gig. So I'm not sure what you're after as far as the next upgrade.

Some people run fairly large rigs at home, kinda depends on where and with whom you live to decide whether it's feasible.
I strongly object to the notion that powerful or high-end amps are only useful for people in bands, in case you were implying that.

Quote by dunedindragon
What you have to bear in mind that's NOT being said here by people advocating a new amp, is that a new amp is going to require pedals to achieve anything close to the sound you're hoping to get.

A 30€ OD pedal isn't that much of a factor money wise. Plenty of amps get by without one, too - granted those are usually pretty expensive.

Quote by dunedindragon
If you're okay with the tone you're getting from the amp and the guitar plays well enough through it, I don't see where investing additional money into the rig is going to be of much benefit until you're ready to do more with it.

Yeah, would be great to know if OP actually likes his sound or not. If you like it, then why upgrade.
Last edited by TheQuailman at Jan 14, 2016,
#9
For an at home practice setup I'd be surprised if you couldn't get a passable tone out of the Mustang using the computer software - they have Marshall and Dual Rec emulations that should work.

We're not talking gigging or recording here.

I'm also assuming you're a bit new to guitar from your post.

Here's where I'd spend your money next:

1. A proper setup on your guitar - have someone show you, pay a shop to do it and then
Maintain it yourself afterwards - loads of info on how to do this.

2. Lessons - please take lessons. That's the biggest shortcut you can take. I learned and progressed more in 6 months of weekly lessons than in 10+ years of self taught. Turns out I was holding the neck wrong, my thumb was all fubarred, and I needed a footrest sitting. You'll get far more value out of a $40 lesson than a $40 overdrive pedal at this point. Find a teacher that plays the same style of music you want to play. Learning For Wholm The Bell Tolls will keep you way more motivated than Happy Birthday.

3. Practice with a metronome. This is key and once you feel the pulse is a huge shortcut towards advancing. A free app for your phone or a website is fine.

4. Guitar Pro 5. Playing along with tab will teach you how to play on rhythm, get you used to a metronome and drum beat, etc. You can tab out your scales and practice to a beat to build up speed etc.

5. A corollary to lessons is to learn basic music theory. I spend lesson time mostly on theory and technique - I can read tab on my own.

A critical fault when starting out is spending too much time reading and playing with tone and gear and not actually playing.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#10
Aside from downloading presets, have you tinkered with the amp itself and the Fuse software? Unlike what others said, you can get some very good metal tones out of a Mustang I.

You didn't really say that you were unhappy with anything you have. So to me it doesn't sound like you "need" more gear. You've got a pretty solid beginner's setup there. But I understand how it is, once you sort of want new stuff and reading posts here doesn't help. If you are intent on getting something, you can go a step up to midrange equipment: a Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 plus a midrange guitar (in my opinion: $500-$700 for lower midrange, up to $900 for upper midrange), something with a Floyd, ebony, neck-through construction, brand name pickups. Speaking of pickups others were saying elsewhere that a pickup swap is a must with Ibanez, if you want a cheaper upgrade to what you already have.

Aside from that, and first of all, follow metalmingee's advice.
Last edited by dthmtl3 at Jan 14, 2016,
#11
A lot of valuable advice here. I guess I'm not unhappy with my current setup, I'll wait till I can't bear the tone or something.

Was just wondering, what's wrong with my guitar exactly? (Apart from pickups of course) It's quite playable, the wood is mahogany, it's sturdy and light (though it's mahogany) and looks great IMO.

BTW it's been two years. I follow all the steps you listed above already. I guess I'll give up this sudden instinct to gear hunt and just continue practising. Out of curiosity, will upgrading to better pickups really help considering the amp I have?

P.S. tubes are a pain in the ass for someone who can't even tell the difference. Nevertheless, a bunch of people have used solid state live including Dime and the 'Tallica boys.
#12
I wouldn't suggest pickups without an amp upgrade.

If you are happy where you are at save for a little while.
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#13
There's a reason guitars cost what they cost--components, construction, finish, attention to detail, precision, capacity to stay in tune, take alternate tunings, etc., (plus greed and so on). That said, you can obviously get the job done with a $3000 guitar, as much as with a $1000, or even a $300 guitar--depending on what the job requires.

There's no solution to the tube vs. SS amp debate. They both have their place, their advantages and disadvantages. I guess ss users will always feel inadequate and tube users always superior, but in the end it comes down to whatever works for you.
#14
Quote by josonmj
P.S. tubes are a pain in the ass for someone who can't even tell the difference. Nevertheless, a bunch of people have used solid state live including Dime and the 'Tallica boys.


How so? I use tube amps all the time. I switch it on, play and then when I'm done I switch it off. I can't see how a SS amp could be any easier
I guess if you can't tell the difference then you will save yourself having to change tubes but that really shouldn't be that often.
Also, obviously Dime was a great player but, IMHO, not the greatest tone.
#15
Quote by SpiderM
How so? I use tube amps all the time. I switch it on, play and then when I'm done I switch it off. I can't see how a SS amp could be any easier
I guess if you can't tell the difference then you will save yourself having to change tubes but that really shouldn't be that often.
Also, obviously Dime was a great player but, IMHO, not the greatest tone.

Don't you have yo wait for them to warm up or something? Anyway changing tubes sounds expensive. Cost is a major factor. But I agree of course that tube tone is significantly better.
#16
So let me add some more here. It sounds like you have the basics covered and you say you're 2 years into things.

What you are experiencing is called G.A.S - Gear Acquisition Syndrome. We all catch it.

Let me point out that if we used logic to justify what we need/want, most of us on here wouldn't buy anything. . . .

So at this point my advice is don't go into debt over guitar gear - purchase only what you can afford.

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket that you want to spend then:

1. Get your speaker pointed at your head. This may be as simple as putting your amp on a table or you can spend money on a few different types of amp stands.

2. A good stand alone pedal tuner is just awesome - works way better than the tuner built into my Peavey Vypyr. Check out the Korg PitchBlack. This will be essential if you gig anyhow - no one wants to hear you tune.

3. You may enjoy an amp more geared towards "metal" than the Mustang. Frankly I've never used a Mustang. I bought a Peavey Vypyr for my modeling needs - similar to yours in that I play metal. It does ok but was fairly quickly replaced with a 5150 combo and then a Mesa Dual Rec Roadster. For at home low volume tones I feel that amp simulations on the computer with good quality Monitoring Headphones are the way to go. You can drop $99 on the Peavey ReValver Producer Pack and get a huge range of sounds. From there other models of things are about $5. For headphones I purchased Audio-Technica ATH-M-50X from recommendations on here - $169. They are great. Since it's just for practice I use a Rocksmith Video Game cable to connect my guitar to the computer - $30. It does fine.

4. You can always buy another guitar. You really don't need a valid reason. Maybe one with a Floyd Rose? Maybe a seven string? Maybe another shape? Maybe an exact copy of the one you have kept in a different tuning? Maybe different pickup configurations or a different neck profile?

5. Buy some Gorgomyte Cleaning Clothes for your frets. Holy crap. Worth every penny.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#17
im thinking of buying an electric guitar - guitar noob here xD
well i listen to some metal and classic rock. also other stuff.
i want versatility in genres of music that i listen to.
im thinking of getting a Esp ltd mh1000nt with duncan 59 / jb, i heard that the duncan jb is a nice pickup for metal or classic stuff, the 59 in clean paf style stuff. How about prs se custom 22? and Gibson les paul studio faded 2016? pups are burstbuckers pro. i think the burstbuckers pro arent edgy enough for metal, more of a classic throaty sound not suited for metal. well gibsons age very well they say, so i doubt that the prs se and the esp ltd would do the same. im not going to waste a grand for guitars and have to repair them a lot.
if not mistaken all these guitars have maple tops and retails about $700-800. i also dont want trems and too high output pickups. so what do u guys think i should buy? please help me
Last edited by coba2xdoank at Jan 15, 2016,
#18
Quote by josonmj


For God's sake keep it real, my rig is like this not because I haven't heard of Marshall and Gibsons but for more obvious reasons. *ahem*



Putting the occasional penny ante "upgrade" on any of this stuff is just a waste of money. Given the "more obvious reasons" business, I'd pack the money away for big purchases when it makes sense.
#19
I went through similar GAS few months ago ... i woke up one morning deciding to buy a gibson les paul ... a real worthy one which would cost me $2000+ ...I tried to save for it but few months later i felt that i am dying to purchase anything ... and I mean it ... anything ... I paid almost all what i have saved in buying a new amp (laney ironheart studio), new guitar (Ltd ec-401vf), and upgraded the pickups of my ibanez RG ... i am happy with each piece I purchased but guess what. .. I am still dying for the gibson 😁

once it starts, it never ends
'12 Gibson '58 Re-issue
'14 Fender American Special Stratocaster
'14 Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster
'05 Ibanez RG320FM (With Upgrades)
Laney IRT Studio (IRT112 Cab)
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
BOSS GT-8
#20
Quote by josonmj
Don't you have yo wait for them to warm up or something? Anyway changing tubes sounds expensive. Cost is a major factor. But I agree of course that tube tone is significantly better.


On my practice amp (2W) you don't have to wait just switch on.
For my Marshall you are meant to wait one minute. I don't really class that as 'a pain in the ass' though, I just warm my fingers up for a minute.

I'll have to let you know how expensive the tubes are as I haven't replaced any yet.
#21
Thank you everyone for your input, the GAS is dying and fading away.

@metalmingee

Yes I will probably be looking at a new amp, on of the TransTubes I guess. I will keep the tuner pedal for later, when I actually start gigging.

Looking at those Gorgomytes right now.
#22
Quote by josonmj
I'm a metalhead who listens to bands like Megadeth, early Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Blind Guardian, Evile and Avenged Sevenfold (don't judge).

My current setup is:

1. Ibanez RG421
2. Fender Mustang I with a bunch of downloaded presets

That's it. Don't know why I bothered numbering it even. For a list's sake, I shall add that I use a Stagg cable and yellow Tortex picks.

What's my next, most needed upgrade?

For God's sake keep it real, my rig is like this not because I haven't heard of Marshall and Gibsons but for more obvious reasons. *ahem*

Any tips and stuff?


I'll give you the advice I wish someone would have given me early on - save a lot of money and buy a quality tube amp, like a Mesa Boogie or better. Buy used if you don't have a big budget. Buying mediocre amps and/or pedals to juice up those mediocre amps is a fool's errand - you'll never be satisfied and you'll just keep buying pedals and effects, which is a huge waste of money because good tone starts with the amp.

A Fender Mustang is a great little practice amp, so you can keep that while you save for the real deal.

The amp has, by far, the greatest impact on your tone.
#23
DO NOT buy a solid state or a "hybrid" amp - get a 100% tube amp - every single band you listed and every album you've listened to have one thing in common - they're using great tube amps. Dimebag Darrell used Randall solid states but that is the only real exception out there and those amps would have costed as much as a good tube amp at the time and have nothing in common with the cheap solid state crap amps that are sold for under $1000.

The sound you're looking for is a tube amp and there is no "cheap" way to get there. There is a whole industry of misinformation on how to get good tone for cheap - the answer is you cannot. Some people can't hear the difference between a solid state amp and a good tube amp - don't rely on them for gear buying advice.

I'm trying to save you money and time - trust me, I've been through the solid state and "hybrid" amp gauntlet and blown countless dollars on pedals trying to make them sound musical - nothing works because they're poorly built and have nothing in common with the equipment you're hearing pro bands use.
#24
A lot of got answers here.

Look for a good used tube amp. Marshall Valvestate '90s versions series does have thrashy kind of gain for metal. They can be have for little money and are good amps.

Otherwise practise the songs with a metronome once you got the sound figured out.

The Ibanez and Marshall should work for your goals.
#25
I was in the same boat when I started up guitar again (took a hiatus for a few years). I overhauled my awful rig with a small 50w Tube Amp and a Bad Monkey overdrive pedal. It was a used Peavey Valveking 112 and I replaced the stock peavey speaker with a Warehouse Veteran 30 speaker. All three of those combines I probably paid $275 for and it gave me a good sound for Megadeth, Maiden, Metallica, etc. It won't be spot on obviously but for just thrashing about at home it was more than enough.

I have since upgraded to a EVH 5150 iii Mini 50w head and a Orange PPC212 cab though and the difference is insane. For a budget though I would look for a used Valveking 112. Found one in great shape at a guitar center for $175 used.
#26
It's hard to do when you have GAS but save a chunk of money and sit on it. Be patient and scour Craigslist, Pawn shops, local music stores (both mom and pop and the big box stores), be vigilant and visit these sources often and eventually you will be rewarded. I scored a Peavey 6505+ for $799 brand new scratch and dent from American Musical Supply (MSRP $1499) and it doesn't have a mark on it that I can find.

I had $1000 put back and walked into my local guitar center and found a brand new Mesa 2x12 Dual Rec Roadster combo on clearance for $1099 (MSRP $2499) I had been in there at least once a month for the last year and never saw that amp.

It had been in the back room because GC lost their license to sell Mesa products and they had them out at tax time just to try and get rid of them, so rather than buy another guitar which I didn't need I grabbed the Mesa.

I had a Randall RG100 about 15 years ago thought it was awesome until I bought a used Ampeg VL1002 tube amp, the pros have guitar tech and pro studio effects when they record duplicating their sound is a difficult task.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
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Time for primal concrete sledge

#27
So much great advice here I can't believe I missed it for so long. I'll be starting a different thread later when I have enough money to buy a decent TUBE amp. 100% TUBE.
#28
Quote by josonmj
So much great advice here I can't believe I missed it for so long. I'll be starting a different thread later when I have enough money to buy a decent TUBE amp. 100% TUBE.


From reading your thread, I'll give you a tale from experience (And you can see it in my God awful threads from when I was younger

I experienced this too, I made some pretty bad gear calls because I didn't listen to the advice on here and I went for whatever I saw first and used my eyes, instead of passing judgement with my ears. Such as 100W SS VS 15W tube? Solid State won, I should have got the tube amp.

However I upgraded to a 6505 combo, which got shunted for the Laney AOR that I have now and got in a trade from MickAlmighty (No idea if he's around here now) but what I'm trying to say is you don't learn unless you make mistakes and make potentially awful gear calls.

However, a lot of us do suffer from GAS and that's where your wallet hurts.
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#29
Quote by reverb66
DO NOT buy a solid state or a "hybrid" amp - get a 100% tube amp - every single band you listed and every album you've listened to have one thing in common - they're using great tube amps.


This is very good information for about 10 years ago.

These days, of course, whole albums are routinely being done without a tube amp being present, arena tours are being done using electronics direct into the audio systems, and tons of gigs are being run without a tube ever having entered the room. Players in townhomes, apartments, condos or those with babies or young children are routinely practicing with headphones on. They can crank their gear up to tinnitus-producing levels without anyone else being the wiser.

The insistence on owning a tube amp is a bit like sitting in a car club meeting and hearing everyone tell you that you absolutely need a vintage 396 Chevelle. They pollute, they suck gas, they do just one thing (go in a straight line in a very noisy way). But they're not very versatile, they don't have cup holders, and these days they get beat off the line by competent all-the-torque-in-the-world-at-once AWD electric cars.

Look around. Other musicians don't need tube amps. Keyboard players don't need a grand piano. They have every conceivable instrument available through headphones or recording monitors. Drummers make little tappity-tap noises at home with an electronic drum kit while hearing roaring Taiko drums through the headphones.

Bands record demos a track at a time, electronically, and jam together via Skype.
It's a brave new world.
#30
Yup, pretty much everyone is using Kempers, Axe FX, Mesa Triaxis or just DI boxes these days, even in the studio and not just live.

However you can still get a decent tube amp for lot cheaper than a Kemper or Axe FX.

I would recommend a Peavey 6505 MH 20 watt head/Joyo Mjolnir/Marshal DSL 15H (whichever you prefer tone wise) into a Harley Benton 1x12 or 2x12 depending on room available.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#31
save up $250 and grab yourself a peavey vypyr tube 60 used.
Ibanez Rg 321mh
Squier Classic Vibe 1970s Precision Bass
Guitar Rig 5
Presonus Audiobox
Behringer Truth B2030A
#32
Some people run fairly large rigs at home, kinda depends on where and with whom you live to decide whether it's feasible.
I strongly object to the notion that powerful or high-end amps are only useful for people in bands, in case you were implying that.

I agree with Quailman 100%. Saying a guy should not get a large high-end rig because he is not in a band or plays in his basement is not advice I would give. He should buy what he wants to buy (and can afford). That will help motivate him to move forward.

I have played for over 30 years and waited way too long earlier in my life before I got a good amp set up. What a waste of time that was. I told myself I was not worthy of better equipment because I lacked advanced skills. Back then my knowledge was limited mostly to major/minor/power chords and pentatonic scales.

Once I got a good EL-34 amp I realized how important the amp really was to my sound. Moreover, a high end tube amp behaves very differently from a solid state amp with regards to volume, gain and saturation in my expererience.

Three parts to guitar: 1. Knowledge 2. Execution 3. Equipment. All are important.
#33
Just as soon as I gained some confidence it has been shaken again.

I don't think I will be buying anything over 20W at home, yeah I get that high-end amps are not only good for bands and stuff but the truth is that the used market in India sucks and buying even a decent amp head new can be super expensive when it translates to rupee because everything here is imported and has to play a lot of duties. The rupee is doing pretty badly too.

For now, I really can't find much fault in the tone of the Fender Mustang. I will try and save emough money to buy a decent tube amp, but not more than 10W.