#1
Hello everyone. Thanks in advance for any advice! I have been playing for about 15 years; but after grinding out 4-chord punk for half my life, I'm ready to get serious about tone and learn something more artful like the blues (in other words... I got old). I still want to play some punk, but I also want to learn blues and maybe some classic rock. What I would like your help doing is deciding what new humbuckers to purchase and install in my various guitars - other gear recommendations are welcome, but funds are limited.

The current gear:

Samick (Greg Bennett) RL2 - This is a 335-style guitar with SD designed HB-101s in it. The HB-101 is a copy of the SH '59. Mids and treble sound nice clean, but I don't get any bite out of it. It can be heavy on the bass and gets muddy. Not very good with distortion.

Partscaster - This is a strat-shaped guitar with a Gibson style bridge. One humbucker at the bridge position. Body is probably poplar - maple neck with rosewood fretboard. The pickup is a Gibson T-Top that I found in my grandfather's attic years ago (didn't know what it really was until recently). Sounds good clean or distorted. This guitar has a nice bright tone. I would love to get a Bad Religion-style crunch out of this guitar, but maybe that doesn't work with a poplar strat?

Telecaster - Just ordered one from Albatross Guitars. It's a kit for a mahogany tele. I plan to route the neck position for a humbucker.

Amps: Behringer Blue Devil (1x10 combo); Behringer 15 watt 1x6 practice amp.

Pedals: Boss DS-1; RP-150 Effects Processor

Due to living in an apartment with a wife and child, I mostly play through the practice amp with AKG K240 studio headphones on. I record some little doodads on a Fostex MR8 if the mood strikes me.

The Plan:

Here is the current plan that I want you to weigh in on, if you would please: Put T-top in the Tele neck; swap HB-101s in the Samick for some SD Pearly Gates and throw the bridge HB-101 in the Strat until I can get an SD Invader (always loved the Tom Delong strat with the Invader in the Bridge).

Another option for the RL would be some Seth Lovers. I could do a Dimarzio Super distortion in the Strat.

I know a better amp would do me wonders, but I don't think it's in the budget for a long time. I would be willing to buy a new pedal, but the budget for this whole project is between $200-300, so it has to fit with the humbuckers.

Thanks, everyone. I know this was a long post, so I appreciate your time.