not sure what to do with my equipment, trying to learn about the hardware after 10 years of off/on playing. At a minimum, i want a new guitar. current stuff:

guitar: looking at old catalogs, pretty sure its an Ibanez EX140 from 1990. (near the bottom of their value line back then, crappy non-locking tremolo). the volume/tone knobs crackle and the pickup selector settings don't always work (helps to push down on the selector switch, so probably a bad connection). the sustain doesn't seem very good, but i think i need new strings.

amp 1: crate gfx212, twin 12" speakers w/ a few DSP effects. I'm in an apartment with no real need for a big sound, so this is serious overkill. reverb and chorus are kind of weak.

amp 2: crate G60 CXL, twin 8 or 9" speakers, nice chorus and reverb effects (not dsp). bought this w/ the guitar, still more power than i need, but lacks the low/mid range of the gfx212.

also have a crybaby wah. I mostly play rock/metal, lots of metallica, a little satriani, and other random stuff.

I didnt know what i was buying when i got this stuff. I could sell all of it and replace, replace the guitar, get a 2nd guitar (keep this one for different tunings), get some pedal effects, i'm open there. I like the feel of the ibanez, i think i'd need something with a similar thin neck and at least 22 frets.

For a guitar, i was thinking $300-500, but could go a little over if there was something w/ better bang for the buck (RG1570 ? looks like it comes with a case). For an amp, would i be better getting something much quieter? the 212 seems to get better sound (especially w/ the wah) if its turned up louder, but i can't really do that here. from reading here, not many like the crate amps... Thanks for any suggestions.
well i got a LTD hyrbid-400 guitar..... i got it for $550 at skips music.......... but ive seen it for $489 online...i like it for the stuff I play......

but anyway the best thing for you do i think would be to just go out and try several guitars and amps, find what you like......
May cause death if user is an idiot.
well its gunna be kinda hard for me to give guitar advice in your price range cuz i only have one guitar that will make the price range and thats an epiphone g-310 SG


or you can go for the g 400 (little more expensive)

get an epiphone les paul or a g-400. nice guitars for cheap, plenty of frets and very good sustain. for an amp you can get a Behringer V-amp. No speaker just a processor. Get some nice headphones, will work well in an apartment sitiuation no matter the guitar. looking at around $500-$700.
headphones i had not thought of... interesting. The G40 does have a headphone jack, i may have to experiment a bit.