#1
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.
#2
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......
Caution:
May cause death if user is an idiot.
#3
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

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-G310-SG-Electric-Guitar?sku=518280

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

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-G400-SG-Electric-Guitar?sku=518291
#4
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.
#5
headphones i had not thought of... interesting. The G40 does have a headphone jack, i may have to experiment a bit.