So I've got roughly $2500 to spend and I really don't know where to start anymore.

I play just about all types of music, my paying gigs primarily consist of blues and classic rock, however I'm playing a lot of Vai/Satriani/Dreamtheater stuff at home.

I'd been hearing a lot of great thing's about the Mesa Lonestar Special, so I orignally went out and bought one of those. It sounded brilliant clean, and even better with just the slightest bit of gain, it had this nice punchy low end, with a really warm top end. The problem was that anymore than a little gain turned the sound very harsh and cold. Just couldn't get a good lead sound out of it. Tried a TS808 with it and a Maxon OD9, both sounded like garbage.

I ended up returning the amp for a refund, the final straw was when I plugged the two OD pedals into an old 60 watt Fender Concert. They were amazing. Now the Fender has decent cleans, and the lead sound I've been getting out of it is great, except now I can't get a crunch sound out of it, the amp just can't handle the low end, it just fraps and turns into this muddy mess with no definition.

So I need to do some kind of upgrade. I can either spend the whole shebang on a really great amp (but this has got to be one versatile amp mind you). Or I could spend it on a fairly decent amp and start to put together a good pedalboard. Right now I'm using a Boss GT-8, but I'm really unhappy with how processed it sounds, so I'll probably sell that for a little extra cash.

Any suggestions on what to do here, what amps to look at, or what pedals to start with?

For amps I was kind of interested at looking at the Mesa Roadster or Peavey JSX combos. I know they'd be good at all of the Vai/Satriani stuff I do, but I'm not entirely sure how they'd handle the blues/classic rock stuff, and considering the cost of either would leave me with very little money for added effects, combine with the fact that nobody in town has either in stock right now. I don't know if I should wait to try them out or just look for other options.

If I took the other option and got a slightly cheaper amp and made a pedalboard what would be a good route? I've no idea what amps to look into anymore. As for a pedalboard I figure an OD pedal, a light distortion pedal maybe, delay and compression, or something along those lines. I really don't have a clue where to start on this one.

If it's any help the guitars I uses are:
Gibson ES 335 (for all the gigging stuff)
Ibanez SZ530 (backup)
Ibanez RG1570 (if I've got left over cash I was thinking of swapping the pickups out, I was thinking a set of the Dimarzio breeds and either an air norton or a blue velvet in the middle, thoughts?)
You have a sick breed of guitars, my friend. Major props. :0.

A versatile amp... I have heard traynors are pretty good at being versatile, not sure what else there is though....but I'm sure you could do alot better with the money!
Co-Founder of the Orange Revolution Club

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Boogie Mark IV is a good option for you, in my opinion. About $1,800, 3 channels, footswitchable graphic EQ, different tube options... As far as flexibility, it's a cheaper Road King. Does good cleans and has great "in-between" tones for blues, classic rock, anything requiring a nice clip or smooth distortion without heavy saturation through the Rh. 2 channel. The lead channel is good, but the distortion is a different flavor than what you'd get through a Recto.
Hi, I'm Peter
Go on ebay for a Mesa Mark III, IV, or Nomad... all can be had for under $1200 and are very versatile with brilliant crunch...
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hughes & kettner

or I'd buy a cornford for that money
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NevermorePsalm thank you for showing me how clever and witty one person can be in just a few sentances. My God i wanna be like u so much! In fact we all do. Well done

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checkout the carvin legacy. it is vai's signature amp.
My stuff:
ESP LTD KH 202 w/ emg 81's
PEAVEY 5150 II Head

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Ack, I forgot about the mesa boogies.

Yeah, I would suggest looking into a Mark IV. I've played one at a friends house and it sounds very nice.
Co-Founder of the Orange Revolution Club

-Esp/Ltd Ec-1000 w/ BKP Mules
-2-channel Titan
-Oversized Bogner 2x12 Cabinet
-Fulltone OCD
-RMC Picture Wah
-T.C. Electronic Nova Delay
-Larrivee D-03R
Quote by NevermorePsalm

or I'd buy a cornford for that money


or engl of some description, probably blackmore (possibly screamer) unless you have enough for a savage. I guess the mark IV is a good idea to look into too, I haven't personally tried it, but dirk knows his stuff. Koch might be worth a try too, and laney. Not sure how available some of those are in BC, though.

I'm guessing canadian dollars are worth a little less than US?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
^ Ah, I didn't even notice he was Canadian. Right now, the US dollar is worth 1.18 Canadian, so a Mark IV would cost about $2,134 Canadian.
Hi, I'm Peter
Carvin V3...Carvin's Flagship Amplifier, the Legacy is also very nice, but not as nice as the V3 IMO, the double stack is 2K.
A Mesa Mark IV or Road King (probably used on that one) would do wonders for you.
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Quote by icronic
Tried a TS808 with it and a Maxon OD9, both sounded like garbage.

I just stopped reading after that.
I highly recomend Laney GH50L, all valve, extremely versitile, i can get any tone i want out of mine and never loose definition.... Paul Gilbert uses them.....
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Orange, ftw.
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Orange pwns.
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well i can tall you this much do NOT get a marshall MG. becasue you will blow the speaker with duncans in the guitar. i know for experience.

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I think you should look into the fender supersonic it's a great amp
What are you talking about? Mesa Boogies are total crap. You should get the biggest Line 6 Spider II you can find! They completely pwn! The insane channel is exactly what it sounds like, INSANE!
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Quote by Irnmaiden4life
why didnt you just play like crap?
if you need help with that, ask Vincent745

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Awe, so cute...

How old are you?

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Old enough to yell rape.
^ I know you're kidding, but I still have the urge to bludgeon you with impunity.
Hi, I'm Peter
And you should, but you'll never find the spider loving hobo in a box as long as i can help it
Mitch Hedberg Group

Quote by Irnmaiden4life
why didnt you just play like crap?
if you need help with that, ask Vincent745

Quote by imgooley
Awe, so cute...

How old are you?

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R

Old enough to yell rape.
Thanks for the replies thus far guys. Seems to be a lot of love for the Mark IV, so I'll definitely try one of those out.

Heard a lot of good thing about the Engl and Comford amps as well, never really looked into them though because the places that carry them around here are a bit of a drive.

A lot of good stuff said about the Carvin amps as well, but all the sound clips I've heard from them are pure shred so it doesn't give a huge indication of how versatile they are.

As for the differences in currency, it really doesn't matter, it's not so much that I can't wait another month and spend a little bit more if I find something out of my price range that I really love. Just means I have to buy my girl a slightly larger boquet of flowers next week that's all

Quote by guitarist_with_
I just stopped reading after that.

Well golly gee gosh, thanks for that ever so informative reply, please don't elaborate at all, my mind reading skills are a little rusty so I could use some practice. Shit, it's not working, I guess it's true that trolls are really as brain dead as they say.
mark IV or the JSX is awesome, too.
Quote by corduroyEW
Cheap amps are "that bad". They suck up your tone like cocaine at Kate Moss' party.

I am Michael!
Quote by guitarist_with_
I just stopped reading after that.

I think he meant that he tried that amp with those two pedals and couldn't get a good sound out of THE AMP.
Recognized by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2008
Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
try the H&K switchblade, and if you can find one try the ISP theta head with the vector cabs. isp's the company that makes the decimator noise suppressor, they also build a lot of top of the line house PA speakers for gigantic churches and such with their line-array technology. the vector cabs use the same technology. the clarity and the transience is amazing. you don't even need a sonic maximizer.
As most people have said, I agree you'd probably do well with a Mark IV. For Carvins, I have the MTS, which is their cheapest tube amp, and it is incredibly versatile. It has sparkling cleans and great lower to mid gain crunchy stuff; it has enough gain for all but the heaviest of metal, though it's not voiced quite right for it, IMO; an EQ pedal helps greatly with that though. I can also get some of the sweetest lead tone I've heard from it; I like it a lot, but considering how much money you have I wouldn't recommend it. You could check out a V3 or Legacy (I haven't tried either), but again, with the money you have you could probably do better.
mk4 or rockerverb,

everyone seems to be using rockerverbs these days, then they must kick major ass
+1 on the Mark IV or the JSX

I own the JSX and I find it is incredibly versitile, the cleans are sparkly and warm, the crunch can give you satch's lead tone very easily as well as bluesy/classic rock stuff, and the ultra channel is absolutely as much gain as you'd ever need.
Best part is, this amp is really cheap in Canada, as I picked up the JSX head and a marshall 1960V cab for 2200$ at Steve's Music store, in downtown Toronto.
Main rig:
ESP Horizon FR-II
ENGL Invader 150
Mesa Traditional cab w/ v30's
ISP Decimator Pro Rack G
BBE Sonic Maximizer 482i

Back up rig:
ESP Eclipse STBC
LTD EC-1000 VB
Framus Cobra modded
Carvin Legacy - Steve Vai
Peavey JSX - Joe Satriani
Mesa/Boogie (not sure which model) - John Petrucci
Ibanez VBT700 V-Blade
Ibanez RG220B
Dean Vendetta 1.0
Peavey Valveking 112
Digitech XMM Metal Master
Digitech RP80 Multi Effects
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
my amp?

It's an Orange AD30tc 2x12 combo with a road case, the link is in the classifieds forum
After owning an orange amp for a couple days now, I have to change my answer to...

-Orange rocker or rockerverb 30/50
-Mesa boogie mark IV
Co-Founder of the Orange Revolution Club

-Esp/Ltd Ec-1000 w/ BKP Mules
-2-channel Titan
-Oversized Bogner 2x12 Cabinet
-Fulltone OCD
-RMC Picture Wah
-T.C. Electronic Nova Delay
-Larrivee D-03R