#6
^ Agreed. The only effect they may have is picking up harmonics, but if your amp is not of very good quality, then it won't matter how many harmonics you extend, it'll still sound very similar, and probably not great. But thats part of being a beginner. Its better for your self esteem and technique to go through with the whole 'growing up' in guitar equipment terms.
#7
You get to go all out, and you've decided on a Crate? I'd so be going for a Peavey 6505+ or a Mesa Triple Rectifier... Crate has a pretty bad reputation in terms of sound quality and durability. It's not a Spider or an MG (and I have tried both before someone tries to come in with the "you're just jumping on the bandwagon" comment) but most Crates don't sound that great. You'd be much better off going for someting like a Peavey Valveking and a distortion pedal if you can't go completely all out and get a $2000 halfstack. (IMO of course...)
Jackson DKMG with Dimarzio Evo2's
Squier Strat

Vox AD50VT-212

Schecter Stilletto Elite-4

Acoustic B200

Change of Season

fuzzyDXMG=GREAT buyer/trader, easy to deal with.