Well, I am completely uninformed when it comes to the technical aspects of guitar playing. My first guitar was an electric I bought in a bundle. It's called something along the lines of "Ibanez Metal Pack" Included is an Ibanez GAX30, 10 Watt Ibanez GTA10 amplifier and some basic accessories. Now, this purchase was a completely unresearched one. I went to Guitar Center, with an about 200-250$ budget, it turned out that within that were the two bundles they had, the one with an Ibanez GAX30 and another with a Fender Starcaster. After having an employee play both guitars for me, I decided that the GAX30 sounds better (It had a certain deep tone, as opposed to the Starcaster which seemed very flat and squealy), and bought it.

Now, about ten months after the purchase I'm still playing the same guitar and amp, and feel like it's time to upgrade. The problem: I know nothing about the hardware.
I'm not sure what I should upgrade first, my amplifier or my guitar. (all throughout my playing, I've been dreaming about someday owning a Les Paul. However if necessary ill make the sacrifice and stick with the GAX a while longer.) The first purchase I would like to be the one that will make the most difference in the sound.

I was thinking about a 20 or 30 Watt practice amp, but again, I don't know what to look for in one, or what I should expect to pay for it. As for a guitar, I dream of a Les Paul (dark blue or white, not that it really matters), but aside from that, am completely ignorant of the important aspects in a guitar purchase. The only specific that I know, is that I would like it to have four control knobs (tone and volume for each pickup).

Finally, as for the style of music I play, I don't have one. :] I really do everything that I know how to. If I were to guess now, I would say that my playing is not heading in the direction of Metal, nevertheless, I greatly enjoy it and wouldn't want to be blocked off from it. What I would also like, soundwise, is more mellow tone and depth, rather than aggressive shrill sound.

I would appreciate any help I can get. Should I but a new guitar or amplifier first, maybe at the same time? What to look for in a guitar and amplifier? Maybe any specific recommendations? How much should I expect to pay? Should I invest more on a higher quality guitar or amp?

Edit: Also, I read the stickies here, but the left me just as confused as before.
Last edited by Metall_pingwin at Oct 7, 2008,
Ive been playing a gax30 for 3 years, Imagine how i feel =/
It SUCKS but i cant get a job :P
or id have a nice ibanez or an EC-1000

Quote by KeepOnRotting
+Infinity. This dude knows good metal.
First of all : You said '
Finally, as for the style of music I play. I really do everything that I know how to.', then a Les Paul would suite your needs... (Not a crappy 200dollar guitar, but the more expensive ones...)
A new amplifier for bedroom playing? Maybe A Roland Cube 30? Great all round amp for the price you'll pay. It has some nice tones with a FX channel...
i would focus on the amp first.

where do you live roughly - availability is different depending.

I guess I would try to get somewhere in the $300 - $500 range.

New stuff to look for might be:
Fender Blues BJ ($469) not so much for metal
Peavey Valveking 112 ($399) can do lots of stuff but is opposite of BJ.
Epiphone Valve Jrs are popular ($350?)
Crate V amps are sale you can get a V18 for $150 i think
Fender SuperChamp XD - great little hybrid prolly more your style
Peavey Vypyr - great little hybrid amp i hear, more for metal i think


Lots of stuff. We see Peavey Classic 30s and the like, which might be perfect for say $400. We do need a total budget tho.

edit: forgot about the Roland Cube. So if your budget was say $500 and you could get a Crate V18 for $150 (i think they are backordered) the you could get a Standard Strat for say $350 new. There are tons of Strats out there too for less than this.

Can you list some more bands and music you like?
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Oct 7, 2008,
if you can play your guitar comfortably i'd recomemnd getting a new amp...no idea what its just i know most of the tone come from the amp, i have a "starter" pack style guitar and amp and i know they arent very good...especially the amp
Uhh, if you want to get a better sound a new amp is the way to go, but if your guitar is not feeling right, and falling apart you should get a new guitar.

But it sounds like you mostly want a different sound. which would be your amp. Also what is your budget?
Lets jump in a pool

Last edited by I am wet : Today at 03:26 XM.
Well, because I'm paying for the amp with my own cash, I would say that my budget is around 200$. If necessary, I do have a higher overall budget, but would rather not allocate more than that to an amp purchase. Judging by the posts above, that seems like it would not be a high quality purchase. However, because this amp is exclusively for practicing in my room, and playing with my friend (bass guitar), I think that 20wat would be sufficient, and there is no need to go higher.

To answer a couple of other questions, I live in Arlington, VA. It's about a five minute drive to Washington DC.

I also can't give you a Guitar budget at this point. Definitely, anything over 1000$ is ridiculously over it. I suppose 500-600$ would be a realistic approach, but really, it's nothing to be taken for granted yet.

As for my favourite bands, I enjoy a variety, off the top of my head: The Kills, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nirvana, The Offspring, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine, Ratatat, Buckethead, Rolling Stones, Slipknot, System of A Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols...
However not all of these I like for their guitar playing, the ones that are notable in that aspect are Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, RATM, Ratatat, Buckethead and System of a Down, also for some reason I adore the guitars by The Kills, even though they're very simple riffs.
Last edited by Metall_pingwin at Oct 7, 2008,
I hate the feel of a cheap, sloppy guitar that won't stay in tune. Even though most folks automatically will lead you to a new amp, I'm thinking that you can't go wrong looking for a $500ish guitar and worry about the amp later. Les Paul's are going to be pricey for where you are at now so I would wait on going premium.

I've got a PRS Soapbar II myself. There are some Telecasters or Stratocasters you could probably pick up in that range. Stay away from Squire or Starcasters since you'd either be side grading or downgrading.

I'm sure there are lots of folks here who can recommend some decent alternatives in the $500 price range.
How about a crave V series amp in the 18 watt range for around $150. A od/distortion pedal for $50 if you need it. And an Epiphone Les Paul for $500. This seems to fit your budget perfectly and will be light years better than what you have now.
Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro II
Jackson Soloist SL2H
Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6
Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top
Epiphone AJ200SCE Acoustic-Electric
Epiphone Embassy
Vintage Audition Mystery Guitar
B-52 AT100
Vox VT80
Well, it seems that a new guitar purchase is still a while away, so Ill hold off on that thought. The V series amps look really good. I haven't been using a distortion pedal so far, only gain settings on the amp, so I'm not sure what exactly that would do for me. Also, since both of them are within my price range, I'm wondering what the difference between these two amps are:

I know that the more expensive one has two, instead of one speaker, but how exactly does that translate into sound, other than volume?
I'd probably focus on the amp first, but try and get the money for a new guitar soon after :P

Try out the Roland cube 30x

and the Peavey vypyr 30
Native State
A Titan, A Deity
Rash L.A

PRS P245 Semi Hollow
Suhr Modern Guthrie Spec
Mayones Regius 7 Buckeye Burl
LSL CVS Studio Strat
Fender American Standard Tele
Faith Hi Gloss Venus

Mesa Lonestar Special
Bugera 333
Zilla 2x12 Fatboy
Line 6 PodHD500
I started out in the exact same situation. I ended up with getting a Schecter C1 classic + a B-52 AT 112 amplifier.

Looking back I am very happy with those purchases. Especially that schecter.

Schecter: 600 bucks
B-52 AT 112: 550 bucks
WTLTL 2011
Last edited by Mark G at Oct 7, 2008,
'73 Fender Super Chamnp $275

Epi valve jr head only needs cab $80

Roland Jazz Chorus solid state $400

Carvin tube amp new speaker $390

Line 6 Flextone II $300

Peavey Classic 30 $300 - do that

Laney VC30 tube amp $400

Orange Tiny Terror head needs cab $450

all posted recently in the Wash DC area. THere was more stuff too I didn't bother to paste in. Worth checking into
The Crate V18-212 will have more clean headroom than the 112. It may seem slightly louder, but won't be so much. These are really not metal amps though.
There is a ton on the craigslist as 311 pointed out. I would go check out that Carvin, it's probably the best high gainer for the price. Could be epic win for you.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Except it's way above my budget. I actually rounded it down to two final possibilities for my new amp setup.
The first one:
Crate V Series V18-112 18W, with a DigiTech RP50 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal. This would run me 149.99$ for the amp, and 49.99$ for the effects pedal. I probaby would at some point find a cheap expression pedal, to fully utilize the effects pedal.

Alternately, I could simply go with a Roland Cube 20X Guitar Combo Amplifier.

I'm much more prone towards the first option, as the Crate V seems like a fantastic amp. The downside is of course that It becomes less portable with the effects pedal, and not quite as wonderfully simple as the Cube 20X. Also, the Cube seems like a better amp for versatile playing.
Do not, and I mean do not, get a multi-fx pedal. It'll just sound digital.

Get the Cube 20x, even though I'd say the Crate is a better amp.
Quote by Cathbard
If all you had to go on was the forum you'd think a Decimator could cure noise caused by dodgey stage lighting and restock the ocean's population of sperm whales
Hah. I would have thought that the Crate V and Multi Effects pedal would give me a much better sound. But I guess that's why I made this thread. Since the Cube 20x is cheaper, I might look for a Wah Pedal to add to my arsenal. I doubt Ill find one for $25, but maybe 50$.
Well like I said, the Crate V really isn't a metal amp. Try one and see but if you want a ton of versatility it's not the best choice. The effect pedals are meh until you get to higher end stuff. Try the Cube 20x and Vypyr15 or 30. Those are versatile and geared for metal at lower volumes and budgets. I like the Crate but don't think you would be happy in the long run from what you have posted regarding wanting effects.

^ Edit, that is a nice classic 30 for 300.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Oct 7, 2008,
Quote by Ghold125

take a look at that...really nice, might be a little loud for home practice, but still great

It's one hundred dollars over my budget, so definitely out the question.

Also, as for my Metal playing. I don't do it most of the time. Granted, sometimes, but I'm a lot more into deep clean sounds with a lot of bounce. I suppose my worry is that if I buy the Cube 20x, I won't take advantage of the effects enough, and will end up with a mediocre amp, where I could have had a much better one.

I wonder how much of a "digital" sound will I get with the multi-effects pedal? Will it be absolutely horrid, or will I only be able to tell the difference If I really really try?
with $200, you really are not going to upgrade much of your rig, and then another 6 months later you will want new equipment...
Maybe it's just your user name throwing me, lol. OK - try the Crate for cleans and classic rock tones, it's a good amp. I cannot really say how you would like it with effects so try for your own experience. But keep an eye on craigslist and look for a $200 gem until you buy, you never know what will post up.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.

Should cover your metal leanings with the pedal, and the amp will have a nice clean and crunch by itself

On a side note, it's nice to see a newish poster giving us sufficient information to help, I salute you TS.
There is an awesome Guitar Center in Arlington (I live in fairfax) why not go up there and try some stuff out?
Quote by thefitz
Interesting. It turns out that there are people on the forum who play an upright bass. I'll make a note of that.

*makes note*

*puts note on wall*

*stares at note for a minute*

*sits back down and resumes doing what I was doing*
Quote by Ghold125

take a look at that...really nice, might be a little loud for home practice, but still great

I had already found that

but hey, glad to see you playing along

Sorry Metal pingwin - i didn't catch the $200 part in your wall of text. It's hard to read thru long OPs like that and extract the important info. Kudos to Bartdevil's point tho, better more then not enough which is usually the case.

As mentioned the Crate V's are not really voiced for metal, certainly not modern metal. But, they are a good deal and a great place to start. You can probably sell it later and break even, especially if they are discontinuing these as they move the Blackhearts.

I recently did a few clips with my RP thru tube amp to give people an idea. They are in my profile under VK4.3 and 4.4. You can hear the digitalness.

Otherwise, a Cube as mentioned or a Vypyr might work for ya.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Oct 7, 2008,
This early on, spend more on the amp than you do on the guitar Unless of course you find the perfect amp for you at a killer price
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Yngwi3, You win this whole monstrosity of a thread.

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For the best tingle, use Original Source mint. That shit feels amazing on your balls.

Godfather of The Diezel Mafia
Well, Thank you for your help. I'm going down to guitar center right now and will be purchasing a Roland Cube 20X, along with a Dunlap Crybaby Wah pedal.

I appreciate all the advice!
^ Did you notice how no one ever once recommended either of those things?

Maybe you should've really brought up the budget on your amp and dropped it on the guitar, because the amp has more to do with your sound than the guitar.
Mitch Hedberg Group

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.
That was not an alternative, my guitar and amp budget are completely separate, and I won't be buying another guitar for another year or so. And to be honest, I noticed that people have recommended the Cube 20X, or the 30X. Aside from that, things that were ludicrously outside of my budget.

The Wah pedal was a treat to myself.

I did something silly though, but for this I may have to redirect you to this thread: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=975723
Last edited by Metall_pingwin at Oct 10, 2008,
A really nice practice amp that is good for pretty much anything is the VOX AD range, in your case the AD30VT is probably a good one, it's a modelling amp with in built effects, you could probably get one off ebay for about 300
Supreme Commander Of The Lolcats Of the UG Army

And that guy, who had that idea, one time


THE SIMIAN σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

Last edited by Boogie Man at Oct 11, 2008,
Check out Atomic Music across the river. They have lots of used stuff and for about $90 their guitar techs can work some real magic. I had them set up on '07 MIA Fender Strat and an '07 MIC Squier Affinity. Bought both from the GC in 7 Corners. The Squier was pretty atrocious until Paul at Atomic shimmed the neck and made a bunch of other adjustments--now it doesn't even buzz at all. We end up doing most of our playing on the Squier now and keep the American strat in Drop D or C. I originally bough a Marshall MG30DFX with the MIA and the Squier later as a travel guitar. Later we got a GNX4 multi-effects pedal ($300 new on E-Bay). That's spoiled me and now I use that plugged into our drum monitor (a 400 watt Behringer keyboard speaker w/effects) and get any tone I want. Not too happy with the Marshall; it's OK clean through the GNX4, but is pathetic on it's own (clean or overdrive). Just use it in the computer room now, but usually end up not even turning it on--just play unplugged if I'm trying new tabs.

As for the digitized sound of the GNX4, I hear that the MXF Supermodels CD fixes that ($150) but haven't bothered to get it myself yet. BTW, I compared several of the Digitech pedals (like the Whammy) and the GNX4 sounds identical and has most of the same behavior. Many big-time acts used Digitech pedals, especially the Whammy--the White Stripes, for example.

We just moved from Arlington in the summer. Now the nearest Guitar Center is 200 miles away :-(
I would definetly save up the 100 bucks for that peavey classic 30, because with those amps you're investing in something that can last you for a very very long time. If you want to join a band, it'll be loud enough, but it'll be good for bedroom practice, and it covers all the tone ground you want. But if it's completely completely out of the question, then ignore this.

Just know in 2 years, you'll still like your C30.

for the guitar, you can check out agiles, http://www.rondomusic.com/electricguitar-ss6.html
(scroll down and look for the agiles, there's other brands on that page)

they make beautiful les paul copies, while I never played one myself, I've never heard anything negative about them, and I've heard alot.
Peavey 6505+
Fender Hot Rod Deville 410
Fender Telecaster Blacktop
Gretsch G5120
Quote by Metall_pingwin
No. I can't go over by 130$, that's more than half of my current budget. :]

so...$130 for amp period?

So the Crate V18 is $149 if there are still any left. Cubes mentioned. Vypyr 15 for $99. Or maybe something like this: no clue really never seen one.


conversly, i also found a 5150 III on the same page but I'll post that somewhere else. Nevermind, it was a 5150 I EVH.

good luck man
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Oct 11, 2008,
What? No. I keep saying my budget is 200$. And besides: X= budget, 130 = 1/2X, X=260. That's the only logical conclusion, I don't see how you got the 130 total. :\
However as 130$ is more than half of my budget, 100$ is exactly half of my 200$ budget.

The amp you proposed I stretch my budget costs 329$, that being 130$ over my budget. If 100$ is half of the budget I have, 130 is more than half of my budget.

I don't understand the confusion.
As far as guitars go, I can most definitly recommend basically anything that schecter makes. The company produces their guitars in korea, and they get sent to america to be setup and tuned properly. A system that saves money and doesn't skip on quality. My hellraiser is one of the finest guitars in the sub 1000 range.


I'd personally go for the C1. Its basically the higher end hellraiser that I have with different pickups, and non-grover tuners. 450 is a great deal. Or right now zzounds is having a discount on some blemished items for 250. I'd definitly buy those, blemished to the manufacturer means that it might have a scratch somewhere. But damn if that isn't a deal.

Up next is the Epi Les paul standard. People will continually moan and whine about epiphone being cheap knock offs of gibson. Those people need to shut their mouths because epiphones can be just as good OR BETTER than gibsons. People who continually rant about les pauls have the opinion that the only way to play is a gibson les paul through a jcm 800 or whatever marshall tube stack they can get.

In short don't listen to those people and try it out for yourself.


At 500 its a pretty nice price. A bit more than the schecter by about 50 bucks. But again it has the looks and alot of the tone of the les pauls we all love and dream about playing.

Or you can of course go the old fashioned route thats tired and tested of learning on a mexican made fender stratocaster with a humbucker (fat strat)


Out of all three this is the cheapest @ 400. Strats are the best thing for either a new comer to the force of music or someone ready to upgrade to a better guitar. These things, if taken care of properly of course, will last a lifetime.

As for amps. Well I can recommend a few things:

Right now, the deal with crate is that they got bought out by another company and they are making brand new amps. So they are cashing in on all the older models like the v-series by selling them WAY below normal prices. Great time to score an ALL TUBE classic amp.


This is 200 as I write this, normally 400 or so. Great amps, try them out and I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Other than that I can recommend the vox valvetronix set of amps:


Good price and good tone for 300. Maybe a bit out of your range.

The idea is to spend a bit more on the amp, as 60-70% of the tone you create comes from the amp. However, if you are a player player as in you need something guitarwise that will let you grow, maybe spending a bit more on a guitar isn't a bad thing.

HOWEVER!!!! With amps, stay away from anything line 6, behringer, or the marshall MG series. The general (and I agree with) consensus is that amps from these companies at this low a price range are really designed to shaft you in sound and money.

My advice? Go to guitar center or sam ash and try EVERYTHING out.
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
wow dude...sorry to piss you off.

*that shit is confusing cuz*


No no, you didn't piss me off. I just explained it!
Though I was in general kind of irritated by people constantly recommending things ridiculously out of my range, i wasn't pissed off. And certainly not directly at you.