Guitar Gear: Great-Sounding Rigs
Click on the "Buy" button for more info & pics on an item.
Overview: Deciding on the right guitar gear to buy in search of the perfect tone is a life-long process, and, honestly, crafting your own unique sound is part of the fun in playing guitar. But, most of us do not have an unlimited income and amount of free time, so I've laid down some tried-and-true guitar, amp, and effects combos for hard rock and metal (sorry, I'm not going to cover other genres as they are not in my area of experience).
High-End Guitars: Price is no object.
High-End Guitars: Under $1000 bucks.
Value Priced Guitars: Under $500.
Bargain Guitars that Rock: Under $300
Metal ( Hardcore, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, etc. )
In my opinion, this rig entirely blows away a Mesa anything. It is because of the 6L6 power tubes in the amp matched with the sonic maximizer. Try this one out; you won't be disappointed.
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal ( Pantera, Guns N Roses, etc. )
This is the amp that I use. I couple it with a sonic maximizer, and it is the perfect sound for me. This is the first amp that I've ever had to back off the gain because it was too much for me. This amp is a monster and can be found in the studios of many top engineers. You get a lot of sonic control with the tone shift buttons. Great for everything from classic rock to extreme metal.
Everything ( Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Metal, & Everything Else )
I hate to admit that I was against the "amp modeling" movement for years. But, after trying the PODXT, I am completely sold on the technology. Run it through a tube power amp, and it is eerily, and sometimes frustratingly perfectly, close to the original amplifier. Plus, it gives you awesome recording possibilities.
In compiling this site, I noticed several pieces of equipment popping up again and again in different players' rigs. Here are the most popular effects overall.
BBE Sonic Maximizer If I had to live with only one effect for the rest of my life, this would be it. It is hard to describe how much this device cleans up your sound without sacrificing any of your gain, tone, or presence. IT NEEDS TO BE RUN THROUGH AN EFFECTS LOOP--EVEN THE FLOOR PEDAL MODEL. This unit reconnects broken sound waves after the input (preamp) stage of your amplifier--so, if it's not placed in your effects loop, it is doing absolutely nothing. Try this one out--I was amazed.
Harmonizer Many of our favorite players use a Harmonizer, which was probably originally popularized by Eddie Van Halen in the late 70s. I run one through my effects loop, and it really adds power and depth to my amp's sound without changing it's general feel and attitude. If you can afford one, get it.
Octave Nearly all of the players on this site who use an octave pedal use the Boss model. I use it too.
Flanger The most commonly used flanger pedal is the MXR. The basic model and the EVH sound the same except for a push button on the EVH that dials in the "Unchained" sound. I use the EVH model. Sounds great on a clean channel.
Phaser Once again, the most popular pedal by far is the original MXR model, either the EVH version or the classic orange. I use the EVH which has a script logo button that changes its characteristics.
Overdrive There is a split on this one: Ibanez Tube Screamer and Boss DS-1 (which is labeled as a distortion but provides a similar effect as the Tube Screamer). I was honestly surprised to see how many of my favorite players use the Boss pedal. I knew the Tube Screamer was a classic, but the Boss was a bit of a shock.
Distortion For Metal tones, the Metal Zone has been considered the holy grail, but also check out the new, all-tube Demonizer that also works as a DI. For clasic rock distortion, the Big Muff and the Rat are standard, but also take a look at the Womanizer which is also a DI.