Expensive Guitar vs Expensive Amp – Which To Get First?

Expensive Guitar vs Expensive Amp – Which To Get First?

I’ve bought and sold a lot of gear over the years, and in hindsight, I could have saved myself a lot of money if I knew then what I know now. Here’s what I learned.

Guitars

I’ve owned many guitars ranging from LP copies from brands no one has ever heard of to USA PRS and almost everything in between (eg. Epiphone, Gibson, PRS SE, Fender, Schecter, Ibanez).

What I’ve learnt:

  1. I sold all the affordable guitars in favour of the quality of my Korean made PRS SE’s or better
  2. Locking tuners are essential – either as stock or as affordable drop-in replacements
  3. Stainless steel frets are awesome
  4. I’m terrified of damaging the guitars that cost over £2.5k
  5. The guitars I play the most often cost between £500 and £1000

Amps

I’ve owned a few amps in the past too, from Crate practice amps to a Marshall half stack and a few others (eg. Epiphone, Laney, Roland, Vox, Fender).

Last year I purchased a Mesa Mini Rectifier 25 and its matching 1×12 cab, and as soon as I did, I realised I waited far too long to get a decent amp.

What I’ve learnt:

  1. I prefer tube amps over solid state (even though replacement tubes aren’t cheap)
  2. Lunchbox amps are awesome
  3. The tone in my head came from the music I listen to (a lot of the bands I listen to use Mesa Rectifiers)
  4. A decent amp definitely suppresses the desire to own so many pedals

So which to get first? An expensive guitar or an expensive amp?

Obviously its different for everyone and budget dependant, but if I could have do over based on my experiences, I’d get a mid priced guitar then an expensive amp.

Example:

  1. I’d get a £500-£1000 guitar from a reputable brand (eg. Korean PRS SE) with a solid state amp (eg. Boss Katana)
  2. Then save up to get the dream amp next before buying any more guitars or investing in too many pedals.

I buy way more guitars than amps and I think if you get the right amp as soon as you’re able, you will have it for life – thus allowing your focus to be on your guitar collection and the few pedals required as the icing on the cake.

Which would you buy first?

  • Expensive guitar - 0
  • Expensive amp - 2
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