As guitarists we are always looking for new ways to find that perfect tone (whatever that is). You might buy different strings, amps, tubes, a new “miracle” cable, pedals, effects etc. The truth about tone is every person hears something different. It is truly a subjective thing. Yes I think everyone can tell when something just sounds crappy, but it seems that most guitarists want the simple fix of bigger and better equipment (myself included), rather than putting the time and passion into making their current setup sing and sound beautiful. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that a $200 Squire amp cannot sound great. I had one. I used it for years. I learned to make it sound good through probably hundreds of hours of playing it and it worked. My point of this post is you might think you have insufficient equipment, be it the guitar or amp, but the ultimate answer to unlocking quality tone is you. If you cannot make your current guitar/amp combination sing I doubt a $3000 setup will magically make you sound like Slash. Put the time, hard work and passion into learning how to use the equipment you have, as well as learning how to play your instrument. After all, nothing worth having comes easy right? Also, did you know that mic placement in front of your amp has a huge effect on your sound when recording or playing live? How about your guitar’s intonation? Are you in tune? Are you playing on old rusty strings? Have you tried every combination of settings on your amp? These are things that will help you to sound your best and you need to know and experiment with them to find a good sound. I promise you, give Steve Vai a P.O.S. pawn shop guitar and amp and he will make it sound beautiful. But a $3000 Les Paul and $2000 Mesa amp wont magically make you sound like guitar god. Bottom line… yes a high qualilty setup might potentially have more to offer but you must learn to use what you have if you ever expect to be able to make that dream rig sound great.