This post is mostly for the young guns who are still figuring out the whole world of tone, and maybe as a reminder to some of us with lots of experience as well.
Some of you know my Jesus guitar, or Jesuscaster that was built by Antonio Tsai and I've been doing things to it little by little lately to get it up to speed. I finally got the fret leveling and everything done and when I got the guitar back from the shop, I plugged it in to my Vox AD60VTX modeling amp which I put through a Hughes & Kettner Triamp cabinet loaded with Celestion G12H80 speakers, or the Line 6 modeling speakers. The guitar is loaded with a Dimarzio Virtual Vintage neck and a Duncan C5 bridge.
I played with that thing for HOURS on Friday and just couldn't get it to sound good. I used every model on that amp, dialed in all kinds of different setting with and without the pedal models and couldn't get anything that didn't sound...fake or solid state. This is surprising because most of my guitar sizzle through this amp and some of the models may not be exact replicas of the real deal, but they sound real and not modeled. Not so with the Jesuscaster! I was pretty bummed, but I took it to rehearsal yesterday and put it through my main rig--a 1971 Univox 60 watt tube head, Earcandy Buzzbomb V30/G12H30, and again a Vox modeler, my Tonelab LE.
Holy...the guitar sounded amazing. When I hit my first chords using a 1968 Marshall plexi model, the drummer started laughing it sounded so good. We played All Right Now by free and the tone, I swear it was spot on, lol. Then I used the Mesa Boogie patch and it shook the room. Same volumes as the other amp, but completely different animal with this setup. The guitar just sounds killer now and the neck pickup sings.
What's the point? Don't discount your amplifier when you get all your stuff and mod your guitar, and then plug in. If you do all that work and you still can't figure out why the guitar doesn't sound good to you, it may be that the amp and guitar or pickups are just not a good match.