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Upgrading a beginner setup

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So I've been using my Squier Standard Strat and Peavey Audition 7W Amp since I started playing 3 years ago, and now that I'm in a band, I've decided to start the process of upgrading from those two bits of kit.

The thing is, I just want a decent sound without spending too much money, so I'm asking here for some help with choosing some new kit. For my guitar upgrade my budget is ~£400 and for my amp it's ~£150-170. I don't really care if its second hand or third hand or 100th hand or not, as long as it works well.

I've already narrowed down some options though. My local guitar shop has a really nice second hand '04 Fender MexiStrat in some weird very pale bluey colour (£345) as well as a Classic 60's series Stratocaster (£330), and they seem like a good choice because, not only do they sound nice (I can't personally tell the difference between them), but I'm used to the Strat shape. My local pawn shop also has a Fender Showmaster (£290) a PRS Santana SE (£265), and an SE Custom 24 (£365) All of which also seem good, but I'm unfamiliar with them and have not actually tried out.

On the amp front, I've had my eyes on a Vox VT40+ from Andertons or a White Horse Half Stack from Gear4Music, but I'm not really sure about either of them...

Me and band play all kinds of rock, such as indie, grunge, pop punk, hard rock, etc., and I have a Zoom G3 and a EHX Big Muff with wicker that I use with my current setup

I've been on the UG forums and the advice was dreadful (basically along the lines of "Stop being poor" and "Buy [insert expensive guitar] and [insert expensive amp]"), so here's hoping I don't instantly fall underneath mountains of abuse.

Sorry for the huge amount of info. Again, this is due to the bad experiences at UG, being told to give more and more info haha!



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I've played all the axes you mentioned except for the Custom 24. I would give serious consideration to the Classic Vibe Series 60's Strat. There's a sunburst CV 60's Strat sitting in a stand next to me as I write...I play it as often as I play my Custom Strat, and I would recommend it over the Standard mim Strat. Imo, the necks on the CV series are slick as all get out. I dig the tone...I've had mine over 2 years and, unlike some of my other geetars, I've never considered swapping p'ups.

I also own a Vox VT...if you lived in the USA, I'd sell you mine cheap. 'Nuff said?

Never played thru, or heard of, a White Horse half stack, so I can't comment on it.

Take a look at the Fender Mustang amps...the Mustang ll (2) and Mustang lll (3)...40 and 100 watts respectively and both with 12 inch speakers, cost $200 and $275 here in the USA and there's a reason they're so popular... they're great sounding SS amps. They are also available in head and cab, not sure of the price on these. Further, I would try hard to find a good amp...a good amp will do more for your sound than will the geetar, imo. Don't skimp on the amp.

Hope this helps a little...I'm sure there'll be other opinions that differ from mine.

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First of all, what do you not like about your Squier Strat? Does it not fret properly? Does it fret out when bending strings or do you get fret buzz? Does it go out of tune when you use the trem? It is plays well then perhaps you should put your money in the amp.

If you are in a band and using your G3, can you use the PA for your sound? If so and you still need a stage monitor then a powered wedge monitor or even a keyboard amp might be a good solution. Plus yo can use it for practice at home and setting up your patches.

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