Well, I'm kind of a minimalist when it comes to effects. I can only imagine getting a Wah pedal... and maybe a distortion pedal if
the amp can't do that job all by itself.
I've seen this stompbox/pedal thingy called a "Big Muff" that has a vacuum tube inserted in it and a British flag on the casing... might that be something worth trying?
The original punks' (c. 1974-1985) tone often sounded crappy because they had the equivalent of what would today be a $150 guitar, a $200 combo amp, and a $40 four track tape recorder. The Sex Pistols were an exception because they stole a big truckload of gear from Rod Stewart (including a custom-built Les Paul worth thousands) and from David Bowie before they were famous (their guitarist and drummer were expert thieves in inner-city London), even though they couldn't play for beans. When they first started out Steve Jones didn't even know how to tune the fancy guitar he'd stolen... Glen Matlock (original bassist before Sid) was the only one who actually knew what he was doing. Fights would break out at their early shows because everyone was so shocked and offended by how horrible it sounded... Johnny Rotten started to hate how things were going once they got famous and people started liking
it. He ditched the band, effectively killing it, while they were #1 on both sides of the Atlantic, and on the last night of their first and only American tour.
The Ramones, on the other hand, pretty much had dimestore guitars from Woolworth's and the cheapest amps they could get away with. It wasn't to make a statement; that's all they could afford. If they had several grand to spend on gear and could play like Jeff Beck, they surely would have when they were first starting out. At any rate, the ethos of punk in those days was to "do it anyways" even if you had the cheapest lousiest gear and could only play three chords, if even that (as indicated by the industry phrase "one chord wonders"). This all started in the days when the reigning belief about becoming a popular rock musician was that you had to play as good as Eric Clapton and have $800,000 in back-then dollars to professionally record a studio album.
'Punk' today is of course a simulacra of a past age that either ended in 1978 or 1986, depending on who you ask. Some would say emo began in 1985 (when American hardcore punk was all but dead) and ended in the late 1990s/early 2000s when it became mainstream.
Of course, I firmly believe one should do the most with what they have, both in terms of gear and skill. If you have crappy gear and minimal skills then one must rely on sheer creativity and that renegade pioneering spirit, as did the earliest pre/proto-punk, punk, and alt-rock groups (c. 1965-1986)... and one reason both English punk and American hardcore punk died out is because as the pioneers played on throughout the years, they actually got better
at it and then got sick of playing the same three chords for their snarling followers who would tar and feather them if they played a guitar solo that lasted more than five seconds.
But if you have a $3,000 amp, a $4,000 guitar, and can play as good as Yngwie or Stevie... then by all means! As long as it's novel/original... rock on. :cool:
Well, sorry about the info dump/rant there. :o I'm actually a scholarly expert on subcultures such as punks and the like (not joking). Don't know very much about guitars and stuff, though, which is why I'm here. :cool:
Also, the only recent rock 'n' roll music I really listen to (i.e. past the late 1980s/early 1990s), aside from extreme metal (you know, "rarrrrr rarrrrr arrrghhhh GRUNT") is weird underground stuff like Animal Collective or Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum... let's just say that it's not virtuosity or tone that grabs your attention with bands like that (even if it's there, such as with the latter of the two). I guess you could say I associate b!tchin' guitar tone with people who were my age well before I was born.
Edited to add: If I'm not mistaken, the earliest British heavy metal bands (i.e. Blue Cheer, Sabbath [originally called 'Earth'], etc.) claimed that the reason their sound was so radical for its time was because of skill limits. They did weird improvizations around blues chords, made it sound all sinister, etc. Also, Iommi's left hand had been damaged in an industrial accident and there were certain chords he just couldn't play... so he worked with the ones that he could. Also, big huge powerful tube amps as we know them weren't the norm until the mid 1960s. Before that the heaviest bands like Steppenwolf or the Doors had to have an organ player or something to give things the desired oomph. Then around 1967 if I'm not mistaken, in the UK of course, Blue Cheer came roaring out the gates without an organist... and the rest as they say is history.