Many of you guys keep asking for advice when it comes to new equipment, so let me share my opinion about this topic with you. This is not ment to be the golden rule that you have to follow, it is only my personal attitude when it comes to new equipment, but it might be helpful for you.
So, as the headline already indicates, part one of this guide will deal with guitars. What is important when you plan to get a new guitar? First of all you should be aware of what kind of music you want to play. If you plan to play in a death metal band a Telecaster would not really be the best choice for you, while if you want to do country you don't really need the latest 7-string baritone guitar that can handle dropped a tunings. You can get an idea about what guitars might be cool for a certain kind of music by checking out what your fave bands in that genre are using, of course it doesn't mean that you have to get exactly the same guitar, but this information will for sure put you on the right track.
Of course the looks play a big role, after all we want a cool looking guitar, not "only" a good sound, but of course there is not really an advice that I could give you about this, it is all a matter of taste when it comes to the looks of a guitar, just go for whatever you like the most.
Pickups play a big role to get a certain sound. Of course pickups can always be changed and upgraded later, but before you buy a new guitar you should know if you prefer humbuckers or single coils. Single coils are great for clean sounds and can also deliver nice crunch sounds, but if you want to get a really fat and heavy rock or metal sound out of your instrument you should definitely go for humbuckers. If you are unsure you could go for a guitar that offers both, there are a lot of instruments that come with a humbucker in the bridge position and 2 single coils in the middle and neck position, there is even the possibility to split the bridge humbucker to get a single coil sound like that.
Next you should think about the features that you want. Do you need a vibrato system? If yes, does it have to be a Floyd Rose like system or would be a vintage style vibrato do the job too? Do you want active or passive pickups, maybe even an active booster or sound control? How many frets do you need? Do you need 24 frets for your wild leads or do you intend to play rhythm guitar? In that case 22 or even 21 frets would be fine too. As you see there are many details that you should consider when it comes to buying a new guitar, but the most important advice that I can give you is: TEST as many candidates as possible. Go to your local music store and play any guitar that you are interested in. A guitar is something that we play with our own hands, so it does not only have to look and sound good, it has to FEEL right too! And you can only find out about this if you play it yourself, period! I could tell you that my Les Pauls are the greatest guitars on this planet (actually they are ), but it doesn't mean that you will find them as great. Only by plaing an instrument you will find out if you like the shape of the neck (there are big fat necks like the typical Gibson style neck, but there are also the extreme opposites, very flat and thin necks, Ibanez has some models like that for example), if you find a guitar too light or too heavy (and I am talking about the actual weight now, not the sound ) or if you like its sound. so the most important advice definitely is: Try the guitars that you are interested in.
Of course there is another approach, you could go for a custom made instrument. This can be great as long as you exactly know what you want (and you have the pocket money to pay for it, cause custom made instruments are more expensive of course), but I saw many people buying such custom made guitars even though they didn't really have a clue about the topic. And in my opinion it doesn't make sense to get a custom guitar only for the sake of getting a custom guitar, in this case it is better to get a "normal" guitar and rely on the experience of the manufacturer instead of just experimenting.
Ok, this is part one of my little guide, if you have questions, feel free to ask, part two about amps will come soon