I get so annoyed by the demos I see of amps or pedals that show the versatility you can get by twiddling several knobs. I don’t want to have to twiddle a bunch of knobs between songs to get the tone appropriate to each. Often, I want two (or more) different tones within each song when I can’t stop to twiddle knobs. Versatility doesn’t mean a lot if you have to carefully adjust several parameters to access it.
Sure, stomp boxes have the hammer of a bypass switch. Again, that doesn’t really let you access it’s versatility. It means you get one of it’s settings or none. And multiple stomp boxes means multiple stomps to make some changes.
High-end amps have multiple channels and various foot-switchable features. If you want an affordable amp that isn’t overpowered, though, they’re usually hobbled by a lack of foot-switches, a tiny speaker, and no effects loop.
So, I’m coming to terms with the fact that—when it comes to electric guitar—I’m a digital guy. More and more I’m convinced that back (1992?) when I got my Digitech DSP-21, I made exactly the right decision for me. A digital effects unit plugged into a PA or clean amp (or both).
I spent an afternoon at Danny Ray’s trying a bunch of tube amps, and I honestly enjoy my Digitech RP350 into my Crate GTD15R more than any of them. I think I may actually like the sound of a digital model of an amp than the amp itself.
P.S. I think another piece of the puzzle is that I’m not interested in developing a signature sound. I want a broad palette.