About guitarsound and more about guitarsound.
THIS IS ABOUT SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITARS  (ABOUT THE STRAT, TELE, LP AND SG TYPES).
Hollowbody guitars are a different story
Guitarsellers and guitarmakers (and ignorant beginners who are willing to spend lots of money to make you to think they "know it all" and that they have "golden ears") will tell you a lot about the importance of every little detail of a guitar.  Let's look at some and try to filter out the bullshit.  You can save LOTS of money !!
 

REMEMBER ----->  What comes out of the loudspeakers is the product of a chain of components.

REMEMBER ----->  Without the player, cables, amp and loudspeakers there IS no sound..... 

REMEMBER ----->  EVERY component in the chain affects the sound

REMEMBER ----->  The only important thing is WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR LOUDSPEAKERS.
 
 
 

The most important components are:
 

PLAYER
Yes !!  different players SOUND different (and sorry, but yes, YOU are a component in the chain, too)
PICKS
It's FUN !  Try it !  Different materials and gauges of picks make the attack of the strings sound different !!
STRINGS
Plain E, B and G  strings all sound pretty much the same, but different  wound  D, A and E  strings sound different.
It's easy:  cheap strings sound cheap.  I've tried.  While still new, they already sounded like they had been on the guitar for 6 months or more. 

I use different strings on different guitars.

No matter how hard you try to make a guitar sound like  50s or 60s....    it NEVER will have that sound with roundwound strings.
Before 1967 only very few players used roundwound strings.

CABLES and PLUGS
You know....  many use 4 or 5  effectpedals and connect them with cables with 2 Jack plugs each.  5 pedals mean 12 (yes....  12)  PLUGS between your guitar and your amp.   So  use  HIGH quality plugs. (and stay away from cheap cables)

10 ft of cable from your guitar to the first pedal + 4 X 6 inches between the FX pedals + 10 ft from the last pedal to your AMP...   that's 22 ft of cable that can ruin your sound.

There is no need to buy cables that cost 25 $ per meter....  just use a double shielded type of good quality.

Handle your cables like they were made of glass.  Do not step on them. You don't want any holes in she shielding.
The shielding protects the "hot" wire inside the cable from picking up noise.

Remember that the output signal of an electric guitar only is a few millivolts. You want as much as possible put into the inputjack of your amp !!!

EFFECTS (FX)
Effects are a matter of taste....   they can add A LOT to your sound, or they can ruin even more. 
We all have different tastes, so I won't comment this here.  This is when they are turned ON.

When an effect pedal is turned OFF  it's different.  OFF should be OFF.....  so the pedal does not  make ANY  change to the sound.
And here we have a problem.  The OFF (or bypass) mode of most pedals are not  real bypass at all.

I don't want to say they RUIN your sound when in bypass mode, but they certainly CHANGE the sound.
TRICK: use a footswitch just before your first pedal, that will send the signal either to the pedals or directly to your amp.  This enables you to bypass all pedals by one click.

AMP
Basically there are 2 kinds of guitaramps:  Transistor ("solid state") Amps and Tube Amps. 
Some  prefer the sound of transistor amps...  most prefer tube amps.

There are NO tube amps that the manufacturer tries to make sound like a transistor amp,  but there are a sh*tload of transistor amps that the manufacturer or the salesman claim that they  "sound like a tube amp".  Well....  they DON'T, so stay away from those. 
If you like the sound of tubes,  then buy the real thing.

NO transistors and NO digital  stuff can replicate the sound of those hot, sizzling, boiling bottles...  :-)

And now we're talking about sound of tubes:  the same TYPES of tubes sound different when mady by different BRANDS. 
I tried 3 different pre-amp tubes and 4 different sets of power-amp tubes before I found those I really like.
The tubes I use now, are manufactured by Sovtec.
(Sovtec = a Russian Company that makes electronic components for the Red Army)

LOUDSPEAKERS
Probably the most important component when we're talking SOUND.  After all..... it's the loudspeakers that make the air move and vibrate. My best advice is:  USE YOUR EARS !!!!!
xxx
AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST:
 


 

Few things in this world have been said and written more bullshit about than there has been about electric guitars. 
And as a retired guitarsalesman I admit I have contributed MY share.   :-))

The most important thing about a guitar is, that it feels "right" in YOUR hands. 

You'll want to use the guitar to make YOUR creativity, skills and expression come out of the loudspeakers. 
If it feels uncomfortable in your hands, then do NOT buy it.

If your friends like a guitar, but you do NOT, then do NOT buy it.

Your guitar is the "userinterface" between YOU and what comes out of the loudspeakers.

WHAT "THEY" WANT US TO BELIEVE WHAT IT REALLY IS LIKE
"The wood of the body, neck and fretboard has influence on the sound of a guitar" Let's compare two of my guitars :-)
Both are "Strats" so the shape of these two are the same
Both are fitted with d'Addario 0.010 strings and both have a plastic nut.
Any difference in sound should be caused by the WOOD.
 
Fender 50s Stratocaster Squier SE SPECIAL STRAT (From a beginner set)
Body Alder Agathis
Neck Maple Maple
Fretboard Maple Rosewood
Bridge Two point vibrato Cheap vibrato, broken, now locked.
Nut Plastic Plastic
Strings d'Addario 0.010 d'Addario 0.010

When I strum the open strings (unamplified) there is NO difference.
Sound, volume, sustain... all are the same.
With a capo in 3rd fret  the result is the same.

If you don't believe me, just click this link and listen.
I will NOT tell you what is which guitar.

First strum is "ONE" guitar, second strum is "THE OTHER"  :-))

To make sure that the mic would pick up the sound of the WOOD and not of the STRINGS, the mic was placed to pick up the sound of the backside of the guitar, right behind the middle pick-up.
The mic was placed about 2 inches from the body.

Logical conclusion:
All this talk about wood is sales-bullshit. 
One kind of wood may LOOK different from the other, but the SOUND isn't that different. 
Remember...   Danelectro made / makes  fine guitars with a masonite body.

Any wood,  crafted without messing up things, will do.
The slight difference there is (if any) between different kinds of wood, will get totally lost in different PUs, cables, FX, amp and most of all:  in different loudspeakers.

"To reduce the weight of this guitar, we have drilled holes in the body, but this does NOT change the sound" One of the most popular guitarmodels has weightproblems. 
It's a guitar with a mahogany body and a maple top.

On some models, the manufaturer drills holes into the mahogany, before the maple top is glued on. 
This is done to reduce the weight of the guitar.
You can NOT see the holes.  And the manufacturer still calls it a solidbody guitar. 
A "chambered" solidbody guitar.

Funny.....   the same guys who tell you that different kinds of wood ALL sound different, drill holes into the body and claim this does NOT affect the sound.  BULLSHIT !!!!

"This guitar sound HOT !!" Usually this means that the guitar has a lot of "own sound". 
After a while you'll find out, that no matter what you do, and no matter what effectpedals you use,  it still has this "own sound" that you got tired of.

(Here's a little secret ---->  this is why it's so easy to sell Yamaha and  Ibanez guitars to beginners)  :-))

If you buy a "heavy" guitar, you'll have to play "heavy" music....  try to use it for Country, Jazz or Blues and it will sound like sh*t.

When you want to play different kinds of music, you'll have to buy a guitar with a "basic" sound. 
From there you use gain, EQ and FXs  to make the sound you want.

IMNVHO a Strat (with 3 single coil PUs) is the most versalite guitar there is. You can play ALMOST any kind of music on it.

Now there are  two "main types" of guitar pickups.  Singlecoils and humbuckers. 
(Yes I know there is a third type, the P90, but this is a singlecoil type too).

The heavy, FAT, humbucker sound is what a Strat cannot do.  Nor can it produce a full, round, rich Jazz-tone.
So to cover ALL kinds of sounds,  you'll need TWO guitars, a Strat and a guitar with humbucker pickups.

The most basic sounding humbucker pickups are made by Gibson, Seymour Duncan and by Di Marzio.  These humbuckers all have their own character, but all are very versalite (except for the "high output" types)
Again it's a matter of taste.  I prefer Gibson humbuckers, but I like some types of SD's too.  Di Marzios are OK...  they are just not "me".

"Cheap tuners make your guitar go out of tune all the time" Not true. Another piece of sales-bullshit.
If the tuners make your guitar go out of tune, they are broke.  When not  broke, just make sure you string your guitar the right way.  I never had any problems with cheap tuners.
The "unsaid bullshit":  Salespeople try NOT to talk about pots, switches, jack and wireing. Guitarmanufacturers use the cheapest Korean or Chinese electronic sh*t  they can find.  Even  the two "main US guitarmanufacturers" do this and they do not only fit their "budget" guitars with them.

Pity, coz it IS important.  You do NOT want to switch to your bridge pickup, while having a great solo in mind and then hear......  NOTHING.

My FENDER  Strat came with a volumepotmeter that made the sound disappear in the position between 3 and 7. 

The toggleswitch on my SG  made lots of noise, and after less than a month the toggleswitch on my Tele Custom seemed to have forgotten that there's a neck pickup too.

I've seen "noisey" guitars with UNSHIELDED wires.

So....  the best you can do when you buy a new guitar, is to replace pots, switches, jack and wires with quality stuff.

Switchcraft makes great switches for less than 20 dollars and there are many brands of potmeters that can be used.

Use 500 k Ohm log.  for humbucker volumepotmeters and 500 k Ohm lin.  for tonepotmeters.
Use 250 k Ohm potmeters for singlecoil pickups. 
Again:  log.  for volume and  lin. for tone. 
You can use 500 k Ohm potmeters with singlecoils, if you want to, but do NOT use 250 k Ohm pots with humbuckers.
And do NOT mix  250 k  and  500 k  on the same guitar.

A little trick:  Cover all HOT unisolated wires and solderpoints with glue from a hot-glue pistol. 
Make sure there are NO bare wires. 
Then wrap everything in tinfoil :-)