That's the cool thing about this thread. It's nearly impossible to be wrong. Everyone has different needs and goals.
Now if I had titled it "You should rather own...." then the gloves would be off.
Digital modelers have changed the game somewhat as well. I rejected digital technology in guitars back in the 80's and 90's. It was crude and weak. Digital distortion? Puleeeze! I couldn't get rid of a pedal fast enough. You couldn't roll back your guitar volume and clean up. Even a small guitar signal, it tried to distort it, badly. Blah!
Now the technology has come a long way, and it's easier to get by with one amp (if you find a modeler you connect with). I have a Vox Tonelab that I used for band practice while my Marshall was down. It reacts to volume knob tweaks naturally. It got me by without much complaint, and has tons of little built in toys and gadgets.
What it didn't have is the presence and command you get with a 50 watt JCM800. It gets loud, and it sounds good, it's just.... *not* a 50 watt tube amp, and doesn't feel like one. It imitates well. Damned well, but it doesn't play the same. You are not actually interacting with a tube amp.
Slightly off subject (but what's new)... I HATE playing with headphones no matter what's driving them. Vibration from sound waves are meant for more than your ears. They reflect and absorb and sometimes shake your bones. Without all that, it's not the same to me.
I personally think you can achieve a good tone from any Amplifier as long as your spend enough time with one...Some people though, are tone chasers and will buy and sell various Amplifiers and effects for years without finding the "Holy Grain"
Tone is more of the player than the equipment; great equipment just makes it that much better and sometimes easier for the person to be content with their playing.
I know what you mean. I tend to go on kicks... there will be a while where I focus on guitars... then I'll focus on amps for a while. I don't intentionally do it either, but somehow it keeps my guitar to amp ratio balanced. I just like to experiment. I not chasing a specific tone.
Great thread, I love amps. I have a Blackstar that I've played twice.
Hundreds of pages of notes on settings, both guitar and amp. Started simple enough, a Fender Twin, clean and plenty of power.
Then the required Marshall, but just a 1/2 stack
After a year I just fell into great deals on great amps, Matchless, Victoria.
These require time to get to know, very subtle little nuances.
Next I discovered P90's, a welcome fork in the road, a new chapter in sound.
I'll admit that I am an amp whore.
Always find what the top studio musicians do as intructive. Some have 100 guitars and 100 amps, picking combinations to suit the particular session. Others play through the same guitar and amp regardless of the artist they are supporting. Go figure.
Me - I have settled a bit more on the latter approach. I have an LP CLassic ('92), LP Junior and Tele. I play through a Deluxe Reverb Reissue but also have a Blues Junior and Champ silverface - each for a different floor of my house. I hate lugging amps up and down the stairs. Pass the Grey Poupon, please! LOL.
It's not like any single guitar can give you that wide a range of sounds. Plug 100 guitars into the same amp (any amp) and it will (for the most part) still rely on the amp for the inherent tone. Change the amp and you can go in any number of directions. So, for me, I'd rather have two or three good guitars that I like and a bunch of amps that offer different core tones.
Seems like we all agree that both the guitar and amp make the "tone." Playing live, it's nice to be able to switch guitars between songs so that I can get the right tone for that song. I'll put down the Les Paul to pick up a hollowbody jazz box for one song and then switch to another LP that has a slightly different sound for a different style song. One of my LPs just sounds better when I'm doing a lot of lead playing, while my other is great for rhythm and subtle fills.
It's also nice to switch between different sounding amps. I'm adding a second modified Epi Valve Jr. to make for a more versatile sound. One is modded to mimic the circuit of a 60's Supro S16. It has a more mid-rangy sound that makes for a great Santana-like lead voice. The new one is modeled after an old Chieftain and has a more balanced tone that's better for rhythm and clean tones. Both are heads going into two custom-built 1x12 cabinets.
I do miss my Strat, though. I had an early 90s MIJ '62 reissue that I loved. I wasn't playing it much, though, opting for my LP. So I sold it. Now I wish I had that different tone. In fact, if I add another guitar (I'm down to 3 electrics and 4 acoustics), it'll be a single-coil ax - either a Strat or an LP with P-90s. Or, I could get both.
Come to think of it, I like the sound of the Peavey Windsor amp, too.
My wife's gonna hurt me....