Many new guitarists ask themselves this question: What is more important, the guitar or the amp? The reason that they ask often has to do more with money than anything else. They may not have enough money to have top-of-the-line equipment, so they want to know which side they should upgrade first. Are they best to go out and get a $2,500 guitar and pair it with whatever amp they can get with their leftover money, or would they be better off to get a $500 guitar and then spend the money that they have left on the best amp they can get?
The answer really depends on what you are looking to get out of your setup. If you are interested in playing intricately and precisely, about learning the craft the same way that you would learn how to play the saxophone or the flute, you probably want a good guitar. It needs to have a fast, flat fretboard so that you can hit those solos in stride. You do not want a guitar that makes you a worse player because you have to press too hard on the strings or because you cannot play it cleanly. You want it to reflect exactly what you are doing.
my good ‘ol guitar
If you want to play in a rock band in the garage – which is what many young guitarists really want to do – you are best off with a $500 guitar and a killer amp. A lot of what you are going to be doing is just playing power chords anyway, so the guitar does not have to be as precise. You can rock out on those chords with anything for around the $500 mark, and you can get many good guitars – with twin humbuckers, whammy bars, and the like – for that price. You need to have a powerful amp so that you can turn it up at band practice, and the raw gain on the amp is going to influence your sound more than the guitar.
As you can see, it all comes down to your goals as a guitar player. Take a look at the Greenfield guitars at LuthiersCollection.com and then look up some of your favorite amps and half stacks, and add up the prices. Find out which combination of gear will give you the best results for what you are going to do with it.