Rich's top 6 recommended guitar effects pedals
I'm of the belief that there's basically no such thing as a "cheap guitar" anymore. Yes, there are inexpensive guitars, but just about all of them are well-made. What this means is that the price of an inexpensive guitar is cheap, but it doesn't feel, play or sound cheap. Some may tell you differently, but I can say with 100% certainty there are inexpensive guitars well under $300 that are built just as well as those costing $1,000 or more.
One place where you shouldn't go cheap in price however is with effects pedals. Cheap pedals are literally built with parts that will break easily, have knobs that will start to get "scratchy" quickly when you adjust them, have poorly-constructed in/out ports and so on. With a guitar effects pedal (commonly referred to as a "stomp box"), the thing has to be built right the first time. After all, you are operating it most of the time with your foot, and it should be able to be used without worry of the pedal falling apart on you.
"But Rich, you don't use effects pedals"
No, I don't. I use a DigiTech GSP 1101. However, if I were going to buy pedals (which I most likely will be doing at some point), this is what I would get and this is what I recommend.
Each pedal below will have a link next to the image so you can check it out to see the price, specifications and so on.
Rich's recommended stomp boxes
Digital delay is nice, but the analog pedals are much easier to operate, and in my experience sounds better through an amp compared to digital. This particular MXR is built like a tank and can take a lot of abuse.
If analog delay isn't your thing and you want the digital which gives you more options, the only one worth having is the DD-7.
I'm a Strat player, and the 1st, 3rd and 5th position pickup settings on a traditional SSS pickup configuration will exhibit 60-cycle hum when the distortion or overdrive is on unless you have special noise-cancelling pickups (which Squier Strats don't have). To get rid of this noise from an amp, you use an adjustable noise gate. The M-135 does the job nicely to get rid of that hum.
Electric guitars when played clean (as in with no distortion) usually don't sound that great no matter what guitar you have. To "fatten up" the tone, a chorus pedal helps out a great deal and everyone should have one. I like the M234 in particular because it basically gives you everything you'd ever need out of a chorus pedal. And yes, this is again one of those instances where analog sounds better when going through an amp.
A classic distortion pedal. If you've been around other guitar players, I guarantee you've seen this familiar orange box on the floor. A must-have for anyone's pedal collection. It's simple, easy, works, sounds good and it's well-made.
If there's any pedal you should buy first, the DS-1 is it.
Tons of guitar players use a wah pedal, and if you're wondering which you should get, the Crybaby 535Q is it. I suggest this one over other wah pedals because of the "Q Dial" that allows you to shape the wah sound to your liking. Other wah pedals only give you one non-adjustable sound.