Well, since no one else who knows more than me is answering...
You could go with multi-effects if that suits you. Me, I prefer good old fashioned stomp boxes.
There's been a lot of... errr... "discussion" about the merits of digital versus analog effects/amps/etc. Someone said one of the reasons they prefer analog effects is that you can play the effects, whereas digital effects tend to play themselves, i.e. analog effects are more responsive to the playing of the musician. Therefore, if you are thinking of going digital, it might be a good idea to try them out, actually play them rather than just hear them, before making the decision.
Do you have a music store reasonably close by that you could try out different stuff? That would a good way to go. And you could get some hands on help, too.
Here is a webpage that shows John Greenwood's (Radiohead) setup:http://www.guitarfxdepot.com/rigs/jonny-greenwood-radiohead-guitar-rig/
If you look to the right you'll find the setups of some other famous guitarists as well. Might give you some ideas.
Also, if you go to this site you will find a repository of guitar effects reviews and sound samples, which might help you decide what you might want:http://www.noiseon.com/Map.aspx
And on the Zzounds site, many of the effects have sound samples, video, etc (if you go the the page of the effect and look under the " multimedia" tab, if there is one):www.zzounds.com
(Zzounds is also a great place to buy from, unlike Musician's "Friend" which gave me the worst buying experience I ever had)
Although I am not into your kind of music, it seems to me a couple must-haves would be a high gain distortion, along with a simple overdrive pedal for the lighter overdrive sounds. Then you can add stuff like chorus, flanger, delay, reverb, etc., depending on the sound your after. A compressor/sustainer is a good thing to have, too. You might want to add an EQ pedal also, to further shape the tone.
Of course, it you got lots of money, just head to the music store, spend the day playing around, and come back with a box full of stuff and make me jealous.
And if you're going to have more than a couple pedals, you'll probably want to get a good power supply like the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power2, and buy or make a pedal board (which is essentially a board that you stick your pedals and power supply to, which keeps them organized and in one place).
Hope this helps a little.
I have a question about effects pedals in general, wasn't sure where to put it so just added it here.
I am 25 and have been playing guitar for about 2 years and I am totally addicted, play every day for at least a couple of hours (devastated i didn't start playing earlier!!!). I play sometimes with a few friends but I don't ever see myself joining or starting a band, just more as my main hobby. I want to start looking into getting some effects pedals but really have no idea where to start. I love a wide variety of music but I would say indy rock would be what I listen to most and try and play on guitar. Some of my favorite bands are Radiohead, Tv on the radio, My bloody valentine, Pavement, Bloc party, the libertines, modest mouse etc. Would love to know how they get the variety of sounds on their guitars they do but I am lost.
I was thinking about buying a multi effects pedal but I see you don't really have any information about them on your site. Do you not recommend them even for someone just playing at home? Can you recommend any brands or types? If you think it would be more worthwhile to buy the pedals individually should I just buy them in the order that you have in this lesson? What pedals do you think are necessary for the style of music I enjoy?
Sorry for all the questions, but as you can see I am lost haha. Anyway thanks so much for all of your lessons, really filled a major gap in my life! Definitely will be buying your album when the hard copy comes out this week (like to have something to keep). Best of luck with making the charts!