Watch the Tones and Gear online guitar lesson by Joe Pinnavaia from Focus On: Fusion
Gear is always an open forum and a great topic of often heated discussions. Keep one thing in mind - you should look at what your favorite players use and start there. Maybe not the $300 distortion pedal but something similar that will get you the results you desire - experiment, experiment, experiment!
Amp Modelers to look at are - Avid Eleven Rack, AxeFx, Kemper profiling amp. Also nice clean tube amps can be used with pedals to get both a great clean and great distortion sound. Fenders are such amps as well as Port City.
Guitars can be anything from Gibson and Fender guitars to custom guitars such Suhr Anderson and Lull guitars. I have also seen Ibanez guitars as well - again it depends on the sound you are going for.