I also suggest that you start with a flat EQ like this and then, if it sounds too muffled, turn up the treble; if it sounds like it is too tinny or piercing, turn down the treble. If it sounds too nasally, turn down the mids; if it sounds like it lacks punch, or too thin, turn up the mids. If it sounds too boomy, turn down the bass, etc. But every amp is different when it comes to EQ and tone! Also every guitar is different and depending on how inherently dark or bright the pickups are, different EQ settings will be needed. On my single coil guitars which are generally much brighter then humbuckers I usually turn the treble down a few notches, and turn up the mids. I tend to run the bass on the lower side with most of my guitars, between 2 and 3, maybe 4 as the tone becomes too boomy and starts to compete with the Bass guitar frequencies if I turn up the bass too much. Guitar lives in the midrange, so if you want to cut through a mix without increasing volume, you generally turn up the mids, leaving the volume alone. Regarding your guitar volume, I'm not sure if your guitar retains treble when you roll down the volume (the volume pot needs a treble bleed mod for this to happen generally speaking), but if it does, you can crank the volume(s) on the amp into breakup or distortion territory, and then roll the volume down until the tone cleans up. You can then play clean for your country and Buddy Holly type tones, and if you want to crank out a louder more rocknroll solo, you just turn the guitar volume up. With my Gretsch I usually use the middle pickup position for rhythm and more polite lead tones, keeping the neck volume down a smidge, and having the amp set on the verge of break up, and when I select the bridge pickup I get more rude and snarly lead sound. Setting your pickup heights so that the volume jumps a bit when you go to the bridge pickup also helps with this. Regarding reverb: a lot of retro sounding music has quite a bit of reverb, but if you turn it up too much, it will sound to washed out or spacey. Old rocknroll or rockabilly delay is all about using a slap back delay, where you set the time to a very fast delay with only one, maybe two repeats, so you get that "slap" back note as soon as you play the initial note. Then use the mix about half-way, give or take depending on how loud you like the slap back. Surf uses quite a bit of reverb (spring) and also tends to have a slap back delay. Another surf trick is to use the neck pickup, but to pick close to the bridge. Picking closer to the bridge will give you more twang. But I agree with everyone's responses...you just have to explore and see what you dig. The looper idea is also great and will be so much more efficient for you to learn what your amp does if you concentrate on amp knob turning while the looper is playing! I'm sort of rambling here, but I hope this helps.