I have a Strat here and a mahogany bodied Ibanez, and when played out of the same amp they sound different enough that I can tell them apart. I had an alder bodied Ibby Explorer once. That sounded very different than a mahogany bodied Iceman.
Mahogany tends to sound thicker. Very good for heavy metal rhythm tones, but can also sound a little dull/muffled.
Alder tends to have more of an emphasis on the highs and sounds drier than mahogany.
Anyways, that's been my experience with guitars made from those two woods.
If you have a pc and an audio interface, you can make all the clips you want.
Recording music with a pc is a relatively easy process. All you need do is mic your guitar as normal and then send the mic's signal into an audio interface, open a recording program, and you're good to go. I use a...
You can always bypass the poweramp section of your low watt amp and run it into an Electro Harmonix 22 or 44 watt poweramp pedal.
As for a 1X12 cab, I got a very nice one off of eBay for $180. If money isn'y an issue though, I'd really pay and get a nicer over-sized 1X12. It's just going to...