I second the reduce your gain comment, however, another useful trick for the rare times you do silly things like daisy chain 3 distortion pedals through a champ amp in a bathroom (or whatever wacky thing is needed for a special effect); WIRE A SWITCH POSITION DEAD (I accidently hit caps lock, but decided to leave it). This trick has been around since the 80's, add a kill switch by itself, or… I knew a guy who's bridge position 5-way was wired as off. It's pretty simple, a good guitar set-up guy should be able to do it (I think I saw a video where Paul Gilbert says he does it, but don't quote me, I could be wrong). But back to gain... people always use to much gain to start when your a beginner, I did it, (it covers up bad technique… kinda', but not really, not in the long run) in the long run it over-compresses the sound and takes the dynamics out of it, makes it end up recording really small and buzzy.
I've noticed a correlation between guys who use too much gain and also can't play all down strokes for their "hardcore" sound… (ala Metallica, Kirk plays all down, I sure can't, but damn that guy's fast and clean). I set one guy up on my rack rig I had at the time (Hughes & Kettner Access pre w/ Mesa 20/20 power amp through a 3/4 tuned back cab with Celestions), he usually played through a Zoom processor plugged into his Mackie with gain all the way up, and the bass rolled off for "his sound", he couldn't figure out what this low humming sound coming out of my rig was… until I reached out and muted the low 6th with my hand (actually, it was a 7-string drop A tuning down a half-step to Db & Ab) and pointed out he wasn't palm-muting properly, and he'd never get a really good chunky sound alternate picking his "power" chords. He didn't listen to me, they never do, denial… it's not just a river in egypt… learn how to make your "power chords" sound chunky and tight on a flat top with .013's for a few days, then roll in some distortion on the electric, don't go so far that you lose the sense of dynamic responsiveness from your amp, at that point you're just using over-compression to hide poor/uneven articulation, there are times where you'll want super amounts of gain for different legato effects and such, and just straight out feed back (personally, I like to give it a little time to grow, rather than just instant squeal).
A lot of times these things aren't noticeable playing live, or in your garage, or wherever you usually rehearse, but when you get in the studio and start micing up, it becomes much more noticeable. Hey, don't trust me… just try it out.