#1
You don't have to read the massive wall of text I just wrote below I ramble a bit but can I have some links to video/audio of what you think is an acceptable level of unwanted sound? I'm talking about buzzes and scratches, not unmuted strings. I can compare to recordings but I want to hear from something that's not done on expensive equipment and run through Pro Tools or miked from 20m away at low volume, just someone playing cheapish equipment. And with clean tone. Anyway read wall of text now if you want it's got more detail

Ive got a Squier Strat that's had the strings changed twice (a lot thicker now) and it hasn't been set up, and I put on all the most sensitive settings, sometimes with headphones and sometimes without (they make it easier to pick unwanted noise up), and I use one of those 2mm black dunlop picks with the alligator on it, which is kind of rough, and when I switch to a Jazz III it cuts out a lot of scratchy sound coz the pick doesn't rub against the strings (but I just don't like the Jazz III and I can't find one that's got the best of both).
I'm not sure if I'm being too fussy though coz it takes absolute perfect precision to go from one note to another on the wound strings without hearing buzzes and scratches, unless I mute the string first then play the next note, and that sounds bad. I don't really have much to compare to because I'm not sure how much a well set up guitar, better equipment and the recording studio improves the sound, except that I hear my teacher playing (on the bridge pickup that's not so sensitive) and he's got a lot of scratchy sounds in there, but I don't know how he compares to anyone else so it's not much to go by.
Here's an idea though how picky I am (I couldn't get a recording of my own playing up), I noticed lots of slight scratchy sounds in this video, like at the thing from
5:39-5:52, mine are a bit louder than that though. it's joe satriani's guitar tips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNDyI5b3Fh8&feature=PlayList&p=643A861C3A06B66A&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3

Or listening to some songs, with the volume up a bit, I hear it, in between chords on the intro riffs of Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast by Airbourne, or Do Ya by ELO, and in a lot of Stevie Ray Vaughan's playing. So, I thought that must be impossible to get rid of coz SRV is great, but then I can't hear anything other than crystal clear notes in BB King's playing so it must be possible right?
#2
Humbuckers help. As little string noise as you can is acceptable for you. It will change person to person, and also change from genre to genre. No one likes to hear a lot of noise other than notes in jazz, but for blues it can be acceptable to some degree.
There isn't really an answer to your question. You just have to ask yourself how much string noise do you want to hear?
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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Carvin X-100B
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