Okay - thanks for that!
Let me me offer my two cents. I've got a few guitars including a JS reissue. Earlier today I compared it with my new LP Studio, plugged into a little 5 Watt tube amp. That little baby certainly highlights any defects, such as knackered, worn-out strings. The LP has the stock 498T 'bucker at the bridge. It certainly sounds fatter (beefier?) and more mellow - however I'd expect that because of the set neck and mahogany body?? The bridge block and Tune-O-Matic bridge are also much more heavy-duty than the Fender's Dynamic Vibrato type. What difference is that going to make to the eventual sound coming out the amp, or is it purely a matter of sustain?
Srummed accoustically the guitars don't sound the same either - the Jag-Stang has a less sophisticated, buzzy sound. That's what comes through when played clean through the amp using either pickup. The single coil doesn't seem a bad offering, bet it would sound perfectly fine if soldered into a Strat? The humbucker doesn't overwhelm the single coil when selected on its own and seems a good match when the two are selected together?
I also used a bit of overdrive, using a stock Boss SD-1, a Keeley'd BD-2 Blues Driver and for some real fun - a Boss MD-2 distortion pedal. Never for one moment did the JS sound sh*t - just different.
However, when all is said and done - the cheaper guitar is still a basic hot-rodded student model with a stretched body shape. It's not a heavy metal guitar (the fretboard radius alone precludes some serious fretboard w*nking), the bridge is mounted on spindly posts and is a pretty odbball design. Seems to me; that merely throwing in a more expensive pickup in that oddball bridge alone, is actually going to achieve very little? Supplied as stock, this pretty little guitar guitar still works well for bluesy type stuff, punk, garage rock, grunge and basic rhythm.