I sheepishly have to agree...... I owned a '57 Special,absolutely stock....and a '59 burst,stock too.Plus, a '52 goldtop,a few Jrs. and a '59 mangled Special.Others,but trying to sum up here. Stock is good,IF: (a) it plays good (b) it stays in tune (c) it sounds good If these three things aren't happening,we are fooling ourselves---because we have invested in a guitar we can post pics of and jam with,but in the real world of stage and studio,it ain't gonna cut it.The feel of the old Gibbys are usually incredible,but if they need a leg up to complete the package,do it or flip it. My late '55 is so far from stock,but I would put it up against my old burst.....okay here come the tomatoes,but I was there.