Looking for input, especially from those of you that are familiar with vintage Fender instruments. I put my 2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio up for sale or trade. I was really looking for cash, but I would consider the right Tele. I received quite a few offers, but one it particular was intriguing: "I have a Telecaster with a 1953 body, paint stripped and refinished with simple clear varnish, faint but readable T Gomez 1953 [Fender assembler Tadeo Gomez in 1950s era] pencil signature under the neck. Incorrect but nicely worn in maple fretboard neck, possibly 1970s era. The neck plate is also from a later year. Apparently, someone took off the original 1953 neck at some point and replaced it with the later maple neck. It probably needs some tweaking; I haven't played it in 10+ years. Trade?" After following up, he provided this additional information: "It was stripped bare when I got it from a guy who intended to restore it and I applied a simple varnish that could be easily removed for a correct repainting some day. I don’t really know anything about its history; the guy I got it from maybe 15-20 years ago just needed the money. It has the proper 1950s 5 screw single ply pick guard. The front plate looks shiny as if it’s a repro part. Ditto the neck plate on back, but other parts seem old. The neck is definitely one that was swapped onto it when some bozo swiped off the original one, but it shows nice aging, not an artificially “reliced” treatment (which I hate). I only play acoustic for the last few decades, but have never had a Gibson electric before and thought it might be fun to try one." A friend of mine (who is more knowledgeable about things like this) and I met the gentleman recently. He allowed us to take the guitar apart and take pictures of it, which are included in this post. We were able to determine that: - The 3-way switch and potentiometers have definitely been changed - The bridge appears to have been replaced, as the S/N is not located there and the saddles are not brass (contrary to how it was done in 1953) - The pickups appear to be original, or at least vintage as the bridge pickup is wound with twine and the neck pickup has no height adjustment - The pickguard appears to be single-ply bakelite, has period correct five holes and no screw holes for adjusting the height of the neck pickup There are a few issues with the body. I understand that the bodies were cut by hand in those days, but there are three things in particular that appear to be somewhat sloppy: - The holes in the rear of the body where the strings go through are not drilled with even spacing (should be noticeable in the picture) - The mounting of the pickguard appears to be crooked to the bridge and the “horn” of the single cut. That being said, there is only one set of holes (in the body) to mount the pickguard, so it would appear that this is the original placement of the pickguard. - There is a small section that is not rounded well in the area of the single cut (this does not appear well in the photos) I understand that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to authenticate this with certainty, but what is the TDPRI community's opinion on: - Whether the body is likely or not likely to be an authentic 1953 Fender Body, signed by Tadeo Gomez? - Whether the neck is likely or not likely to be a 1970’s era authentic Fender neck? - Is this a good trade for a 2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio (flame top, gold hardware, excellent shape, approx. cash value $700 US)? Also, the person with the guitar is of retirement age and lives in a somewhat affluent neighborhood. I can be kind of naïve sometime, but I don’t really think he is trying to pull one over on me. If anything, I would think that if the guitar isn’t legit, that someone got one over on him and the current seller is genuine in his beliefs. I can provide more pics if needed. Thanks for your input and have a blessed day!