Up for sale, a 1975 H.S. Anderson HS-1 “Mad Cat” in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. With only roughly 500 instruments ever made, the ultra rare H.S. Anderson Mad Cat was made famous by Prince as one of his most unassuming yet frequently played guitars. Prince’s Mad Cat was a rebranded H.S. Anderson, exported by the Japanese company Morris but sold under the Hohner name for the U.S. market. Unlike the Morris acoustic guitars produced at their factory in Nagano, the H.S. Anderson instruments were purportedly handmade by only three craftsmen, one of which is M. Shinoda, whose signature is present in both the neck pickup cavity and on the neck heel.
This Mad Cat features figured bubble maple body construction with a walnut center stripe, paired with a flame maple neck. The top end detail and glassy note attack of maple is evident in the sound, and the original single coil pickups meter just under 6k ohms, delivering exceptional articulation and top-end character with a balanced midrange and authoritative percussive cut. Naturally resonant at 9lbs 9oz, this Mad Cat has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action, and spot-on intonation.
The one-piece maple neck has a fast-feeling medium C-shaped profile carve with lightly rolled fretboard edges, gaining a touch more heft and shoulder in the upper registers, measuring .830” deep at the 1st fret and .935” at the 12th. The fretboard has a 9 1/2” radius, and the medium fretwire benefits from a level and crown, exhibiting no wear. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nut measures 1 9/16” in width. On the headstock, the H.S. Anderson Mad Cat logo is intact, and the serial number on the back of the headstock dates this guitar to 1975. The Gotoh-made tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.
All of the electronics function as intended, and the harness has been upgraded with modern (2009) CTS pots paired with the original paper-in-oil tone cap. The control plate and dome-topped knurled knobs are also replacements, with chrome plating that shines like new, and the original through-body bridge has six saddles for optimal intonation. The thick celluloid tortoise pickguard has a distinctive leopard print, a very Prince-like aesthetic, and the bridge surround and jack plate are made of the same leopard-tort as well.
The gloss Natural finish highlights the bubble/birdseye figuring in the maple on both the top and back, framed by tortoise binding. Cosmetic wear is limited to some minor marks on the body as a whole, an area of buckle rash central to the back, and two localized areas of finish loss on the lower bout body edge. The smooth ambered gloss on the neck profile highlights flame figuring in the maple, with a handful of shallow marks along the profile length that don't distract the palm while fretting.
A modern "poodle"-style case, typically associated with a 1954 Fender Stratocaster, is included.