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1980s H.S. Anderson Houston HS-A1 Vintage "Apple Guitar" w/ Case, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1980s H.S. Anderson Houston model HS-A1 in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. These rare instruments represent a pinnacle of Japanese luthiery, produced with a particularly high level of scrutiny and grade-A craftsmanship. The H.S. stands for Hidesato Shiino, the so-called “Japanese Leo Fender”, a critical figure in the “lawsuit era” Japanese guitar world who would go on to start ESP and had involvement in brands including Greco and Fernandes. This unique, small-bodied design is colloquially referred to as the “apple guitar,” sporting one pickup and a full 24 3/4“ scale length.

Tonewoods include a solid maple body bisected by a thick strip of walnut, paired with a two-piece maple set neck with a slab rosewood fretboard. The natural acoustic tone is bright and lively, captured by the full and bold-sounding single coil pickup. The pickup offers plenty of treble detail, with a touch more midrange heft than most single coils, resulting in a richness that balances the inherent spank of the design. This guitar weighs 7lbs 5oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The two-piece maple neck has a moderately slender C-shaped profile carve with round shoulders in every register, measuring .820” deep at the 1st fret and .915” at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard is framed by tortoise binding and features a 16” radius, pearloid oval inlay, and stock slender fretwire. The frets are practically perfect, with well-rounded crowns, only showing a hint of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-2. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The headstock sports H.S. Anderson inlay, and the stock Schaller-style tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

All of the electronics work as intended, with the stock pickup wired to the upgraded harness with 250k CTS pots and a premium Vitamin-Q tone cap, governed by Master Volume and Tone controls. The control cavity has been fractionally enlarged to make room for the upgraded pots. Plastics include the green leopard tortoise pickguard and control plate, as well as the pair of reflector cap gold knobs. The pickup surround is carved from rosewood, and the chrome-plated Tune-o-matic wraparound bridge is notably clean.

The gloss Cherry Sunburst finish is vibrant in its application, and this H.S. Anderson is very well-kept. Cosmetic wear is limited to minor finish checking on the top extending along the walnut center strip at the lower bout, limited buckle worming on the back, a small finish chip on the body edge on the back, and a handful of faint scratches in the clear coat on the body as a whole. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.

The original hardshell case with gold plush interior is included.