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The wishlist: H.S. Anderson Vintage Reissue Mad Cat MkII - "Prince discovered one of these rare guitars early on in his career"

(Image credit: Olly Curtis / Future)

One of the more, ahem, normal guitars played by Prince was what looked like a custom Fender Telecaster. It was actually originally made by H.S. Anderson. Who? We’ll hand over to Dany Meeuwissen of Belgium-based distributor Amptec to explain...

The body construction was based around a walnut centre strip, with Sen ash sides and tiger maple top and bottom

“In 1973, the H.S. Anderson brand was launched by [famed Japanese guitar factory] Moridaira, and one of the employees, Mr Shiino Hidesato (HS), designed what would become an iconic guitar, the Mad Cat. 

“While most Japanese companies in the 70s produced copies of famous USA models, the Mad Cat was unique. The body construction was based around a walnut centre strip, with Sen ash sides and tiger maple top and bottom. 

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"The hardware and pickups were not what people would normally associate with a Tele-type guitar but more similar to a hardtail Strat-style guitar, and the unique leopard-style pickguards further distinguished the Mad Cat.

“A little over 500 Mad Cats were made during the 70s, including a small batch made OEM for Hohner USA with a Hohner logo in the H.S. Anderson style. 

"Prince discovered one of these rare guitars early on in his career and used it live and on countless records. Original vintage 70s Mad Cats are very rare and hard-to-find guitars.”

A vibrant and sparkling-sounding guitar that centres on some superb clean funk voices and is no slouch with old-school gain

Well, at least you can now get a new one. Musicstreet in the UK has taken delivery of this latest vintage reissue Mad Cat MkII, which is still made in Japan by Moridaira (a MkI version appeared back in 2012) and is closely based on an original Mad Cat from 1984. 

Details aside, of course, it feels very much like a good new Tele - the all-over gloss finish distinctive with its deep amber colour. It certainly moves into its own territory, sound-wise, with less bright edge from the bridge, which, like the neck, is more Strat than Tele. 

We have a four-way lever switch, too, which, aside from the usual combinations, gives both pickups in series - the biggest sound on the guitar. A vibrant and sparkling- sounding guitar that centres on some superb clean funk voices and is no slouch with old-school gain. No wonder Prince liked ’em.

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.

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