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Tag: Premier Guitar

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

I have always been gay for the H.S. Anderson Mad Cat. I’m not even a Prince fan, this is the guitar that Prince made famous and used during the first half of his career, it’s something else. I think I really like it because of the unique look, it’s a bit too much of everything, a “all in” kind of guitar. The leopard pickguard should be too much but for me it just looks awesome, actually it reminds me a bit of Prince, but in a good way. If an African dictator, you know the ones with huge palaces in marble while the people are starving, needed an electric guitar, this would be it. I’m sure that Gaddafi had a couple in his guitar collection. H.S. Anderson was created by Mr. Hidesato Shiino and distributed and crafted by Moridaira who made Morris. Morris have always been seen as one of the better acoustic guitar builders but their electric guitars were fairly poor in the early 1970’s. When Shiino started H.S. Anderson in 1973 it was meant as a high quality custom shop brand aimed at the professional Japanese market. Here is some more information taken from Music-trade in Japan:

Mr. Shiino said that the original design of MADCAT came from the Takahiko Ishikawa who is top guitarist here in Japan (Maybe Mr. Ishikawa played over 10,000 songs…!!! He is mainly playing the acoustic guitar). Anyway, when they have a drinking, Mr. Ishikawa just wrote the original design of MADCAT. A few weeks later, Mr. Shiino added his idea and made the prototype of MADCAT. Well, about Mr. Shiino, you could check my JV history page. The logo mark was designed by Mr. Atsuro Yamada who is currently Managing director of Gramco Ltd – Top Strategic Brand Consulting Company. Mr. Shiino and Mr.Yamada were a good friend, and Mr.Yamada designed the logo mark and even MADCAT illustration. The Morris factory for H.S. Anderson was independent from Morris Acoustic guitar factory in Nagano. I’ve heard hat 3 craftsmen (Mr.Shinoda, Mr.Imafuku – He is Fujigen manager currently and other craftsman) made H.S. Anderson brand guitars. Early days (1973 -1974) made Madcat hasn’t got the serial numbers and signature in cavity. Later day (after 1975), H.S. Anderson guitars have their signature of these builders somewhere – PU cavity. Of course, Mr. Shiino left already (He established the ESP in 1975).

Music-trade has a beautiful Mad Cat in their collection that is unfortunately not for sale, which I can understand. I have actually never seen a real H.S. Anderson Mad Cat on eBay, only later versions made by Hohner, they were made in the Moridaira factory too, at least the first versions. The later Hohner “The Prinz” guitars that came in the 1980’s were most likely made in Korea by Cort. There has been numerous re-issues of the original H.S. Anderson Mad Cat, some better than others. Now there is one called Vintage re-issue Mad Cat made by Moridaira, the plant that made Morris and H.S. Anderson back in the 1970’s. Here is a review from Premier Guitar.

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat
I do love the H.S. Anderson cat

HS Anderson Mad Cat aka Prince's Hohner tele
Prince back in the days with his H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

Paul Bigsby

Paul Bigsby
Paul Bigsby died on June 7, 1968. While most guitarists know him because of his wildly popular Bigsby vibrato, most are not aware that Bigsby is widely considered to have crafted the first true solidbody electric guitar. Bigsby was a motorcycle mechanic during the 1940s in Southern California. He became friends with noted country star Merle Travis when the two met at a motorcycle racetrack. Travis discovered that Bigsby was a notorious tinkerer, and asked Paul if he could fix a vibrato tailpiece on a Gibson L-10. Bigsby ended up replacing the vibrato with a better one of his own design. Travis then asked Bigsby in 1946 if he could build an entire electric guitar, complete with pickups that wouldn’t feed back. Using a design from Travis, Paul created what may have been the first solidbody electric guitar. The guitar had a single cutaway and a headstock that featured all the tuning pegs on one side instead of the standard three per side arrangement. This was similar to a design used a centrury before by German luthier Johann Stauffer. It would later show up in a very similar form on the Fender Stratocaster.
Taken from National Guitar Museum

Merle Travis Paul Bigsby guitar
Merle Travis guitar built by Paul Bigsby in 1946, the first guitar that Bigsby built

THE STORY OF PAUL BIGSBY - FATHER OF THE MODERN ELECTRIC SOLIDBODY GUITAR by Andy Babiuk
If you want to read more about Paul Bigsby there is plenty of info at Premier Guitar, or you can by the book.

Update: December 18th 2014, I just found this pretty cool video about Paul Bigsby’s third guitar he built in 1949 for “Butterball” Paige

Rig Rundown

I really like Premier Guitar’s series Rig Rundown. Well there is an awful lot of pedals and crap that I don’t really care much for but I like to see the guitars and hear them talk about their equipment, or rather hear their guitar technicians talk about it. Here are just a couple but if you search for Rig Rundown in Youtube you can find a lot more. I have to say that I never cared much for Joe Bonamassa but after hearing what he brings on tour, two real 59′ bursts, and how passionate he is about vintage guitars, I’ve changed my opinion. I truly believe that old guitars were made to be played and I really like that Joe and his crew has been invited to see and often play 75 original 59′ burst so far, apparently only 643 sunburst guitars were made in 1959 and only 53% is accounted for. It’s a weird world we live in where collectors sit on guitars that never see the light of day and real musicians are too scared of taking anything else than re-issues on tour. Hats off to Joe Bonamassa for still playing the real thing and I do understand why people come up to him and lend him famous guitars to play, like when the Kossoff family let him play Paul Kossoff’s 1959 Les Paul.