The Squier Stagemaster (discontinued) is a guitar made by Squier, which normally manufactures less expensive authorized copies of Fender's more popular guitars and bass guitars. The Stagemaster is similar in appearance to a Stratocaster with a few cosmetic and functional differences, and is typically classified as a Superstrat. Generally, these differences are:
- A reverse headstock
- A tremolo system (Mostly Floyd Rose, with some models featuring 2-point standard tremolos)
- humbucker pickups
- A contoured neck heel (Rounded corner where the neck meets the body)
- A slightly narrower body
- 24 fret necks (Early models had 22 fret necks)
- One volume and one tone control
- Knife selector switch (3-way or 5-way)
There were four different versions of the Stagemasters:
V1 - Introduced in 1999 and featured a pickguard, top jack, reverse headstock, licensed floyd rose and 22 frets. Versions were HH, HSS, and HSH. Colors made were Black, Polar White, Cobalt Blue Metalic, Galactic Purple and Frost Red. The HSH models had matching painted headstocks; the rest had natural wood color headstocks. Chrome hardware. Discontinued in 2000.
V2 - Introducd in 2000, discontinued 2002 Has a side jack, no pick guard, reverse headstock, licensed Floyd Rose bridge, bolt-on 24 fret neck, and a locking nut. Versions were HH. HSS, HSH. These 24 fret models were made in three colors: Black Metallic (565), Cobalt Blue Metallic (587), and Purple Metallic (593). The V2 models also offered HH 7-string versions. The 7 string version came in two models: a Floyd Rose bridge with locking nut (7FR) and a hard tail fixed bridge (7HT) with a regular nut. The 7 string models came in three colors: Black Metallic (565), Cobalt Blue Metallic (587), and Purple Metallic (593). Black hardware.
V3 - Stagemaster HSS NLT (Non-Locking Tremolo). Features a two point bridge, no pick guard, bolt-on 22 fret neck, and a regular nut. Colors include Black and Cobalt Blue. Chrome hardware.
V4 - The Deluxe versions with neck-through construction were made alongside these models and were available in HH and HSH configurations. The Deluxe HH neck-through came in three colors: Shoreline Gold Metallic (544), Atlantic Blue Metallic (569), and Wine Red Metallic (575). The Deluxe HSH came in three different colors: Pewter Gray Metallic (543), Black Metallic (565), and Emerald Green Metallic (571). No HSS neck-through models were made. Black hardware.
The 2nd generation 24-fret Solid Body Stagemaster featured many upgrades and was "designed to compete with guitars costing 4 to 5 times as much." One upgrade was wax potted pickups stock with the guitar. Another upgrade was rear-mounted electronics allowing for a guitar with no pickguard. The Deluxe model featured neck-through three-piece maple necks, while the standard models featured a bolt-on one-piece neck with no scarf joint and with the contoured heel. The reverse headstocks on the Stagemasters allow for completely straight string pull. Another nice feature is the inclusion of a brass bridge sustain block on the licensed Floyd Rose bridge, unusual quality in a budget-priced guitar. In 2002 the Stagemaster was re-named to Showmaster due to a trademark claim from Kramer, who made a guitar called the Stagemaster in the mid-late 1980's. V3 and V4 model Stagemaster guitars are known to exist labled as "Showmaster".
The Showmaster guitar was discontinued in 2004.
Identification of the Stagemaster guitars is quite easy. If it has 7 strings it is a V2. If it has a pickguard it is a V1. If it has no pick guard, a bolt-on 24 fret neck it is a V2. If it has no pick guard and a bolt-on 22 fret neck it is a V3. If it is a neck-through guitar it is V4.
The guitar shares similarities with the HM Strat which was produced by Fender and discontinued in 1992.