The Fender Showmaster is a guitar.
History - Pre Showmaster
During the 1980s, many hard and stadium rock guitarists made modified their Fender Stratocaster guitars in order to let their athletic music styles be played on their guitars. Modifications included H/S/H pickup configurations, deeper cutaways; 7-string capacity (Steve Vai, anyone?); heavy-duty locking tremlo units (such as the "Floyd Rose" series); droopy, pointed headstocks (sometimes reversed, Firebird style) and active electronics. Such guitars became known as 'SuperStrats' due to their origin in the Stratocaster. Soon, many guitar manufacturers began producing instruments with these modifications straight out of the box. Most notable were the manufacturers Ibanez, Jackson/Charvel, Carvin and Yamaha (the company Bill Schultz started at before his tenure as the current FMIC Chrmn/CEO). However, the company whose insturmens started the craze, Fender, was noticeably absent from the trend. This had to do mostly with the inability of Columbia Records's (the division of CBS charged with handling Fender) to deliver a quality and well thought of product (the Elite Strat is a good example) and recognize market trends. Another factor was the 1985 sale of Fender to Bill Schultz and his group of investors. Many radical instrument ideas were either severely weakened or straight out killed in the crossfire during the sale. One such insturment was the Fender Performer, which had many superstrat characteristics. However, it survived, being produced in Mexico and Japan until the early 1990s. While Fender licked its sale-induced wounds, the company's R&D teams realized that Superstrats were being more and more accepted by the popular grunge, punk-revival and heavy metal movements of the early and mid-'90s. If Fender didn't respond to the trend, the company might be sold again, or, worse yet, be driven into extinction. So Fender came up with an idea - the prototype to the Fender Showmaster.
The Fender Showmaster was introduced as a Custom Shop model in 1999 (that's as far back as I could trace it). It featured a carved maple top, a set maple neck, and an HSS or HH pickup configurations. Later, it appeared as a U.S. Special/ Highway 1 model, retaining the set maple neck, HSS & HH pickups and its traditional Stratocaster headstock (with Showmaster label, respectively). A Squier model soon appeared, however, it had a bolt-on neck and either a reverse Strat headstock or a 3 to a side arrangement. All models are absent of a pickguard. Some may come with Floyd Rose tremlo systems, Fender's standard 6-point tremlo, or Fender's American Series 2-point tremlo (an excellent system). Custom Shop Models are also available with a hardtail, or non-tremlo bridge.