The sleek basswood body is topped off with a beautiful carved Quilt Maple top and Black Cherry Burst finish. To get the most possible out of this instrument, the Showmaster guitar features a contoured set neck and 24 frets for access to the highest notes.
The Showmaster sports a two-point synchronized tremolo (actually a vibrato unit, but Fender has always used the two terms interchangeably), two Seymour Duncan pickups, a set neck design and you have a modern masterpiece at a surprisingly affordable price.
The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan SH-1N RP `59 Reverse Polarity Humbucker™, while the bridge pickup is the Duncan SHGP-1B Pearly Gates Plus Humbucker™.
These legendary high output pickups will blow the doors off any venue, from club to arena, but they`re also well-suited for laying down blistering lead tracks and fat, filthy rhythms in the studio.
The pickup selection is Special Switching, featuring coils in series and coils in parallel with a 5-Position blade switch. (see below in Features) Other features include smoked-chrome hardware, knurled knobs, and a graphite nut.
Fender guitars initially turned heads in the 1950s and `60s with their unique "blond" maple necks and fingerboards, but our Showmaster has a rosewood fingerboard with abalone dot inlays over a modern "C" shape maple set neck (meaning the neck is glued into the body, rather than bolted on).
This gives the guitar a slightly warmer tone - a perfect match for the dual Humbucker™ pickups. The final cosmetic touch comes in the form of a matching painted headstock.
Fender Knew What They Were Doing When They Made This One!
Position 1. Full Bridge Humbucker (Coils in Series)
Position 2. Both Inside Single Coils (Coils in Series)
Position 3. Both Full Humbuckers
Position 4. Full Neck Humbucker (Coils in Parallel)
Position 5. Full Neck Humbucker (Coils in Series)
Fender Showmaster Review
By Emile Menasché
Fender guitars—like the Frankenstein monster—are known to have bolt-on necks. However, unlike Mary Shelley’s cranky creation, Fenders are all the better for their assembly-line birthright. The bolt-on is not only practical; it also contributes to the guitars’ monster tone. And although Fender has produced some fine set-neck guitars in the past, those instruments never grabbed the hearts and fingers of the traditional Strat and Tele player. So the company was smart to give its latest set-neck ax an identity of its own. It may share some design cues with Fender’s ubiquitous Strat solidbody, but the Korean-built Showmaster isits own beast.
Materials and Construction
The two-octave neck is made of maple and joins the body around the 19th fret. Upper-fret access is exceptional, thanks to the deep, contoured cutaways and a streamlined neck joint so seamless and smooth that I had to hunt for it visually. (At first glance, the guitar seems to be carved out of a single piece of wood.) The headstock has a vintage Fender shape and traditional logo, and its finish matches that of the body. The 25 1/2¯inch-scale rosewood fingerboard is shod with medium jumbo frets (another departure from the vintage Strat). The Showmaster has a rounded nine-inch radius. You don`t often see the combination of big frets and round neck, and judging from this guitar, that`s too bad? It’s a very comfortable ride.
Hardware includes a two-point synchronized tremolo bridge and nonlocking tuners, all in a cool Smoked Chrome finish. The bridge works smoothly and contributes to the guitar`s tone. The Showmaster is easy toplay. The neck`s thin profile, slick finish and round radius work together to guide your fingers to the right spots. The action is exceptionally low, yet the strings were easy to bend, with no fret hang-ups even on those nasty three half-step blues bends. Intonation was also very good all the way up the neck.
Electronics and Sound
The Showmaster comes in several configurations. I tested the HH model, which is equipped with two American made Seymour Duncan humbuckers: an SH-1n RP `59 Reverse Polarity (neck and an SHPGP-1b Pearly Gates Plus (bridge). The pickups are mated to a three-way switch and master volume and tone controls. When the switch is in the middle position, both pickups are on, but the coils are split for a bright, airy tone. The volume and tone controls are smooth and progressive; rolling off the volume knob does not rob the guitar of high end. The Duncans compliment the Showmaster`s natural acoustic tone very well. The guitar is relatively bright, and the pickups add depth to the lower midrange without making the tone too muddy.
In a clean setting, the Showmaster has a clear, bell-like tone that`s great for pop, rock, blues and country. The middle position is a little on the thin side for, say, American rock, but it sounds great for funk, chicken-pickin` country licks and those sensitive power ballads. Overdriven, the guitar really comes to life. The neck pickup has a round, vowel like sound that mates the grit of a Les Paul with the clarity and attack of a Strat. The bridge pickup is very sweet, with plenty of focus and a nice, present midrange. If your style delves into Satriani territory? speed, attack, distortion and effects? The Showmaster won`t disappoint.
The Bottom Line
Despite its surface similarity to the Stratocaster, the Showmaster distinguishes itself from Fenders of yore while it maintains the company`s tradition of delivering great guitars for the working player. With its rich tone, quality workmanship and easy playability, the Showmaster is an excellent value.