I have been wanting a Squier Stagemaster for years. "What?" you say, "Why would you want a cheap Squier guitar when you have HM Strats already?"
The Stagemaster was another take on the HM Strat, built overseas in China - and Fender offered it for a lot less than it was worth to try to compete with Ibanez and Jackson again. Most of the features were similar to the earlier HM's - 24 fret neck, Floyd Rose style trem, contoured neck heel, basswood body, one-piece neck and hot pickups. The differences being the HM was a top of the line Stratocaster, and the Squier was maybe a third the price.
I found it on eBay and paid top dollar ($175) because it looked to be in almost mint condition, and when it arrived I wasn't disappointed. The paint job was beautiful, the humbucker kicked ass and the two single coils sounded like good Stratocaster pickups - very glassy. I was surprised it even had a brass sustain block on the bridge and the aforementioned one-piece neck - pretty killer features for a guitar that went for like $350 almost a decade ago.
Alas, the neck was upbowed beyond the ability of the truss rod to fix, and had a slight warpage on the bass side on the first fret. There's no way it would make sense to fix it, so I had to send it back. I really hated to do it, because it was a sweet guitar otherwise.
"Jimi would be playing an HM Strat if he were still alive." Bob @ Genesis Recording Studios.