AudioRumble rating 88/100
What We like
It has a great alder body.
Performs like a guitar twice its price.
Good range of colors to choose from.
Wonderful sound and versatility from the pickups.
What We don't like
The bridge may need some adjusting out of the box.
Whammy bar and vibrato system don’t feel as solid.
Yamaha make a lot of musical equipment – from grand pianos to mixing desks – and their range of guitars is also awesome. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a good sound for very little cash, Yamaha’s budget Pacifica series can really surprise you.
Here we have a very ‘cheap’ Yamaha Pacifica – not a good word to describe it, as it looks and plays anything but.
When it comes to colors, the PAC112V has a good array to choose from – black, silver, raspberry red, sonic blue, old violin sunburst, and natural. Despite the rainbow, my favorite is actually the natural, which shows off this model’s solid alder body very well. That’s right – alder on a budget.
With its Strat look, it has a double cutaway style that gives good access to the bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. This leads up to the Pacifica-branded headstock with solid diecast chrome tuners.
But this is not a carbon copy of a Strat. One this I really like is the inclusion of two metal dome control knobs off the pick-guard, instead of the cheap-looking plastic ones that usually come on a Strat styled guitar. It adds a bit of individuality, and that’s a good thing.
Some well-positioned curves and contours, and a nice glossy finish, make this guitar both look and feel very comfortable to play.
The hardware on this guitar is also surprisingly good. The PAC112V comes with two standard Yamaha Alnico V single-coil pick-ups (neck and middle) and an Alnico V humbucker at the bridge. These all offer great tonal variety, and mean you can get pretty much any sound you want.
With its five-way pickup selector switch this would be versatile enough, but the master tone control conveniently doubles up as a push/pull coil-split, so you can choose between a single-coil or a humbucker in the bridge position. A good feature, usually found on guitars double this price.
The bridge is a vintage-style tremolo with block saddles, and comes with a whammy bar. There’s nothing outstanding about the bridge or the whammy, but they do the job that’s asked of them. It’s worth pointing out that the guitar tends to arrive with the bridge very tight to the body, so if you are planning to make use of the vibrato effects, you may need to adjust it so it’s looser.
In the price range this falls in, the PAC112V is in direct competition with Fender’s Squier series, but it actually performs more like the Mexican Strats which are twice the price. So for $300, the Pacifica comes out very well.
The surprising inclusion of an alder body for this price really is a huge positive for the sound, and as such the guitar sings beautifully.
The pickups are very clear – producing a crisp twang when played clean, and lending themselves well to some Metallica-style shredding when the distortion is turned up. A powerful sound.
Overall it’s very well-built and – despite its Indonesian mass production – shows off pretty good craftsmanship. We don’t know what it will be like in a few years after a good bashing, but it feels durable and like it should last and last. It’s great fun to play.
With a classic Strat-inspired look, the budget Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V sets the bar high for all other budget and entry-level guitars. It's fun to play, had a good tonal range, looks great and feels like it is built to last. An extraordinary guitar for such a wallet-friendly price.
AudioRumble rating 88/100