The Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a guitar that sits above the price and quality range of an entry-level budget guitar. It neatly bridges the gap between a beginner’s guitar and a guitar more typically bought by more experienced players. That being said, it’s a great choice for players of any level and certainly has enough quality to be used by seasoned guitarists.
Although a lot of players might not include a Yamaha Pacifica on their shortlist for a future purchase, we think the Pacifica has an interesting story to tell.
So, let’s get this Yamaha Pacifica 112V review underway and find out exactly what that story is…
The Yamaha Pacifica, like most of their affordable range of guitars, is made in Taiwan. It is a guitar for anyone looking for a better-built alternative to the typical budget entry-level Strat style of guitar. The Pacifica 112V, in terms of both price and quality, sits between an entry-level strat style of guitar and a more affordable non-US made Fender Stratocaster.
Although the Pacifica has most of its design cues from the Fender Stratocaster, it never the less has its own vibe going on and is unmistakably a Yamaha Pacifica. The use of two control knobs, the shape of the headstock, and the prominent display of the Yamaha logo on the headstock will tell everyone you’re playing a Pacifica.
What’s more, the shape of the beautifully finished alder body gives yet more clues that this is definitely not a Fender. The Pacifica, though taking plenty of inspiration, form the Strat, has a more rounded and compact shape to the main body with more exaggerated horns.
The quality of the beautiful satin finish on the old violin sunburst color variant we’re reviewing is excellent. It’s a finish that would not be out of place on a much more expensive guitar. However, if old violin sunburst is not your thing, there is a good selection of other colors to chose from. We really like the sonic blue and red raspberry.
Specifications & Hardware
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V has a double-cutaway alder body with a ‘C’ shaped maple bolt-on neck. The fretboard is rosewood and has 22 frets with a 25.5” scale length. The fretboard feels nice and smooth and has a slight curvature at the edges. The option we’re reviewing has a single-coil neck and middle pick-up and a humbucker at the bridge.
The good news is that the humbucker can be split, so you’re pretty much going to get the same kind of sound you’d expect from a traditional single-coil Strat set up. Though additionally, you’ve got the option to go heavy if you need to.
The Pacifica range does have the option of having dual humbuckers if you prefer. Personally, if we were thinking of using dual humbuckers, we’d probably opt for a Les Paul style of guitar, but we get why some of you might dig this option.
Controls on the guitar include a five-way pick-up select switch and just two control knobs — one for volume and one for tone. The knobs are made from metal, and we think they look way cooler than the normal plastic ones. Unlike a Stratocaster, the control knobs are mounted directly onto the guitar and sit off the scratchplate. Just one more design feature making this very much a Pacifica.
The headstock has six inline standard die-cast tuners. The quality is solid though nothing outstanding. They do a good job of keeping the guitar in tune, and we can’t ask for much more than that. That being said, if you do start to give the tremolo some heavy use you can expect your tuning to turn sour quite quickly
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V has a bridge with six block saddles and a tremolo. We like the inclusion of block saddles as it gives the guitar a more modern feel, which very much suits its design and the fact that it is a relatively modern guitar. In fact, it was first brought onto the market in 1993.
If you want a hardtail version, you can, of course, always take off the tremolo arm and adjust the spring tension in the back of the guitar. It’s easy enough to do. Alternatively, if you go for the dual humbucker Pacifica, you’ll get a hardtail version as standard.
The Yamaha Pacifica guitars have now been upgraded and have Alnico V pickups. In combination with the HSS pickup configuration, there’s plenty of options to help you create some diverse sounds and play a wide range of different musical genres.
The humbuckers give you the ability to play some heavy, distorted, rhythm, and lead. This is perfect for playing those gain soaked leads or hard rhythms we’d typically associate with Rock. Plenty of dark full tones in the bridge humbucker to summon your inner rock god.
The single coils, on the other hand, produce beautifully clear and bright tones. Perfect for playing genres such as Blues and Country. The Alnico V pickups perform brilliantly in the Pacifica. For this kind of price, it would be hard to think of another pickup that could perform as well.
The only downside to the single-coil pickups is they do make that classic single-coil hum. On the plus side, there’s no such problem with the humbuckers. It does, therefore, give you the option of just flicking down pickup selector switch to get rid of the single-coil hum when you’re not playing. That could be useful if you’re playing live. It’s possibly a little easier than having to roll down the volume or stomp on your tuning pedal.
The Pacifica has a double-cutaway body, which is obviously a good start to give you easy access to the higher frets. Since it’s got a bolt on the neck, you’re not going to get the same ease fo playing around those higher frets as you would with a set neck. However, this is not a shredding guitar, and it’s still easy enough to play. Let’s face it, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn seemed to manage just fine.
The contours of the guitar body also help to make the Pacifica feel more comfortable to play. It has an aggressively angled contour to the bottom of the body for the guitar that we really like. It works well and makes it easy to play for extended periods.
The ‘C’ shaped neck is nice and smooth and makes playing fast passages and licks a breeze. The fret ends are also relatively smooth, and we can’t ask much more for a guitar at this price point. The frets and fretboard are nicely finished, and the action out of the box, though a little high, is well set-up. However, getting a low action on the Pacifica is an easy process.
All in all, it’s a nicely finished guitar with lots of smooth surfaces that’s easy to play.
Yamaha Pacifica 112V Pros & Cons
- Versatile across different musical genres.
- Comfortable to play.
- Its own look and design.
- Some killer color choices.
- The input jack can be a little loose.
- The action out of the box is a little high.
Other Affordable Options
If you’re not quite sure if the Yamaha Pacifica is the one for you, then there are some other great options available. So check out our reviews of the Epiphone Les Paul 100, our Epiphone SG Special VE review, our Squier by Fender Classic Telecaster review, the Epiphone Les Paul Special II, and our Epiphone Les Paul Standard review.
There are a lot of reasons to like this guitar. Not least because we feel it’s done enough to differentiate itself from a Fender Stratocaster or a copy. This is not to say a Stratocaster is not a great guitar, because it absolutely is, it’s more to do with the fact that the Pacifica is a guitar standing loud and proud on its own merits.
If you own a Pacifica, it’s clear to everyone what it is. We like that, and we like the fact that this is a modern take on a well-loved guitar that clearly has its own thing going on.
If you’re looking for a well-made and well-finished guitar that’s easy to play but won’t break the bank, the Yamaha Pacifica is a good choice. What’s more, the HSS pickup configuration also gives you plenty of playing versatility.
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a guitar we like a lot.
Enjoy your music and enjoy your playing.