In this Yamaha Pacifica Review I’m going to focus on the PAC012 model, which is the entry level model. We’ll look at the features and how it matches up to other “beginners” guitars. We’ll look at the pros and cons of the PAC012 and finally I’ll give you a recommendation. Take a look at my post on the best guitar accessories for beginners too. Ready to explore whether or not this could be a good choice for your first guitar? Let’s get started!
History of The Pacifica
The Yamaha Pacifica range of guitars has been around since the 1990s. Originally designed in California, Yamaha has expanded the range of Pacificas over the years to 15 different models. These range from the PAC012 entry level guitar, to the PAC600 series, which cost upwards of $900. Yamaha’s values on quality are Excellence, Authenticity and Innovation. With a combination of pickup configurations, build types and materials, the Pacificas are a stalwart in the guitar world.
What is The Yamaha Pacifica PAC012?
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 is the entry level model, aimed at novice guitarists. It takes inspiration from the look and design of a Fender Stratocaster. Although this is a beginners guitar, the number of features and the build quality is amazing for the price-point. Here are the specifications for the PAC012:
- Pickups: 1 Humbucker pickup at the bridge and 2 single coil pickups controlled by a five-way switch
- Controls: Two knobs, one to control the tone and the other to control the volume
- Scale: Full-size (25.5 inches)
- Body Material: Agathis
- Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
- Neck Material: Maple
- Fretboard Material: Rosewood
- Neck Finish: Satin Polyurethane
- Fretboard Radius: 13.75 Inches
- Fret Size: Medium
- Strings: Steel, Custom Lights
- Weight: Approximately 3.4kg
How Does The Pacifica PAC012 Measure Up?
If you’ve searched for beginners electric guitars, you’ll know that there are a lot of options. A lot of them are unnamed, cheaply designed and cheaply built. They may be cheap, but frankly they’re awful to play. With guitars you tend to get what you pay for. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a very good beginners guitar. One of the best features of the PAC012 is the pickup configuration. You get a humbucker pickup at the bridge, which enables you to play heavily distorted styles such as punk, heavy rock and metal. You also get two single coil pickups which can produce a cleaner tones as well as enabling a bluesy style at the neck pickup. Here’s a graphic, courtesy of Yamaha, which demonstrates how the pickups work.
The 5-way switch determines which of the pickups are in use at any one time. At position 5 you’re using the humbucker fully, which is where you get the heavily distorted tones. At position 1 you’re using the single coil, which will give you more of a bluesy feel. This guitar is modeled on the Fender Fat Strat, which is my primary electric guitar. I played a PAC012 having recommended it to a friend and I have to say I was quite impressed. It doesn’t measure up to my fat strat, but then the Fender costs a lot more than the PAC012. One of the things I noticed was how nice it felt to play. The action (i.e. how close the strings sit to the fretboard) was very good indeed. Along with the medium frets, it made fretting notes child’s play.
The satin finish to the neck makes moving around the fretboard pleasurable. With some beginners guitars, they skimp on the neck finish, which can make it more difficult to move your fretting hand. After a while that gets really frustrating. You’ll need to be able to get around smoothly to make the most of the 22 frets, which gives plenty of room to practice scales and make your foray into the world of soloing. The reviews of the Pacifica are excellent, which is to be expected of for such an established brand.
The PAC012 comes with 6 steel custom-light strings. They’re not the best quality strings, so you might want to swap them. A set of decent electric guitar strings can be bought for less than $10 on Amazon. You can read more about how to string an electric guitar here. Once you’ve got a decent set of strings the tonal range this guitar produces is quite something. Some of the fittings are a bit cheap, but they’ll do their job. That’s to be expected on any beginners guitar. Although my friend didn’t have any issues, I’ve seen reports that people have had issues removing the film from the pick guard when they first get the guitar. That’s a minor issue easily solved with a bit of patience. Overall this is a great choice of guitar for any beginner.
Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 Pros:
- Long established brand
- Wide tonal range
- Good action
- Lots of great reviews
Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 Cons:
- Fittings are a bit cheap
- Pick guard protection can be a bit difficult to remove
- Original strings need replacing for best performance
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 is a very good choice for anyone looking to pick up the electric guitar. The tonal range provided by the pickup configuration enables flexibility so you’re not forced into playing a narrow range of musical styles. The longevity of the Pacifica as a brand definitely works to the advantage of the PAC012, having had years to refine the design. The low action, combined with the satin finish on the neck makes it a pleasure to play. You’d be wise to replace the original strings, but that’s by no means a necessity. You could easily just start playing the guitar as soon as it arrives. I couldn’t find any complaints about the Pacifica012. My experience, along with the experience of others, is that the Pacifica012 is a solid choice for a beginner. I’ve also reviewed six of the best beginners guitars, which you can read by clicking here.
I hope you’ve found this Yamaha Pacifica review helpful. I’d encourage you to use the sharing buttons to share with anyone who you think might benefit. Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch using my contact page. Whichever guitar you pick, check my beginners guides to help you on your journey. Happy strumming!
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