Yamaha Pacifica 112

Just about the coolest tight-budget axe you'll ever find. Excellent action and intonation. Stays in tune even when you boogie on the whammy. Nice fit and finish. If you like to tinker, change the pickups for a serious tone upgrade. Put a set of 11's on and tighten the truss rod a quarter turn, add an extra spring on the tremolo. Strings will last forever and your fingers will never hurt again. By the way, if you change pickups get some with a narrower magnet spacing, some Stratocaster pickups may be too wide. My personal setup is an Ibanez V-1 in the humbucker hole, a DiMarzio stacked humbucker in the middle, and a Japanese Stratocaster pickup in the neck nook.
Yamaha Pacifica 112 electric guitar

Here's how the Pacifica is holding up after two years of frequent use:

The pickup selector switch is getting a bit sloppy feeling but still works well. The tone pot is becoming a little scratchy sounding but still works well. The frets are showing some wear but not enough to affect playability. Now that the neck wood has dried and shrunk slightly, the fret ends stick out a bit beyond the edge of the fretboard and feel ragged. It's distracting but not enough to affect playability. No truss rod adjustment has been needed since the axe was first set up with 11's, ditto for action and intonation. As you can see in this photo taken last month, the guitar still looks new. The satin finish paint doesn't have that foul smell anymore. I was beginning to think a cat had chosen the guitar case as his new kitty litter box. For the first year I would swoon every time the case was opened. The odor was really BAD. I definitely prefer the single volume and tone knob design compared to a Strat's three knobs. The pickups we installed still sound good. Soon, when the frets are dressed, I plan to also have some fine tuning done to the volume-tone circuit (cap. change) to increase the punchiness. The tones are very good, but can't match those of the '57 Strat Reissue pictured on our pages. Overall this Pacifica is one of the most consistently reliable guitars I have ever played. The neck always feels right and it stays in tune; I'm amazed at how well it stays in tune, with an old fashioned whammy setup no less!

Check out our pickup shootout to learn more about the pickup swap.