Yamaha makes great guitars in all price categories.
This is especially apparent with its Pacifica line of electric guitars. Every instrument in this line far outperforms its price level.
You won’t find a better value anywhere for Stratocaster style electric guitars.
The Yamaha Pacifica 112 is the best selling model, so we will focus on that one (the 112v) in this review.
What about the other models?
They are basically the same in terms of value. They just sit at different price levels and use higher quality components.
We’ll highlight the main differences between the models toward the bottom of the review.
Whatever your needs, one of the Pacifica guitars will deliver for you. We’ll help you figure out which one.
Table of Contents
- 1 Yamaha Pacifica 112 Review: Overview And Features
- 1.1 Key Features
- 1.2 Advantages And Disadvantages
- 1.3 Yamaha Pacifica 112 Vs 212 And Others
- 2 Yamaha Pacifica Review: Conclusion And Rating
Yamaha Pacifica 112 Review: Overview And Features
The Yamaha Pacifica 112 is simple and effective. You won’t find any fancy bells and whistles here. Just a basic Stratocaster-style guitar that sells for a low price. And it far outperforms its price level, like all Pacifica series instruments.
There are two versions: the 112v and the 112j. The primary difference is that the 112j uses factory ceramic magnet pickups, while the 112v has Alnico V pickups and a coil tap feature. Naturally, the 112v costs a bit more. About $100 to be exact.
Both guitars come in multiple colors, so you have a lot of different options. We’ll include photos of most of them in this review, so you can see the different choices.
We’ll be looking at the 112v in this review. We think it’s a better value, since the price increase gives you much better pickups and the coil tap. That makes for a much more versatile instrument.
That said, the 112j is a great guitar, too, especially for beginners. If you’re on more of a budget, it is the best electric guitar on the market at its price.
- Modified Stratocaster double-cutaway body shape: more comfort while holding and playing
- Alder body: the same as a real Strat
- Maple neck: the same as a real Strat
- Rosewood fingerboard: the same as a real Strat
- 22 frets: the same as a real Strat
- 25.5-inch scale length: the same as a real Strat
- 13.75-inch fretboard radius: the same as a real Strat
- Humbucker in the bridge position and two single-coils in middle and neck positions (Alnico 5 magnets): gives you a ton of tone options for any musical genre
- Vintage tremolo bridge with block saddles: easy to set up and stays in tune better
- 5-way pickup selector switch: choose between any possible pickup combination
- Master volume and tone controls: more tone shaping options
- Push/pull tone knob for coil splitting: even more tone shaping options
Design And Construction
The Pacifica 112v has an alder body, just like the Fender Stratocasters. But it has a slightly different shape, giving it a new twist.
The body is still contoured though, but with slightly sharper edges. It also has standard ergonomic body slopes both on the front and the back side. This keeps the sharp edges from jutting into your skin, making the instrument much more comfortable to hold and play.
The Pacifica 112 electric guitar has with a maple neck that forms a bolt-on construction with the body. A rosewood fingerboard sits on the neck.
It all closely resembles Strat copies with a C-shape profile and a radius of 13.75 inches. It also has 22 frets and a scale length of 25.5 inches.
It has the Fender Strat style 6-in-line headstock, with simple sealed tuners. A Fender-style tremolo bridge with block saddles rounds it all off. The 112j does not have the block saddles.
One of the most exciting things about this instrument is the pickup combination. It features a humbucker in the bridge position and two single-coils in the middle and neck positions (there is also a version with just two humbuckers).
They are stock Alnico 5 pickups, but they produce some great tones for this price level.
What’s more, you even have a push/pull feature with the tone knob, allowing you to split the humbucker and use it as a single-coil pickup. This multiplies the tone options at your disposal.
Other than that, the guitar is equipped with a standard 5-way switch, giving a decent number of tone-shaping options even without the coil tap feature.
And remember, the 112j does not have the coil tap features and has cheaper pickups, too, all for a $100 or so price reduction. We prefer the 112v, but either way, you’re getting an incredible value.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Amazing combination of price and qualities
- 5-way pickup selector and push/pull gives tons of tone options
- Reliable – stays in tune well
- Easy to intonate
- Great choice for beginners or intermediate players
- Nothing exciting about the look
- Yamaha name does not impress certain types of guitarists (if you care about such things)
Yamaha Pacifica 112 Vs 212 And Others
The entire Pacifica series is filled with great models. All of them is more than worth their price.
The 112 model is the second cheapest, with a basic feature set. This is what makes it the most popular, but if you’re looking for something more exciting, you may want to look at some of the other models.
Here we will do a more in depth comparison with the 212, since it is the next step up and the other model most beginning guitarists consider.
Below, we’ll briefly cover the other main models, including the cheapest of all, the 012.
The Yamaha Pacifica 212 is a bit more expensive than the 112 and adds a few exciting twists.
The body shape has the same exact design, but the build quality is a notch higher. It also has a maple top on the alder body.
The maple top is the most noticeable improvement. It adds a gorgeous and unique flamed (or quilted) maple pattern that is available in several colors. This is a huge improvement over the plain-looking 112.
But if aesthetics are not that important to you, get the 112v and save some money. The rest of the guitar is mostly the same.
The 212 also has a bolt-on maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, and a fretboard radius of 13.75 inches. You might notice a slightly different feel when holding the 212, but overall, the ergonomic qualities are at the same level.
Both guitars are surprisingly comfortable to play and they even outperform some of the mid and high-priced Fender Strat alternatives.
The pickups are the same on paper, but you’ll notice a slight improvement in the overall tone. It’s a bit “crispier” and gives you more dynamic control than the Pacifica 112.
The control layout is exactly the same, including the coil-split feature that gives you even more versatility in the tone.
In the end, these two guitars are not that far apart when it comes to performance. The necks are basically the same. The weight differs slightly and the the pickups on the 212 are just a bit better.
The biggest difference is the finish, with the maple top lending the 212 a more high-end look. If you like the look, get the 212. Otherwise save your money and go with the 112v.
Now let’s take a brief look at the remaining Yamaha Pacifica guitars and how each differs from the 112.
Yamaha Pacifica 012
- lowest price of all Pacifica models
- Agathis body
- covered tuners
- factory pickups (like the 112j)
- no coil split
We chose the 012 as the best beginner electric guitar.
Yamaha Pacifica 120
- two Alnico V humbucking pickups, making it great for heavy music (though a Jackson J32 is still better for metal)
- maple top, so it looks much better than the 112
Yamaha Pacifica 212
- two Alnico V single and one humbucking pickup
- flamed maple or quilted maple top
Yamaha Pacifica 311
- one P90 Alnico V and one humbucker Alnico V pickup
- Grover locking tuners
- hardtail bridge
Yamaha Pacifica 611
- flamed maple top
- Grover locking tuners
- hardtail bridge or Wilkinson VS50-6 bridge
- one Seymour Duncan SP90 and one Custom5 Trembucker pickup
Yamaha Pacifica 612
- flamed maple top
- Grover locking tuners
- Wilkinson VS50-6 bridge
- two Seymour Duncan SSL single pickups and one Custom 5 TB-14 humbucker
You can see all the Pacifica guitars compared in a table that is halfway down the product page for any of the models, like the 611 here.
Yamaha Pacifica Review: Conclusion And Rating
Most of the models in Yamaha’s Pacifica series are affordable, but even the most expensive cost far less than similar instruments. In other words: all outperform their price by a great deal.
This series is generally marketed at beginners and intermediate players. But the more expensive models perform as well as many higher-priced electric guitars, so even professional players will find great use for them.
Because they are primarily marketed toward beginning players, we decided to focus this review on the Yamaha Pacifica 112v. The 112 (‘v’ and ‘j’ versions combined) also happens to be the best-selling of all the models.
And even the cheap 112 guitars will serve a more experienced guitarist well as a practice guitar, or a backup instrument for live shows. If you want a classic Fender Strat shape, but don’t want to spend Fender money, this guitar is the lowest cost option for a good quality Strat.
It feels great, sounds great, has incredibly versatile tone-shaping options, looks pretty good (thought the more expensive Pacificas look much better) and costs very little. What more could you ask for?
We give it a Musicaroo rating of 4.5 out of 5.