Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V guitar review (“I like it EXCEPT …”)

Last updated April 13, 2022

This is the most comprehensive unbiased review of the PAC112V electric guitar you will find and includes 15 minutes of video. So as not to bury the lede: I like this guitarmostly. It’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone but I’ve spent over 20 hours playing it so I think I can help you decide if it’s the guitar for you.

As always, you should know that I paid for this guitar with my own money. I was not paid by Yamaha or the retailer I purchased from (Musician’s Friend).

As you can see I got a ridiculously good discount on this guitar. I have a knack for finding great guitar and gear deals and bought this PAC112V for only $201.49 (+ tax) even though it regularly sells for $309.99. Want me to tell you when I find great deals? Join the Riff City newsletter:



I promise only to email you with interesting guitar news, Art of Shred updates, and deals. No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

About The Author

Hey, I’m Karol (like Karl not Carol). I’ve been playing guitar for 20+ years, but I’m still an amateur and learning every day. In my younger years I played in a band, but nowadays it’s for fun.

Why should you listen to this review? Because I don’t care about selling you anything and I want to help you make an informed choice about the Yamaha PAC112V. I started Art Of Shred because I was unimpressed with the obviously biased guitar and musical equipment reviews online. Keep in mind, of course, that these are just my views. I don’t know everything and my opinions are my opinions.

Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V

8.2 out of 10
$309.99$201.49

PAC112V in United Blue

Made in: Indonesia

Looks
7 out of 10
Setup (Out of box)
10 out of 10
Feel
8 out of 10
Sound
7 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Humbucker sounds good

Premium feature (coil split; also a con)

Near perfect out of box

Plays well

Great value

Cons

Single coil pickups sound a little weak

Plastic nut isn't ideal

PAC112V Video Review

Watch the full accompanying PAC 112V review and sound demo below or watch it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/RGYa1-SqlWM

The Basics

The Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V is a classic body style, modeled after the Fender Stratocaster, but with a few small embellishments that make it its own. When a random person thinks “guitar” this is the style of guitar they’re thinking of.

The PAC112V has an alder body, rosewood fretboard (tough to know if it’s real rosewood or something like Indian laurel), 22 frets, 25.5″ scale length, vintage style tremolo system, 5 way pickup switch, volume and tone controls, 2 single coil pickups (Alnico V magnets), and one humbucking pickup with coil splitting.

All of that to say, the specs are mostly the sort of standard specs you would expect for this style of guitar. Except for the coil split humbucker, but we’ll get into that shortly.

First Impressions

Yamaha is known for quality control and they did not disappoint me here. As with my Squier CV ’60s Jazzmaster, I bought this guitar from Musician’s Friend. It’s no knock on MF, but they generally do not inspect or setup their instruments prior to shipping them to you. That is partly why they’re sometimes able to give great discounts like what I got with this PAC112V.

But unlike with my Squier Jazzmaster, this guitar came out of the box in perfect shape. I mean, besides needing to set the intonation (which is usually necessary on even expensive instruments; watch this 5 minute video to learn how to set your guitar’s intonation) there was nothing wrong with this guitar. No fret sprout, no fret oxidation, no fret buzz, no fretboard dirt or glue. Besides tuning it up it was ready to play out of the box.

I want you to know that you should generally not expect that with guitars you buy online. But sometimes you get lucky. And sometimes, as is the case with Yamaha, the manufacturer has strong quality control. That’s not to say you will get a perfect Pacifica 112V out of the box, but I think the chances are more likely than with a lot of other brands.

So, first impressions on this guitar? 10 out of 10. Really, I do my best to be objective and critical when necessary, but I can’t even really nitpick here so I won’t.

Cons (or Why I Don’t Like Coil Splits)

There aren’t many cons with this guitar, but there are 3 objective cons and 1 subjective con. So let’s get into those objective cons before you start hating me for not liking coil splits. 😉

  • Weak single coil pickups
  • Plastic nut
  • Cheap tuners
  • Coil splits
Photo of the Yamaha Pacifica 112V body

First, the single coil pickups sound weak. That’s not to say they sound bad, per se. They’re just not great. Better than some other cheap guitars, but definitely not the best pickups. Which, of course, is to be expected.

Second, the plastic nut is, well, plastic. This one is cut well and I don’t have tuning stability issues, but a nice Tusq nut is ~$15. This is slightly being nitpicky.

Third, cheap tuners. Again, I don’t have tuning stability issues at the moment, but better tuners aren’t exorbitantly expensive so I’d change them out.

Fourth, and this is going to get me some hate, I don’t like coil taps / coil splitting. What’s a coil split? Essentially, you pull up the tone pot (on some guitars it might also be the volume pot) and it splits the two coils of a humbucker pickup into essentially a single coil pickup. It’s a sound/tonality option. But I don’t like it. It’s not something I use, and I don’t find a coil split humbucker to sound as good as a good single coil pickup. (But I’m sure there’s something great out there so don’t hate me to much!)

It’s nice when premium features are on a cheaper guitar, but I would never choose an expensive guitar with coil splits if given the choice. So I wouldn’t choose them on a cheap guitar either. I’d much rather manufacturers spend that money on something practical (like a better nut). Coil splitting is a fairly negligible cost and it makes a guitar seem more expensive so I completely understand why they choose to include it. A bone or Tusq nut is also a negligible cost, but it doesn’t have the sexiness of a coil split.

Pros

The Yamaha PAC112V guitar has a lot of pros. Like I said in the beginning of this review, I like it. So let’s break them down:

  • Humbucker sounds good
  • Premium feature (coil splits)
  • Near perfect out of the box
  • Plays well
  • Great value

First, the bridge pickup (humbucker) sounds good. If you’re into it a nice metal crunch and chug is easy to dial in. This is by no means an amazing pickup, but it does have definition and clarity that you don’t always find in pickups on cheap guitars. I spend most of my time playing on a bridge pickup and I’d be happy with this if for some reason I was not allowed to swap it with something else.

Second, although I don’t personally like them, I do think it’s nice they include a premium feature like a coil split so you can decide whether or not you like the sound of a split coil humbucker. It’s the type of thing that’s nice to learn about on a cheaper guitar so you have more clarity about what you want out of a guitar if and when you upgrade.

Third, the out of box experience was stellar. I don’t know how many different ways I can say it, but Yamaha’s quality control really shined through on this guitar. I usually buy a guitar expecting I’ll need to do something right out of the box, but that wasn’t the case with this Pacifica 112V.

Fourth, it’s such a good value. I mean listen, if you buy a cheap guitar and immediately need to take it to a guitar tech to fix something, you didn’t really buy a cheap guitar. For beginner’s especially, that’s why I generally don’t recommend buying the cheapest guitars. If you’re adept at repairs and setups, cool, but if you’re not you’re going to be frustrated with having to spend more money than intended. But that’s not the case here! The out of box experience was so good a beginner wouldn’t have to do anything to it and they’d be fine. (Obviously I think you should learn how to set your guitar’s intonation since it’s so simple.)

What Kind of Setup Did I Do?

Photo of the PAC112V fretboard

I didn’t need to do any setup besides setting the intonation (which, again, is the case even on guitars that cost thousands of dollars), but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything. There are often things you can do to make a guitar play better so why not do them? 🙂

The action / string height at the 12th fret of this PAC112V was fine, sitting at just below 2mm. Technically, my ideal is a little lower (closer to 1.5mm), but it wasn’t noticeable until I measured it, so what does that tell you? It tells you it was good and did not have high action.

So what did I do to make this guitar play buttery smooth? Well, I polished the frets, of course. If you want to see how I do that watch the review video, but here’s how it works:

  • Remove the strings
  • Tape over the fretboard in between the frets with blue painter’s tape to protect it from scratches, leaving the metal frets exposed
  • Buff each fret with 9 grits of micromesh, from 1,500 grit up to 12,000 grit
  • Remove painter’s tape, restring, tune, and enjoy!

The beauty of this is it makes your guitar frets not only look beautiful but play beautifully. And once you do it (it takes ~45 minutes or so) you won’t have to do it again for years. Yes, years.

How Does The Yamaha PAC112V Sound?

As mentioned previously, I like the humbucker but don’t particularly like the single coil pickups. For a full sound demo of every position on the pickup switch watch the review video. Below is also a short demo of the humbucker with a lot of effects (distortion, flanger, reverb, delay).

Listen, it sounds good. Yes, the single coils are a little weak sounding, but they’re passable. The humbucker sounds good and since I spend 90% of my time playing on that pickup I’m quite happy with the sounds I can get out of this guitar.

What would I upgrade?

I’d upgrade to locking tuners and a better nut. Then I’d upgrade the humbucker and remove the coil split. Then I’d upgrade the single coil pickups. Some of this is personal preference.

Of course, even without any of these upgrades, this is a respectable guitar that I’d be happy with.

There is one upgrade I did do. I replaced the strap buttons with strap locks. Check out this one minute video to see how to do that and watch the full review video to see why you should do this $10 upgrade on every guitar you own.

PAC112V Photo Gallery

Final Thoughts

Are you thinking about getting a Fender / Squier Stratocaster or similar style guitar? Well, the Pacifica 112V is a great option. It’s better than the Squier Bullet and Affinity Stratocasters I’ve played, but I haven’t officially reviewed either of those for this website yet so I don’t want to give an official opinion on those at the moment.

Overall? A 8.2/10. I really doubt you will dislike this guitar if you decide it’s for you.

Do you own a Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V? Let me know what you think about it via email or the comments below.

19 thoughts on “Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V guitar review (“I like it EXCEPT …”)”

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  2. The nut is a Urea synthetic nut. I think the Korea made G & B ceramic pickups are awesome. They cut through the mix. Yamaha has been overlooked with there electrics

    John
    Maryland

    1. Thanks for the info, John! I dig the humbucker, but the single coils aren’t my favorite. But, as we know, a lot of this stuff is personal preference.

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  6. I bought the Pacifica because it used proper alder wood and the bones if the guitar appeared to be as good as the 612. I really like the coil split and it is the main reason I got the guitar as I wanted the classic out of phase position 2 for songs like sultans of swing, sweet home Alabama etc. I agree the single coils are week especially when I ab’d the 312 with the 612 fitted with Duncan’s. I replaced the bridge with a wilkinson for a bigger block. Btw there are lots of different string spacing and screw hole options with strat bridges. Turns out the 312 is the same as a Mexican strat spec which 0is the same as the very original strat spec string spacing.

  7. Hi Karol, you mentioned in the Mitchell 450 review that it was good for people with smaller hands. I have short fingers, so some guitars are tough for me. This guitar sounds like something I’d like, but none of the stores have it in stock to pick it up and see it for myself.

    How do you rate it for hand size? Love your content, thanks!

    1. Hey Robert! Thanks so much, happy you like the content. As for this or the MS450, the MS450 has a slightly wider neck at the nut (42mm vs 41mm for the PAC112V) but it’s a shorter scale length and feels slimmer. The PAC112V isn’t a bulky neck by any means. They are pretty vastly different guitars. If you want a Strat style I’d imagine you’d be okay with this. Have you tested out something like a Squier Affinity Strat? That has a 42mm width at the nut and they both have C shaped necks.

  8. First and foremost, thanks for doing an honest and in depth review. I have played a ESP LTD MH100QM. For the most part, I like the guitar. It is quality built but not with premium components with regards to the body wood or electronics. The two LH150 Humbucking pickups needed replaced as I didn’t like their tones. It also came with a Floyd Rose licensed bridge. I’m not sure of the experiences of others but this is a great guitar if you want to shred and or solo It has 24 frets. It’s not so great or comfortable, for me at least, if you play chords or Arpeggios.

    I saw your review and purchased an almost new Violin burst Yamaha Pacifica 112V on the cheap. I absolutely love almost everything about the guitar. It has a beautiful finish. I had cleaned up the frets and in my opinion, is comparable to a more expensive Fender Strat. You had mentioned changing out the pickups and nut which I agree with. To go with the new nut, I will probably add a Fender LSR Roller nut. I am also going to upgrade the bridge and also to locking tuners. For beginners and accomplished Guitarists alike, this is a great guitar and choice.

    I think if people are careful with upgrades and can do some of the work themselves, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V can easily be the basis for a premium guitar. I have seen brand new Pacifica’s. As you mentioned, the quality control is exemplary. Jack Thammarat as seen on Youtube plays a lot of Yamaha Pacifica’s. Enough said. Thanks for the great review and for everyone else, keep strumming and playing.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rob! A roller nut is an upgrade I’ve never done before. Generally that requires a little bit of chiseling, right? I do have chisels, but I wouldn’t be comfortable doing it haha. Let me know how it goes, and thanks again!

  9. Good morning, Karol.

    Generally, a bone or graphite nut work just fine. I think it’s matter of taste. Issues only arise if the string groove’s on the nut aren’t cut to the proper depth or installed correctly. Most times, this can be easily corrected. Generally, this isn’t an issue. I wouldn’t use a chisel to install the roller nut but rather have a good Luthier who is familiar with the process install the Roller nut using a fine tooth saw and anchor the neck firmly to the saw table. I have a Fender LSR Roller nut that came factory installed on my 1998 Fender Stratocaster Plus Guitar. It’s just my opinion but if anyone is going to upgrade the nut, in this case the plastic nut on the Pacifica, It’s an upgrade well worth considering. I have retrofitted a few LSR Roller nuts on my instruments and have never regretted it. I have Fender / Shaller locking tuners in conjunction with the LSR Roller nut. I have never had tuning or stability issues with this combination-ever. These are relatively cheap upgrades but in my opinion, make all the difference in the world with regards to play-ability.

    https://www.fender.com/en-US/parts/electric-guitar-parts/string-guides-nuts/lsr-roller-nut/0990812000.html

    I think another nice upgrade for the Pacifica would be a Seymour Duncan Pearly gates Humbucker in the bridge position along with Texas Special single coil pickups in the neck and middle position. I have heard them played together and they compliment each other very well. This combination works especially well if you play Blues and Classic Rock Styles. The Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Humbucker is another great choice if your tastes gravitate to using a lot of distortion and gain. I have no Idea however how well they would work with the Texas Special single coils. Another great choice with regards to a pickup upgrade would be Lace Sensors in place of the pickups. The Lace Sensors come in dual and single coil configurations as well as hotter versions too.

    https://lacemusic.com/collections/7

    As with everything, It’s really a matter of personal taste and playing styles.

    https://musicianvault.com/seymour-duncan-pearly-gates-review/

    These recommendations are made to show everyone that you can take a Yamaha Pacifica and with a judicious selection of parts and upgrades, turn this particular Guitar into a premium instrument and do so on a budget. I think your original article essentially says the same thing. These upgrades can also be done in stages. As you pointed out in your article, the Yamaha Pacifica plays well right out of the box. I just wanted to pass along some recommendations on how to make a good Guitar even better. IF anyone decides to do these upgrades, I would love to know how they turn out and if they like them.

    I thoroughly enjoy your informative and unbiased reviews, Karol. Please keep them coming.

    Merry Christmas Karol and everyone else and all the best in the New Year including happiness, prosperity and good health.

    1. I appreciate that additional info! Good recs re: the pickups. A lot of this comes down to personal preference, of course, but as you said the upgrades can be done in stages and it’s a good guitar out of the box.

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  11. Hello Karol ( hope name is correct),

    I am returning to playing electric guitar after several years of doing other things, such as learning the Oboe.
    I have bought a Squier Affinity and am planning to buy a Pacifica 112V and returning one of them.
    I have bought several Yamaha instruments in the past such as Alto and Tenor saxophones and have always been impressed by the quality control. I bought a Pacifica bass years ago which was very nicely built. I have a feeling that you would be keeping the Pacifica and returning the Affinity. Am I right???
    Excellent videos , by the way.
    Happy strumming
    Kenneth

    1. Hi Kenneth! I really like the Squier Affinity Stratocaster. So if you already have one and there are no quality control issues you should be good to go. Yes, the Yamaha is nice, but there is nothing wrong with that Squier beyond they sometimes have some quality control issues. If you haven’t seen it I do have an Affinity Strat review as well: https://artofshred.com/squier-affinity-stratocaster/

      I actually still have my Affinity Strat because I got it so cheap and gave it such a nice setup. 🙂

  12. Hello Karol
    Thank you for your fast response to my message.
    I have watched your video on the Affinity and I can understand why you have kept it.

    On Monday I will be getting the delivery from Amazon of a Yamaha Pacifica 112v . I have recieved the Affinity today and it is very playable out of the box . I’m not going to do much to it in case I return it ( to Thomann.de ) . So I will look at them side by side and play both of them. I have a strong feeling that I shall keep the Yamaha although the Affinity is nicely set up with no rough frets
    The wammy bar seems loose when tightened up and it seems to throw the tuning out when I use it.
    Is this normal or am I doing something wrong??? I have a strong liking for Yamaha instruments.
    I recently bought a Classical guitar ( a CG32C at £2000 ) which I am taking lessons on. It is a real beauty and perfectly made , as you would expect .

    I am a reed player basically for the last 60 years or so. Yes, I am a ‘mature’ man of 82. But still play music every day and my Oboe teacher compliments me on my playing frequently ( She says I am a brilliant player !!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    So I am prejudiced in favour of Yamaha but i intend to give them both a fair crack of the whip on Monday and see who wins. I don’t think I can keep both . I have paid £168 for the Affinity and the Yamaha is £249. Both brand new. I am able to set up a guitar, fit new pickups, rewire things .
    One of my claims to fame is my Mullard 5-20 Amp ( EL34’s) which I have built myself and it is a completly valved amp 5 valves 20 watt RMS output and is very very quiet . Though I say it myself , it is a wonderful peice of work. I run electric guitars though a T- Rex Mudhoney and into my valve amp.
    I will let you know who wins on Monday/Tuesday next week.
    Kenneth

    1. The whammy bar swings loose so that’s not a problem. Going out of tune is an issue with most cheaper guitars that have whammy bars. But it can be an issue with a lot of expensive guitars that have whammy bars as well. So it’s not the absolute end of the world there. But it could also be simply that the strings need to be stretched and after you’ve played for a bit it’ll be better. (Difficult to diagnose if there are any issues without having the guitar in my hands.)

      Really cool you built your own tube amp! I’ve built instruments before, but beyond a cigar box amp kit that was really easy (but still fun!) never an amp.

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