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:



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

Pros

Humbucker sounds good

Premium feature (coil tap; 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

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 tapping.

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 tapped 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 Taps)

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 taps. 😉

  • Weak single coil pickups
  • Plastic nut
  • Cheap tuners
  • Coil taps
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 tap? Essentially, you pull up the tone pot (on some guitars it might also be the volume pot) and it splits the bridge humbucker pickup into 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 tapped 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 taps 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 tapping 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 tap.

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 taps)
  • 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 tap 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 tap. 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.

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