Yamaha is well known for their drums, bass guitars, electric pianos and their keyboard. One area where they are definitely not in the pole position is the field of electric guitars. With that said, it just so happens that they make one of the best beginner guitars out there, and just a handful of people even know about it. Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 is a physical representation of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ type of ideology. Under $200, it’s among the best options you have, and here’s why.
Body And Neck
The body shape of the Pacifica PAC012 can be described as a more aggressiveStratocaster. It even features the same design with the large pickguard, trimmed out lower bout and all. Tonewood Yamaha used for this model is Agathis, which is a great middle of the road solution. The neck comes in form of a bolt-on maple piece, and features a sonokeling fretboard. It’s definitely different from your usual rosewood, but works just as well. Overall, the design is obviously heavily ‘inspired’ by Fender’s Stratocaster, and that is perfectly fine.
Following what we just said, you get a vintage tremolo bridge that looks a lot like the synced Trem unit found on Squires. At the headstock, Yamaha installed a set of die-cast tuners which work pretty decently all things considered. Overall, you can expect the hardware to hold intonation and tuning well as long as you don’t go nuts on the fretboard. More aggressive string bends will probably result in a drop of tuning. Same goes for the tremolo bridge. A fixed model would have probably been better, but hey, it worked out alright.
This is one area where Yamaha took a different path from Fender/Squire. Instead of installing three single coil pickups, they’ve chosen to replace the bridge single coil with a humbucker. While it isn’t exactly unheard of, Pacifica is one of the rare few guitars which sport such a configuration. Pups are wired to a single tone knob, a single volume knob, and a pickup select switch. Pots are pretty average for this price range, but are satisfactory nonetheless.
In terms of sound, Pacifica PAC012 offers a type of performance which you don’t often find in the affordable segment. With a humbucker to give you the brunt of the tone, those two single coils are put in the back seat. That way you don’t have to suffer the coil buzz which is almost guaranteed with cheaper single coils, and you can use them when necessary. The tone is great, balanced, even across the range. This allows you to use the PAC012 in a variety of music genres and still get a great performance at the end of the day.
If the choice came down between the PAC012, a Squier, and your averagetwin-humbucker beginner guitar, PAC012 is an obvious choice. This model is not that widely known, so if you’re a beginner looking for their first guitar, we definitely recommend you check it out.