I think I’ll start with a confession: when my friends ask me about guitars in the price range under $300 , I usually tell them to save up a few more bucks so they can buy something better, especially since there are so many inexpensive guitars out there that sound great which you can buy used. But occasionally I have been impressed by an entry level guitar, such as the Fender Squier Vintage Modified ’70s Stratocaster or the Epiphone Les Paul ’90 . I was recently reminded of the Yamaha Pacifica guitars, which have been around for a while and have a loyal following. The Yamaha Pacifica series is known for being accessible, affordable and having decent quality regardless of the price range in which they are sold.
The PAC112V version has been discontinued from production but can still be found at some retailers. There are several variations of this model that have slightly different styling, hardware and electronics setup. In this review I’ll take a look at the 112V’s features and how it stacks up to other entry level guitars in its price range. This guitar is available with either a humbucker or twin humbucker configuration, though both guitars feature a HSS pickup layout since the humbuckers share a tone control.
The guitar is packed in a standard Yamaha box and includes the guitar, an accessory kit, strap, cable and warranty information. A gig bag would have been nice but considering this is not always included with lower priced guitars I can forgive this omission. The PAC112V features Ebony fretboard on a maple neck with 22 frets, two Vintage Noiseless single-coil pickups in the neck and middle positions, one Hot Noiseless in the bridge position (for more info check out my article on HSS pickup configurations ), 5-way selector switch with master tone and volume controls; vintage style synchronized tremolo bridge , standard die-cast tuners ; and chrome hardware . Aesthetically the PAC112V has a cool, vintage vibe. It’s got the classic Strat shape and features pearloid dot inlays on the fretboard , which look quite nice.
The body is made of agathis (similar to basswood ) with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard . I like that it doesn’t have any thick polyurethane finish; instead it’s left natural, which will give it additional resonance. The bridge has individual string height and intonation adjustable saddles which come pre-loaded with some extra strings for easy setup out of the box (otherwise you’ll probably need to replace them). Like most other guitars in this price range also comes with non-locking tuners but these seem to do the job just fine. The strap buttons feel solid and the guitar is lightweight so it won’t be a burden to carry around.
The pickups in this guitar are what I would consider entry level, but they still sound decent. They’re not noiseless as the name might suggest, but they are Vintage Noiseless and do a good job of reducing noise when compared to regular single coil pickups. The Hot Noiseless pickup in the bridge position provides a bit more output and is great for leads or heavier styles of music. However, I would have liked to see either an upgraded set of pickups or at least some higher quality hardware considering this guitar’s price range.
The PAC112V is comfortable to play and has a fast action which is great for beginners. The maple neck is smooth and doesn’t have any sharp edges. The fretboard is also nicely finished and the pearloid inlays look great. Ibanez and other guitars in this price range typically don’t come with a locking nut , which can be a problem if you’re not careful when changing strings.
One thing I didn’t care for was the 5-way selector switch. It’s not a bad switch, but it feels a bit cheap and flimsy compared to switches on other guitars in this price range. Additionally, the master tone and volume controls felt a bit too stiff and were difficult to turn. Again, these are minor complaints and likely won’t be an issue for most beginner guitarists.
The Yamaha PAC112V is a solid entry level electric guitar that looks and sounds great. I’ve played more expensive guitars with many of the same features, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re shopping for an affordable axe.
- Vintage style body shape
- 22 frets
- HSS pickup configuration (Hot Noiseless in bridge position)
- Master tone and volume controls
- Ebony fretboard with pearloid dot inlays
- 5-way selector switch feels cheap compared to higher priced guitars
- Tone/volume controls are stiff and difficult to turn Price range: $249-$299 street price (Check here for latest prices)
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Yamaha PAC112V and would definitely recommend it to beginner guitarists. It’s a great sounding and playing guitar that’s perfect for those just starting out.