Pacifica 102S review by Yamaha

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (24 votes)
Yamaha: Pacifica 102S
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Price paid: $ 400

Sound — 8
Yamaha have done a good job on the pickups (well, to my ears at least), as neck/bridge/both combinations give three distinct sounds, which can then be shaped by volume and tone. Volume doesn't seem to cut in until about 5 (but maybe that's because I'm just not playing high gain enough at the amp end). I play mainly through a Korg Pandora and headphones (I live in a terraced house with seemingly paper walls), the rest of the time using a Peavey practice amp. I tend to have a preference for neck pickup sounds, but the bridge pick up has a nice edge, which although lacks the crunch of my Epi LP, has more attack. The two guitars complement each other quite well, I find.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing just over a year, and also own an Epiphone Les Paul. The Epi was over twice the price of the Yamaha, but is not as good an instrument. This guitar (and it's brothers, the RGX, 120s and 112) proves that you don't need to spend more than 200 pounds to get a quality instrument. I love the sound and the feel of this guitar. The neck is superb, so that even I sound as though I can play fast! The favourite feature probably has to be the neck, although the principle reason I bought it was for the single-coil pickups. In truth, I'd actually set out to buy a Fender Mexican Tele - I had my heart set on a white one with a maple fingerboard, but then I tried the Yamaha, at half the price, and even though it was the wrong colour, after playing the two there was no contest, especially considering the price differential. This kind of leads on to the wish list - I wish it came in white with a maple fingerboard, but I'd also like to see that second string tree I mentioned above. If it were lost or stolen, yes, I'd buy another in a second. In fact, this guitar has made me a total convert to the Yamaha cause, and were my entire house ransacked, I'd replace the Epiphone with a Yamaha guitar of some kind too.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't gig yet, and I've only had the guitar a fortnight, so it's a bit early to talk about reliability/durability. It hasn't broken yet ;-) Nonetheless, it seems solid and dependable.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Revelation. My first guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul, which cost twice as much as the Yamaha. So why, pray tell, does the Pacifica knock the Epiphone into a cocked hat in terms of Action, Fit and Finish? Set-up from the box was near spot on - the intonation was perfect, according to my ears AND my electronic tuner. I lowered the action slightly, which necessitated adjusting the intonation - both steps were a breeze. The guitar is finished in a dark-brown stain over the alder. The neck is much lighter (maple?), and the fingerboard is a nice, earthy brown with nice grain. I have to say that, looks wise, it wasn't my first choice, but looks went out the window when I actually played it against the opposition. The neck joint looks solid, the finish is exemplary. It has to be a 5.

Features — 8
Taiwanese made (I think), two single coils, 22 frets, tele style. As has been said before, it's alder-bodied, with a darkwood (bubinga?) fretboard. The headstock has a string tree for the high E and B strings - makes the G look very high coming off the nut to the tuner. Features? Well, everything I need, nothing I don't (I have an Epiphone Les Paul for the crunchy stuff, and a Fender acoustic for those unplugged moments). I'll give it an 8 - it's not dripping with frills, but, for a tele-style guitar, it has more or less everything you need (a second string tree on the headstock to catch the G & D would be icing on the cake, but is probably unnecessary apart from cosmetic reasons).

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