Pacifica 102S review by Yamaha

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9 (24 votes)
Yamaha: Pacifica 102S

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Bought Used

Sound — 10
As I said, this guitar can make any sound I feel like having it make. This is good, as my style ranges from folk (I use my acoustic for that) to Guns 'n' Roses. The stuff between that includes Buddy Holly, Beatles, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Slowhand, the Vaughan Brothers, old funk and motown tunes, Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban, Travis Tritt, and some newer punk and alternative shit (and I emphasize shit) to make money on gigs. The guitar can do all of these sound well, except for the two extremes in my range of styles. The folk isn't a problem; that's what I have an acoustic for, but I can't get Slash tone out of the guitar. Don't get me wrong. It ain't me as a player. I can get damn close to the right sound. The problem is the way the guitar disorts. Single coils just don't handle distortion like humbuckers do. Now, overdrive, on the other hand, makes the Tele sing. The neck pickup under a slight overdrive from my tubescreamer (not my amp. Peavey distortion is for wannabe metal heads.) produces a fat tone very similar to what you'd expect from a Gibson ES. Actually, it does that clean, but the overdrive helps it out a little. The bridge pickup, with the same amount of Drive is a bit different. In case y'all didn't know, the Tele bridge pickup is over wound, making for both a jump in volume and easier distortion when you Switch to it. When I put the bridge pickup under the tubescreamer, it sounds like a Vintage tele- pure treble, but can still honk out those solos on the bass strings. Clean, it gives a perfect sound for licks from "Sweet Home Alabama" or those pedal steel bends for country. Now, the sound with both pickups together. Well, it does cancel hum, but there's a hell of a lot more to it than that. I think this position is the closest I've ever heard to the sound of angels' wings. And that's just clean. Overdriven (only slighly. I hate heavy anything), I can get Clapton, Stevie Ray, and even some Les Paul tones. All in all, a great sound, save for the lack of Slash tone, but that ain't what it's made for. A well- deserved ten.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for a few years, in bands and otherwise, I practice four hours a day, sometimes more, and I'm a serious jazz player (to the point of getting into my school's GREAT jazz band. They went to Europe two years ago.), so I'd say my opinion can be trusted. That being said, the Pacifica gets an overall nine. It would have been a ten before I played the Strat, but I've since learned that I like fat necks. The only other thing I wish it had, besides a massively large and fat neck is a third pickup, but, hey, that's why I'm saving money for a Strat. However, I still won't sell this one. It's sort of good to have a backup, and I like the sound so much, that selling it seems like a dumb idea.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Are y'all kidding? The thing's a tank. I could beat a guy to death with it, hose it off, and sing about it at my next gig. The only thing I'd worry about is the finish. My belt buckle has no trouble putting scratches in it. Points off for that, but, again, minor problem.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought the guitar used, so I wouldn't know about factory set-up, but I will say that I like high action. I'm a goddam slide player! (in addition to all the other fun stuff I play).

Features — 10
This guitar has almost no features, leaving the player to provide the tone. I like that, as I play several different styles and by changing my right or left hand technique, I can get just about any sound I need. The pickups do help, as I couldn't expect that bridge pickup twang from a Les Paul, but other than that, you're on your own. Though, there is one really nice feature on the 102 that I thought was great for the money. It has an alder body! If I had gone for an actual Fender tele, I would've had to pay anywhere from six to eight hundred bucks for the alder body. I can't afford that, so I bought this one for a hundred bucks from my guitar teacher and I can't really see much difference in tone between this and an American Strat I had the privelage to play (That's my next guitar. I loved it.) The only real difference was neck shape, which I have to take off for. The necks on Yamahas (and I've played other Yamaha models) just aren't thick enough. I know it sounds strange, but I consider a big neck a blessing, as long as it's not too big. The neck on the American Strat is what I would consider close to perfect, so that's my basis for comparison, and the neck on the pacifica just can't come close. It's not a fault, though, so I won't take off major points. Just one because that extra girth in the neck gives me something to hold on to. I have moderately large hands, by the way, so if you have small hands, this one might be right for you.

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