Sound — 9
It suits my rock music style well, thanks to the crunchy distortion given by the hum bucker pickup. I'm using it with a Marshall MG15CDR amp and a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal and it sounds immense, I can get hard edged distortion with the hum bucker and a nice softer Vintage distortion on the neck pickup. It also sounds great on clean, especially on the neck pickups as they give out soft luscious tones. The pickups are never noisy, especially when using my distortion pedal, and they are of excellent quality. It's very versatile and gives out a whole range of rich, bright tones. Playing this guitar makes you think 'They must have given me a Fender Strat by accident'. Its sound really does defy the price.
Overall Impression — 10
The Yamaha Pacifica is a great match for a rock player like me, because of the single coil/single coil/hum bucker layout. I've been playing for 1 year and I have a Marshall MG amp and a Boss distortion pedal (as mentioned) and it compliments them beautifully. I would definitely buy this guitar again if it were stolen or lost. The things I love about it are the versatility of the sound, the look of the thing, the reliability and quality and the price! I've seen it for 140, which is a bargain. The things I hate, I suppose the middle pickup could sound more inspiring but I barely use it anyway. My favourite thing about it though is that it is equally at home playing metal, blues/jazz or rock. I compared it to a Squier Affinity Telecaster (garbage), a Fender Standard Telecaster (lovely), a Fender Standard Fat Strat (very nice) and a Squier Standard Fat Strat (good distortion, bad clean), but none of them could match the sheer value for money of the Pacifica. If you are just starting out then buy this guitar with either a Vox Pathfinder 15, a Roland Cube 15, a Marshall MG15CDR or a Line 6 Spider II 15, don't settle for a crappy Squier with a crappy Squier amp. This guitar is of such quality that it could be anyone's second guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's a shame you won't see many of these during live playing, because this guitar won't just withstand it, it will sound great as well. The guitar is built like a tank, the hardware is reliable and robust and the finish won't wear off with lots of playing as it is of good quality. I would definitely use it at a gig without a backup. One minor glitch is that the strap buttons aren't the greatest as they do not hold the strap in place well, I'd consider switching them to Dunlop strap lox. This is enough to justify a 9.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Nice low action with no string/fret buzz, pickups very nicely adjusted and placed, straight, thin neck made with very smooth maple wood. Bridge is solid and properly routed, I honestly can't think of anything wrong with the quality of this guitar. The tone controls are solid, tuners are very strong and don't come loose, and the body is finished in stunning Ice Blue Metallic.