Pacifica 120S Review

manufacturer: Yamaha date: 02/10/2005 category: Electric Guitars
Yamaha: Pacifica 120S
On the Pacifica 120S adds two meaty humbuckers plus the added versatility of a three-way pickup selector that gives an excellent, ringing rhythm sound in the middle position.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) pictures (1) 7 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.4
Pacifica 120S Reviewed by: flea214, on february 10, 2005
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 170

Purchased from: n/a

Features: Well this guitar is ok. I owned it for two years and I can say the features are great. It comes with 22 frets, a 3-way selector neck, a Strat neck, a Telecaster body, and a rosewood neck. // 8

Sound: It fits my music style great! I normally play blues and I have been playing for 5 years. I also play emo rock and its great for it. It has a really great sound for my price range and I can easily mistake the sound as a Gibson anytime. This is how great the sound is but I am sure Yamaha can do better. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought it brand new and the finish is kinda good. I bought it off a music store and it was obvious that the store kept it like gold. I was drooling all over this guitar in the window for weeks until I decided to buy. And I can say there has never been a guitar made more perfect. The pickups were adjusted to perfection and the bridge was properly routed. And don't even get me started on the action I felt like a protege when I held this guitar Yamaha really out did themselves when they made this guitar. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar was built to last. Evertything is solid except the strap buttons which came loose since I like jumping around during gigs and jamming sessions. I have complete confidence in this guitar but I would not use it without a backup since I sometimes get carried away with the strumming. I still take excellent care of this guitar I never let this guitar fall even when I feel that the strap buttons are coming losse I quickle Switch to my Fender Strat. // 8

Overall Impression: I normally play blues and emo. I have been playing for five years and I can say this is one of the best guitars I have played with tis price range. I honestly cant believe this guitar only cost $170 if I would sell it I would sell it for over $500. If it was stolen I would buy another one and I would give this as a gift to all my musician friends. This guitar is alot better than the Fender Strat. // 8

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overall: 8.4
Pacifica 120S Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 14, 2010
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Divertas/ Yamaha, Bucharest

Features: By the time you are readng this review, my Yamaha Pacifica 120S is about to become memories, as I've decided to upgrade it by replacing the keys and the pickups. Right now, it's in the workshop, so, this review is the review of the original Pacifica 120S, as I knew it after 8 years of faithful service. My guitar was made in 2002, in Taiwan, and it was delivered at my specific order, as the shop didn't have it in its current stock. It costed, as I've mentioned, 400 $, quite expensive for that time, in my country. It has 22 frets on a Standard Fender scale of 648 mm. Although it was advertised to be made in solid wood, the body is actually made from 3 pieces of beautiful Alder, while bolt-on neck is in Maple, with a Rosewood fingerboard. Finish is Satin: it helps you admire the grain, but also discover Yamaha's being cheap on wood. Guitar's body is Tele style, but it's more comfortable than most Teles due to an intelligent carve on its back. It has a fixed bridge with diecast chrome saddles (of an excellent quality, btw) and two passive humbuckers (ceramic, I suppose, given the price). There are only two controls: Tone and Volume, a solution Yamaha tends to favor on most of its "below 1000 euro" line, and also a 3-way pickup selector. Non-locking tuning pegs are of unknown origin, perhaps an in-house supply. // 9

Sound: My music style is floating around Progressive, Hard Rock and Blues, and this guitar suits me just fine. Being quite experienced, I deliberately chose it because it suits my style. I used it through a Vox Pathfinder 15 and I also own a cheap Korg AX-1 G sound processor, but I played it throught many other amps, including gig and studio amps. This guitar is very versatile and I fully agree with MusicDorian: it can be used by beginners, due to its smooth neck and comfortable body, but it's definitely not an entry-level. It can withstand professional performances and it can easily deliver a large variety of sounds, ranging from jazz to heavy metal. The two humbuckers are calibrated to work together or separately in the best possible way for a guitar in this price range. And, once again, MusicDorian was right: a friend of mine, who happens to be a great guitar player and the proud owner of a '78 Gibson Les Paul Artisan, while doing some finesse adjustments to my guitar, was blown up by its sound. He said it delivers 95% of his 10 times more expensive and prestigious Les Paul. My only complaint, and that's why I decided to upgrade it by replacing the pickups (by a pair of Seymour Duncans, a SH-2n ans a SH-4 JB, a combination I warmly recommend for upgrading the PAC 120S), is that the sound of the two humbuckers isn't 100% clear when distorted. It also lacks some punch in the bass tones, no matter if you play it clean or distorted, being more impressing in the bright range of sounds. But the quality of its original pickups is truly awesome given the price: there's no hum, no noises, no screams in the high solos. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory setup was not very satisfying. The guitar needed to be re-intonated and action has remained until now a little higher. It's good for dynamics, but it requested a more reffined pickup adjustment than the factory presets. After a long and ennoying setup, it finally reached to a perfect accoustic sound, with no fret buzzs, and to an optimal pickup outturn. It didn't have any flow at all, which was another pleasant surprise in this price range. The connection between the neck and the body, for example, is just perfect, which once again made me ask myself: why cheating about the one-piece body, when you are able to do such a fine job in carving and polishing it? It seems to me that the guys at Yamaha aren't very reliant on their capacity of making true guitars. My old Pacifica 120S tended to make me feel it could be better, it could be 100% perfect, but the guys in that remote Taiwan plant just didn't wish to touch the skies... // 8

Reliability & Durability: When I read many of the reviews here at the UG, I keep on wondering myself: is there something wrong with me, or do I really have two excellent guitars? I never dropped a guitar in my life and I never had problems with the strap buttons, for instance. Those on my Pacifica 120S are solid rock and in pristine condition. The guitar surely withstands live playing without a backup, but any serious player would have one, however. The hardware is in its original condition, only the tuning pegs seem to get a little loose, but still they stay in tune resonably enough (a whole gig). I decided to replace them because I wanted to get some locking keys (which I did, thanks to!). The finish was - and still is - flawless, but, once again, maybe it's something wrong with me, maybe I take care of my guitars, living in a country where a budget guitar worths 1/3 of a monthly wage... // 9

Overall Impression: As I've already said, I'm fond on the rock'n'roll of the 70's, mostly Progressive and Hard Rock. When I compose my own songs, some influences of the 80's, the period when I got involved in music, tend to appear too. I've been playing for almost 30 years now, but I'm not a professional and I've quitted playing in bands some 20 years ago, so I'm only the hero of my bedroom. Sometimes of my living-room, when I perform for friends... I don't own much equipment, but my buddies who are professionals do, hence I had the chance to play on most of the top-level amps and pedals. I attended studio sessions as well. There's nothing I wished to have asked before buying this guitar, there was nothing to complain about when arrived. I could have left it as it came from the factory, but I thought, after 8 years of service and having more means at my disposal, it's about time to upgrade it. If stolen, I'd first kill the bastard, then I'd buy another guitar, since the PAC 120S has been discontinued by Yamaha. I love the feeling of confidence it has always provided while playing, its versatility, its low-profile looks and the overall building quality. I've only hated this strange policy of being cheap on details and not paying much attention to the last touch of a product, which seems to characterize Yamaha, at least in the sub-1000 euro range. My favorite feature are ("were" is more a accurate tense) the tones in the middle position, played clean: their Precision is second to none. Despite looking like a Tele, I would compare it to the Les Paul - the original one, of course. It is a much better guitar than all sub-1500 euros Les Pauls from Epiphone. Too bad it was discontinued with no serious reasons, Yamaha having only one Tele-style guitar in its current range: the expensive Mike Stern Signature Pacifica 1511. // 8

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overall: 9.2
Pacifica 120S Reviewed by: ninjasushi, on june 14, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 59.25

Purchased from: Used

Features: - 22 frets - Telecaster body, with a Strat neck - 2 knobs, 1 master volume and 1 master tone - 3 way selector Switch - 2 humbuckers, both which are ceramics - Strig-thru body, with a bolt-on neck - Rosewood neck // 10

Sound: This guitar is perfect for hard rock, no doubt about it. The bridge pickup is amazingly powerful (it's also raised a little for my taste), and it is the perfect guitar for palm-muting. Now, I had 2 problems with it. The neck (rythym) pickup is too bassy for the kind of music I play (its good if u play rolling stones style stuff), and the sounds wen the Switch is set in the middle is too simmilar to the bridge pickup, not giving much variation. But if you want a good lead guitar for hard rock, this is it. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought the guitar used, so I had to take it to the shop, and they did a good job setting it up. For a banged-up guitar, it was good, and it plays just fine // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has been through a lot, I know the original owner, who used it as his main guitar for 2 years, and then the next owner who had it for about 6 months, and didn't use it much. There are a lot of scratches, and some marks in between the pickups. I would use a backup during a gig, but only beacuse this guitar is not good for trash/punk, or if I had no time to tune it on-stage. But if I had to use only 1 guitar, it would suit me well. // 8

Overall Impression: It is the only electric guitar I own, and it serves me well, I don't think I will need another guitar (excep a Gibson Flying V, b/c they are so comfortable). I just wish there was a little more variation on it, but its good for what it does. // 10

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overall: 9
Pacifica 120S Reviewed by: GuitarGuruGurl, on january 23, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: The Pacifica 120S features an alder body, bolt-on maple neck and a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. The guitar body is Strat-stlyle with a high-gloss satin finish with a fixed bridge. Only two controls are given, master volume and master tone. The guitar has four pickups, but they are situated in such a fashion that some guitar players may need to adjust their playing to avoid striking the pickup. The guitar comes with a gig bag, neck strap, digital tuner, basic amplifier and amp cables. // 8

Sound: The guitar produces little variation in sound, due to the lack of controls. Using the amp provided at purchase, the basic clean, distortion, bass and treble settings can be adjusted. Despite this, teh guitar has a good, clear tone and and can be distorted to suit nearly any style of playing. It makes an excellent guitar for any beginner to experiment with differnet genres of music to play. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar has great action, and requires very little adjustments or maintance. However, it has a tendancy to go out of tune relatively quickly and if not tuned for even a few weeks, it can slide hopelessly out of tune, even by several notes. Besides the oddly placed pickups, the guitar has no flaws that interfere with playing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is very durable, and would most defitely be reliable as a Live performance guitar, though this may be unadvisable, given the instrument's small range of controls. It is capable of being handled roughly with no I'll effect and there seem to be no issues with "tempermental" wiring (that is, the sound never cuts in and out). The strap buttons themselves are solid, and stable, but the neck strap provided is considerably less reliable and may slip off the pegs. The durablility of the guitar is once again, best suited for a beginner to guitar, as it can be dropped and banged and still work without flaw. It could be used to play a gig, buut another model would be recommended. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar can be used to learn any style from pop to heavy metal and still be perfectly suited. It was great for my first electric guitar, both in quality and price. I myself ahve been playing for just over a year and purchased this guitar several months ago, and so far I haven't regretted my decision to go with this model. The only drawbacks are the irritating placement of the pickup and lack of specialized controls. However, I do love the fact that it requires no maintance and has so far proven that it cna survive minor damge with no I'll effects. Overall, I am very imopressed by this inexpensive guitar from an unassuming maker I would definetly recommend it to anyone just starting out and looking for an affordable, quality guitar. // 9

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