Yamaha Pacifica 112V Review: A Compelling Entry-Level S-style Option

To say that the Yamaha Pacifica 112 revolutionized the world of electric guitars for beginners wouldn’t be an exaggeration. When it came out in 1993, this affordable electric guitar was simply a mile ahead of its competitors, with a solid wood construction, a versatile sound, and durability unlike any other entry-level model.

Over the decades, Yamaha not only managed to maintain the high-quality standards of the original 112, but also managed to upgrade the model to be in step with the times, while keeping the same price the 112 was sold for in the 1990s.

But is it still among the top-rated electric guitars for beginners?

Today we’re reviewing an electric guitar that’s designed for new guitarists, but that seasoned players can enjoy just as much.

Product Overview

Yamaha Pacifica

Why I Like It

  • Fantastic value for money.
  • Three pickups for tonal variety.
  • Built to last.

What I Think Could Be Improved

  • Some parts look cheap (tuners, plastic nuts).
  • The vibrato could be better.


  • Body: Solid body (Alder)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Pickups: 2 single-coil and Alnico V magnet humbucker
  • Frets: 22
  • Controls: Five-position pickup option, master tone, master volume

 If you’re looking for a guitar that costs less than $400 and will still satisfy your creative needs for decades, then the Pacifica 112V is the perfect instrument for you.

This iconic electric guitar for beginners comes with a custom Yamaha ceramic Alnico V humbucker in the bridge and two Alnico V single-coil pickups in the neck and middle position. They all sound excellent and are extremely versatile, giving you a sonic palette that works magnificently across genres, from funk to hard rock.

The alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and natural finish further enhance the beauty and sturdiness of this entry-level guitar, giving guitarists an instrument that sounds and feels way more professional than its price would suggest.

What amazed me the most about this guitar is how playable it is. Whether you’re soloing or accompanying other instruments, with the Pacifica 112V you always feel in control of your sound, thanks to its lightweight design and comfortable layout.

All in all, the Pacifica 112V is an all-rounder for rock guitarists who're just getting started, but I'm sure even more advanced musicians will love its smoothness, versatility, and captivating sound. The guitar sounds great even after years of playing, and the versatile pickups give you endless options to shape your sound.

Features & Benefits

Yamaha Pacifica

Pickups and Electronics 4.5/5

The three-pickup system of the Pacifica 112V offers endless possibilities to guitarists who are still defining their sound signature.

The ceramic Alnico V humbucker in the bridge pickup brings to life powerful and rock-oriented tones, whereas the two Alnico V single-coil pickups in the middle and neck positions deliver cleaner tones that work well with jazz, funk, blues, and much more. While not as powerful as high-end pickups, the ones included in the 112V do a pretty good job, especially the super-clear middle pickup, and you won't feel the need to replace them anytime soon.

The Pacifica 112V also comes with a push/pull tone control to split the humbucker into crisp single-coil tones. Finally, the electronics and components that make the Pacifica are surprisingly reliable, considering this is essentially an entry-level guitar.

Playability 5/5

The C-shaped maple neck and rosewood fingerboard of the 112V give a playability and responsiveness that’s almost impossible to find at this price. Everyone I know who’s ever had this guitar, solo or rhythm guitarists alike, praised how pleasant and effortless it is to play it, even years after upgrading their instruments.

The Pacifica 112V is lightweight and well-balanced, and the tremolo bridge with block saddles is a great plus if you value vintage aesthetics and perfectly tuned guitars. All these characteristics combined give musicians an instrument they can depend on for practice, rehearsals, and on stage. 

Build Quality and Design 4.5/5

The 112V is not a fancy guitar, but a reliable instrument that can give you a great sound and comfort for years to come. And in this, the Pacifica 112V is exceptional.

The design is captivating, featuring an iconic Strat-style body but with its own unique vibe, giving a timeless feel that goes hand in hand with the instrument’s renowned sound. Available in a variety of colors from Tobacco to Old Violin Sunburst and Sonic Blue, you’ll definitely find the perfect aesthetics for your style.

The alder body and rosewood fingerboard feel sturdy and smooth, giving a sense of holding a vintage guitar, rather than a new one you can get for less than $500.

However, The Pacifica 112V comes with more plastic than I'd like, and especially the nuts give away the guitar's true nature as a beginner's instrument. It's a small issue, really, if you think about all the positives the Pacifica 112V comes with.


If you’re not in love with how the Pacifica 112V looks or sounds, here are some valid alternatives you should definitely consider.

Yamaha Pacifica 112V vs Squier Affinity Series

Squier Affinity Series

Let me start by saying this was the dilemma I had when I first started playing the guitar 20 years ago. Eventually, I went for an Affinity Tele because it was cheaper, and I liked the sound more: it felt warmer and more defined.

I never regretted my decision as I still love the Tele sound, but looking back now, I think the Pacifica is a better choice for new guitarists: the HSS pickup system is great for experimenting with sounds, and the body wood is better.

If your budget is around $300, you can't go wrong with either, so I'd recommend you try them both. Another great model from Squier in the same price range I find worth checking out is the Squier Classic Vibe '50s Strat, so take your pick (pun intended)!

Yamaha Pacifica 112V vs Ibanez SA160

Ibanez SA160

Here’s another hard comparison. The Ibanez SA160 has an excellent sound for the price, and the pickup quality is very good. However, in terms of versatility and durability, I think the 112V is still the winner here (though it's also more expensive).

Yamaha Pacifica 112V vs Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone SG Special

The Epiphone SG is over $100 cheaper than the Pacifica, delivers a decent sound, and is easy to play. Plus, it looks cool! However, the 112V is simply a better guitar, with superior wood and build quality, sound, and versatility. If your budget is strictly less than $200, then the SG is a good guitar worth the investment, but if you can spend more, you’ll never regret getting a Pacifica 112V. Alternatively, you might be interested in the Epiphone Les Paul Studio which deserves our detailed review.


Yamaha Pacifica

In case it wasn’t clear already, I think the Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a great guitar. In particular, it's your best bet if a) you’re a beginner guitarist, b) you’re a more experienced musician who needs an affordable guitar to carry around, or c) you just want a great axe for a ridiculous price.

If you’re not convinced by the sound or aesthetics of the Pacifica, make sure you check out the Squier Affinity series. Both the Tele and Strat can sound great, but I’d recommend you try the instrument before buying it: Squier has had varying levels of quality over the years. Yamaha's quality control, on the other hand, is a certainty, and the timeless Pacifica 112V is proof of that.

Have fun!

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