Yamaha Pacifica 311H circa 2014

HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 2443
edited July 2016 in Guitar Reviews
...in white. Brought for £240 from PMT in Bristol.

The guitar sounded and felt great in the shop, and the torty guard on vintage white was a favourite look for me at the time. Also, Yamaha had just reduced the price from £330 to £240 so I was convinced I was getting more of a bargain than this guitar has actually turned out to be.

The intonation when I bought it was quite a way off, but was soon sorted with a bit of screwdriver work. The overall finish and build was also very good with just one minor paint blemish on the back. Also, the neck pocket could be a little neater but it certainly isn't bad.

The Grover locking machine heads seem substantial, and work with no issues. When I got the guitar the high E string was sticking a bit in the nut which meant that the string wouldn't always return to pitch after string bends. This was sorted recently with a little of pencil lead in the slot, and removing a tiny bit of plastic which was causing a restriction in the nut. (Thanks to fellow forumites for advice on this issue.) The knobs and switches could be better and certainly don't feel particularly robust. Also, turning the (metal) knobs produces a small amount of crackle unless my left hand is touching the strings.

The pickups are Yamaha's own and consist of a splitable HB in the bridge position, and a P90 at the neck. As mentioned earlier they sounded great in the shop, but a few weeks with the guitar has shown that they're not right for me - nothing wrong with the quality but they are really too aggressive for my tastes.

Now we come to the neck (ah yes, the neck...). The rosewood fingerboard has something like a 14" radius so is quite flat which makes bending strings very easy but is still comfortable for chord work. What I don't like about the neck, and failed to pick up on in the shop, is that it is quite narrow at the nut and also quite shallow from front to back. Good for fast lead work (which really isn't my bag) but not really wide or chunky enough for me, especially when compared with my other guitars.

Conclusions then? Well it's certainly a lot of guitar for the money, but to be honest, despite good first impressions, it just isn't the guitar for me. Would I recommend it? Perhaps surprisingly the answer is yes, if you want this sort of guitar, but with the caveat that the narrow neck wouldn't suit everybody. Same goes for the pickups which again would suit someone wanting a more aggressive sound.
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