Reader Guitar of the Month: Yamaha Pacifica

This model’s swimming-pool routing makes it a great candidate for modding.


Name: Benoit Champagne

Location: Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, Canada
Guitar: Yamaha Pacifica

My guitar is a Yamaha Pacifica, which I bought as a cheap thrills project. I already owned two other Pacificas similar to that one. Fun fact: These are swimming-pool routed, allowing for many pickup configurations and making them a great platform for Strat-like guitars.

Also, all the Pacifica necks are the same no matter the model number (012, 112, 212, 312, etc.), so you can swap a neck easily on the cheap if your frets are due. The nuts on these are black Graph Tech, which is better than many cheapies. The tuners are okay, so I didn’t bother changing them—they’re no worse than the Gotoh tuners found on an Ibanez RG or Charvel with a Floyd Rose from the same era.

It has a two-piece ash body that was initially finished natural with a bunch of stickers. I stripped it to bare wood with the intent of having the grain show through a seafoam green finish. I put on a tortoiseshell pickguard loaded with DiMarzio AT-1 and Cruisers, then wired it like an Andy Timmons model: one volume for the AT-1 humbucker, one volume for the two Cruisers, and one master tone. I went with a VegaTrem bridge, and I also have Loxx strap locks on it, which is my favorite strap lock system. The middle knob is an ivory mini knob from Q-Parts. Space was a bit restrained on that pickguard, and I added that hole as normally there’s only a master volume and tone on Pacificas.

The whole finish was done by hand: no spraying involved, clear included. The frets needed some leveling, crowning, and polishing. Once the whole thing was set up, it stayed in tune, and the bridge is amazing! It covers a lot of ground with those pickups in it. (I have Floyds, German Schaller Floyds, and Ibanez Edges on other guitars.) It’s a looker but, most importantly, it’s a player.

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