Yamaha Pacifica range (2017)

Much like an unexciting car brand, the names from Pacifica range from Yamaha are based on a seemingly random series of numbers.  Or that’s how it seems to the uninitiated.

Actually, it’s not that hard to decode. They all seem to take the form of PAC for Pacifica, natch, then three digits, then some letters. The digits are further broken down into three sections. The first to indicate the series, or quality, of the guitar. Initially this started at 1 but it seems they’ve lowered the bar to 0 for entry level models.

Next up the following two digits are to indicate the number of pickups, humbuckers then single coil.

The trailing letters need further explanation, the most common of which are these (I’ll mention the others later):

J = Rosewood Fretboard (where Bubinga is also used)
M = Maple Fretboard
V = Vibrato (2nd Generation Pacifica)
S = Tele Version
H = Hardtail
D = Alternative Body Shape
FM = Flamed Maple
QM = Quilted Maple

So to apply this knowledge to a few models:

My 120SD – Level 1 – 2 humbuckers – 0 single coils – Tele shape / Alternative body shape (I’m not sure if there’s redundancy there in the S and the D, or if this is a slightly different tele to, say, the 302S)

Let’s try the most common of them, the Pacifica 112V. So that would be level 1, 1 humbucker, 2 single coils and a vibrato arm!

Hmm, this gets interesting now. Because what about one of my current favourites, the 611HFM? Level 6 body, 1 humbucker, 1 single coil, hard tail, flamed maple. Nice? Well, no. Because that’s not a single coil, that’s a P90. I guess there’s room for artistic licence there.

I’ll try one more.  Another guitar I fancy, it’s the Line6 Variax.  HA! Well, technically it’s a level 1 body, no humbucker three single coils, vibrato, and a rosewood board. So 103JV?  It was worth a try.  This means you’re getting a £200-250 guitar with £300 of hardware built in!

I think this naming scheme also applies to the RGX/RGZ models as well, but I’m not 100% sure.

Here’s the full list of features as Wikipedia currently has it (I’ve added the Maple Fretboard myself, after the 112VM).

J = Rosewood Fretboard (where Bubinga is also used)
M = Maple Fretboard
V = Vibrato (2nd Generation Pacifica)
S = Tele Version
W = Strat Version (1st Generation)
H = Hardtail (2nd Generation)
D = Alternative Body Shape
FM = Flamed Maple
QM = Quilted Maple
CX = Fancy Pick-guard
X = Ltd. Edition Yellow Satin
CP = Ltd. Edition Mirror Pick-guard and Decals
L = Left Handed
R = Reverse Headstock
MS = Mike Stern Model
USA 1 = 1st line of MIA models
USA 2 = 2nd line of MIA models
-12 = 12 String

Any ideas, or have I got it horribly wrong? Please comment below 🙂

6 thoughts on “Yamaha Pacifica range (2017)

  1. Thanks for this, very interesting. Some answers for you: A p90 is still a single coil so the code still works. And the Pacifica 102 and 302 have a completely different body to the 120, much smaller and thinner/lighter. So that works too. But be careful with the MS. The 311MS is not Mike Stern but Tele with a maple neck!

    I have been collecting and modding Pacificas for many years now and this all came as news to me so cheers! My Pacifica site is http://www.yamahapacifica.com so hope to see to you there.There’s a small community gathering now with lots of advice and links and pics etc. I’ll add this page as a link if that’s OK with you?

  2. Hi there, this is great information, thanks for this!
    I have a PAC621, from the mid ’90s, but I cannot seem to find any info on the specs of this guitar. Would you be able to help me out?

    1. From the description that sounds wicked, superstrat like their RGX guitars. But I’m afraid I wouldn’t know any more than that. Simon over at YamahaPacifica.com might be better placed to advise.

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