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Guitar Rookie Trying Out a Yamaha Pacifica PAC120S

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by GeekPriest, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    15
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    Hi. I'm a total guitar rookie. After getting frustrated with a Strat-style guitar given to me, I started looking around for something to help me move along. (The Strat was being a bear to get strings down to the fretboard, and perennial issues with tuning.)

    I ran across this Yamaha Telecaster-like guitar, the PAC120S, at a local pawn shop. Good shape overall: bit of surface rust on the pickup poles, couple of scratches on the back, small dent at the bottom edge near the strap button, and a cracked jack plate. We settled on $100, plus $5 for a 15-day return privilege.

    I've restrung it with extra light D'Addario strings, and overall, I've fallen in love. I'm not wrestling with the tuning. Plus, the frets don't cut into my hand. I don't know if they came from Yamaha that way or the previous owner worked them over, but the frets don't bite at all.

    There are two problems I still see, and I'd like to resolve them during my 15-day return period.
    One, there's a bit of buzz on the low E up at the first fret. I've backed the truss rod off about half a turn, with some improvement, but want to know if there's anything more I should know about this. Or, perhaps I'll have to fork over $$ to a real tech. (I'm pretty handy overall, though.)

    Second, the tuners seems a bit easy to turn. It simplifies fine tuning (so little pressure required), but I'm worried they allow the guitar to go out of tune too easily. Thoughts? Recommended replacements priced in line with what I paid for the guitar?

    Third (not a problem, but a question): Anyone found an ideal source for the jack plate replacement? There are plenty of Chinese copies, all of which are probably fine, but I'm happy to pay $5 more to get one that's just perfect.

    Here's a photo (sent to me by the shop; I'll get better ones later). http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2u9nz0i&s=9 [​IMG]
     
    Hiker likes this.

  2. Smoochimoto

    Smoochimoto TDPRI Member

    Age:
    52
    14
    Feb 12, 2018
    Cincinnati
    Hello Geek Priest, I'm a new member, but let's see if I can be of any help. First, the easy one. Go to www.stewmac.com for your jack plate. They're by no means the only reputable place to get electronic supplies for guitars, but they're the first place a lot of folks think of. Most yamaha tele type guitars have an oblong kind of plate, just check the distance on center between the screws to make sure it will fit. Next, regarding your low E string buzz, I would recommend not adjusting the truss rod any more to clear that up. Usually the truss rod is for adjusting neck relief (forward or rearward bow of the entire neck), not for adjusting action (the distance of the strings from the top of the frets. Action is adjusted by changing the heights of the individual saddles of the bridge assembly. Usually they adjust with a very small hex key. Personally I'd spring for a metric and standard set if you don't have one. The set screws are usually made from a soft metal, and you don't want to chew the walls up trying to adjust the height of a metric set screw with a standard hex key or vice versa.

    I'd start by turning it an 1/8- 1/4 turn maximum (clockwise to raise), retuning the string (it will go a little sharp) and checking for the buzz. When its gone you're done. If you're unsure what I'm talking about, there's lots of vids on youtube to help.

    As far as the tuners, on modern ones there's usually a phillips head screw holding the tuner knob in place. Try checking those. They don't need to be super tight, but they might have worked loose over time. Six in line tuner sets run between 30 to 80 USD, depending on quality, tuning ratio, and to some extent brand name. Personally, if the ones you have stay in tune, I wouldn't change them.

    Hope this helps. Nice deal btw.
     
    Hiker likes this.

  3. AznGuitarist31

    AznGuitarist31 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    29
    15
    Jan 30, 2018
    Rochester, NY
    savofenno likes this.

  4. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    15
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    Thanks for this. I spent some time yesterday adjusting saddles and checking intonation.

    I've improved the fret buzz on low E (and A), but not eliminated it. It's beginning to drive me crazy.

    Nonetheless, the Yamaha feels very good in the hand. I'm not fighting with it. Of course, those humbuckers make even chord practice sound like major shredding.
     

  5. Smiff

    Smiff Tele-Meister

    471
    Oct 1, 2017
    UK
    I had the Strat version of the Pacifica once back in the day when I was in military basic training; I missed not playing my guitar and it wasn’t until much later in training when you were allowed more personal stuff so I couldn’t take my own gear from home. Was a really good guitar for the money, neck was very nice and easy to play; no idea what radius it was, I didn’t care about that stuff back then!

    Hope you get it all sorted out how you want it.
     

  6. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    You can use a credit card edge like a fret rocking tool and see if you have a high fret. You can tighten the tuner button screws to adjust the tension stiffness. But if it is staying in tune, then it is fine. I wouldn't bee to quick to change tuners, they are probably fine.
     
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  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I've played a couple of Pacificas, and they were very decent instruments. But EVERY guitar will usually benefit from a good set-up. Even some guys like me (playing for over fifty years) will take a newly acquired guitar to a proper tech for work. You can certainly play around with some adjustments yourself, but going at the truss rod yourself can end in disaster. A good guitar tech knows WHAT needs doing, HOW to do it, and GETS IT done quickly. While it may seem silly to spend $75 for a set up on a $100 guitar, it's actually worth it....you will probably have a $175 guitar that plays like a $300 one. And, given your experience on that first guitar and the difficulty you had playing it, you probably realize the advantage of one that DOES play well....GOOD LUCK.
     
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  8. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Meister

    497
    Feb 1, 2018
    San Clemente, Ca
    If you get it tuned up right, you will play it better and BE a better player. When I was learning, I couldn't believe how much better I was after buying a guitar tuner. This was the eighties, but save some more money, get it set up well, and get better. Save some more money and get a Fender Telecaster.
     
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  9. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2004
    The tuners can be tightened up via the screw on the side
    of the tuning buttons.

    A Pacifica has good stock tuners.
     
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  10. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    15
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    I'm not opposed to paying for a real tech to do the setup. I commonly pay for professional services when it makes sense to do that instead of wasting time learning how. In this particular case, doing so destroys the economics of the thing. I was happy paying $100 for the guitar. Am I happy paying closer to $200? Hmm. Maybe I should just buy a new Squier Tele, which most people seem to think are pretty nicely set up OOTB. So that's the source of my hesitation.

    Being mechanically inclined (I've overhauled an engine with but a book to guide me), I trust my instincts. If I can actually see what's going on with the buzzy fret, I expect I'll be able to solve it. There is no shortage of tools around my place, either. BUT, I'm more interested in learning to play than in fixing the instrument.
     

  11. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Others here may have different experiences, but I've yet to see ANY new Squier or other low-ish end guitar that didn't need work.....truss rod tweaking, fret leveling, fret ends filing, fine intonation setting, etc. The ONLY guitar I've ever bought that didn't need a thing was a Paul Reed Smith....and since I bought it used, I have no idea what had been done to it previously. I understand being frugal (trust me, I'm almost the poster child for frugality) but it is a false economy to not make an instrument its very best in playability. Skimp on pickups or other options, but as a beginner, you may not realize how much a little GOOD attention will make toward your learning experience. Again....I wish you all the best!
     

  12. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    15
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    Thanks for the timely reminder. I definitely want to stay focused on my real goal.
     

  13. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Might be able to resolve the fret buzz by raising your bridge saddles. In doing so, you may have to readjust the intonation too. I've owned a Yamaha (RX7 if I remember correctly). Very good entry level guitar.
     

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