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0ooooooo - Yamaha Pacifica - ooooooo0
::: How i got the guitar ::::
I love music. When i was 8 i got a keyboard for my birthday, and i still have the same one and still play it nearly every day 7 years on.
I love seeing bands play their music - i recently saw System of a Down at Brixton (read my op. on it if you like!) and in November im seeing Franz Ferdinand. I have always been amazed at the way their fingers just dance over the fretboard so fast and make a great sound.
So i wanted to learn how to play! I checked out online shops such as www.musicstore.com - a German site, very cheap as it is all minus 16% due to the German VAT. But even on their the guitars where a bit out of my price range. I saw a nice one in my local music shop, Allegro Music, for £199, a "Yamaha Pacifica". I knew it was the cheapest i was going to get but i didnt have the money so i left it.
I was talking to a mate later and he told me he had a guitar! He went on to tell me it had been in his cupboard for about 2 years because he had never been bothered to play it. He offered to sell me it, with a Marshall amplifier, for £120! So i bought it!
::::: History of the Electric Guitar :::::
The electric guitar is a very interesting instrument and has a very interesting history, which i looked up on the internet.
The developement of the electric guitar owes a great amount to Hawaiian music in the 20s and 30s. Hawaiian guitars were solo instruments played with a metal slide. Electric Hawaiian guitars were the first instruments that depended entirely on their sound being amplified electrically not just acoustically.
A key figure in Electric guitars was Adolph Rickenbacker who originally was to make metal components for Dopera Brothers' National Resonator Guitars. Rickenbacker later met George Beauchamp and Paul Barth who had been working together on the principle of the magnetic pick-up. Together they formed the Electro String Company and in 1931 produced their first Hawaiian guitars. Their success made now famous "Gibson" and others to start producing electric guitars,
In the 40s Gibson new electric models became firmly established. People began to work on ways of applying the solid body of the Hawaiian and steel guitars to regular instruments. In 1944, Leo Fender, who then ran a radio repair shop, teamed up with Doc Kaufman, a former Rickenbacker employee, started K & F Company and produced a series of steel guitars and amplifiers. Fender felt the large pick-up magnets in use at the time need not be so large. He incorporated a new pick-up which he wanted to try out into a solid body guitar based on the shape Hawaiian but, with a regular properly fretted fingerboard. Though only meant to demonstrate the pick-up the guitar was soon in demand. 1946 saw the formation of Fender Electric Instrument Company and the introduction of the Broadcaster.
At the same time [Gibson] Les Paul was working in the same direction. Paul experimented with pick ups throughout the 1930s but, had experienced feedback and resonance problems and began to think about a solid body guitar after hearing about a solid body violin by Thomas Edison.. Paul was convinced the only way to avoid body feedback was to reduce pick up movement and the only way to do that was to mount it in a solid body.
Paul persuaded Epiphone to let him use workshop on Sundays, where in 1941 he built the historic "log" guitar
In 1947 Paul Bigsby in consultation with Merle Travis built a solid body electric guitar that shared certain design features with the Broadcaster that Fender introduced in 1948. Bigsby wasn't far from Fender operation in Fullerton and there is some question who was looking over whose shoulder
Fender was more concerned with utility and practicality rather then looks and wanted a regular guitar with the clear sound of a electric Hawaiian but, without the feedback problems. The result was the the Broadcaster which he began producing in 1948 later renamed the Telecaster.
In 1954, Fender began producing the Stratocaster. Along with the Telecaster and the guitars Les Paul was designing for Gibson, they set the standard for solid body guitars.
- Most of this information is sourced from http://www.there1.com/browse_articles.php?action=view_record&idnum=54
::::: Detailed Description of the Yamaha Pacifica ::::
Starting from the very top bit, or to people who know guitars, the headstock, here is a description of the looks of the guitar:
Headstock & Machine heads - The headstock is a pine/beech colour, and is very smooth. It has "Pacifica Yamaha" written on it, the headstock being where the majority of manufacturers write the brand of guitar. Also, at the very end of the headstock there is the Yamaha logo, which seems to be 3 tuning forks inside a circle. The machine heads (the 6 knobs used for tuning) are a shiny smooth chrome,and are all on one side of the headstock.
Neck: The Pacifica comes in a choice of 2 necks: Beech and Maplewood. Maplewood is supposed to be better, but the real difference is just the colour - Maplewood is a dark brown, beech a light. The frets are just small silver dots, as is on most "Beginner" guitars. The back of the neck is beech.
Body: The body is beech, or "natural" like the headstock and back of the neck. The body cover near the lower bout is white, matching with the Volume and Tone knobs, and the pickup selector [The pickip selector changes the sound of the guitar - it is used to switch between the 2 pickups on a Pacifica - Treble and Bass)
Overall, its a very nice guitar for looks, not the nicest i have ever seen (Unfortunatley the nicest guitar i have seen, the one i want when im really good, costs 7500 euros!) but it is still a very smooth looking guitar!
:::: Is it any good? ::::
The Yamaha Pacifica is a great instrument to play. I have been playing nearly a year now - my friend has been playing 7 years and he still has his Pacifica. The strings are typical nickel-wound strings, but after around a month or 2 they will deteriorate and should be replaced with whatever strings you see to be within your price range and preference - you can buy coloured strings, Fender strings, Encore strings, or Super Slinky strings. I use Super slinky.
Unplugged, the Pacifica is very acoustically alive, and produces a sound loud enough to practice with. When plugged into my Marshall amp, the sound is great, very smooth yet sharp. This can obviously be altered using the distortion on the amplifier, and when this is done a great range of different sounds can be produced, but, on its own, the sound of the guitar is very good.
My only fault with the guitar is the strap buttons - 2 sticky-out metal bits that you press your guitar strap onto - i dont know if its the strap buttons or the 3 straps i have owned but the straps have fallen off more than a few times!
Apart from that its all good, i am very lucky - the Barker family is inherently clumsy, and my guitar has survived some right batterings, including one where i was perched on the edge of a wheeled office chair practising. I leant forward to grab a pen to tab out some music, and the chair slid out from under me, i went flying back through the study doorway, guitar still strapped on, which of course was too wide to fit through the doorway and just slammed against the frame! Luckily it survived!
It is amazingly easy to buy "accessories" for this guitar, as most are universal. Plectrums obviously can be bought for any guitar for any price in between 10p and £15. Distortion pedals are universal and just require a jack lead which is also universal for every single Electric guitar i have seen.
The £120 i paid for the Pacifica was great value, especially seeing as i got my Marshall amp with it [Marshall is a very good name in music]. But £199 wouldnt be an unfair price to pay, its a very good guitar and i dont think ill be wanting to buy a new one for a few years yet!
This is a great guitar and i would recomend it to anyone who wants to learn how to play - as long as they stick at it! Guitar is not an easy instrument to play.
Thanks for reading!!
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