Cheap guitar of the week #28 - Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V (with coil tap)
Some of these guitars have a coil tap feature while others do not. Fortunately, it's really easy to tell which models have the coil tap when you know what to look for.
The Yamaha Pacifica comes in basically three flavors. Cheap, somewhat cheap and mid-priced. An example of a mid-priced model is the PAC611HFM. When you see certain guitar players swearing by their Pacificas as their #1 go-to guitar, they're usually talking about the "611" model, easily spotted by the P90 pickup in the front position. A "311" model also has the P90 in front (and is priced lower than the 611.)
A coil tap version of the Pacifica, the PAC112V shown above, is not the lowest priced Pacifica, but it's not the highest-priced guitar either. It's priced about the same as a Squier Vintage Modified series guitar, and what you get for the money is pretty darned good.
Before I get into that, the way to spot a Pacifica with a coil tap option is easy. If the rear pickup is a humbucker with a black trim ring and the pick guard does not surround that rear pickup, it has coil tap. If rear pickup does have the pick guard surrounding it, that's one of the super-cheap models that goes for $150.
What makes the PAC112V a good buy as a cheap guitar is that as an HSS guitar, it's loaded with everything that matters. Solid alder body, AlNiCo V humbucker, real metal dome-style knobs, 3-ply pick guard, a flat 13.75-inch radius fingerboard (very good for soloing,) a simple 2-knob layout of master volume and master tone, 25.5-inch scale length.
The closest match from Squier is the Vintage Modified HSS. Yes, it's $50 cheaper than the Yamaha is, but you don't get coil tap or that 13.75-inch flat fingerboard radius or dome metal knobs or tone control on the bridge-only pickup setting. This isn't to say the Squier VM HSS is a bad guitar, because that axe certainly holds its own, but yes, you do get more for the money when you spend $50 extra for the PAC112V.
Oh, and one other thing. The PAC112V is a 22-fret while the Squier is a 21-fret. For some players, that matters. If you need that high D on the 1 string, the Pacifica has it while the Squier does not.
The PAC112V does come in several colors. Black, Blue (shown above,) Natural, Silver and Sunburst. The two that have the "most professional" look are Natural and Sunburst.
If you were looking for a good HSS Strat-style guitar but didn't like the offerings from Squier, the next best thing that comes with more goodies is the Pacifica PAC112V.