Review: Yamaha Pacifica 611VFMX Limited Edition

As the latest addition to Yamaha’s long running Pacifica line, the 611VFMX has a lot to offer players who want the performance advantages of a hot-rodded S-type guitar.
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As the latest addition to Yamaha’s long running Pacifica line, the 611VFMX has a lot to offer players who want the performance advantages of a hot-rodded S-type guitar. This bolt-neck design plays super easily thanks to its slim, satin-finished neck, which sports a relatively flat, gloss-finished fingerboard carrying 22 well-shaped frets and mother-of-pearl position dots. A superb setup assists in the intonation department, and similar attention to detail extends to the Wilkinson trem bridge, which, adjusted to float on our test guitar, had a butter-smooth action and excellent return-to-pitch capability (Yamaha informs us that the factory trem setup is for detune only). The locking Grover tuners also help stabilize the tuning, and a precisely cut Graphtech nut ensures the strings glide smoothly over it when you’re working the bar. Lastly, the string path is arrow straight from the six-in-line headstock. A translucent Matte Blue finish graces the 611’s maple/alder body (other available colors are translucent Matt Black or Matte Root Beer), and the flamed laminated maple top and black anodized aluminum pickguard are nice touches. The contour on the back and the upper wing make this guitar very comfortable on a strap, even though our test model was a little on the heavy side at a shade over 8 lbs.

The pickups are well chosen here, and the Duncan SP90-1N in the neck position is a good match for the high-output Duncan Custom 5 humbucker in the bridge slot—and while the 3-way selector only provides neck, neck + bridge, and bridge settings, there is a push-pull function on the Tone pot that splits the humbucker’s coils to give a wider variety of tones. All combined, there are a lot of hip sounds here. The neck setting made it easy to get clean jazz or wailing blues sounds, and with distortion added from EHX Operation Overlord and Xotic AC/RC-OZ (Oz Noy Signature) pedals, I could get any amount of sustain needed. Positively scorching tones were available via the bridge pickup, and, whether playing though a Fender Deluxe Reverb (with handwiring by George Alessandro) or a ’72 Marshall JMP 50-watt (driving a pair of Celestion vintage 30s), the guitar sounded super clear and crisp—great for funky grooves or reggae riffing—with both pickups selected and the humbucker in split mode.

The name 611VFMX may not be the easiest to remember, but considering all that this modestly priced guitar delivers, it’s worth keeping in mind if you need an affordable axe that can cover the bases for a bunch of different styles. Kudos to Yamaha for introducing this new member of the Pacifica clan.



PRICE $599 street
NUT WIDTH 1 11/16" Graphtech
NECK Maple, bolt-on
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 25.5" scale, 13.75" radius
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
TUNERS Grover locking
BODY Alder with flamed-maple top
BRIDGE Wilkinson V550 vibrato
PICKUPS Duncan SP90-1N (neck), Duncan Custom 5 humbucker (bridge)
CONTROLS Volume, Tone (push-pull coil split), 3-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario .010-.046
WEIGHT 8.18 lbs
BUILT Indonesia
KUDOS Excellent playability. Solid workmanship. Great range of sounds.