Upgraded Pacifica 112J to Fender Player Stratocaster - was it really an upgrade?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by mck159, Apr 14, 2021.

Which one should I keep

  1. Fender Player Stratocaster

    73.0%
  2. Pacifica 112 + upgrade pickups and hardware

    27.0%
  1. mck159

    mck159 New Member!

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    Hi all,

    I wanted to treat myself and I've upgraded my Pacifica 112J to Fender Player Stratocaster.

    I always wanted real Fender and I though that there will be noticeable quality/experience improvement.

    To be honest I don't see much difference, mostly:
    • bridge looks nicer in Fender and is 2 point - though tuning stability on Pacifica is perfect, so not sure if I can call it improvement, just looks nicer
    • Pacifica has plastic nut - cheap and easy upgrade
    • fretwork - equally ok, both could use some minor fret levelling to reduce minor fertbuzz when unplugged with low string action (plugged is ok on both)
    • Fender is heavier - not sure if it makes any difference in tone?
    • Fender has more Stratty sound - swapping pickups on Pacifica should give same effect?


    Rest (body finish, look, feel) is rather similar, just down to personal preference, but differences are so small that I would say that it matters that much anyway. E.g. Yamaha has better access to to high frets, Fender has slightly wider fretboard etc.

    I'm wondering if I shouldn't return Fender and just upgrade Pacifica with better nut (£10) + pickups (£100 for 2nd hand Fender Player pickups, or £150-200 for something even better like Seymour Duncan or American Fender pickups). It will still be cheaper (£200-350: £100 for 2nd hand Pacifica, £10 for nut, £200 for pickups), more fun and more personalized (I choose pickups, nut material etc). Btw. decision is not which is better value for money, but rather which choice will be better (keep Fender or upgrade Pacifica) without taking money into account


    Not sure what makes Fender better, maybe I'm missing something? I think it's interesting topic, so wanted to raise this discussion, looking forward to get your thoughts! [​IMG]
     
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  2. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    How about just return it and order a 611 or 612 and getting back some change in difference either way :)
     
  3. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Either return for a 611/612 or spend a bit more and get a Charvel (*_*)
     
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  4. mck159

    mck159 New Member!

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    Thanks for good suggestion, although: wouldn't it be more fun and more personalized (and cheaper, but this is not important in this case tbh) to upgrade hardware + pickups on my 112 instead of buying 612? Is e.g. wood better on 612?

    Tbh there's a bit of sentimental value in this 112J, though if buy 612 is significantly better than upgrading 112J, I'd probably go for it
     
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  5. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Yeah but IME while it may be more fun if your looking for a better guitar ........

    Buy the better guitar vs upgrading whatever you have.

    No amount of "upgrades" is going to get you a better guitar....

    Trade in for 611/612 or spend a bit more for a Charvel/Jackson/Shecter or just return and keep guitar as is and just save money period.
     
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  6. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Hey I'm not saying dont buy Fender as Charvel and Jackson are a part FMIC and are the same thing pretty much or not to get a Yamaha.....611 or 612.....


    But yeah I'm not going to be the guy to tell you the rosy picture that whatever upgraded guitar you have is going to be as good as a real new and real better guitar.
     
  7. mck159

    mck159 New Member!

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    Still wondering, taking money aside: if I add Seymour Duncan pickups + swap electrics (not needed to be fair) + Grover locking tuners and Wilkinson trem (wouldn't do those tbh, I use blocked trem anyway and tuning stability is perfect in 112, maybe I'd just install Wilkinson ezlok tuners as they are cheap and good) + fret levelling, what will make 612 better than modded 112?
     
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  8. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Sure....spend about the same or more making the "better guitar".....hoping it will be better....



    Or just buy it.


    Your not going to get there making it most of the time either way even with mods IME.


    Just my personal advice....its always better to just buy the better guitar vs modding it to get there.
     
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  9. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music.

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    Just wanna warn you about pickups.

    They can make a difference but "upgrades" often don't significantly change the character of the guitar.

    You can talk yourself into thinking your guitar sounds better with new but its mostly in our heads.

    A general rule of thumb is low output pickups are brighter with less mids and hotter pickups are a little darker with more mids and hit your preamp a little harder.

    All that said, I had to find all that out for myself and most likely you will always wonder what youre missing if you dont.

    In the case of the "upgraded" fender guitar you found you werent really missing anything.

    Now: All that said, there are better guitars out there and if you play a bunch one may jump out at you. I hope I didnt confuse the issue.
     
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  10. SonOfLerome

    SonOfLerome Strat-O-Master

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    I agree with @The-Kid

    Something else to consider though, the player strat is not exactly top of the line, and can’t even really be considered “expensive” when it comes to guitars. I think playing some higher level stuff you will begin to notice what feels nicer and more refined. It can also take a bit of time to get acquainted with new guitars IME. But at the end of the day, even you upgrade every part on a Squier, it’s still a squier. Not meaning that it’s not a great guitar, but the money you spent upgrading the parts could’ve gotten you an OEM nicer guitar that has some resale value.
    So, I would advise playing more guitars and seeing what feels like an upgrade to you.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  11. Antstrat

    Antstrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    Got a few strats from MIM to CS and I think the Player is the top of the line regarding MIM strats, pretty darn close to the beloved US Strat.

    So yes, it would definitely be an upgrade to the Pacifica and you get a quality guitar for the money. No modding needed just tune it and play it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
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  12. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Pretty much in translation this...


    Buy a better guitar or stick to what you have and really save money....to buy a better guitar (*_*)
     
  13. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Most Honored Senior Member

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    My response is not about the guitars as much as it is about your post.
    1. Telling us that you always wanted a "real" Fender reveals part of your answer.
    2. Telling us that the Fender has the "Stratty" sound you desire reveals another part of your answer.
    3. You dropped a chunk of money on the Fender, only to realize that the Yamaha is actually a pretty darn good guitar. It sounds like you might be experiencing some buyer's remorse. That's totally understandable.
    Is it possible that you won't be satisfied unless you have a guitar that says Fender on the headstock? I am a huge Yamaha fan; if you exchanged for a 612 and found it to be superior to a Fender, would that do the trick for you? Or would you feel like you were missing out an a "real" Fender?
     
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  14. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Most Honored Senior Member

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    I would not have believed this until I traded for my Strat Plus. The feel of it is much better than even the MIM Strats I have owned.
     
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  15. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    This. Kinda.

    There are a stack of different pickups out there. At the extreme ends of the spectrum, you'll find very different voiced pickups, but most pickups cluster around the centre... to be all things to all people and deliver what people expect to hear from a particular guitar. So strat pickup sound stratty. Tele pickups sound tele. If you have a product, you want it to appeal to as many people as possible... and most people sit in the centre.

    Obviously there's a market for more boutique stuff for particular use cases... but unless you are at the top of your game with a signature sound, you are going to end up delivering something close to what the audience and the rest of the band expect to hear.

    I have one strat with 2005 American standard pickups. That's pretty much the benchmark "this is what a recent strat should sound like". Very few people find those pickups unpleasant. My main Strat has Texas Specials... and those are a lot more polarising. I clearly love them. Others hate them with a passion. If I was to build a third strat, I'd have much lower output "vintage" pickups. But they're all variations on a theme. None of those really vary widely when it comes to the broader spectrum of timbre.

    Most of the minor tone differences can be wrought by sticking a decent EQ as the first thing in your Signal chain - eg a Boss EQ-200 gives you 128 user presets to tweak your tone to your heart's content.

    And don't forget the variation available simply by changing the pickup height.
     
  16. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Trade in for 612/611 or other better guitar or just keep money and keep guitar as is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  17. GuitarGeni

    GuitarGeni Strat-Talk Member

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    I'm going to vote for you to keep the Yamaha but don't bother to upgrade it. You still won't be satisfied. You want a real Fender and while the Player is quite good, it's as you have discovered, not that much better than your Yamaha. Instead I would recommend that you do as others have suggested, keep saving up for a better guitar. Ultimately it may or may not be a Fender, but take your time, play lots of guitars and buy the one you just can't bear to be without.
     
  18. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Strat-Talker

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    I picked up a used Pacifica 112 some time ago for near nothing. Even with stock pickups I think it is every bit equal to my MIM Standard. They may not have the mojo of a Fender, but they are some of the best values out there. I'd love to pick up one of the higher end Pacificas.
     
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  19. RevBillyG

    RevBillyG Strat-Talker

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    I think you’re half way there. You’ve discovered an issue that most people don’t truly understand.


    What is “better”?


    I bought a Pacifica around 2003 or so as an upgrade to an MIM Telecaster I bought in 1992. Hands down, the Yamaha was the better guitar.


    But... I’m sure a 2003 MIM is just as good as that Yamaha. I truly think it is harder to find a “bad” guitar nowadays. Back in 2003 I’d say $500 would get you a good guitar. Now, $100 will get you a quality, dependable instrument you could gig with.


    So no. I don’t think you’ve upgraded going from a Pacifica 112 to a Player strat or a 612. & no, I wouldn’t change pickups, nuts, tremolo or any of that stuff. There’s no point.

    From here on out it’s about “different” & how much you’re willing to pay to have “different”


    The only problem I have with the Pacifica is that you’re not really getting “different” when you go from a 112 or a 612. It’s dressed “different” but it’s the same. New pickups, pretty tops, different colors. But it’s the same neck, same body, same route, same basic guitar.


    I’d love to get a Pacifica & get a 50s style baseball bat neck. But they don’t make it. Fender does.


    They may charge more, but if that’s what you want. I mean I can find an Ibanez or some other brand with a traditional shape... but if I want a traditional neck, chances are I’m going to have to spend more money.


    If the Pacifica checks all the boxes & you just want to tweak do it. But if you want something different, do that.


    Only problem now is that you don’t know what you want. & you won’t until you own a few more guitars.
     
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  20. Groovey

    Groovey Dr. Stratster

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    More fun, personalized, yes. Not necessarily cheaper. All said and done i have about a thousand into each of my personalized guitars.

    I'd keep both. Mod one. Have fun with it.
     
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