Yamaha Pacifica 1611MS review

To celebrate 30 years of Yamaha’s LA-based custom shop, we focus on its only signature electric, the Pacifica 1611 Mike Stern

(Image: © Future / Neil Godwin)

Guitar World Verdict

This really is a cracking guitar, balancing a modernised appearance with plenty of vintage influence and a voicing that’s a lot more ‘Les Paul’ than ‘Telecaster’. If we were Yamaha, we’d be shouting about it considerably more.


  • +

    Beautiful ‘simple is best’ design and build.

  • +

    Good weight.

  • +

    Beefy but versatile voicing.

  • +

    Quite the journeyman guitar.


  • -

    No case.

  • -

    No colour options.

  • -

    No left-handers and a complete lack of fanfare.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

As an exercise in taking the essence of a classic and reworking it into an identifiable new design, the 1611MS - signature guitar for jazz great Mike Stern - takes some beating. 

You also have to remember that the Pacifica design was conceived 30 years ago at the birth of Yamaha’s custom shop, although it’s aged remarkably well, perhaps with the exception of the rather off-trend headstock labels. 

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.