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  1. #1

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    I thought there was only one Mike Stern guitar from Yamaha, the Pacifica 1611, but I see some for sale as 1511. Is that an older version, or a cheaper model? How has the Mike Stern guitar changed over the years? I'm kind of interested in getting one, but need to be better informed first.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Rob,

    I believe the 1611MS is the top of the line $3k+ and the 1511MS is the affordable model.

    https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/brochure/1/320191/pac1511ms.pdf


    https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...1ms/index.html

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I thought there was only one Mike Stern guitar from Yamaha, the Pacifica 1611, but I see some for sale as 1511. Is that an older version, or a cheaper model? How has the Mike Stern guitar changed over the years? I'm kind of interested in getting one, but need to be better informed first.
    Hi Rob-Just curious why you might choose this guitar over a Fender Tele or say a G&L Tele.

    I like this guitar too, but for the price....makes me think.

  5. #4

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    Thanks, Strbender. The price for the 1611 in the Uk is £1,700.00 from Yamaha London, while the 1511 is on eBay for £700 - big difference, but how much difference in quality, I wonder.

    Doug, good question. I'm a reasonably big fan of Mike Stern. There was a moment in his Edinburgh concert (sharing the gig with Sco - what a night!) where he switched off the chorus effect, and the sound the Fender amp (can't recall which one) was the best I'd ever heard. I wish he'd do that more often. The reviews are all 5-star, equal to top of the line custom Fenders, but at a lower price. I have a Fender tele with an ebony board which is good, but (this) one gets restless!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Doug, good question. I'm a reasonably big fan of Mike Stern. There was a moment in his Edinburgh concert (sharing the gig with Sco - what a night!) where he switched off the chorus effect, and the sound the Fender amp (can't recall which one) was the best I'd ever heard. I wish he'd do that more often. The reviews are all 5-star, equal to top of the line custom Fenders, but at a lower price. I have a Fender tele with an ebony board which is good, but (this) one gets restless!
    I've followed Mike since the We Want Miles album and saw him here in Vancouver. I'd agree with you on the chorus-he does seem to lean on it too much; but he doesn't need to. There are some recordings where he plays straight into the amp, and he does sound better. 'Tis a pity that some listeners hear the chorus and get turned off. I can understand that though. BTW-his two amps are Fender Twins-no wonder you liked the sound!

    Cheers

    Doug
    Last edited by Doug B; 06-15-2021 at 02:58 PM.

  7. #6

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    One would be enough for me!

    Can you tell which albums he plays without the chorus? I still like him with it, just would like to hear him again without it.

  8. #7

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    I have read that he's using a harmonizer set on zero. You'd think that would mean that it does nothing, but that isn't what seems to happen. Instead it adds something that thickens the note. I don't think it's the same effect as chorus, but I don't claim to understand it.

  9. #8

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    Interesting.

    The reviews are saying it's obviously a Tele, but somehow has a Les Paul vibe, and has a great humbucking neck pickup for thick jazz tones.

  10. #9

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    Having some fun !!!



  11. #10

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    +1 for Yamaha. I bought a Yamaha electric about 6 months ago from Sweetwater. Not a Pacifica but a Revstar. My point though, it was setup great right out of the box.
    Attached Images Attached Images Mike Stern Yamaha Guitars-iqn103158-angle-xlarge-small-jpg 

  12. #11

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    I have gigged a lot with the cheapest Yamaha Pacifica, the 012.

    It has the most comfortable neck I've played. I suspect that most players would find it too small, but it works for me.

    It's not the greatest sounding guitar, but it's not terrible at all. It's a little plinky in the very high end.

    When I'm after a crisp rhythm sound -- with limited low frequency energy, so that it isn't at all muddy -- this guitar does better than some far more expensive instruments, even though I'm using a Lil 59 HB in the neck position.

    So this is a general positive about Yamaha guitars. I'd hope that if the cheapest model is this good, the expensive models would be great.

    EDIT: since this came up later, the Pacifica 012 has a radius of 14, I think. Works fine for me. I'm not comfortable even with 9.5.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-15-2021 at 03:27 PM.

  13. #12

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    What I like about the 1611 MS is the maple neck is one thick block, not an added-on fingerboard. That’s great for the resonance of the neck: no layers of glue deadening the vibrations.

  14. #13

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    I had the 1611 MS for a few days. A very well made guitar but heavy, and I couldn't get along with the 7.25" neck radius.
    Tone-wise, it was fine but nothing special. I think any Tele with that pickup configuration could sound and play as good.

  15. #14

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    Oh well, that burst the bubble but you are right in that any guitar must be tried out first.

    Spec don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that zing!
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 06-15-2021 at 06:11 PM.

  16. #15

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    Sorry!
    I was hoping I would like it more! The guy I sold it to seemed to be happy with it.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    One would be enough for me!

    Can you tell which albums he plays without the chorus? I still like him with it, just would like to hear him again without it.
    Will do Rob, I'll get back to you shortly.

    Doug

  18. #17

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    When he is using his own gear (not rented stuff) he's playing through an ancient Yamaha SPX 90 rack unit : it's a digital FX machine which has a stereo harmonizer. Mike detunes one side up a cent or two, the other down and that results in that thick double-tracking-like chorus sound.
    Re the 2 models : looks like the PAC1611 has been treated with some sort of burn-in mojo which is supposed to make it sound like an old guitar. Other than that the specs are identical ... Fairy dust ?

  19. #18

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    It also seems to me his sound is more double tracking than chorus.
    I can get similar results with the Strymon Deco.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Re the 2 models : looks like the PAC1611 has been treated with some sort of burn-in mojo which is supposed to make it sound like an old guitar. Other than that the specs are identical ... Fairy dust ?
    This is what I’m wondering. Is this just the torrefied wood that some classical and acoustic guitar makers have been experimenting with for a few years (usually just the soundboard)? If that is the only difference between the 1511 and the 1611, then I’d be happy with the cheaper model. The question remains: is that the only difference?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    One would be enough for me!

    Can you tell which albums he plays without the chorus? I still like him with it, just would like to hear him again without it.
    Not as many as I originally thought, but here's my list:
    -Dialogues by Jim Hall. The song Stern Stuff featuring MS and JH

    -Nelson Faria Convida Mike Stern (for song samples see 7Digital: https://ca.7digital.com/artist/nelso...6%2C17%2C9%2C2

    -On Youtube: see MS and Lee Ritenour, MS and Jaco Pastorius and MS and Miles Davis

    Not a complete list, nor is it perfect; buit an example of how Mike can rip it up even without the chorus sound.

    Cheers

    Doug

  22. #21

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    As for thickening the sound of the guitar, I understand the desire to do so in certain contexts. I can play Miles’ solo on So What, but with the usual jazz-guitar sound it can sound puny compared to the weight of notes the trumpet can give. So we either add in a lot more notes, or we beef-up the sound electronically. Sco, Metheny and Stern have taken different approaches to doing that, creating their own identifiable signature sounds in the process.

    Well, that’s my understanding of what they’ve been doing. They’re all great players, obviously, but on the whole I prefer a cleaner, more direct sound...until I hear Miles or Coltrane!

  23. #22

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    Thanks, Doug! Appreciated.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I have read that he's using a harmonizer set on zero. You'd think that would mean that it does nothing, but that isn't what seems to happen. Instead it adds something that thickens the note. I don't think it's the same effect as chorus, but I don't claim to understand it.
    Mike has said in interviews that he uses a Yamaha SPX90 harmonizer patch set on zero. It seems to make the note waver just enough to sort of sound like chorus. He said that he uses the effect to sound more like a full body jazz guitar. Uh-no, sorry Mike.

    Doug

  25. #24

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    I love Mike Stern and his music, and I had the opportunity to see him live in Paris - New Morning in November 2019.
    Here are some pics I took during this concert, showing his rig on that day
    Amps are backline
    Not sure for the pedalboard
    And his guitar looks the very same than when I saw him in a masterclass like ten years ago. Obviously, this guitar is a tool for him.Mike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2722-jpgMike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2723-jpgMike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2813-jpgMike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2783-jpg
    Sorry for upside down pics, not able to manage ! (I tried !)

  26. #25

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    courtesy flip:

    Mike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2813-jpgMike Stern Yamaha Guitars-img_2723-jpg