On an acoustic guitar, the typical action is about 5/64″ (2.0mm) on the high E string and 7/64″ (2.8mm) on the low E string. The slight increase in action height allows for greater vibration of the strings on an acoustic guitar.
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at what the action is, how it affects your playing, and how you can adjust it yourself.
So without further ado, let’s just get straight into it, shall we?
What is the Action on a Guitar?
The action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. It’s measured in thousandths of an inch (in).
A low action makes it easy to press down on the strings and bend the strings with your fingers.
However, if you’re playing very hard, it’s easier to push down on the string too far and touch the frets (buzzing).
Slightly higher action might provide better sustain because there is less chance for the string to vibrate against the fretboard.
High action is good for fast soloing because it’s harder to press down the strings too far.
What Action Height is Best?
It depends on your playing style, type of guitar, and personal preference.
Typically, an acoustic guitar has slightly higher action than an electric.
That’s why you can dig in more with a pick when you play electric (less chance for the string to touch the frets).
So you can watch a video on how to set up your action height by yourself at home, but it’s also advisable to take your guitar to a professional for adjustments.
You can never be too careful when adjusting an electric or acoustic guitar!
How Do You Measure Action?
Take a ruler and measure the distance from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of a string.
On acoustic guitars, there is a slight increase in action height between your high E string and low E string because they require different dynamics for playing.
The thicker strings on an acoustic guitar require a slightly higher action so that it doesn’t buzz when you play it.
The action height on an electric guitar is usually set the same for all the strings.
How Can I Adjust the Action Height on My Acoustic Guitar?
There are a few different ways that you can adjust the action height on your acoustic guitar.
One way is to take it to a professional and have them do it for you.
Another way is to buy an adjustment tool and do it yourself at home.
YouTube is a great resource for finding instructional videos on how to adjust the action height on your guitar.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try adjusting the action height by using different size washers or shims under the bridge.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to lower the action by using washers or shims.
If that doesn’t work, you can try raising the action by putting some cardboard under the bridge.
What Action Height is Best for Acoustic Guitar?
Typically, I have my acoustic guitars set at 5/64″ (2.0mm).
It’s low enough so that it doesn’t buzz when I play open chords, but also high enough so that the strings don’t touch the frets when I’m playing hard or using a pick.
I like low action because I can dig in and bend the strings with ease and still get good sustain and not worry about the string buzzing.
I like medium action on my acoustic guitars because it’s easy to pick fast and not get the strings touching the frets (buzzing).
If you like high action, it might be easier to play fast when you’re playing solos or lead parts.
However, if you have a Fender acoustic guitar, it might be better to use low action because they tend to have higher action than most other acoustic guitars.
Does Lowering Guitar Action Affect The Sound?
The “action” of your guitar — that is, the height of the strings above the fretboard — has a significant impact on its sound.
The greater the action, the more open your instrument appears to be.
High action may improve sustain and give your notes a warmer resonance than a low action does.
That being said, most people prefer a low action because it’s easier to press the strings down and it doesn’t produce as much string buzz.
It’s all a matter of personal preference!
As you can see, there are many different factors that go into deciding what action height is best for your acoustic guitar.
It’s important to experiment and find what works best for you.
Remember, it’s always advisable to take your guitar to a professional for adjustments.
Does Action Affect Tapping?
Yes, it does. Tapping is a technique where you hit two or more strings at the same time with your pick or fingers.
Some people might prefer a higher action for tapping so that they can hit the strings harder without the risk of the string buzzing.
Others might prefer a lower action for faster tapping speeds.