7 Best Low Action Acoustic Guitars

If you have been playing for a while, you’re surely aware, guitars aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Each holds its distinctive shape, its specific size, and its unique type. Like fingerprints to humans, each guitar sings its own melody, and tells its own tale.

And nestled within the melody, a guitar’s action – the breath of space between string and fretboard – is a fundamental specification.

Let’s focus, in this Killer Rig article, on one special breed: the low action acoustic guitars. Why so popular? It’s all in the hands, literally. Beginner musicians find solace in the embrace of these guitars.

The lower the action, the closer the strings snuggle up to the fretboard. Less pressure on your fingertips, and a symphony blooms.

What, though, crowns a low-action acoustic guitar the champion? When one is hunting for such a guitar, what should they keep an eye out for?

In the jungle of brands and models, who reigns supreme? We’re about to embark on a journey, a quest for knowledge. Buckle up as we delve deep, offering you an all-encompassing guide to the wonders of low-action acoustic guitars.

Understanding Guitar Action

Guitar action is just a fancy way of saying how far the strings are from the fretboard. Close to the fretboard? That’s what we call ‘low action’. If they hover a little higher? That’s ‘high action’.

You might scratch your head. Thinking, why in the world does this even matter? Well, it’s a fact that a guitar’s string height greatly affects how it feels to play.

Take low-action guitars, for instance. They’re typically easier on the fingers because you don’t need to push the strings down as hard. Quite handy for novices still working on those finger muscles.

But, hold on a second, low action doesn’t always reign supreme. Sometimes, high-action guitars have their own perks. They can belt out a louder sound and sustain it longer, plus they rarely make that annoying buzzing noise.

But wait, there’s more to the story of high action. For those who love to experiment with bending the strings, high action means more space for your fingers to maneuver, which, believe it or not, can drastically affect your music style.

That said, low action acoustic guitars often hit the sweet spot for many, especially newcomers. They’re comfy, straightforward to play, and pretty versatile across different music genres.

Features of Low Action Acoustic Guitars

Having grasped the concept, it’s time we inspect the unique benefits of low action acoustic guitars. These musical instruments sport several distinct traits:

Easier Playing

On top of the list of good low action guitar traits is how easy they are to play. With strings that sit close to the fretboard, they demand less finger pressure.

This makes them ideal for beginners building finger strength and toughness. That’s not to say pros don’t relish them. The seamless and strain-free strumming is a hit with all!

Tone Quality

These guitars don’t trade sound quality for ease of use. They belt out a vast spectrum of tones, from bright, clear notes to gentle, soothing melodies. This sonic flexibility makes them adaptable for a variety of musical styles.

Build and Longevity

Crafted with precision, low action guitars are robust and long-lasting. They are engineered to keep their low action intact, unfazed by changes in climate or humidity levels. Their steadfast reliability makes them perfect for at-home practice sessions or live performances.

Top Low Action Acoustic Guitars

There are a good deal of great acoustics with low action available. But here is my list of what I feel are the top acoustics available based on the overall quality of the instrument, not just low action!

The Fender CD-60SCE

Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic Guitar

Are you eager for a straightforward acoustic guitar with fantastic sound and an appealing look? If so, the Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought merits a serious look. This guitar is a reliable performer, balancing easy play, flexible sound, and a friendly price tag in a way that’s tough to match.

Now, the CD-60SCE features Fender’s signature dreadnought shape. This design has been a favorite among guitarists for years. But there’s a twist! This isn’t just your everyday dreadnought. It’s a cutaway model, letting you reach those higher notes with ease, perfect for soulful solos or intricate finger dances.

The CD-60SCE comes with an exceptional feature, its solid spruce top. Spruce, a well-regarded tonewood, is known for its crisp, lucid sound, a characteristic that’s front and center in this guitar.

Adding to its tone are mahogany back and sides, introducing a touch of warm, rich nuance to the overall sound profile.

But the CD-60SCE really shines when it comes to its low action. The strings are set close to the fretboard, making them simpler to push down and reducing finger strain. If you’re a newcomer building finger endurance, or a seasoned player seeking a comfortable play, this guitar has your back.

The CD-60SCE also packs Fishman electronics, along with a built-in tuner. You can amplify your tunes for public performances effortlessly, and maintaining perfect pitch is a breeze, regardless of your surroundings.

Of course, not every guitar can be flawless, and the CD-60SCE isn’t immune. Some might find the dreadnought shape a tad large or cumbersome, especially if they’re more familiar with compact-bodied guitars.

While its sound is generally well-rounded, it may lack the richness or complexity sought after by seasoned players.

Taylor Academy 10e

Taylor academy 10e Acoustic guitar

The Taylor Academy 10e acoustic guitar, where style meets substance. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill guitar! It’s a symbol of Taylor’s dedication to crafting gems that sound as amazing as they feel.

This guitar takes on the classic dreadnought form, hailed in the music scene for its hearty and evenly-toned sound. But here’s the twist. An innovative armrest for that extra touch of comfort when you’re strumming away.

Now, let’s talk about the top layer, made of solid Sitka spruce. Famous for its brilliant, crystal-clear sound, this wood type comes alive in the Academy 10e. The back and sides? Crafted from layered sapele, bringing a toasty, full-bodied undertone to each note.

The star feature? Undoubtedly, it’s the low action of this guitar. Strings snuggled close to the fretboard mean less effort and more comfort for your fingers. So, whether you’re a newbie finding your rhythm or a seasoned player, the Academy 10e makes playing feel like a breeze.

Did we mention Taylor’s ES-B electronics, complete with a built-in tuner? Amplify your melodies, perform with gusto, and stay pitch-perfect, wherever your music takes you.

The Yamaha FG800

Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

Let’s talk about the Yamaha FG800, a true standout in the world of acoustic guitars. This one doesn’t boast – it lets its remarkable sound and ease of playing speak volumes.

The FG800 comes in a classic design, the dreadnought, known and loved by many guitarists for its hearty and balanced tone. Yet, this is not just your average dreadnought. This is a Yamaha, a name that stands for both top-notch quality and fair prices.

One of the key features of the FG800 is its solid spruce top. Spruce wood is famous for its crisp and clear tonality, and it truly shines in this guitar. The back and sides are crafted from nato wood, contributing a deep, rich undertone to the complete sonic picture.

But where the FG800 truly excels is in its ease of use. The strings are easy to press down, thanks to the guitar’s low action, reducing the strain on your fingers.

This makes playing the FG800 a delight, whether you’re a newbie picking up the guitar for the first time or a seasoned player craving a seamless playing experience.

The FG800 doesn’t come with electronics, offering you a purely acoustic performance. But don’t fret! The guitar is already remarkable in its acoustic form, and if you desire amplified sound, you can always add a pickup.

Keeping in mind the price tag, the Yamaha FG800 is truly unbeatable. It embodies Yamaha’s dedication to maintaining a balance of quality and affordability, making it an excellent option for anyone seeking a trustworthy and user-friendly acoustic guitar.

Martin LX1E

Martin LX1E Acoustic Guitar

The Martin LX1E – wow, what a guitar! Small in stature but mighty in its melody, it’s quite the musical marvel.

This petite powerhouse, the LX1E, is just the right fit for our younger folks or anyone with dainty digits. But don’t be fooled by its modest proportions. This is a Martin we’re talking about, an emblem of musical excellence for more than a hundred glorious years.

The star of this show is the solid Sitka spruce top. What’s special about this timber, you ask? It’s all about the resonant, crystal-clear notes it produces. It’s simply magical on this guitar.

Complementing this sprightly sound are the back and sides, crafted from a high-pressure laminate (HPL) mahogany – introducing a full-bodied, hearty warmth to the music.

The winning card of the LX1E is its user-friendly nature. With a low action design, pressing the strings down is a breeze, ensuring your fingers won’t tire easily. No matter if you’re dipping your toes into the world of guitars or a seasoned strummer, you’ll find the LX1E a pure delight to play.

Equipped with Fishman Sonitone electronics and an integrated tuner, the LX1E is ready for the big stage. Amplifying your musical magic is as simple as it gets, and staying in perfect harmony is guaranteed, wherever you may roam.

Of course, the LX1E isn’t all roses. Its petite nature may feel a tad restricting to those accustomed to the grandeur of full-sized guitars. And for the sophisticated strummer seeking a more complex, layered sound, it may fall slightly short.

Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium

Taylor 214ce Acoustic Guitar

When you talk about first-rate acoustic guitars, the Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium instantly comes to mind. This superb piece of craftsmanship is more than just an instrument!

It’s the embodiment of Taylor’s dedication to producing guitars that aren’t only fantastic to listen to, but also amazing to hold and play.

This Grand Auditorium style guitar, the 214ce, is a darling among enthusiasts, cherished for its equal and adaptable sound. Yet, this isn’t any ordinary Grand Auditorium! It carries the Taylor label, a brand that’s become synonymous with dedication to excellence and trailblazing ideas.

A notable aspect of the 214ce is the top panel, made of solid Sitka spruce. This specific wood variety is known for its crystal-clear, brilliant sound, and it genuinely breathes life into this guitar. The underside and the sides use layered rosewood, lending a lush, full undertone to the overall tone.

However, where the 214ce surpasses all is in its playability. The string action is comfortably low, making it less effort to press the strings, reducing the fatigue on your fingers.

This feature makes playing the 214ce a delightful experience, regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or an old hand in the world of guitars.

The 214ce isn’t just about its physical qualities; it also features Taylor’s ES2 electronics, incorporating a handy built-in tuner. This feature ensures that your guitar can effortlessly amplify its sound for performances, while always remaining pitch-perfect, no matter your location. Read my thorough Taylor 214CE review here!

Ibanez AW54CE 

Ibanez AW54CE Acoustic Guitar

Picture a body sculpted entirely from okume, a wood famed for its robust, resonant tones. But okume isn’t just responsible for the AW54CE’s sound, it imbues it with an effervescent life, teeming with intricate richness.

But there’s a twist, the AW54CE doesn’t just offer aural pleasure. It’s player-friendly too! Imagine strings fitting snugly against the fretboard, saving your fingers from fatigue and enabling marathon jam sessions. Just comfortable action, no compromise found here!

Here’s another treat, the AW54CE includes its own AEQ-TP2 preamp and in-built tuner. This little bonus lets you crank up your tunes anytime, anywhere. And hitting the right notes? It’s a cinch, every single time.

But, let’s add a dash of reality. The AW54CE falls into the dreadnought category, a tad larger than what’s comfortable for some. It won’t suit everyone, but those seeking a resonant, full-bodied sound will be over the moon.

The AW54CE emits a cozy, well-balanced tone, so if you’re chasing bright, sparkly sounds, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if your heart beats for melodies steeped in richness and depth, this guitar will feel like an old friend.

Taylor GS Mini

Taylor gs mini Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor GS Mini is anything but small in terms of its sonic prowess, quality, and ease of play. This snug-sized wonder demonstrates Taylor’s knack for out-of-the-box thinking and an unwavering dedication to producing musical instruments that feel as sublime as they resonate.

The GS Mini’s compact frame makes it an ideal fit for youngsters, those with petite hands, or anyone who cherishes the convenience of a portable instrument.

This guitar has a few unique attributes, with the solid mahogany top leading the pack. Recognized for its warm and lucid tones, this type of wood truly blooms when strummed on the GS Mini. The guitar’s rear and sides are layered sapele, lending a cozy, sumptuous undertone to its overall auditory palette.

The GS Mini doesn’t stop there. It’s armed with Taylor’s ES-B electronics and a combined tuner, meaning you can effortlessly project your tunes and stay pitch-perfect, irrespective of your location.

Yet, the GS Mini’s real charm lies in its playability. With a low action that eases the pressure on the strings and mitigates finger exhaustion, this guitar is a delight to strum, whether you’re a greenhorn or a seasoned pro in search of a smooth plucking experience (My full review found here).

Read my full review of the Taylor GS Mini here.

Steps to Lower the Action on an Acoustic Guitar

If your guitar has high action and your fingers are taking a beating, fear not! It’s more than possible to give your acoustic a quick tweak and correct the condition. In most cases, the neck just needs to straighten a bit.

  1. Gather Your Tools: You’ll need a ruler or action measuring tool, a set of automotive feeler gauges, and a hex wrench or screwdriver that fits your guitar’s truss rod.
  2. Check the Current Action: Measure the distance between the bottom of the sixth string (the thickest one) and the top of the 12th fret. This is your current action.
  3. Adjust the Truss Rod: If the action is too high, you’ll need to tighten the truss rod, which is located inside the guitar neck. Use your wrench or screwdriver to turn the truss rod clockwise. If the action is too low, turn it counterclockwise. Be careful, only make small adjustments at a time.
  4. Recheck the Action: After adjusting the truss rod, give the guitar 12 hours to adapt to the adjustment. Then measure the action again. If it’s still not right, repeat step 3.
  5. Adjust the Saddle: If adjusting the truss rod doesn’t lower the action enough, you may need to sand down the saddle. This is a more advanced step and may be best left to a professional.


Understanding the different types of guitars, particularly low action acoustics, can significantly enhance your musical journey. These guitars offer a unique blend of playability, sound quality, and versatility that suits various music genres and playing styles.

Our investigation led us down the aisle of top-notch low-action acoustic guitars, landing us amidst popular names such as Martin, Taylor, and Yamaha.

Every single one of these guitars stands tall with its special virtues, yet they unite on one ground: the promise of a smooth, low-pressure playing experience.

Bear in mind, the perfect guitar for you starts with your individual tastes, play style, and of course, your pocketbook. So take your time, do some research, and experiment with a few models before you settle.

Whether you’re just dipping your toes into the guitar world, hunting down that first instrument, or a seasoned strummer contemplating a fresh entry into your collection! My hope is that this guide has shed a helpful light on the realm of low action acoustic guitars.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!