Many guitarists prefer a low action. And to make it clear at the beginning, when I talk about the action, I am referring to the distance between the guitar’s fretboard and the strings.
Higher action means the strings are harder to hold down because they are further away from the fretboard. However, if you have a lower action with the strings closer to the fretboard, they are easier to hold down. That will mean less effort and fingers that aren’t so sore for a new player.
Not a Foregone Conclusion
It is not a foregone conclusion that a lower action is better. On an acoustic guitar, if you’re playing an easy style with light gauge strings, then a lower action is probably better. But if you play hard and use thicker strings, then a higher action might be preferable.
Playing style, the gauge of your strings, and personal preferences all play their part. But for this article, we are looking at those that prefer a low-action. And the acoustic guitars that might be best suited to playing that way.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at the best low action acoustic guitars currently on the market and find the perfect one for you, starting with the…
Top 7 Best Low Action Acoustic Guitar For All Budgets in 2023
1 Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – Best Beginner Low Action Acoustic Guitar
Let’s start with what Fender can offer. Once upon a time, that name meant something special. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case anymore. They still make the big name range, but some of their offerings are very poor.
This guitar, though, is not like that. It isn’t expensive, but it isn’t “cheap” like some of the acoustic Fender range. Likewise, it isn’t a Martin or a Taylor, but for the money, it is quite a good option.
It has a different look with its Mahogany body and Nato wood back. And with a different look comes a different sound. The mahogany delivers a rich, smooth tone that suits a much gentler style of playing. Great for a low action setup.
The Neck is also made from Nato wood, and the fretboard is a standard Rosewood. The neck itself has a nice easy to play feel with its rolled fingerboard edges. It is Dreadnought size and has X-bracing inside that adds strength but also encourages projection of the sound. The dynamic range of the guitar is impressive.
A Good Starter Guitar Option
Even though it is a Dreadnought size, it weighs under 15 pounds, so it is not heavy. Nicely balanced and easy to hold, it is a great starter low action acoustic guitar.
But, that is not necessarily what this guitar is designed for. The warm tones offer experienced players an alternative to the usual acoustic sound. You can get this guitar with or without a cutaway and a variety of different top woods.
Part Of a Package
Another thing to be happy about is the price point. This guitar is part of a package that includes a Tuner, Picks, Spare Strings, and a hard case. Not a Fender case, I must mention, but a case nevertheless. There is also an instructional DVD if it is for a starter.
Good value, and for once, I can say that Fender has done a decent job with one of their lower-level acoustics.
Want to know more? If so, take a look at our in-depth Fender CD 60SCE Review.
- Well-made with good materials and warm, pleasant sound.
- Part of a package at an attractive price point.
- Care needs to be taken to avoid fret buzz, and it might need setting up.
2 Taylor 114e Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best Value for the Money Low Action Acoustic Guitar
One of the names in acoustic guitars, Taylor, is at the forefront when choices about what to buy are being made. This model from their catalog is the Acoustic-Electric 114e.
This design is Taylor’s Grand Auditorium. It has the depth and the width of a dreadnought design but is given a slightly slimmer waist. This makes it a favorite because it is so easy to hold and play. Making it one of the most comfortable low action acoustic guitars you can buy.
Internally, the bracing has been improved. This is to allow flexibility for the Spruce top wood to vibrate a little more and enhance the tones.
Apart from looking smart with its sleek look, this slight design change gives it an improved top-end. The design of the body emphasizes the highs and gives amazing definition to each note.
The Woods on the Body
The choice of the woods can affect the tone of the guitar in many ways. If you like a crisp, bright sound, then you will be looking for a Spruce top. This has a solid, not laminated, Sitka Spruce top coupled with Walnut back and sides.
The warmth and depth created by the Walnut body and brightness of the Spruce create a great sound. That is an ideal combination for those that like low action and play a more gentle style.
The neck is made from Maple, and there is an Ebony fretboard. Once again, allowing the guitar to show both brightness and warmth in the sound. The neck itself is a nice shape. Very playable and comfortable in the hand, and the action is naturally low.
This is an acoustic-electric, and there is a Taylor-designed-and-made pickup under the saddle. It has three sensors calibrated to project the natural dynamics of the sound through the saddle.
The preamp is also a Taylor design, made to project the natural sounds of the guitar. The result is a clean, bright, very acoustic-type sound which is quite rare on acoustic-electric instruments.
Up top are a set of good-quality die-cast chrome machine heads with a TUSQ nut. It has a Micarta composite saddle. Altogether, this is an amazing high-quality low action acoustic guitar. It won’t be the cheapest guitar that plays well that you will find, but it could be the best low action acoustic guitar around.
- Great tonewoods produce a bright but warm sound.
- Well-designed and comfortable neck with maple and ebony that works well with the low action.
- The price might put some off.
3 Ibanez AEWC400 – Best Low Action Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The guitar manufacturer with a Spanish-sounding name that comes from Japan. The late 60s and early 70s saw the first guitars arrive from Japan. They needed to get better, and they improved quickly. Ibanez was at the forefront and was one company that challenged the established names.
This is a guitar that has been made for comfort. It is slightly smaller than the standard dreadnought size. The front and back contoured design is a good design. And the Florentine cutaway ensures you get full access to the fingerboard.
It is built with flamed maple back and sides and a maple top. This emphasizes the mid and lower range tones. Inside, the X-bracing adds stability and helps the top wood flex to create a great sound.
Is there a negative? Only that some might consider the color a bit harsh and prefer a natural finish. Otherwise, it is one of the most affordable low action acoustic guitars on the market.
As with the design of the body, Ibanez has made the design of the neck comfortable and easy to play. This is a neck that, with its asymmetrical shape, suits a low action. It is made from Mahogany and has a Walnut fingerboard. Up at the headstock, there are six closed Ibanez tuners.
The AEWC400 is fitted with an AEQ-SP2 preamp and a Fishman Sonicore pickup. On the top edge are controls for volume and tone. There is also a built-in tuner which is always a nice idea. Set at a reasonable price point, it is a quality guitar from a quality manufacturer.
- Easy to play design with contoured body and cutaway.
- A nice symmetrical neck is good for lowering your action.
- Some will not like the color.
4 Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar – Easiest to Play Low Action Acoustic Guitar
I am not going to spend too much time going on about Epiphone and Gibson and their relationship. The only thing I will say is that there was a time in the 60s when Epiphone made better guitars, the Casino being one.
However, this is an acoustic “giant” from their catalog. It goes back a long way, and the Hummingbird has had some notable users. Keith Richards being one.
A solid Spruce top means you are going to have a crisp, bright sound with plenty of sustain and projection. And, Spruce as a tonewood improves with age, so the sound is only going to get better.
The naturally warm sound of the Hummingbird is helped along by the Mahogany back and sides. Inside there is an X-bracing system.
The look of the Hummingbird hasn’t changed much over the years. Some love it; others prefer a plainer-looking guitar. But this design, especially its pickguard decor, has always made it stand out from the crowd. The simple decoration around the soundhole and the plain and basic edging to the body all add to the look.
The neck has been given a ‘D’ shape which is an interesting design. One advantage of this neck shape is that it sits comfortably in your hand. The slight taper makes it an ideal shape for a relaxed style of playing that you might use with the low action.
It has twenty easily accessible frets with Pearloid inlays. It is made of Mahogany with a Rosewood fingerboard.
The Hardware and Electrics
Up at the headstock are the sealed nickel-plated Grover tuners. The saddle and the nut are both made from synthetic bone.
The controls for the Fishman pickup and preamp are located conveniently on the top of the body. They include volume, bass and treble controls, and a mute. There is also a battery indicator warning light. The sound, when amplified, is quite bright, though without too much bottom-end.
Overall, it is one of the most popular low action acoustic guitars on the market. Set at a very reasonable price point, this is a special guitar.
If you need more great info, check out our in-depth review of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro.
- Well-made using good materials.
- ‘D’ shaped neck for comfort and ease of playing.
- Lacking a built-in tuner.
5 Ibanez Performance Series PC15 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar – Best Budget Low Action Acoustic Guitar
If you are looking for a great guitar at a cost-effective price that won’t break the bank, let’s go back to Ibanez. That is what you are going to get with this classically designed and manufactured instrument. With the PC15 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar, you get a lot that is special.
The first thing you will notice is the traditional shape and the great-looking sunburst finish. The Grand Concert shape is a fairly recent design, first being produced in 1984. They were initially designed for finger-picking players who wanted a slightly smaller dreadnought. They have become popular with many different styles of players since.
This guitar is manufactured with good materials. A Spruce top gives the sound its brightness and the Mahogany back and sides some warmth and richness in the tone. Inside it has a traditional X-bracing.
It features good-quality die-cast chrome tuners and a compensated string saddle.
It has a Mahogany neck and a Rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. There is an adjustable truss rod. The action is naturally low, so this is a good choice for those looking for a low-action guitar.
And if you have naturally smaller hands, then this neck shape is a good size and easy to play. Therefore, it’s one of the best low action acoustic guitars for kids that you can buy. A great-looking and sounding guitar at a price that is more than attractive.
- Elegant traditional look built with good materials.
- Plays and sounds well with naturally low action.
- Not a full-size dreadnought.
6 Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar Limited Edition – Best Wild Cherry Low Action Acoustic Guitar
Let’s move on to a name that might be new to some people. A Canadian company formed as recently as 1982. They have certainly made a big impression in a short time and are now the favored instruments of some well-known players.
This is a full-size dreadnought design with a Cedarwood top. A change from the usual Spruce. The back and sides are also a change from the usual woods in that they use Wild Cherry.
These woods have been chosen because they help to project a big sound from the dreadnought design. Giving you plenty of power and volume. Inside the body, there is the traditional X-bracing pattern. This allows a certain amount of vibration from the top wood to create the sound.
This is Maple and has a Rosewood fingerboard. The size of the neck is quite large, and therefore, won’t suit smaller hands or starters. It has a double truss rod, and there are dotted inlays. Twenty frets are easily accessible.
The tapered headstock is a nice change from what you usually see with a three by three configuration. It has open-back tuners. There is a Tusq nut and a Rosewood bridge with a Tusq saddle.
There is no doubt this is a very good guitar that lends itself to a more gentle style of playing. One of its known users is James Blunt, who plays the S6 exactly that way. The low action will suit that style of playing.
For more information on this excellent guitar, check out our in-depth Seagull S6 Review.
- Beautifully made using good materials.
- Nice sound produced by alternative tonewoods.
7 Martin Guitar D Jr-10 Dreadnought Junior Guitar – Best Premium Low Action Acoustic Guitar
To finish our look at the best low action guitars, let’s look at a guitar specially designed for a junior player. But this is no ordinary Junior guitar. This is a Martin.
As I said, this is a Dreadnought guitar for a junior. It is, therefore, slightly smaller and measures 37 inches long and 16 inches wide. It still has some depth, though at 7 inches to give it that deep warm, dreadnought sound.
The top tonewood is made from Sitka Spruce on this model, but Sapele is also available. The back and the sides are made from Sapele wood. Inside is a standard scalloped X-bracing pattern.
The back and sides are finished with a deep cherry stain. This complements the deep cherry-colored pickguard. You can’t deny this is an impressive-looking instrument with its Satin finish. But, we shouldn’t be surprised as Martin guitars are usually quality in looks and sound.
The tapered neck is joined to the body using a glued mortise and tenon joint. It is also made of Spruce. It has a nice comfortable feel to it that makes it easy to play. The naturally low action provides a comfortable, easy playing experience.
Martin is one of those companies with a big reputation for quality, and that extends down the range. And each guitar is still hand-made. That quality is very evident here.
As a guitar, for starters, this is exceptional. But, for an experienced player who just wants or needs something a bit smaller than a regular dreadnought, this could be it.
- Top-quality materials and build.
- Great sound with an easy-to-play neck.
Best Low Action Acoustic Guitar – Buying Guide
Choosing a guitar is never a simple thing, and there are always things to consider. The first decision that most make is whether to go with a big name and maybe pay a bit more. Or go with something else that might be a bit cheaper. But, if you are choosing a guitar and you require a low-action then it is all about the neck and how it feels.
One important thing to do when choosing a low-action guitar
Always check that the distance between strings and fingerboard is the same for the full length of the neck. Most acoustic guitars can have their action lowered by quite a bit if you need to. But, it is no easy task.
Taking The Action Down
If you want to lower the action on an acoustic guitar, you will have to remove the saddle and sand it down. That takes a Luthier who knows what they are doing. And it doesn’t mean it will sound good. You also run the risk of some fret buzz. It is far easier and less risky to buy a guitar with a lower action in the first place.
Looking for a Great Acoustic Guitar?
We have you covered. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $600, the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500, the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300, the Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under $200, the Best Left-Handed Acoustic Guitars, and the Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners you can buy in 2023.
Also, take a look at our in-depth Epiphone PR-150 Review, our Jasmine S-35 Acoustic Guitar Review, our Martin LX1 Little Martin Review, our Yamaha FG-700S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar Review, our Fender FA-235E Concert Bodied Acoustic Guitar Review, and our Klos Black Carbon Fiber Full Size Acoustic Guitar for more fantastic guitars currently on the market.
What is the Best Low Action Acoustic Guitar?
The height of your action will always be a personal choice, and the neck is a big part of it. But, it is important to be comfortable when you play. I would, therefore, probably not go for the full-size Dreadnought design, magnificent as some of them are.
My choice for the best on this list is the…
An excellent guitar with a great action that once it is on your lap, you just can’t put it down.
Until next time, let your music play.