How High Should The Action Be On An Acoustic Guitar? Raising or lowering the action on an acoustic guitar is all up to the user. The action is a distance of strings above the frets. It can be very close to the frets or high above them. A well-set action will determine the guitar’s sound, and it has a good setup when intonation is improved. As a result, the buzzing is eliminated and comfort will be increased.

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How To Set Up Action On Acoustic Guitar?

You must prepare feeler gauges in measuring your action. They are thin metals with proper labels in millimeters. Pick the feeler gauge that is close to your desired action’s height. Test each blade until you end up with the right height that fits best.

It is simple to adjust the action by yourself with the correct tools and materials. But, seeking help from a professional is the safest way to set up action on acoustic guitars. They have skills that prevent you from spending additional expenses.

Action Height Explained

Action’s height changes over time due to many reasons. The action must not be too low or too high, whichever has its pros and cons.

Too low action causes unwanted buzzing of strings against the frets. It won’t be easy to raise the action without replacing parts. On the other hand, too high action makes the guitar difficult to play as it increases physical effort. You need to exert more effort to play barre chords. It also affects intonation.

There are two ways of measuring action heights on acoustic guitars – action at the bridge and action at the nut.

Action At The Bridge

Get a ruler to measure the distance between the bottom of the E strings over the 12th feet. The low E-string is higher off the frets than high E-string about 3/32”.

Action At The Nut

Most guitarists prefer a standard height of 0.030” between the low E-string and top of the 1st fret. Some adjust the action to a lower level to avoid buzzing and pick attacks. Other strings may differ in height, but the nut takes care of the indifference. It will take effect only if you are adjusting a nut from scratch.

What Affects The String Height?

If, after several adjustments, happen and the string height fails again, some factors might be the reason why. It includes:


The woods of an instrument may shrink due to loss of moisture on which affects the string height. The fret ends will also be exposed to shrinking.


If tension is placed on the top string, the action on the flat top may rise over time. It may result in a slight arch that raises the action over time.


It does not affect the intonation but can also break the strings. It also causes the string to buzz because it is too close to the frets.

Structural Problems

Loose parts of the instrument significantly affect the action height. Significant changes in the structure play a vital role in adjusting the action.


There is no accurate measurement of how high the action should be on an acoustic guitar. It is all up to the musician. However, guides are provided in raising or lowering the action’s height. You may ask for help from professionals for better adjustments.

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