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Strumming Made Easy: The Best Low Action Acoustic Guitar Choices

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Guitar enthusiasts and professionals alike understand the importance of an acoustic guitar’s action. A low action guitar ensures comfortable playability, especially for extended periods, and can significantly influence a musician’s performance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the realm of low action acoustic guitars, offering insights that will equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The intrinsic benefits of low action guitars: Understand why a guitar’s action matters and how it can influence your playing experience.
  • Top picks for 2023: Discover our expertly curated list of the best low action acoustic guitars available this year.
  • Detailed reviews: Get to know the features, sound quality, and unique attributes of each guitar to determine which one is the perfect fit for you.

What Are The Best Low Action Acoustic Guitars?

1.Fender CD-60S

Versatile, Beginner-Friendly
Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – All Mahogany Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
5.0

The Fender CD-60S is a beautifully crafted acoustic-electric guitar that caters to both beginner and intermediate players. Its mahogany dreadnought style body and cutaway design provide easy access to lower frets, making it a versatile choice for various playing styles. The guitar comes with a bundle of accessories, making it an even more attractive option for those starting their musical journey.

Why We Love It:
  • Dreadnought cutaway style provides easier access to lower frets.
  • Scalloped "X"-bracing offers extra resonance and projection
  • Accessory bundle includes a hardshell case, tuner, and more
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Why someone should buy: It’s an ideal entry-level guitar that doesn’t compromise on sound. The Fender name guarantees reliability and durability.

Technical Features:

  • Body: Dreadnought, with a Solid Spruce top.
  • Neck: Mahogany with a Walnut fingerboard.
  • Tuners: Vintage.
  • Strings: Fender Acoustic Medium Gauge (.012-.053).

Review:

The Fender CD-60S is an absolute gem in the realm of entry-level guitars. With a bright and punchy sound owing to its solid spruce top and the warmth of its laminate mahogany body, it is sure to impress both beginners and professionals.

Verdict:

For its price point, the Fender CD-60S is a winner, providing an excellent mix of quality, durability, and playability.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Beginners looking for an affordable yet quality instrument.
  • Intermediate players needing a reliable practice guitar.

2.Yamaha FG800

Affordable & Reliable
Yamaha FG800 Folk Acoustic Guitar
5.0

The Fender CD-60S is an impressively crafted dreadnought acoustic guitar that offers a delightful blend of affordability and top-tier sound quality. 

Why We Love It:
  • Solid Spruce Top: Provides a bright, vibrant tone.
  • Laminate Mahogany Body: Adds depth and warmth to the sound.
  • Low Action: Effortless playability for beginners.
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Powerful & Resonant Product Overview: The Yamaha FG800 is a testament to Yamaha’s long-standing reputation in crafting instruments that cater to both beginners and pros.

Why someone should buy: This guitar offers a rich resonance and a powerful sound which is typically seen in higher-end models. The Yamaha FG800 provides excellent value for money.

Technical Features:

  • Body: Dreadnought with Solid Spruce top.
  • Neck: Nato with a Rosewood fingerboard.
  • Tuners: Die-cast Chrome.
  • Strings: Yamaha FS50BT or D’Addario EXP11.

Review:

The Yamaha FG800, while marketed towards beginners, is far from a basic instrument. Its powerful projection, bolstered by the scalloped bracing, makes it suitable for a variety of genres. The low action ensures ease of play, making it a preferred choice for many.

Verdict:

The FG800 offers way more than its price suggests. An acoustic gem that combines power and playability.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • New players seeking an instrument they won’t outgrow quickly.
  • Gigging musicians in need of a reliable backup guitar.

3.Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Deluxe

Vintage Charm & Modern Playability
Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Acoustic/Electric Guitar
4.8

Epiphone brings the classic Hummingbird aesthetic into a more affordable range without skimping on quality

Why We Love It:
  • Solid Spruce Top: Gives a balanced and vibrant tone.
  • Historic Hummingbird Rosette: Beautiful aesthetics.
  • Fishman Sonitone Electronics: Great for amplified playing.
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Why someone should buy: A beautiful guitar both in sound and appearance, this model offers the vintage Hummingbird vibe with contemporary playability

Technical Features:

  • Body: Dreadnought with Solid Spruce top.
  • Neck: Mahogany with a Pau Ferro fingerboard.
  • Tuners: Grover Rotomatic.
  • Electronics: Fishman Sonitone.

Review:

The Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Deluxe is a mix of vintage aesthetics and modern sound. The guitar has a classic feel but is very much up-to-date when it comes to playability. The Fishman Sonitone electronics offer clear and natural amplification, making it stage-ready.

Verdict:

For those who love classic looks but need modern functionality, the Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Deluxe is a prime choice.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Players looking for vintage aesthetics with modern features.
  • Musicians who perform live and need reliable electronics.

4.Seagull S6 Original

Authentic Craftsmanship & Captivating Tone
Original Seagull S6 Acoustic Guitar
4.6

Seagull's pride, the S6 Original showcases impeccable craftsmanship from North America. This guitar embodies the essence of an authentic acoustic sound.

Why We Love It:
  • Pressure-tested Solid Cedar Top: Produces a mature tone that sounds played-in even when new.
  • Tapered Headstock: Ensures precise and stable tuning.
  • Silver Leaf Maple Neck: Offers a comfortable and fast playability.
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Why someone should buy: Crafted from domestic wild cherry, the Seagull S6 offers a unique tone that’s midrange-focused with a touch of warmth.

Technical Features:

  • Body: Dreadnought with Solid Cedar top.
  • Neck: Silver Leaf Maple with a Rosewood fingerboard.
  • Tuners: Inline Chrome Seagull.

Review:

Seagull’s S6 Original is the hallmark of commitment to quality at a competitive price. Its unique construction offers a vibrant and dynamic tonal quality that’s unparalleled in its range.

Verdict:

A combination of tonal brilliance and North American craftsmanship makes the S6 a go-to for serious musicians.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Those who appreciate the natural and organic tone.
  • Guitarists looking for a reliable instrument with consistent sound quality.

5.Taylor GS Mini-e

Compact Size, Full-bodied Sound
Taylor GS Mini-e Rosewood Plus Select Travel Guitar
4.5

Don't let the size fool you; the GS Mini-e by Taylor delivers a robust and full sound, making it a favorite among traveling musicians and songwriters.

Why We Love It:
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top: Delivers a clear and well-defined tone.
  • ES-B Electronics: For superb amplified sound.
  • Compact Size: Makes it perfect for on-the-go musicians.
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Why someone should buy: Portability without compromising on sound; the GS Mini-e is ideal for both practice sessions and live gigs.

Technical Features:

  • Body: Mini Grand Symphony with Solid Sitka Spruce top.
  • Neck: Tropical Mahogany with an Ebony fingerboard.
  • Electronics: Taylor ES-B.

Review:

The GS Mini-e isn’t just a travel guitar; it’s a full-bodied musical experience. Taylor’s renowned craftsmanship is evident, and its ES-B electronics ensure the amplified sound is as natural as its acoustic sound.

Verdict:

A marvel in miniaturization, the GS Mini-e is a must-have for musicians on the move.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Traveling musicians who need a compact yet sonorous guitar.
  • Players seeking the renowned Taylor sound in a smaller package.

6.Martin 000-28EC

Legendary Design, Timeless Sound
Martin Guitar 000-28EC Acoustic Guitar with Hardshell Case, Spruce and Rosewood Construction, Gloss Finish, 000-14 Fret, and Modified-V Neck Shape
4.6

 Inspired by Eric Clapton's guitar of choice, the 000-28EC represents Martin's legacy of creating iconic acoustic instruments.

Why We Love It:
  • Solid Spruce Top with Rosewood Back & Sides: Produces a balanced and articulate tone.
  • Short Scale Neck: Allows for easier playability.
  • Vintage Appointments: Herringbone inlays and diamond volutes.
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Why someone should buy: For the aficionado who wants to experience the legendary Martin sound, this is the guitar to own.

Technical Features:

  • Body: 000-14 Fret with Solid Spruce top.
  • Neck: Mahogany with an Ebony fingerboard.
  • Tuners: Chrome Enclosed Gear.

Review:

The 000-28EC is not just an instrument; it’s a piece of music history. The combination of rosewood and spruce, along with Martin’s craftsmanship, creates a sound that’s rich and timeless.

Verdict:

An embodiment of acoustic excellence, the 000-28EC is a dream come true for enthusiasts.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Players who want an instrument with a rich heritage.
  • Those seeking the iconic Martin sound and feel.

7.Martin LX1E

Compact Powerhouse
Martin LX1E Little Martin HPL Acoustic/Electric Guitar
4.5

The LX1E is Martin's answer to the demand for a portable guitar that still carries the Martin tonal signature.

Why We Love It:
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top: Offers a vibrant tone.
  • Fishman Isys T Electronics: Ensures great plugged-in sound.
  • Compact Design: Perfect for musicians on the move.
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Why someone should buy: It’s an ideal companion for road trips, songwriting sessions, or just casual playing, without missing out on quality.

Technical Features:

  • Body: Modified 0-14 Fret with Solid Spruce top.
  • Neck: Rust Birch Laminate with a FSC® Certified Richlite fingerboard.
  • Electronics: Fishman Isys T.

Review:

The LX1E may be small in size, but it’s mighty in sound. Whether unplugged or amplified, this Martin doesn’t compromise on tonal quality.

Verdict:

For those who believe in not compromising sound for size, the LX1E is the perfect choice.

This low action acoustic guitar is Perfect For:

  • Musicians who are constantly traveling or on the move.
  • Players looking for a secondary guitar that doesn’t compromise on quality.


    Buyer’s Guide: Navigating the World of Low Action Acoustic Guitars
  • Navigating the intricate details of a low action acoustic guitar can be a daunting experience, especially for discerning musicians who have a penchant for precision and performance. This guide seeks to shed light on the nuances, enabling you to make an informed decision. With a rich blend of expert insights and practical takeaways, here’s what you need to know:
  • 1. Understanding Action on an Acoustic Guitar
  • Defining ‘Action’: In simple terms, the ‘action’ of a guitar refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. This can significantly influence playability and the overall experience for guitar players.
  • Low vs. High Action: While a low action is favored by many for its ease of playability, a higher action can produce a louder volume without fret buzz. The ideal action largely depends on one’s playing style.
  • 2. The Role of the Truss Rod
  • Basics of a Truss Rod: Situated within the neck of the guitar, the truss rod is pivotal in maintaining neck stability and adjusting its curvature.
  • Adjustable Truss Rod: Modern guitars are often equipped with an adjustable truss rod, allowing for customization based on a player’s preference. Adjusting this rod can also help alleviate fret buzz.
  • 3. Significance of Guitar Strings and Fret Buzz
  • Choosing the Right Strings: The type of guitar strings you choose can affect the guitar’s action. Lighter strings are easier to play and produce less tension, whereas heavier strings resonate more but can increase the action.
  • Fret Buzz Explained: This is the annoying sound produced when a string vibrates against a fret. It can be due to various reasons including low action, uneven frets, or even the playing style.
  • 4. Materials Matter: Solid Sitka Spruce and More
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Tops: Widely recognized for its tonal quality, solid sitka spruce is a premium wood choice for the top of acoustic guitars. It offers a clear, powerful sound that appeals to various guitar players.
  • Other Material Considerations: Besides the top, the wood used for the back, sides, and even the sound hole can influence the guitar’s tonal quality and resonance.
  • 5. Factors Influencing Playing Style and Sound Production
  • Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar: While both have their unique charm, the playing style for each can differ. Electric guitars, with their amplified sound, can tolerate a lower action compared to their acoustic counterparts.Suggested Image: Side-by-side images of an acoustic and an electric guitar.
  • Sound Hole Dynamics: The placement and size of the sound hole can influence the volume and tone of an acoustic guitar.
  • 6. Key Guitar Features to Look For
  • Build Quality: Ensure that the frets are well-aligned, the neck is straight, and the hardware is of high quality.
  • Adjustability: As mentioned earlier, an adjustable truss rod is a boon for players who love to customize their guitar’s action.
  • Materials Used: From the solid sitka spruce top to the type of wood used for the back and sides, the materials can greatly influence sound quality.
  • When you’re on the hunt for the perfect low action acoustic guitar, it’s not just about brand names and aesthetics. Diving deep into the nuances of guitar features, understanding the role of components like the truss rod, and appreciating the influence of materials such as solid sitka spruce can make all the difference. As you strum away, let the harmony between knowledge and passion guide your choice!
  • Q&A: Navigating the World of Low Action Acoustic Guitars
  • Q: What is considered low action on acoustic guitar?
  • A: In the realm of guitars, “action” refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. For an acoustic guitar, a low action typically means that the strings are closer to the fretboard, often ranging from 1.5mm to 2.5mm at the 12th fret for the high E string.
  • The exact measurement can vary based on personal preferences and the specific design of the guitar, but generally, a low action acoustic guitar facilitates easier playability, especially for intricate fretwork or faster playing styles.
  • Q: What are the disadvantages of low action guitar?
  • A: While a low action acoustic guitar offers easier playability, it’s not without its potential drawbacks:
  • Fret Buzz: The most common disadvantage is the potential for fret buzz. With the strings being closer to the frets, there’s a higher chance they might come into contact with them during play, causing an undesirable buzzing sound.
  • Tonal Limitations: A lower action might compromise the richness and volume of the sound. The reduced string vibration can limit the guitar’s resonance and sustain.
  • String Life: Strings on a low action guitar might wear out faster, especially if they frequently touch the frets.
  • Limited Play Styles: For styles that involve hard strumming or the use of a slide, low action might not be ideal as it can further amplify issues like fret buzz.
  • Q: Which guitars have low action?
  • A: Many guitars can be set up to have a low action based on player preferences, but certain models are known for their naturally low action straight from the factory. Some popular low action acoustic guitar models include:
  • Fender CD-60S
  • Yamaha FG800
  • Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Deluxe
  • Seagull S6 Original
  • Taylor GS Mini-e
  • Martin 000-28EC
  • Martin LX1E
  • It’s worth noting that the action of a guitar can be adjusted by a professional luthier or guitar technician to suit the player’s preferences, whether that’s achieving a lower or higher action.
  • Evolution of the Acoustic Guitar
  • In the rich tapestry of music history, the acoustic guitar holds a prominent thread. Originating from ancient instruments like the lute and the oud, the modern acoustic guitar has undergone significant evolution, continually adapting to the needs of players and changing musical styles.
  • As musicians desired smoother playability for rapid note transitions, especially with the rise of flamenco and other fast-paced styles, the quest for the ideal “low action” began. This meant a reduced distance between the strings and the fretboard, offering less resistance under the fingers.
  • As blues, jazz, and eventually rock ‘n’ roll began to dominate the airwaves, guitarists needed instruments that facilitated quicker fret transitions and easier barre chords — pushing luthiers to innovate and optimize the instrument’s action.
  • H2: The Science Behind Low Action
  • The beauty of a guitar note isn’t just in its melody; it’s a result of complex physics. String vibrations are central to the sound of a guitar, with the height of the string from the fretboard (or its ‘action’) playing a pivotal role in sound quality and playability. A lower action reduces the force needed to press down on a string, resulting in cleaner notes and chords. But there’s a balance to strike: too low, and you risk the dreaded ‘fret buzz’. The fret spacing and neck’s curvature, or “radius,” are also crucial. A perfectly contoured neck can support low action by ensuring that strings don’t touch unintended frets, thus preventing any unwanted noise.
  • H2: Comparison Between Low Action Acoustic and Electric Guitars
  • While both acoustic and electric guitars share many similarities, their differences become clear when discussing action. Electric guitars, with their amplified sound and lighter gauge strings, naturally allow for a much lower action without the risk of fret buzz. This is one reason why many electric guitarists can achieve lightning-fast solos. Acoustic guitars, on the other hand, require a slightly higher action due to their reliance on the resonance within the body to project sound. However, advancements in techniques have now made it possible for acoustics to have a comparably low action, blending the best of both worlds.
  • H2: Maintenance Tips for Low Action Acoustic Guitars
  • Maintaining a low action acoustic guitar requires a meticulous approach. Here’s what every guitarist should keep in mind:
  • Fret Buzz: One of the first signs that your guitar needs attention is the presence of fret buzz. Regular inspections can ensure that the guitar’s action remains optimal and that no frets are uneven or protruding.
  • Truss Rod Adjustments: The guitar’s truss rod, running through the neck, is essential for maintaining its shape. Seasonal changes can cause the wood to contract or expand. Regular adjustments, ideally with the guidance of a professional, ensure the neck remains straight, supporting a consistent low action.
  • String Selection: Not all guitar strings are made equal. For those desiring low action, it’s essential to select strings that can maintain their tension without causing fret buzz. Lighter gauge strings often work best, but one should also consider the guitar’s build and individual playing style.
  • H2: Low Action Acoustic Guitars in Different Music Genres
  • Low action acoustic guitars aren’t limited to one style or genre; they cross boundaries, catering to the needs of diverse musicians. In folk and country, the clarity and quick transitions enabled by low action guitars facilitate intricate fingerpicking patterns.
  • Rock and pop musicians appreciate them for their ease of play during prolonged performances. Over the decades, many famous guitarists, like Tommy Emmanuel and John Mayer, have extolled the virtues of low action acoustic guitars, crediting them for their distinctive sound and playability.
  • Their preference isn’t just about ease; it’s about creating music that resonates, both literally and figuratively, with their audience.
  • Conclusion:
  • Understanding the intricacies of a low action acoustic guitar can greatly influence your playing experience and the sound quality of your instrument. Always consider both the benefits and potential drawbacks when opting for a specific action setup.