What is “guitar action”?

A term you may have heard in guitar conversations is “action”. When referring to guitar, “action” means more than just a really intense shredding session. 

Guitar “action” refers to the height of the guitar strings over the fretboard. Action has a huge impact on a guitar’s playability, feel and sound. 

If a guitar’s action is too high, it will be difficult to play (especially for a guitar learner). 

If a guitar’s action is too low, the strings will buzz. 

To make sure that your guitar’s action is right, you’ll want to measure it. Make sure your guitar i in tune first, so that all of the strings have the correct tension.

You’ll need an action gauge if you have access to one, or a ruler. 

Rest the measuring instrument against the guitar’s 12th fret, holding it against the string. Measure the space between the top of the fret and the bottom of the guitar string. 

Individual guitar makers will have recommendations for guitar action, so check with your guitar maker’s website to see what your ideal action should be. 

Here are some general guidelines: 


Low Action: Electric guitar: 1.00mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 1.5mm on the high E

High Action: Electric guitar: 1.65mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 2.3mm on the high E

@fret_zealot What is your guitar’s “action”? Find out here! #Guitar #GuitarLesson #Guitarist #GuitarTok #FretZealot ♬ Storytelling – Adriel


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