In order to play the guitar properly, the guitar action must be at the right level. If the guitar action on your acoustic guitar is too high, it means that the strings are too far from the fret board. This will make your acoustic guitar quite difficult to play.
Therefore, today, how to lower action on an acoustic guitar is what we are going to teach you. However, before we can teach you how to lower the action on an acoustic guitar, we do first want to cover the basics. Let’s discuss how to lower action on acoustic guitar
Before we talk about how to lower the action on your acoustic guitar, knowing what this means is quite important. After all, you need to know what lowering or raising the guitar action means for your playing.
Technically speaking, guitar action refers to how far away from the fret board the strings are. Now, if the action on your guitar is too high, it means that the strings are too far away from the fret board.
If the strings are too far away from the fret board, the guitar becomes very hard to play. This is mainly because you need to push down very far and apply a lot of pressure on the strings.
However, if the action on your guitar is too low, it could result in string buzzing. That said, having guitar action that is far too high is more common of a problem than having too low of a guitar action.
If you find that you have to press down on the strings far too much, and that they can barely reach the fretboard, it means that the action on your acoustic guitar is too high.
How to Lower Action on Acoustic Guitar: Three Ways
Right now, we are going to teach you exactly how to lower the action on an acoustic guitar. There are actually a few different ways to adjust the action on your acoustic guitar.
You can lower the action on your acoustic guitar by adjusting the truss rod. You can then lower the action on your acoustic guitar by sanding down the nut. The third method to lower action on an acoustic guitar is by sanding down the bridge saddle. Let’s cover all of them right now.
Lower Acoustic Guitar Action by Adjusting the Truss Rod
The first way to lower the action on your acoustic guitar is by adjusting the truss rod. If you don’t know what the truss rod is, this is a small metal rod that is inside the neck of your guitar.
It runs along the length of the fretboard, and is fixed at two points underneath it. This truss rod adjusts the tension of the guitar neck, and can adjust either a forward or a back bow.
You can usually access this trust rod from either the top of the guitar neck, where the fret board meets the head, or from the inside of the sound hole. You will need an Allen wrench to adjust this truss rod. If you want to lower the action on your acoustic guitar, then you need to turn the Allen wrench clockwise.
Do however keep in mind that adjusting the truss rod adjusts the guitar action more in the middle of the fret board than anything else. What you do want to keep in mind however is that you don’t want to lower the action too much, as this will cause the fret board to buzz.
The nut of your guitar rests in a channel in between the fret board and the headstock. This is where the strings pass over, and it provides a fixed point for the fret board and the scale length to start at.
You can lower or raise the nut to affect the action. Do however keep in mind that this type of adjustment usually affects the first five frets more than anything else.
To lower the action on your acoustic guitar, you are going to want to lower the nut. Now, here you are going to be sanding off the nut. This means that you do need to be very careful. You can easily sand off too much, which is going to be more or less reversible.
Here, you are first going to want to remove the nut from the guitar so you can work on it. You are going to use a piece of relatively fine sandpaper to sand the bottom of the nut. This will decrease its size and therefore lower its height when it is reattached to your guitar.
Yes, you have to remove the strings, and you will have to go through some trial and error. You’ll need to test this a few times to get the right action. Remember, you don’t want to sand away too much, or else you will cause the strings to buzz.
Lower Acoustic Guitar Action by Sanding the Bridge Saddle
The third method of lowering the action on your acoustic guitar is to sand down the saddle. Yes, here you will also need to remove the strings first. Just like the above method, you will need to engage in some trial and error here.
Remember, just like with sanding down the nut, if you sand down too much of the saddle, you will make the strings buzz, and will then require a new saddle.
Therefore, only shave away very thin layers of the saddle, test it out, and then continue if needed. Remember, you always want to sand the flat underside of the saddle, not the curved top.
Sanding the saddle might actually be the best way to adjust the action on your acoustic guitar from front to back.
Whereas the first two methods of adjustment had specific areas which they affected the most, this adjustment method generally adjusts the action on the whole fret board from front to back.
With that being said, this is also the riskiest way to go about it because that saddle needs to be sanded evenly and properly.
Lowering Guitar Action – Conclusion
There you have it folks, three easy ways to lower the action on your acoustic guitar.