Guitar Action - Guitar Question

"Jdemail78 says, "I hear a lot about guitar action but I'm not really sure what is good or bad. I had purchased an acoustic guitar that I believe had very low action (strings were very close to the neck of the guitar) and it was very easy to play but it ended up having some issues with fret buzz and other ringing sounds that I did not like and could not get corrected at the local guitar shop. I've since replaced it with a little bit better guitar and I no longer have any fret buzz nor do I have any ringing sounds but it seems like the action is higher (strings are much higher off the neck of the guitar) and therefore, for me as a beginner, it is harder to play. My question is when it comes to an experienced guitar player (which I am not...yet...) is it good to have a guitar with higher action or lower action? What would one typically prefer? Do really nice expensive guitars come with very low action making them easy to play but don't have any buzzing issues or is it a case where as you get better, higher action is ok because your better at fretting chords and notes? My curiosity with this comes from a hope that the guitar I have now, with it's strings higher off the fret board, will slowly become easier to play as I get better and I'll become ok with the higher action because it does sound better and cleaner than the one I had with the lower action. Also, please correct me if I have the "high action" "low action" descriptions backwards.""

Warning: These videos are old, but kept for the archives!

This is a video response from Matt Brown, one of the many JamPlay instructors. If you have guitar related questions, or are struggling with a topic, we field questions every day from guitarists from around the globe. Learn more about our guitar lessons, and especially our live guitar courses for more information.

Return to Questions