The 7 Best Low Action Acoustic Guitars (2023)

Acoustic guitars with low action are very popular because they are easier to play and require less effort to hold down the strings. They’re also great for experienced guitarists that don’t need the projection and sustain of high action guitars.

My top recommended low-action acoustic guitar is the Martin LX1E Little Martin. This is a well-rounded acoustic guitar with great sound and durability from a known manufacturer.

My second recommended low-action acoustic guitar is the Yamaha FG800. This is an affordable, quality, and great-value acoustic guitar from Yamaha.

A guitar’s action refers to the string action. Strings with a high action are further away from the fretboard, whereas strings with a low action are closer.

The 7 Best Low Action Acoustic Guitars (2023)

1. Martin LX1E Little Martin
Top Pick - High-quality, durable, and aesthetically appealing acoustic guitar from a reputable manufacturer
2. Yamaha FG800
Affordable Option - Affordable, quality-made acoustic guitar from Yamaha with a superb value-for-price ratio
3. Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium
Pro Pick - High-end, quality-made Taylor guitar with high-quality tonewoods and superb sound
4. Fender CD-60SCE
Value For Money - Popular and quality Fender guitar with a solid construction, full-bodied sound, and beginner-friendly cutaway
5. Ibanez AW54CEOPN
Budget-friendly - Affordable acoustic-electric guitar with a Dreadnought body and pleasing appearance
6. Taylor GS Mini
High-quality - Portable, high-quality acoustic guitar with great construction, full sound, and excellent playability
7. Yamaha APX600 NA
Great Design - Great acoustic-electric guitar with a Piezo pickup system, comfortable design, and decent tone

Let’s look at them in more detail:

1. Martin LX1E Little Martin

Top Pick
High-quality, durable, and aesthetically appealing acoustic guitar from a reputable manufacturer.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Martin LX1E Little Martin hails from a juggernaut of a manufacturer, known for their attention to detail and exceptional quality. This guitar hits the sweet spot between quality, playability, as well as durability.

Pros

  • Big-sounding compact guitar
  • Durable construction
  • Balanced sound with good resonance and sustain
  • Simple yet highly effective design

Cons

  • Lack of fret inlays
  • A bit pricey

What makes this guitar shine is the compact size that produces a big sound. The low-action design is great for beginner guitarists and it is extremely easy to play. It features a Fishman Sonitone pickup system as well as a Solid spruce top which is responsible for the amazing sound capabilities.

The LX1E Little Martin is well-constructed with a satin finish, which contributes to the price. However, the value you get is still worth it for a quality guitar like this. Additionally, it’s made from an array of quality woods.

MaterialSpruce top, Mahogany back & sides, Birch neck, Richlite fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length23 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

Overall, for the given price, Martin showcases quality craftsmanship that is responsible for a high-quality sound, has excellent durability, and breeds comfort.

2. Yamaha FG800

Budget Pick
Affordable, quality-made acoustic guitar from Yamaha with a superb value-for-price ratio.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Yamaha FG800 is a cost-effective, low-action acoustic guitar from a reputable brand. It offers excellent value, especially considering the dreadnought body, reasonable price tag, and classic appeal.

Pros

  • Affordable guitar
  • Great sustain capabilities
  • Balanced design and sound
  • Comfortable and easy to play

Cons

  • Nato wood isn’t the best material
  • Lack of a second strap button
  • Relatively plain look

This affordable guitar has a lot going for it. The low-action design is great for entry-level players and the balanced design looks decent. Its sustain capabilities are great even for an affordable guitar like this one and it’s easy to use.

Nato wood isn’t exactly top-of-the-line, but it is still decent. Yamaha has a solid reputation for constructing battle-tested guitars so longevity shouldn’t be a problem. The Solid Spruce top breeds quality tones, and for the given price, it hardly gets better than this.

MaterialSolid Spruce top, Nato/Okoume back & sides, Nato neck, Walnut fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length25.5 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

The Yamaha FG800 is a popular and fairly decent option for beginner guitarists looking for an affordable low-action acoustic guitar. It produces good sound and has decent construction.

3. Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium

Pro Pick
High-end, quality-made Taylor guitar with high-quality tonewoods and superb sound.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium is a high-end option with a striking appeal that features quality woods like a solid Sitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back & sides, and a Tropical Mahogany neck, along with an Ebony fingerboard. This guitar screams quality!

Pros

  • Premium-grade construction
  • Striking aesthetic appeal
  • Expression System 2 electronics

Cons

  • Pricey

The Venetian cutaway allows for easier access to upper frets, meaning that playability is pro-grade. It also features ES 2 electronics which is state-of-the-art but it all comes at a steep price, which is understandable.

Sound quality is a given with this guitar. It delivers crisp and powerful tones and it is quite versatile, suitable for all kinds of genres. Despite the price, this is a great low-action guitar for beginners. It is worth every penny.

MaterialSitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back & sides, Tropical Mahogany neck, Ebony fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length25.5 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

When it comes to high-end guitars, you can’t go wrong with the Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium. From quality construction to detailed sound and die-cast Chrome Taylor tuners, you get your money’s worth.

4. Fender CD-60SCE

Value For Money
Popular and quality Fender guitar with a solid construction, full-bodied sound, and beginner-friendly cutaway.
View Price at Amazon

Fender is a pioneering name when it comes to guitar manufacturing. The Fender CD-60SCE embodies quality construction, great sound, and superb playability, wrapped up in an all-around value-for-money guitar.

Pros

  • Bright and rich sound
  • Beginner-friendly, low-action design
  • Built to last
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • The plastic nut is disappointing
  • The pickup system is decent at best

While many may argue that you only pay for the name behind the CD-60SCE, this is still a quality guitar that is made from high-quality woods, has an excellent cutaway, and features a Quartersawn scalloped X top bracing pattern and a Fishman pickup system.

Apart from the plastic nut and saddles, you’ll unlikely find unappealing qualities in this acoustic-electric guitar. With a Solid Spruce top, a Mahogany neck, and a Rosewood bridge and Rosewood fretboard, the sound capabilities are quite full and rich.

MaterialSolid Spruce top, Mahogany back & sides, Mahogany neck, Rosewood fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length25.3 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

Needless to say, the Fender CD-60 SCE is a value-for-money purchase that has everything from quality wood to amazing sound and classic features. Plus, it has a reputation when it comes to longevity.

5. Ibanez AW54CEOPN

Budget-friendly
Affordable acoustic-electric guitar with a Dreadnought body and pleasing appearance.
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The Ibanez AW54CEOPN is a good, budget-friendly guitar with a lower action, ideal for beginner guitarists. It features a built-in tuner with an AEQ-TP2 pickup system and has a certain appeal when it comes to aesthetics.

Pros

  • Dreadnought body gives way to natural projection
  • Affordable price tag
  • Beginner-friendly, high-playability design

Cons

  • Not that versatile
  • The stock strings are decent at best

For beginner guitarists looking for an entry-level, low-action guitar, this is a great one to consider, especially given the Dreadnought body and high playability. It delivers a good sound with a reasonable sustain and has a striking appearance.

This guitar features an Ibanez AEQ-TP2 preamp system that gives way to solid sound capabilities regarding bass, treble, and overall volume. The stock strings aren’t the best, so, a good pair of steel strings or nylon strings (sound preference) is vital to a better sound from the get-go.

MaterialSolid Okoume top, Okoume back & sides, Nyatoh neck, Ovangkol fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length25.6 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

The Ibanez AW54CEOPN is a great choice for beginner guitarists and entry-level players who are budget-impaired. It makes for an all-rounder of an acoustic-electric guitar, decent enough for up-and-coming players, or can be great as a practice guitar for a more skilled guitar player.

6. Taylor GS Mini

High-quality
Portable, high-quality acoustic guitar with great construction, full sound, and excellent playability.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Taylor GS mini is a highly popular choice for a small-sized guitar with a lower action, ideal for beginner guitar players or traveling musicians. It makes for a great and durable acoustic guitar for gigging musicians that produces a big and rich sound.

Pros

  • Small body, big sound!
  • Ideal traveling build
  • Made from durable woods
  • Thin neck is great for smaller hands

Cons

  • A bit pricey

This travel-friendly guitar is great for either small kids, traveling musicians, or just people with smaller hands or a smaller body looking for a suitable-sized guitar. In addition, the sound is top-notch and quite versatile for any genre.

The layered Sapele back & sides add to the durability and overall balance of this guitar while the other tonewoods add a certain dynamic range to its sound. The main selling point is the small body – big sound design.

MaterialTropical Mahogany top, Layered Sapele back & sides, Sapele neck, Ebony fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length23.5 inches
Number of Frets20 frets

The Taylor GS Mini is a great purchase for gigging musicians or frequent travelers who require something compact yet great-sounding. Although it carries a steeper price tag, it is worth the money.

7. Yamaha APX600 NA

Great Design
Great acoustic-electric guitar with a Piezo pickup system, comfortable design, and decent tone.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Yamaha APX600 NA is the ultimate coffee shop gig guitar. It has a very player-friendly design due to the thin-line cutaway that beginners with enjoy. Not only that but it is modestly priced and sports quality tonewoods.

Pros

  • Greatly designed, player-friendly guitar
  • Suitable for smaller hands and beginners
  • Clean and balanced sound

Cons

  • May be too small for big-handed players

The APX600 NA comes in a variety of color choices. It combines quality craftsmanship with affordability yet still has quality tonewoods like a Sitka Spruce top, and a Rosewood fretboard & bridge. This isn’t surprising for a Yamaha guitar.

The thin-line cutaway is ideal for smaller hands but may be too small for big-handed players. It’s best to test it out in a local music shop before committing. Sound-wise, it produces a natural acoustic sound and sports a Piezo pickup system for a good amplified experience.

MaterialSitka Spruce top, Tonewood back & sides, Nato neck, Rosewood fingerboard & bridge
Scale Length25 inches
Number of Frets22 frets

Overall, the Yamaha APX600 NA is a good choice for guitarists who want something portable, comfortable, and with a decent tone. It is a beginner-friendly guitar with great value that holds its tune quite well.

What is Low Action on an Acoustic Guitar?

Low action on a guitar is when the guitar strings are closer to the fretboard than usual. It is great for beginner guitar players because it requires less pressure to hold the strings down. Naturally, it is better on the fingers in the long run. Most players prefer this system over high action.

Do Low Action Acoustic Guitars have fret buzz?

Low-action guitars normally don’t have fret buzz. However, the lower the action, the higher the chance for fret buzz to occur. A general rule of thumb is lowering the action as much as possible without having fret buzz so that you can play easily. For older guitars, if the neck is slightly warped, fret buzz is a given since the string vibration touches the fretboard.

Is Low Action better than High Action on Acoustic Guitars?

Low action is often considered better for many reasons. The main issue is the pressure required to hold down the strings. When you take away some of the pressure, playability is increased and is way better in the long run. On the other hand, higher action is better if you’re doing slides or bends because there is more room to breathe. Higher action guitars also have more projection and sustain, and they allow you to play the guitar a lot louder without generating fret buzz.

How to manually Lower the Action on an Acoustic Guitar?

Action on a guitar is lowered by using a truss rod (a vital piece of gear). The truss rod hole is located either on the top of the guitar near the tuning pegs or within the sound hole of an acoustic guitar. Note that when adjusting the neck or action, minor adjustments are key since this is a delicate matter.

Your guitar’s action can be adjusted either at the saddle or at the nut. For a better explanation of how to work an adjustable truss rod, here is a great video on this subject:

What to look for in a Low Action Acoustic Guitar when buying?

There are a few key things to look for in a low-action acoustic guitar. This includes the playability, durability, sound capabilities, and price of the guitar.

Playability

Since action directly correlates to the playability of the guitar, it is one of the most important things to consider. Lower action is considered beginner-friendly but it shouldn’t be so low that it produces fret buzz. Naturally, a thin-line cutaway goes a long way in terms of playability but it can be a personal preference since all players are different.

Durability

The quality of the guitar will determine its durability and longevity. Popular brands are always a good choice but not every model is exemplary. Pay attention to the tonewoods used for the guitar while maintaining the sound you’re after.

Sound

Sound is one of the most vital parts to focus on. The best way to know if the guitar has the sound you’re looking for is either by doing serious research on the internet (reviews, videos, etc.) or going to your local music shop to test out the guitar yourself.

Price

The price for an acoustic guitar is the last consideration point. There are high-end acoustic guitars that are feature-packed but may be too intimidating for beginners. If you’re a beginner, an affordable, player-friendly choice is better for your skill level as well as your pockets. Naturally, you will upgrade when the time comes.

Summary

Low-action acoustic guitars are really good for beginner guitar players because they are less of a strain on the fingers and fretting hand. With a huge variety of choices on the market, you can find the most suitable guitar for your skill level as well as your preference. Luckily, there are affordable and high-end choices to cater to everyone’s needs.

My top pick is the Martin LX1E Little Martin, a well-rounded, durable acoustic guitar with great sound capabilities from a known manufacturer.

My budget pick is the Yamaha FG800, an affordable, quality, and great-value acoustic guitar from Yamaha.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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