How To Lower The Action On Acoustic Guitar

how to lower the action on acoustic guitar

Have you aware of how to lower the action on an acoustic guitar? Why you have to low the action on Acoustic Guitar? 

When you are not finding the sound of your acoustic guitar comfortable and soft, then maybe it is due to your guitar's higher action. guitar Action refers to the height of strings over the fretboard. It plays a very important role in the sound quality of your guitar. If the action is too high, you will feel an uncomfortable sound coming out of your Guitar.

This problem frequently occurs in low profile guitar because of the poorly designed fretboard. So buy the high profile acoustic guitar, which is rich in sound and quality.

But don't worry it's very easy to solve this issue and you would be able to lower the action of the acoustic guitar yourself after reading this article.

So, read this article till the end and make sure not to miss any point.

Guide For Lowering The Action On Acoustic Guitar

This is a complete step-by-step guide for how to lower the action on an acoustic guitar.

This guide is divided into three parts i.e., adjusting the truss rod, nuts and the saddle. After adjusting all these three, you will get a comfortable sound from your guitar. So, make sure to follow each and every step to adjust your guitar action successfully.

steps for truss rod adjustment

how to lower the action on acoustic guitar
Check The Neck Of Guitar

The very first step is to evaluate the straightness of the guitar neck. Place your guitar at a plane area and examine the neck of your guitar. See if the neck is up bowed or back bowed.


The truss rod is a steel rod inside the peghead or the soundhole of a guitar. You can check where it lies in your guitar. It is used for correcting the up bowed and back bowed neck of the guitar. 

You should also check whether your truss rod is one-way (which can only correct up bowed neck) or two-way (correcting both bowed and back bowed neck). Most probably, the truss rod will be two-way but still, it will be better to check it on Google by searching through the guitar model.

Adjust The Truss Rod

Use a screwdriver or any similar tool to adjust the truss rod. If the nut of the truss rod is too tight, then you can use a lubricant like some oil or vaseline to soften it. If your neck is up bowed, turn the rod screw to the right and if it is back bowed, then turn the screw to the left.

Turn the screw only ⅛ at a time and place a mark to know from where you have started. If you turn the screw more than ⅛ at a time, it will lead to a big change in the neck, making the situation worse.

Note: If your Truss Rod lies in the soundhole, then you will have to lose your strings first.
RE-TUNE The Guitar

After turning the truss rod 1/8th to the left or the right, retune your guitar and check the guitar action. If it didn't get straightened enough, then give it one more ⅛ turn and then check the guitar action.

Remember to note the truss rod more than 1 time as it can damage your guitar.

Note:  If you are a newbie, check the how to tune a guitar article while tuning your guitar, because tuning a guitar is not an easy job. Refer the guide once and re-tune your guitar like a pro.


Measure The Action At The First Fret

Firstly, you need to measure the action at the first fret. You can do it by putting a feeler gauge at the first fret and make sure that feeler gauge just gets fit between fret and string.

Now, you can easily measure the action by using a ruler. If the action is 0.3 inches or 7.5mm then everything is fine. But if it is higher than 7.5mm then get ready to adjust the nut.

File The Nut

First of all you need a neck support for filing, then lose the sixth string to get it out of the nut. Don't damage the nut in this process. Now, file the nut through a nut file. Don't file the nut too much because you cannot undo this process.

When you think that you have filed the nut enough then place the string back, retune the guitar and see if the action has improved enough. If not, then file again.

Now, repeat this process with all the other five strings.



This is part of how to lower the action on an acoustic guitar bridge is an importance method to lowering the action of a guitar.

Identify The Bridge And The Saddle

The saddle is also a nut which is positioned under the bridge to maintain the distance between fret and strings. If you have adjusted the nut then it is absolutely necessary to adjust the saddle too. Otherwise, you will not get quality sound from your guitar.

Measure The Action At The Bridge

Start with measuring the distance between the sixth string and 12th fret using a ruler. Then measure the distance between the first string and 12th fret.

Now, if the distance between the 12th fret and the sixth string is more than 2.3mm or between the first string and 12th fret is more than 1.5 mm then you will have to lower it.

how to lower the action on acoustic guitar
Loosen Your Strings

Strings are the one which keeps saddle at its place, so you will have to loose the strings firstYou can loose the strings by using a string winder.

Remove The Lower Three Strings

For getting the saddle out, you will have to remove the strings from the tuner. But you don't need to remove all the strings , removing just three strings will do the work.

Remove The Saddle

Now, use a set of pliers to remove the saddle from the bridge. If the other three strings are interfering with this removing process, then you can take them off too. If the string seems dirty then clean the string like a pro before restringing.

how to lower the action on acoustic guitar
Sand Down Your Saddle

Now take a piece of double-stick sandpaper and place it on a plane table. Then, sand down your saddle up to the point you want. Remember not to sand it too much as you will not be able to undo the process.

It will be best to sand the saddle only a little at a time.

Replace The Saddle And The Bridge

Now, put the saddle back under the bridge. And put back all three strings which you removed earlier. Now retune your guitar and measure the action. If your action is still high, then you can repeat the process again.


Keep repeating this process until you don't get satisfied by the sound of your guitar.


Lowering the action on an acoustic guitar is not a very easy process. It requires the right knowledge and experience. One needs to be very cautious while performing this process. Otherwise, you can also damage your guitar completely.

But don't worry as if you will follow the above steps correctly then you will not face any problem while adjusting the action of your guitar. If you have any doubts regarding this article, then comment them below.

Leave a Reply