#1
Now that I'm looking for a new electro/acoustic I have been around many shops and played many guitars. Being from the background of electric guitars I find that on all the acoustics I've played the action is extremely high.

Is this the norm and should I just accept it with new acoustic guitars from the factory, or should I be asking for a setup before the guitar leaves the shop to get the action lowered? I'm assumming it would probably be a good idea to request a string change also as I don't know how long the guitar would have been there and how much use it has had from other potential customers.

Is this a reasonable request and is there anything else I should be aware of, being that I'm an acoustic noob?
#3
Thanks Dave

Is high action the norm on acoustic guitars though? I'm not saying that the action definitely needs to be lowered. If this is the accepted standard on electro/acoustics and is how it is meant to be then that's fine. Coming from an electric background it felt a bit strange to play at first but acoustics are a whole different animal after all. I'm just trying to ascertain if this is how they are meant to be.
#4
It's a common complaint. I think the manufacturers choose to err on the high side with their default set up, buzzing strings would be a no-no.

With a classical guitar, the string height contributes to the possible volume, as the strings are pressed into the guitar, to vibrate vertically, so you'd expect those to have a higher action than steel stringed acoustics.
#5
Quote by Goochster
Thanks Dave

Is high action the norm on acoustic guitars though? I'm not saying that the action definitely needs to be lowered. If this is the accepted standard on electro/acoustics and is how it is meant to be then that's fine. Coming from an electric background it felt a bit strange to play at first but acoustics are a whole different animal after all. I'm just trying to ascertain if this is how they are meant to be.
Well, I suppose the action height is OK in most new acoustics, but only for the very strongest warriors among us....

Stock action height would work well for heavy strumming and open chords, and that's about it. I produces good output and tight bass for a heavy handed player. Beyond that, it tends to cover up any deficiencies in the guitars fret work.

However, if you try to play lead lines all over the neck, high strings tend to act like an obstacle course for your fingers.

For most of us, and assuming a decent guitar , the action should fall between .100 and .120 (this is in thousandths of an inch, E6 string, at the 12th fret, of course). The E1 (high E) can be a bit lower.

This is a good, (and thorough), online tutorial about the procedures involved in setting up an acoustic: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html

I should mention that it would be very difficult, and even undesirable, to attempt to make the action on an acoustic as low as that which can be achieved on a decent electric. Think of the pain involved in playing the acoustic as training exercise. It'll build up your strength and stamina. Oh yeah, before I forget, you won't be bending strings very far, even an acoustic light set.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 4, 2011,
#6
Thanks all.

By the looks of it I should probably just accept that acoustic guitars have very high action and leave it at that. Like you say it will be a good training exercise!