Mastering the Art of Guitar Action - Fix High Action πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽΈ

Fixing a high action on a guitar involves adjusting the truss rod, the bridge, and the nut. High action, or the distance between the strings and the fretboard, can make a guitar hard to play and possibly cause fret buzz. Let's dive into the steps to lower guitar action and make your instrument play smoothly again.

🎸 Let's Tackle the Truss Rod: Your First Step in Fixing High Guitar Action

Firstly, the truss rod, which is a steel rod inside the guitar neck, controls the neck's curvature. To lower the action, you'll need to loosen it, which will straighten the neck and bring the strings closer to the fretboard. Here's how:

  1. Locate the truss rod nut. On an acoustic guitar, it's usually inside the soundhole. On an electric guitar, it's often at the top of the neck.
  2. Use a truss rod wrench to gently turn the nut counter-clockwise. Start with a quarter turn.
  3. Let the guitar sit for a while, then check the action. If it's still too high, repeat the process.

πŸ”§ On to the Bridge: Your Next Move in Lowering Guitar Action

Next, let's adjust the bridge. On an acoustic guitar, you'll need to shave down the saddle, while on an electric guitar, you can adjust the individual saddle heights. Here's how:

  1. For an acoustic guitar, loosen the strings and remove the saddle from the bridge. Using a fine-grit sandpaper, gently sand the bottom of the saddle to lower its height.
  2. For an electric guitar, use a small screwdriver to adjust the height screws on the bridge saddles.

πŸ” Fine-Tuning the Nut: Your Final Step in Electric Guitar Action Adjustment

Finally, if the action is still too high near the headstock, you might need to lower the nut. This is a bit more complex and may require professional help. But if you feel confident, here's how:

  1. Remove the strings from the nut.
  2. Using a nut file, carefully file down the slots, making sure to keep them rounded and not too deep.
  3. Re-string the guitar and check the action.

Note: Always make small adjustments and check the action and intonation after each change. Too drastic changes can damage your guitar.

Adjusting Guitar Action Quiz

Test your knowledge about adjusting the action on a guitar.

Learn more about 🎸 Adjusting Guitar Action Quiz 🎡 Test Your Knowledge or discover other quizzes.

Remember, adjusting guitar action is part of regular guitar maintenance. However, if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, bring your guitar to a repair shop.

To fix a high action on a guitar, you'll need the right tools for the job. One essential tool is a truss rod adjuster, which allows you to adjust the curvature of the guitar neck. Another important tool is a bridge adjustment tool, which helps you shave down the saddle on an acoustic guitar or make adjustments on an electric guitar. Additionally, a nut file set is useful for lowering the nut if the action is still too high near the headstock.

Having a complete guitar maintenance tool kit is also beneficial, as it provides all the necessary tools for adjusting the action and performing other maintenance tasks on your guitar. If you're not comfortable doing the adjustments yourself, it's always a good idea to bring your guitar to a repair shop.

If you're interested in more advanced techniques, check out this guide on improving guitar skills in a more technical way.

Now that we have discussed the theory, let's move on to a practical demonstration. The following video tutorial will guide you through the process of adjusting the action on your guitar.

The video above provides a clear demonstration of how to adjust the action on your guitar. Remember, it's important to take your time and make small adjustments. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, consider seeking help from a professional.

Recommended Products

MusicNomad MN231 Premium Truss Rod Wrench - 1/4” for Taylor Guitars, Plus Magnetized Screwdriver Our Recommendation
MusicNomad MN231 Premium Truss Rod Wrench - 1/4” for Taylor Guitars, Plus Magnetized Screwdriver
$12.99 Prime Eligible
Holmer Guitar Nut Slotting File Saw Rods Slot Filing Set Needle File Set Luthier Replacement Tools Tip Cleaner Files. Our Recommendation
Holmer Guitar Nut Slotting File Saw Rods Slot Filing Set Needle File Set Luthier Replacement Tools Tip Cleaner Files.
$8.99 Prime Eligible
MusicNomad Premium Truss Rod Wrench - 5mm for Martin Guitars (MN236) Our Recommendation
MusicNomad Premium Truss Rod Wrench - 5mm for Martin Guitars (MN236)
$9.99 Prime Eligible
MusicNomad MN668 6 pc. Diamond Coated Electric Guitar Nut Slotting File Set - Light Strings, with Storage Case Our Recommendation
MusicNomad MN668 6 pc. Diamond Coated Electric Guitar Nut Slotting File Set - Light Strings, with Storage Case
$89.99 Prime Eligible
Miwayer Set of 9 Understring Radius Gauge Guitar Tools for Guitar and Bass Setup Luthier Tools, Measuring Tool for Bridge Saddle Adjustments Our Recommendation
Miwayer Set of 9 Understring Radius Gauge Guitar Tools for Guitar and Bass Setup Luthier Tools, Measuring Tool for Bridge Saddle Adjustments
$9.99 Prime Eligible
MIECOO 12PCS Guitar Luthier Repair Tool Kit, Includes 11PCS Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Nut Screw Adjustment Truss Rod Allen Wrenches and Guitar String Action Ruler Gauge for Guitar & Bass Our Recommendation
MIECOO 12PCS Guitar Luthier Repair Tool Kit, Includes 11PCS Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Nut Screw Adjustment Truss Rod Allen Wrenches and Guitar String Action Ruler Gauge for Guitar & Bass
$14.99 Prime Eligible
Cheerock Guitar Truss Rod Wrench, 4mm and 5mm Allen Wrench, Extended Ball Head Hex Key for Adjusting Guitar Necks, Guitar Tools Suitable for Martin Acoustic Guitar Our Recommendation
Cheerock Guitar Truss Rod Wrench, 4mm and 5mm Allen Wrench, Extended Ball Head Hex Key for Adjusting Guitar Necks, Guitar Tools Suitable for Martin Acoustic Guitar
$5.49 Prime Eligible
3 Size Guitar Truss Rod Wrench Guitar Neck Box Repair Adjustment Wrench with Cross Screwdriver 6.35mm 7mm 8mm(Black) Our Recommendation
3 Size Guitar Truss Rod Wrench Guitar Neck Box Repair Adjustment Wrench with Cross Screwdriver 6.35mm 7mm 8mm(Black)
$11.99 Prime Eligible
Vencetmat 9Pcs Guitar Allen Wrench Set, Chrome Vanadium Steel,1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 1/20in, 1/8in, 3/16in, Fit for Most Guitar & Bass Neck, Truss Rod, Knobs, Bridge, Nut Locking Adjustment Our Recommendation
Vencetmat 9Pcs Guitar Allen Wrench Set, Chrome Vanadium Steel,1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 1/20in, 1/8in, 3/16in, Fit for Most Guitar & Bass Neck, Truss Rod, Knobs, Bridge, Nut Locking Adjustment
$11.99 Prime Eligible
3 Pieces Tapered Guitar Nut Files Nut Slotting Files Set Double Edge Fret File Electric Guitar Fret Tools Fret Crowning Files for Bass, 7.6 Inches Long Our Recommendation
3 Pieces Tapered Guitar Nut Files Nut Slotting Files Set Double Edge Fret File Electric Guitar Fret Tools Fret Crowning Files for Bass, 7.6 Inches Long
$29.99 Prime Eligible
SAPHUE 5mm Ball End Allen Wrench Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment Tool For Martin Acoustic Guitar Our Recommendation
SAPHUE 5mm Ball End Allen Wrench Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment Tool For Martin Acoustic Guitar
$5.99 Prime Eligible
Guitar Floating Tremolo Bridge Shim,Guitar Bridge Replacement Tool,Raise Guitar Bridges for Easy Adjustment and Tuning,Electric Guitar Bridge Replacement Tool for Faster String Replacement Our Recommendation
Guitar Floating Tremolo Bridge Shim,Guitar Bridge Replacement Tool,Raise Guitar Bridges for Easy Adjustment and Tuning,Electric Guitar Bridge Replacement Tool for Faster String Replacement
$4.38
Alnicov 9Pcs Guitar Understring Radius Gauge with Pin Puller Set Luthier Setup Tools for Guitar Bass Fretboard Measurements and Bridge Saddles Adjustments Our Recommendation
Alnicov 9Pcs Guitar Understring Radius Gauge with Pin Puller Set Luthier Setup Tools for Guitar Bass Fretboard Measurements and Bridge Saddles Adjustments
$11.99 Prime Eligible
Bitray Guitar Adjuster Wrench, Guitar Bass 7mm Truss Rod Wrench Adjustment Wrench Electric Guitar Tool, Silver Our Recommendation
Bitray Guitar Adjuster Wrench, Guitar Bass 7mm Truss Rod Wrench Adjustment Wrench Electric Guitar Tool, Silver
$7.72 Prime Eligible
Holmer Tapered Nut Files Double Edge Nut Slotting Files Set Fret Crowning Files Luthier Tools for Electric Guitar Set of 3Pcs. Our Recommendation
Holmer Tapered Nut Files Double Edge Nut Slotting Files Set Fret Crowning Files Luthier Tools for Electric Guitar Set of 3Pcs.
$36.99 Prime Eligible
MusicNomad MN667 6 pc. Diamond Coated Electric Guitar Nut Slotting File Set - Super Light Strings, with Storage Case Our Recommendation
MusicNomad MN667 6 pc. Diamond Coated Electric Guitar Nut Slotting File Set - Super Light Strings, with Storage Case
$89.99 Prime Eligible
Vencetmat 5mm Truss Rod Wrench, Allen Wrench Tool Ball End for Martin Acoustic Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment And Deep or Narrow Truss Adjustment. Our Recommendation
Vencetmat 5mm Truss Rod Wrench, Allen Wrench Tool Ball End for Martin Acoustic Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment And Deep or Narrow Truss Adjustment.
$5.99 Prime Eligible
5Pcs Guitar Truss Rod Allen Wrench Set Guitar Repair Tool Kit Repair Wrench Wood Handle for Most Guitar Bass Neck, Bridge, Truss Rod, Knob, Nut Locking Adjustment Includes 1.27mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 4mm Our Recommendation
5Pcs Guitar Truss Rod Allen Wrench Set Guitar Repair Tool Kit Repair Wrench Wood Handle for Most Guitar Bass Neck, Bridge, Truss Rod, Knob, Nut Locking Adjustment Includes 1.27mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 4mm
$8.99 Prime Eligible
4mm & 5mm Truss Rod Wrench, Ball End Allen Wrench Tool for Martin Acoustic Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment And Guitar Neck Bridge Screw Truss Adjustment Our Recommendation
4mm & 5mm Truss Rod Wrench, Ball End Allen Wrench Tool for Martin Acoustic Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment And Guitar Neck Bridge Screw Truss Adjustment
$9.99 Prime Eligible
Guitar Bridge Saddle Nut Files Set - 13 Different Size Needle Files with Circular Cross Section and 9 Pcs Sand Paper For Bass, Ukulele, Acoustic & Electric Guitar nut slot polish - iLuiz Our Recommendation
Guitar Bridge Saddle Nut Files Set - 13 Different Size Needle Files with Circular Cross Section and 9 Pcs Sand Paper For Bass, Ukulele, Acoustic & Electric Guitar nut slot polish - iLuiz
$10.59 Prime Eligible
BIGTEDDY - Diamond Needle Nut Guitar Fret File Set Hole Slot Filing Guitar Repair Luthier Jewelers Jewelry Making Tool Our Recommendation
BIGTEDDY - Diamond Needle Nut Guitar Fret File Set Hole Slot Filing Guitar Repair Luthier Jewelers Jewelry Making Tool
$9.99 Prime Eligible
Bnineteenteam 7MM/8MM/6.35MM Guitar Truss Rod Wrench Guitar Adjustment Tool with Screwdriver for Guitar Musical Instrument Accessories(3Pcs) Our Recommendation
Bnineteenteam 7MM/8MM/6.35MM Guitar Truss Rod Wrench Guitar Adjustment Tool with Screwdriver for Guitar Musical Instrument Accessories(3Pcs)
$9.19 Prime Eligible
TUOREN Guitar Nut Files (.024-1.35) Double Edge Nut Slotting Files Set with Clamp Holder Luthier Tool for Acoustic Guitars Our Recommendation
TUOREN Guitar Nut Files (.024-1.35) Double Edge Nut Slotting Files Set with Clamp Holder Luthier Tool for Acoustic Guitars
$21.99 Prime Eligible
Metallor Guitar Nut File Set Double Edge Nut Slotting File for Electric Guitar Tools Luthier Tools Set of 3Pcs. Our Recommendation
Metallor Guitar Nut File Set Double Edge Nut Slotting File for Electric Guitar Tools Luthier Tools Set of 3Pcs.
$29.99 Prime Eligible
Guitar Nut Slotting File Set, Guitar Tools Guitar Pillow Groove Grinding File Zither String Groove Round Rubbing Knife Guitar Repair Accessories Tools Our Recommendation
Guitar Nut Slotting File Set, Guitar Tools Guitar Pillow Groove Grinding File Zither String Groove Round Rubbing Knife Guitar Repair Accessories Tools
$5.99 Prime Eligible
XtremeAmazing 9pcs Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Screw Adjustment Truss Rod Wrench Repair Tool Set Kit 1.5mm / 2.0mm / 2.5mm / 3.0mm / 4.0mm / 5.0mm, 1/20'', 1/8'', 3/16'' Our Recommendation
XtremeAmazing 9pcs Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Screw Adjustment Truss Rod Wrench Repair Tool Set Kit 1.5mm / 2.0mm / 2.5mm / 3.0mm / 4.0mm / 5.0mm, 1/20'', 1/8'', 3/16''
$7.78 Prime Eligible
Meideal 11pcs Guitar Allen Wrench Set, Includes 4mm & 5mm Ball End Truss Rod Wrench Repair Tool, for Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Nut Locking Screw Adjustment with Portable Storage Bag Our Recommendation
Meideal 11pcs Guitar Allen Wrench Set, Includes 4mm & 5mm Ball End Truss Rod Wrench Repair Tool, for Guitar Bass Neck Bridge Nut Locking Screw Adjustment with Portable Storage Bag
$12.99 Prime Eligible
BIGTEDDY - Set of 9 Understring Radius Gauge for Guitar and Bass Setup Luthier Tools for Bridge Saddle Adjustments Our Recommendation
BIGTEDDY - Set of 9 Understring Radius Gauge for Guitar and Bass Setup Luthier Tools for Bridge Saddle Adjustments
$6.99 Prime Eligible
PAGOW 4mm & 5mm Guitar Truss Rod Wrench, Allen Wrench Tool Ball End for Martin Acoustic Guitar, Truss Rod Adjustment Deep or Narrow (Black) Our Recommendation
PAGOW 4mm & 5mm Guitar Truss Rod Wrench, Allen Wrench Tool Ball End for Martin Acoustic Guitar, Truss Rod Adjustment Deep or Narrow (Black)
$7.99 Prime Eligible
Alexandria Thompson
Classical Guitar, Music Education, Teaching, Acoustic Guitar

Alexandria Thompson is a seasoned guitar instructor with a particular expertise in acoustic and classical guitar. She holds a degree in Music Education and has spent over 15 years sharing her passion for music through teaching. Alexandria takes joy in authoring articles that simplify and make the guitar learning process engaging for newcomers.