There are two main things that guitarists look for in an acoustic guitar – playing comfort and sound. Low action guitars make it easier on your fingers when playing for long periods.
Thanks to modern advances in acoustic guitars, low action models no longer sacrifice any of the tonal characteristics. Read on to find the perfect acoustic guitar for your needs.
Best Low Action Acoustic Guitars - Most Comfortable
The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE provides all of the best qualities of a low action Gibson acoustic guitar at a more affordable price. This acoustic-electric dreadnought model is classy in appearance and comfortable to play.
If you like acoustic guitars that look and feel authentically vintage, you’ll love the aged look of the DR-500MCE. With a Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, this low action acoustic guitar is full of character.
To complete the traditional tonewood combination, the fretboard and bridge are made from smooth rosewood which is soft underhand. There is also the subtle addition of split diamonds on the fingerboard inlay which are made with mother-of-pearl.
In terms of the onboard electronics, the DR-500MCE is fitted with an eSonic preamp which is powered by a 9-volt battery and gives you EQ options. There's also a built-in tuner for added convenience.
2. Taylor 314
Now fitted with V-class bracing, the Taylor 314 has an even warmer and full-bodied output. The bracing also improves the sustain of this beautiful guitar, and the accuracy of its intonation is also enhanced.
Taylor used grained Sitka spruce for the top and Sapele for the back and sides of the 314 for the power the tonewood combination produces. The midrange is focused and sharp, with good clarity in the treble end too.
One of the standout qualities of the Taylor 314 is its versatility. With a sparkling high end and good balance across the frequency spectrum, it is highly suitable for intricate styles of playing or more energetic styles of acoustic guitar.
This guitar has a medium-sized Grand Auditorium body, which is similar in dimensions to the classic dreadnought design but with a slightly narrower neck. The advantage of this is that it makes it easier to quickly move around the frets and prevents fatigue from occurring.
Ibanez PN12EVMS is top quality small-bodied acoustic guitar at a very fair price. With back and sides made from rare nyatoh, this electro-acoustic produces a lovely warm tone.
The great thing about Ibanez acoustic guitars is that they are equally suited to both recording studio and stage. With onboard electronics provided by an AEQ-2T preamp, the guitar retains its natural resonance when plugged in.
The reason that the PN12EVMS is so comfortable to play is due to its parlor-sized body. Designed for playability, the groove sits perfectly in your lap when played it a seated position.
With a glossy Nandu fingerboard and bridge, it’s easy to play complex chord shapes on this Ibanez acoustic-electric. To top it off, you also get chrome die-cast tuners and an onboard tuning device.
With a unique and recognizable appearance, the Hummingbird Pro will ensure that you stand out on stage. This Epiphone acoustic-electric 6 string has a mahogany neck and body which produce a tonal purity that could easily be mistaken for a more expensive model.
The spruce top further highlights the naturally warm mid-tones of the guitar, and the neck is easy to navigate. One of the features that give the Hummingbird Pro such a unique look is the pickguard, which when combined with split parallelogram inlays, gives it a classy, flamboyant look.
The tuning stability of this acoustic guitar is also second to none. This is largely thanks to the Grover 14:1 ratio tuners which prevent the strings from drifting whilst being played.
There are fewer more classic looking acoustic guitar designs than the Hummingbird. The faded cherry sunburst finish looks elegant and polished, with a touch of vintage essence.
The electronics are provided by the renowned Fishman with their Sonitone preamp. You also get a 3-band EQ to tweak the tonal characteristics of the guitar when it is amplified to preserve the warm unplugged sound.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of playing a Gibson acoustic guitar, you’ll know that they are of stellar quality. The high standard of tonal output and playability of their acoustics is almost unrivaled, and the G-45 further reinforces this notion.
With a smart and minimalist design, the G-45 is a no-nonsense guitar that utilizes trustworthy Fishman electronics with a combination of performance-enhancing tonewoods.
Featuring a stunning Walnut body that hones in on the powerful lows, this electric acoustic guitar produces a clear projection in the bass frequencies. The mids and highs are full of sparkling character thanks to the vibrant Spruce top and non-scalloped bracing.
To complete the tonewood mixture, Gibson used Utile for the neck of the G-45. It’s rare to see this material used on an acoustic guitar, but it is renowned for adding depth to the overall tone. In appearance, it’s pretty similar to the red of Mahogany.
The low-action neck and fingerboard are an absolute joy to play. Thanks to the good bass frequency response of the G-45, it lends itself to drop tunings without losing the low-end power. The overall tone is translated to electric accurately with an onboard EQ.
6. Martin LX1E
Commonly referred to as the “Little Martin”, the LX1E is a travel-sized guitar designed to create the most comfortable playing experience possible. With all of the tonal aspects that you’d expect from a Martin acoustic, the LX1E produces a warm, bass-rich sound.
I’d highly recommend this guitar for fingerpicked styles, thanks to its short-scale dimensions and smooth rosewood fretboard. There’s something so pure about a Martin acoustic guitar that sounds incredible when fingerpicked.
To ensure that the “Little Martin” can compete with full-sized acoustic guitars, a Fishman Sonitone T pickup system has been installed with a 3-band EQ. Unlike many short-scale electric acoustics, it doesn't produce unwanted noise when amplified.
With the LX1E, Martin generously includes a gig bag so that you can take the guitar on your travels right away. It's the kind of guitar you can imagine a rambling folk singer of the 1950s playing on the back of a freight train hopping from state to state.
Constructed similarly to its taller counterparts, the LX1E has a solid and reliable Spruce top and rust Stratabond neck. The latter material is now commonly used by Martin for their necks because it boasts excellent strength and durability.
The "Little Martin" has a 23-inch scale length, in which 20 highly playable frets are housed. The fretboard width increases at the 12th fret, making it easier to position your fingers at the higher end of the guitar.
This Yamaha acoustic guitar is unlike any other low action model on the market. With built-in effects producing capabilities, it allows you to add reverb and chorus to the guitar’s output, remarkably without the need for amplification.
You’ll notice the astonishing detail produced by the LL-TA with the strum of one chord. The solid spruce top has been treated with Yamaha’s patented A.R.E technology, which essentially ages the wood so that the tone resembles a worn-in, vintage instrument.
The back and sides are composed of solid rosewood, which creates a clearer projection with power across the frequency range. The addition of ebony appointments finishes off the classy design of this TransAcoustic dreadnought guitar.
The most noteworthy feature of the LL-TA is the aforementioned reverb and chorus producing ability. You might be wondering how it's possible to create these effects with no pedals or amplification, it's pretty simple!
By tweaking the onboard effect controls, the vibrations within the soundhole become more resonant until a warm reverb is produced, or a doubling effect that resembles chorus.
With the onboard System70 electronics, the beautiful tones of the LL-TA sound just as great when plugged in as they do in a more intimate, acoustic style.
8. Taylor 114e
The 114e is a highly playable low action acoustic by legendary manufacturers Taylor. A brilliant choice for those just starting and experienced guitarists alike, this guitar's best quality is without a doubt its playing comfort.
I’m very fond of a maple neck, due to the smooth transitions that the material makes possible. The combination of solid Sitka Spruce and layered walnut gives the 114e a sparkling output with plenty of color and decoration.
With onboard ES2 electronics, the guitar doesn't lose any of its wonderful tones when you plug it in. It seems to gain power and clarity in the low end when amplified.
The renowned Taylor Grand Auditorium body style provides you with the depth and width of a Dreadnought model, but thanks to the slightly narrower waist, it’s easier to move around the frets.
This design also improves the high-end response of the guitar, an area where the 114e flourishes. For country and blues players, this model is great for playing fast-paced riffs with complex rhythms.
Another thing worth mentioning is the unique Taylor Expression System 2. This is essentially the practice of placing a proprietary pickup behind the saddle, with specifically positioned piezo-electric sensors responding to the natural tone of the guitar.
How Body Types Impact Low Action Acoustic Guitars
The playability and comfort of an acoustic guitar are dependent on a few factors. There's the type of strings, of course, the materials used for the fretboard, and most importantly, the shape and type of the guitar's body.
When looking for a low action acoustic guitar, it’s important to consider which qualities the different variations of body styles bring to the table. Some styles have been ergonomically designed for maximum playing comfort, while others are more focused on the tonal projection of the guitar.
If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between a Parlor, Dreadnought, and Auditorium, read on to find out which type is best suited to your playing style.
- Dreadnought – a classic body shaped that originated in the early 1900s when CF Martin was inspired by the HMS Dreadnought, which was the largest ship in the Royal Navy at the time. Typically bulky, large-bodied, and with plenty of depth, these guitars produce a rich array of tones.
- Parlor – one of the smallest acoustic guitar designs which became popular in the US in the early 20th century. The sound produced is quiet and understated, but these guitars are perfect for those who have a smaller finger reach of the traveling musician.
- Auditorium – a more modern variation of an acoustic guitar which bridges the gap between bulkier shapes like the Dreadnought, and minuscule variations like a Parlor. IT produces a sparkling high end and smooth mid-range.
After reading through this detailed guide you should now have a good idea of the best suited low action acoustic guitar to give you maximum playing comfort.