Guitar Action

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo: Action

…there are multiple interpretations available to you, so feel free to represent the action of your choosing.


I was intrigued.

Action…I could use one of the many cute and adorable action shots of my cute and adorable grandson. Or…from the dusty archives…my cute and adorable children…back in the day when they were little. I have plenty of those.


It’s been cloudy and drizzly and snowy today. Flat even light filled my open concept living room. Lots of windows.

Perfect for a pseudo photo studio setup…

Which takes a certain amount of action on my part. Clearing off a presentable surface in front of a suitable window. Pushing furniture to the side. Finding a step stool to stand on. Two actually – one for each foot for balance – so I don’t tumble through the plate glass window.

All before what’s left of the light disappears.

Then figuring out there are five latches on my husband’s guitar case. Why that’s necessary, I’ll never know. Time passes.

For those not familiar with all things guitar…

Acoustic guitar action refers to the height of the strings above the fretboard. It is also used to describe the general feel and playability of a guitar. Generally a guitar’s string height is measured at the 12th fret….Action is also measured at the first fret.

guitar action one copy
The 12th fret marker

It is generally frowned upon if your guitar action is set too low (the strings are too close to the fretboard). Strings may then buzz during your rendition of – for example – “This Land Is Your Land” or “Good Morning, Blues.” I’m not sure how it would affect the opening to “Stairway to Heaven,” but if it did…not good.

Obviously action is very important when it comes to guitars.

That’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject.

guitar action three

I am sure this guitar – which has seen a lot of action – is not set too high or too low.

Making beautiful music…it’s just right.

15 thoughts on “Guitar Action

  1. I appreciated the smattering of education about guitars, though all I know is the music I like…Gordon Lightfoot comes to mind; and I do like Stairway to Heaven–I guess any American who doesn’t must be branded with some letter on his/her forehead, or maybe rubber-stamped “uncool”. Your husband’s guitar is a beauty, for sure! Now I must confess I cringed in fear as you described standing on stools so you wouldn’t tumble through the plate glass window…the windows in my apt all have screens which can detach with barely a nudge…and there have been times I’ve feared I’d crash through the 2nd floor bedroom one, when cleaning for an inspection. I’m thinking that would be judged “failed”…

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    1. I like Gordon Lightfoot too. He was a big favorite of mine back in the day. I actually saw him in a small concert at a local college when I was in high school. I think he was just starting out. I have to be careful about balance – hence the stools! Loose screens – not good! Be careful.


      1. I, too, saw Gordon in concert–Seattle. And yes, balance is a significant issue for me as well–I’ve had a number of falls, which is annoying, so now I walk so slowly and cautiously that I must appear 80! I was concerned about you being on 2 stools, as it sounds pretty tricky.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful post! An inspired take on the challenge. You know your stuff about guitars, OLU! And from what your photos show, it looks like your husband has one fine instrument there. Thanks for a post that made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your post. I have been playing guitar for 53 years, alone or in bands. The electric guitar is a no brainer, straighten the neck and adjust the bridge. My acoustic is fickle. Its a leap of fear to file or change the bridge. Wrong height and the buzz appears. Too high is worse; the fingers cramp. A good luthier set my Taylor at just the right spot, and I am happy. A fine guitar is personal. There is a bond between player and the wood. Nice read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Glad you liked this. My husband (whose guitar I photographed) has been playing almost as long as you have been – 50 years. He has multiple guitars – electric and acoustic. He has great confidence in a local guitar technician for adjusting the action, bridge repair, etc. And, yes, I have come to understand that it IS personal…the guitar and its owner. We have been to visit the Taylor factory during a vacation in San Diego many years ago. Also the Martin factory on a drive back from taking our son to college. Both fascinating.


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