I have an issue whis this Yamaha acoustic guitar that i bought a year ago. The higher frets are really high up the frets as you can see in the picture which makes them really hard to press. Also as the second picture shows the lower frets and they are really hard to press down. Is there any way i can fix this ? high frets

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The guitar is basically unplayable if you're not using a capo. Thanks in advance

  • 1
    You have to take action ! Except the nit, you might want to have a look to this answer (and a lot more on this site dealing with action).
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 15:00
  • 3
    It looks like your nut is very high which is unusual for a Yamaha instrument. That will make the lower register very difficult to play. Yamahas are usually set up pretty well at the factory. Maybe the nut was changed.. Hold down the first fret and see how high the string is over the second fret. That plus maybe a hair more is more or less how high your string should be over first fret. This needs tools and experience to adjust properly. Also, your strings are very dirty and oxidized. If you can’t change them at least give them a good cleaning with some rubbing alcohol. Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 16:58
  • Was this instrument used when you purchased it? Could a previous owner have set it up for slide playing?
    – Theodore
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


High action is seen by some as a good thing, because it leaves the strings open to be strummed hard without fret buzz. Not saying you're wrong for wanting it lowered, but that you and Yamaha might differ about what your instrument is for, and so the solutions might be hard.

I cannot see the whole of the neck, but there should only be a slight curve, or relief; if you were to capo the first fret and fret the last, you should be able to barely slide a dime under the tenth fret, on the high end. There should be an adjustable truss rod where you can tighten it up to straighten it out and lower the action, either at the headstock or through the soundhole.

If your neck is good and the action is still high, the bridge is high. That might be because the belly is bulging or the saddle was cut high. You can sand down the bottom of the saddle to lower it, but otherwise, this is a question for a guitar repair shop.

Another issue might be that the neck might need a reset. This is because the string tension and other issues pulled the neck out of joint over time. This is definitely a repair shop issue, but this should be an issue for old guitars.

Solid-body electric guitars have an embarrassment of adjustable points, but acoustic guitars are pretty much as-is. "Take it to the shop" is pretty much my advice for you.

ETA: the "unplayable without capo" comment made me think that, additionally, the nut might need work as well, which is even more repair-shop work. I mean, I'm approaching 40 years of playing and never owned a nut file. But if you're having problems at frets 1-3, you're also likely having intonation problems as well.

  • 2
    Good advice but a dime seems way too thick for measuring relief. I think a business card or a very thin pick might be more in the ballpark. Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 16:53
  • @JohnBelzaguy if only a thin pick fits through, that's very little relief, almost like having none at all. Which may be fine, but it depends on the playing style – for intricate singlenote stuff in mid positions, relief isn't really needed and too much would be counterproductive, but if you want to play both agressive full-chord rhythm as well as soloes in high positions, then a bit more relief does come in handy. Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 23:51
  • @leftaroundabout I see your point, at least for an for an acoustic guitar that has no action adjustment, relief is the only way you can easily adjust the feel of the instrument. Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 1:35
  • Thank you very much for your help ! i managed to lower the action a little which made higher strings a little more playable though i will take your advice on getting the guitar to a repair shop.
    – Joee
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 19:42

You can try filing the notches a little at the nut, and/or filing the saddle a little at a time, restring and test it. Do it in very small increments, or you’ll be buying new ones! Maybe try and tighten the truss rod?

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