Okay, so I bought an acoustic a few months ago and now I have calluses on my fingertips, but I still get deep trenches in my fingertips if I play for like an hour or so.

Right now I'm trying to learn to play barre chords, I can play them decently at the 5th fret but its next to impossible to play F chord or something

The distance of the 12th fret from the fingerboard is 0.5-0.6 cm. Am I measuring correctly? Is it too high?

  • 3
    Yes, it is too high. Take it to a professional guitar technician at a music store and pay them for a setup. – user1044 Oct 2 '14 at 12:45
  • 1
    Depending on where you bought the guitar, you might have a case to ask them to fix the setup. – slim Oct 2 '14 at 13:20
  • I don't think a 5 mm distance at the 12th fret is uncommon for an acoustic guitar. – Meaningful Username Oct 3 '14 at 9:45
  • Especially since the measurement is from the fingerboard. That would mean it's about 4 mm between the fret and the string, which is what counts. – Meaningful Username Oct 3 '14 at 11:05

Simple answer - yes. A number of ways to go. Take it back and complain. Pay lots for a set up. Tune down, maybe a tone or semitone. Put some lighter gauge strings on the guitar. If the guitar cost a hundred pounds sterling or more, it should be quite playable out of the box. A cheaper one usually reflects its price in its playability.

There may be several reasons why the action is too high, none of which a beginner ought to be trying to rectify - bar the string change or down tuning. As ever, a teacher will tell you what the problem and solution could be. Worth a lesson for that alone !


I got to be honest, learning barre chords could be tough, especially F. So try playing like that for a while. Even after learning to play F barre (or others) for a while you're facing issues, then you should get your action reduced.

You will have calluses in the initial learning phase because the fingertip has sensitive/soft flesh. Even after you've learned for a while if you face problems, then you can say that the action is high.

But be careful and make sure to check if each fret plays properly after reducing the action. Not-so-expensive guitars might start buzzing at certain frets on decreasing the action. I'd suggest you don't try to do it yourself. Get it done by someone the 1st time and if its still not enough, you can do it yourself.

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