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I am looking at purchasing a nice second hand steel string acoustic guitar in a local music shop. One of the aspects that I really like about the guitar is the string action.

When I was trying the guitar out, it was tuned down a step or two. I am concerned that when the guitar is tuned up to standard tuning that the action will be affected.

Is a guitar's string action affected by the tuning?

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Tuning up will increase the tension on the neck which can affect (i.e., increase) the action. This is, however, no big deal because it can be corrected by adjusting the truss rod.

This also means that basing your decision on the action of the guitar is not such a good idea because the action can be adjusted rather easily on any decent guitar. You could better listen to the guitar's sound, see if you like the shape of the neck, etc. You can probably find many more criteria for choosing an acoustic steel string guitar on this site (and on the internet).

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    While this should ideally be true for all guitars, in practise tightening the truss rod can cause a couple of problems if the neck quality isn't very good. I would ask the shop to tune the guitar to standard before buying it. – leftaroundabout Jan 3 '15 at 14:03
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    @leftaroundabout: Right, and have the shop re-adjust the action. – Matt L. Jan 3 '15 at 14:42
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    trouble is, it can take a couple of weeks for the neck to get used to the new tension. Quickly dial in a new tension on the truss rod & lift the gauge or tuning at the same time & it will float for a while before it finally settles & will likely need another tweak. – Tetsujin Jan 3 '15 at 16:27

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