I know for certain that a lower action on a guitar makes playing easier, but does having a high action makes you more skilled by overcoming the extra difficulty or is it just an inconvenience?

1 Answer 1


The benefits of higher action go to lack of buzz. You can pick harder, which is nice for certain musics. I think it helps harmonics a little. I suppose there's some "You gotta want it, Rocky!" aspects, but really, yeah, high action is mostly something that'll keep beginners from moving forward.

  • I think it also depends on where on the fretboard you're playing. The lower down (like metal) it is, I think higher action becomes less of a problem. (lets you pick hard, reduces buzz for the open chords, etc)
    – segiddins
    Oct 16, 2012 at 20:54
  • I agree with your "depends" point, but I think high action is easier in the top five frets, where the strings get closer to the fretboard because you're near the nut, so thick-string high-action dreadnoughts are the standard heavy-strumming bluegrass style. Or, am I restating your point while thinking I disagree? Oct 17, 2012 at 4:37
  • Abnormally high action can make playing difficult. But, within certain parameters, action up to individual player preference. On acoustic, I find higher action translates into slightly deeper tone. Lower action also makes the guitar slightly easier to play (although not as much as switching to lighter strings). Oct 17, 2012 at 4:53
  • I do remember my first guitar, which had such a bad bend in the body that the strings were nearly an inch off the fretboard by the 17th fret. Got my finger strength up a lot - so much so that I found it really easy to barre chords when I got my first electric :-)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Oct 17, 2012 at 9:56
  • @VarLogRant, I think we're agreeing
    – segiddins
    Oct 17, 2012 at 10:59

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