5 Best Acoustic Guitars With Low Action and Thin Neck in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Acoustic guitar with low action and thin neck

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So you want an easy and comfortable to play acoustic guitar? If that’s the case, an acoustic guitar with low action and a thin neck might be a great option for you! I have a couple of nice guitars to recommend, and I will also give you some tips that help you to choose the right axe for you.

In a matter of fact, I value these qualities a lot too. Thin and narrow neck with low string action makes playing so much easier for my small hands. And having a comfortable axe to jam with can make things a lot easier for you.

In this post I’m going to recommend/review the following guitars:

Yamaha APX600 BL Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Black
  • Thin-line cutaway Body design for exceptional...
  • 25" Scale Length and narrower string spacing for...
  • New scalloped bracing pattern for increased bass...
  • Abalone sound hole rosette
  • Stage-focused pickup system for shaping your sound in...
Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Cutaway...
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Spruce top
  • Fishman Sonicore pickup
  • SST preamp
  • Onboard tuner
Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic Guitar w/ Chorus and Reverb, Brown Sunburst
  • Amazing sounding reverb and chorus built into the...
  • An actuator installed on the inner surface of the...
  • Three simple knobs let you adjust your amount of...
  • The Guitar Body is based on Yamaha FG820, with a solid...
  • SYSTEM70 Trans Acoustic Preamp with a SRT Piezo Pickup
Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Iberia...
  • Solid Canadian cedar top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Lightweight, 7/8 size classical
  • 50mm nut width
  • Savarez Cristal Corum strings in High Tension, 500CJ
Cordoba C9 Crossover Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Luthier...
  • Offers a new spin on a Cordoba classic, the original C9
  • Crafted with solid Canadian cedar top and solid...
  • Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl "Esteso" Rosette
  • The main standout feature is the guitar`s steel-string...
  • Includes Cordoba polyfoam case

Every one of these axes is here based on my 10-year experience and extensive research.

Let’s get started with the tips. After that, we will look closer at these fine guitars.

Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:

Remember These When Choosing The Right Low Action and Thin Neck Acoustic Guitar for You

 A Guitarist playing an classical acoustic guitar.

I want to address a couple of key things here. First is this:

A Thin and Comfortable Neck Is The Key

Why? Because when you buy a guitar, you can’t do much about the neck. In some cases, you can change the neck, but that’s rare, and usually, it’s just easier to buy a new guitar.

So your number 1 focus should be finding a guitar with a thin and comfortable neck. Take your time with this.

Another factor that affects playability is the scale length. Guitars scale length is the distance from the nut to the middle of the Fret 12, multiplied by 2. Scale length affects the tension of the strings. Shorter the scale length is, less tension there will be and less tension means that the guitar is a little bit easier to play. 

In my opinion, the scale length is not the most important factor, but it definitely affects the playability.

Usually, Stratocasters have 25.5-inch scale length. Les Paul’s and other single-cut guitars come with a 24.75inch scale. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Les Pauls are a lot easier to play than Stratocasters, but at least the string tension is usually lower.

 

What About The Action?

Do you know why out of the box super-low action acoustic guitars are hard to find?

Because manufacturers want to leave room for adjustments. Usually, with acoustic guitars, you can quite easily make the action lower, but making action higher is often much harder. You can’t add more plastic, wood or bone to the saddle. You just have to replace some parts.

But if the acoustic guitar has a truss rod, making the action lower or higher is a lot easier.

So the action is more of a question of setup, not brand or model.

The best thing to do is to find a guitar with OK action, and make sure you can adjust the action after buying. Sometimes you can do it for yourself, but in the case of acoustic guitars without the truss rod, I would recommend that you let professionals handle that. Trust me. It’s worth it.

But even without the truss rod, lowering the action is far from an impossible task. Still, if you have a bigger budget, buying a guitar with a truss rod is definitely worth it.

You can just buy a guitar somewhere and then bring it to the local music store for a professional setup.

But this doesn’t mean that there is no out of the box low cation acoustic guitars available. More about these later.

Remember this: I can’t guarantee that some specific guitar has a perfect action and neck for you. I can only give you my own informed opinions based on my experiences and research.

So, keep these things in mind when choosing the right acoustic guitar for you: 

  • Buy a guitar with a thin and comfortable neck
  • Buy a guitar with at least OK action
  • Remember that you can always lower the action, but if the guitar doesn’t have a truss rod making it higher is harder
  • Truss rod helps a lot with the action adjustments

And I just want to say one thing more before we look at the different guitar options.

Buy a guitar according to music that you love. This can make or break the game. If the guitar suits well on your music taste, you will play it a lot. And that’s how you master the guitar.

Now it’s time to look at my recommendations for you.

 

Best Acoustic Guitar With Low Action and Thin Neck

Best Budget – Yamaha APX-600 – Electric Acoustic

APX-600 is an upgraded version of APX-500. APX-500 is easily one of the most sold electric-acoustic guitars ever.

I played the Yamaha APX-500 first time in the summer of 2018. And It was so easy to play, due to the thin body and neck. And the sound was still good.  

APX-600 is even easier to play and sounds better.

Main upgrades of APX-600 are a less boxed tone, increased low end-,  and a stronger mid-range sounds. This one also has a slightly shorter scale than 500 and string spacing is narrower too. 

I’ve said this before on my site, but again: When I manage to reach 30 blog posts on this site, I’m going to reward myself by buying this guitar for me!

Nut width is 1.69 inches (43 mm). So it’s narrow, and the overall neck profile is thin and it really reminds me about electric guitar neck. Easy to play. If you place your thumb in the right place, you can reach frets quite easily.

If you are looking for an acoustic guitar with a thin neck, this is a great choice.

So, the neck is thin, but the body is too and this improves overall playability too. 

But, the out of the box action is not so good….it’s only OK. A little bit too high for me. This depends on your personal preference ofc.

You can lower action, but be careful if you are going to sandpaper the saddle yourself. Because when you lower it, you can’t make it back higher without replacing the saddle. 

If you are a beginner, I recommend that you let a professional handle action setup if that is needed.

Also, out of the box strings are not the best. Pretty hard for your fingers. You can totally play with these, but if you buy a set of lighter strings, playing will be easier. I would recommend you to first try the original strings out, and buy new strings if needed.

A built-in tuner is a nice bonus. It’s powered by 2 AA batteries. Really easy to use, works great.

Hear how Yamaha APX-600 sounds: 

Summary

Yamaha APX-600 review

Pros:

  • Sounds great
  • Thin neck, easy to play.
  • The body is small, helps with the overall playability
  • Built-in tuner. 

Cons:

  • Action is only OK
  • Out of the box strings are not the best
  • No truss rod, adjusting the action is harder

With a comfortable neck, easy playability, and great sounds, APX 600 is a great option for you. But you probably need to adjust the action after buying.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

 

Alternative – Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE – Electric Acoustic

You know what? Good acoustic guitars with only 42mm(1,65inch) nut width are not that easy to find. But I found this one, and it might be a great option for you. Let me tell you why…

Of course, the first plus is the narrow and thin neck. It’s about as narrow as it gets with a good regular sized acoustic guitar. 

The action is usually ok right from the start, as always this depends on your playstyle. Personally, I might make it just a little bit lower. 

This guitar doesn’t have a truss rod, so I recommend that you let a professional handle the lowering of the action if that’s needed in your case. It can be done yourself, but please be careful that you don’t lower it too much because if you do, you need to replace the saddle.

If you first play the electric guitar and then play this, the difference on the neck is not huge. This one definitely has comfortable and easy playability.

PF15ECE is a little bit different than many other electric-acoustic guitars because it has Ibanez under-saddle pickups. Ibanez tries to ensure a natural sound as possible with this kind of pickup. 

And this guitar sounds good, with amp and without.  No question about it. But there is not much difference when the sound is compared to the other electric acoustics with different pickups.

Hear how Ibanez PF15ECE sounds:

This guitar has a built-in tuner, this is a nice plus.

Summary

Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE - Electric Acoustic review

Pros:

  • Narrow and comfortable neck
  • Easy to play
  • Action is usually OK
  • Sounds are solid
  • Built-in tuner

Cons:

  • Action is sometimes only OK, adjustments might be needed
  • No truss rod, adjusting the action is harder

The narrow and comfortable neck makes this guitar easy to play. Action is usually OK, but sometimes some adjustments might be needed. Still, Ibanez PF15ECE is a great option especially for players who are looking for a narrow neck.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

 

Best Overall – Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic 

This acoustic-electric, besides its overall quality build, gives you unplugged effects.

Using a specially designed actuator to vibrate your guitar’s top, you’re able to play with lush chorus and resonant reverb without bothering to run through an amp.

With the Transacoustic, you really can simply turn a knob or two on the guitar to imbue your sound with some really sweet sonic alterations. But how good is this axe really? let’s find out

To everyone but the most particular acoustic connoisseurs, the Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic will sound sublime.

Unplugged, it might sound a bit basic. Spruce and mahogany are an altogether common tonewood combo that sounds about as you’d expect any acoustic to. However, it is loud thanks to its dreadnought shape and scalloped X-bracing. Don’t get me wrong, this axe sounds great without any effects, but still, these sounds are basic for guitar at this price range.

It’s when you activate that sweet TA system that the Transacoustic really shines.

With no digital processing, the reverb and chorus it produces are authentic and truly heavenly to hear. They’re effects produced in the truest way—simply vibrations caused by your own playing, responding to each nuance of your style in pure form. And, while the chorus is adjustable by presence, the reverb actually has two settings, both a room and a hall effect.

Hear how this guitar sounds:

If you can get down with the playing feel of a dreadnought acoustic, this guitar will be a fine match for you.

It’s got a traditional western style body and a straightforward C-shaped neck that feel just like every other standard acoustic.

With a rosewood fretboard, you’re ensured a silky smooth playing surface that’s soft and responsive beneath your fingertips.

But FG-TA has one big advantage when compared to other similar-sized acoustic guitars… it has a slightly narrower nut width(1.69″ (43 mm)). This improves overall playability, and if you have small hands or short fingers, this is definitely great news for you, because frets are pretty easy to access with a narrow neck.

The overall neck profile is pretty thin, and action is usually OK out of the box, and with truss rod, you can adjust the to your preference whether it is low or high.

On the surface, the Yamaha FG-TA is a pretty standard mid-range guitar. It’s made with the basic components of most acoustics around the $500 range, although it is put together with solid, dependable construction.

Summary

Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic Review

Pros

  • Solid spruce + mahogany combo provides classic six-string tones
  • Specially designed actuator gives you effects with no extra equipment
  • Amazing travel potential; fill out your sound with kinetically-driven chorus and reverb
  • SRT zero impact passive pickup faithfully transfers guitar’s natural tone
  • Narrow neck improves overall playability

Cons

  • Requires an external preamp module for recording
  • No onboard EQ means level adjustments must be done on amp

If you’ve been playing a while but are bored of plain old six-string tones, the Yamaha FG-TA can add spice to your sound wherever you go.

For pros, this is a great travel instrument that can keep your private jams interesting, but it’s not limited to bedroom noodling. With a proper preamp, you can use the FG-TA for all your professional playing needs.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

 

Best Budget Classical – Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Classical Guitar

One thing has come clear to me….Cordoba Dolce ⅞ is absolutely one of the easiest, if not the easiest to play nylon-string classical guitar for this price range!

It’s ⅞ sized guitar, so it’s slightly smaller than regular guitars. Because of the smaller scale length, the strings are really easy to press down. 

Nut width is 50mm(1.97inches), so the neck is more narrow than in classical guitar usually. Playing is really comfortable and shifts between chords are as easy as it gets with classical guitar.

In this case, out of the box setup is usually spot-on(nothing is guaranteed). No need for adjustments. Of course, this depends on your own playstyle. And here the truss rod is nice to have(usually classical guitars don’t have one), you can adjust the neck to your own preference easily.

One of the strongest aspects is sound. Even though this is a smaller guitar, the sound is still great. Bright, rich, and full. Lower end sounds are only cut very slightly. 

Let’s hear how this one sounds: 

Another small flaw is this: some users have been facing some issues with tuner knobs(plastic part or the button), in some cases, these have been quite fragile. You can sometimes get new ones for free from the manufacturer or you can buy new ones. Gladly this issue seems to be rare.

Summary

Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Classical Guitar review

Pros:

  • Really easy and comfortable to play, great for small hands
  • Sound is better than in most regular sized guitars
  • Setup is usually spot-on
  • Great quality for the price
  • Truss rod, adjusting the action is easy

Cons:

  • Lower end sounds are cut slightly
  • Tuner knobs(plastic part or the button) have been fragile in some cases

If I wouldn’t own a Yamaha C40 Classical guitar, I would probably buy Cordoba Dolce ⅞. In my opinion, it’s easiest to play classical guitar for this price range. A great choice.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

 

Best Overall Classical – Cordoba C9 Crossover

This guitar is for those who have a slightly bigger budget and want a superior playing experience.

I’m not a huge Cordoba expert, but when I read, play or hear about Cordoba, usually spot-on setup comes to my mind. Cordoba C9 Crossover is no exception. Only some small adjustments might be needed. Again, the truss rod is nice to have, you can adjust the neck to your preference easily. 

But what makes the C9 so great, is the crossover neck. It’s closer to the neck of a steel-string acoustic. Nut width is only 48mm(1’78). So the neck is narrower and also thinner than in most classical guitars. 

These features make this a great choice for players who have a looser budget and are looking for an easy to play regular-sized classical guitar.

The sound of this guitar is really solid. Of course, you would expect a great sound for this price. But this guitar doesn’t lose sound-wise for competitors or even for more expensive guitars.

The value for money is high, and if this is going to be your choice, it’s unlikely that you are going to be disappointed.

If you want to hear and see how this plays, check this quick video:

Summary

Cordoba C9 Crossover review

Pros:

  • Narrower and thinner neck than in regular-sized classical guitars usually.
  • Comfortable and easy to play
  • Sounds are really solid
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Setup is usually spot on
  • Truss rod, adjusting the action is easy

Cons:

  • Sometimes small adjustments to the action are needed(depends from you playstyle)
  • Pricier than many other guitars in this post
  • The sound could be just a little bit warmer in my opinion

Cordoba C9 Crossover is one of the best classical guitars I know of. If you can afford it, it’s a great choice. It will offer you easy playability and great tones for years to come.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

 

Conclusion

All of these guitars are great options and if I had to pick just one, that would probably be Yamaha FG-TA.  The neck is narrow, thin, and comfortable. It usually comes with a great setup, the action is low, and you can always adjust the action to your preference with the truss rod. Plus, FG-TA sounds good with and without the effects. A great option.

For a tighter budget, my recommendation would be the Yamaha APX-600. It has a small and comfortable neck and with adjustments, the action is spot-on too.

I hope that this guide helped you to choose the right guitar. If you have any questions or thoughts about this matter, leave a comment down below. Feel free to share this post too.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu ’’the low action’’ Suomala

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