5 Best Acoustic Guitars With Low Action and Thin Neck in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

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Best Overall – Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic 

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money

Summary

Nut width: 1.69” (43 mm).

You get a neck that is in electric guitar measurements, plus a truss rod. So you can adjust the action to your liking easily.

FG-TA also gives you dreadnought sounds that don’t lose to any other acoustic on its price range. But on top of that…

It gives you unplugged effects using a specially designed actuator to vibrate your guitar’s top. So you’re able to play with a lush chorus and resonant reverb without bothering to run through an amp!

So be ready to hear comments like ”how your playing sound so much better than others” and ”are you using a playback?”

This is the acoustic that can get your playing and tone onto a new level much faster than any other.

4.9

How Yamaha FG-TA sounds:

YouTube video


The Next Best:

Best Budget Steel-String – Yamaha APX-600


Our Overall Rating

Summary

Nut width: 1.69” (43 mm)

Pros:

  • Sounds good without and with the amp
  • Thin neck, easy to play.
  • The body is small, helps with the overall playability
  • Built-in tuner
  • Great quality 

Cons:

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

With

  • a comfortable neck,
  • easy playability
  • and solid tones,

APX 600 is a great narrow neck option for you if you are not ready to spend close to 500 or more.

Alternative – Ibanez PF15ECE


Our Overall Rating

Summary

Nut width: 1.65″ (42 mm)

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 really narrow neck.

Best Budget Classical –Cordoba Dolce 7/8


Our Overall Rating

Summary

Nut width: 1.97” (50 mm)

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

Cordoba Dolce ⅞ is in my opinion, the easiest to play classical guitar for this price range. A great choice.

Best Overall Classical – Cordoba C9 Crossover


Our Overall Rating

Summary

Nut width: 1.875″ (48mm)

Pros:

  • Narrower and thinner neck than in regular-sized classical guitars usually.
  • Comfortable and easy to play
  • Sounds really good 
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Setup is usually spot on

Cons:

  • Sometimes small adjustments to action are needed(depends from you playstyle)
  • The sound could be just a little bit warmer

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.

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 great 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.

A 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.

Let’s get started with a couple of crucial tips. After that, we will look closer at these fine guitars.

Every one of these axes is here based on my 12-year experience and extensive research.

photo reveals the Owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

Now, let’s get going!

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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. The shorter the scale length is, the 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, acoustic guitars have scale lengths varying from short scale (24 inches (610 mm)) to long scale (25.5 inches (650 mm)).

Shorter scale guitar is not always easier to play, 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.

Acoustic with truss rod usually cost more but are easier to work with, and probably costs less in maintenance in a long run.

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 at least 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.

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

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.

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.

Now it’s time to look at my favorite acoustics with low action and thin neck

Best Acoustic Guitar With Low Action and Thin Neck

A couple of other posts worth checking out when buying a new acoustic (click the title to view):

First, these posts will help you handle the protection and storage side of things:

These posts help you to achieve the tone you want:

And here are a couple of other acoustic guitar buyer’s guides worth checking out:

5 Best Ovation Guitars in 2021 – Really Low Actions and Thin Necks

5 Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Under $500 

5 Best Acoustic Guitars for Intermediate Players


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 stronger mid-range sounds.
  • a slightly shorter scale than 500
  • and string spacing is narrower. 

When you play these 2, these upgrades are noticeable for sure. But nothing groundbreaking. Both APX 500 and 600 are great guitars.

Playability

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, plus, the body is too and this improves overall playability too. This guitar is really easy to handle.

But usually, the out of the box action is not amazing….it’s only OK.

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.

And I would do the same, letting professional take care of your instrument is worth it.

Also, out of the box strings are not the best. Pretty hard for your fingers. You can totally play with these strings, but if you buy a set of lighter ones, 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: 

YouTube video

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. 
  • Action is usually at least ok for us ”low-action-lovers”
  • With the right setup, playing is super easy and comfortable

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. But you probably need to adjust the action a bit after buying.

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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. For me Ibanez axes has always been really playable out of the box, of course this can vary a lot.

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.

This great for electric players transferring to the world of acoustic guitars. Because if you first play the electric guitar and then play this, the difference on the neck is not huge.

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:

YouTube video

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 pretty low
  • Sounds solid, especially for the price
  • 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.

Still, Ibanez’s PF15ECE is a great option, especially for players who are looking for a narrow, more-shreddable acoustic neck.

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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

Especially for beginners and intermediate players, the Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic will sound sublime.

How it sounds unplugged?

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 stantard 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:

YouTube video

 

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.

This guitar has truss rod. This makes adjusting action easy.

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(nut width 1.69″ (43 mm)

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.


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!

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.

And here the truss rod is nice to have(usually classical guitars don’t have one), you can adjust the neck and action 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: 

YouTube video

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.


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:

YouTube 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.

If you can afford it, it’s a great choice. It will offer you easy playability and great tones for years to come.

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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. I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu ’’the low action’’ Suomala