Are Cheap Acoustic Guitars Harder to Play?

Like many other instruments, acoustic guitars come in different price ranges, out of which cheap acoustic guitars attract the most beginner audience. But surprisingly, problems with cheap acoustic guitars are more reported. So the question is, are cheap acoustic guitars harder to play?

Yes, cheap acoustic guitars can be hard to deal with due to many reasons, including manufacturing defects, higher actions, sharp frets, twisted bodies, and a poor finish. In the article, I will explain the causes and possible solutions to give you a better insight.

Why Are Cheap Acoustics Harder To Play?

To understand why cheap acoustics are harder to play, you need to know the fundamental differences between both types.

Higher Action

Action has a direct impact on the tension of the string. For the newbies, let me define it. It is the gap between the guitar wire and the fretboard.

The more away a wire is from the fretboard, the tighter it will be. And more difficult would it be to pluck it. If the action is above the standard level, it will put your fingers in discomfort. It will require more pressure for plucking, and as a result, your tone may get out of the way.

Causes of Higher Action in Cheap Guitars

Many causes can cause higher action in the guitar, from a warped neck to low-quality strings. I will explain some in detail here:

Bended Neck

The Bended neck of the guitar is the number one cause of high actions in guitar. Proportions and measurements are very crucial for the guitar to function smoothly. Low-cost guitars often lack this chief ingredient causing a rise.

Deep Cuts in the Nuts

There are some tiny grooves present in the nuts of strings. These are present to ensure an even flow of vibrations and hold the wire in place.

But they should be in exact diameters to meet their purpose. Cheap guitars often have these grooves carelessly marked, making it difficult to bring the intended tune.

Misshaped Bridge

A bridge is a support on which a string lies. If the sizing goes wrong, it causes irreparable damage to your guitar.

How To Measure Action of Your Guitar?

Measuring the action will help you spot errors, and you can go for the possible correction to make it easier for you.

To measure it, you need a guitar measuring scale. The standard way of checking the action is first tuning the strings.

Once the wires are in exact tune with the guitar measuring scale, measure the distance from the twelfth fret. The ideal measurement for the action is between 2.5 to 2.6mm.

A deviation of a few millimeters is acceptable, but if it exceeds that, it means your guitar is high at the action. Some high action can get a fix by the professional.

But if the problem is with the structure of the guitar, unfortunately, you will need to buy another guitar.

Blunt Frets

The action of your guitar falls under the ideal values. But you can easily pick the string but feel irritation when playing the guitar it is because of the sharp end frets. It can not only damage your skin, but it makes the strings of the guitar more vulnerable to breakage.

Sometimes it can be because of the mismatch between the frets and fretboards, but in the case of low-grade guitars, poor manufacturing is the leading cause.

Warped Body

Dispropinate body is another reason for high guitar actions. You can check if the body is wrapped by observing the architect of the guitar. The wrap guitar will have dents.

You will also see cracks on different parts, especially near the fretboard and the sides. It will cause your guitar harder to play, and most tunes will be rough and out of order.

Reasons for Warped Body

Mishandling and improper packaging are the main reasons for a warped body. These guitars are imported from other countries, due to which the risk of wrapping bodies increases. Other factors that contribute to the wrapping bodies are:



High exposure to heat and sunlight

If I talk about the solutions, I regret to inform you that you cannot do much about it. Buying a new guitar is the only option.

Cheap Strings

Companies manufacture under price guitars under the minimum budget. So it’s typical to use accessories such as strings of low cost. You can identify a cheap wire by following properties:

Cheap guitar wires will cause some gray marks on the fretboard.

They will hurt your fingers while plucking and will be hard to pick.

Lack elasticity and break away easily.

Solution for Cheap Strings

Here is good news for you! Fixing cheap strings is one of the effortless problems of the cheap guitars that you can tackle easily. Spare guitar wires are always available in the market under different price ranges. You can replace strings on your guitar with definite better quality strings.

Strings range between fifteen and forty dollars. These strings can do a far good job than those on your guitar.

How To Put New Strings on Your Guitar?

Remove the old strings off your guitar and make it ready for the new strings

Start by gently drawing off the blunt end of the wire to the bridge holes and tightening this end of the wire to the tuning key’s peg. You can use tongs to help you with this step.

Continue with the folding of the string around the nail. Now put a knot on any leftover wire. It will help to lock your wire in its place.

Cut down any extra wire that is hanging exterior to the tuning peg. You can use a cutter here to help you cut neatly.

The next step is tuning the guitar. Utilize a guitar tuner to get the correct pitch for your guitar. Shift the tuning key clockwise to tighten the string in its place.

Stick to the steps until all the wires of your guitars have been accomplished.

How Can I Make My Cheap Acoustic Guitar Easier To Play?

Buying a cheap acoustic guitar seems like an attractive idea until and unless you have not used it. Many of you might wonder how you can make your cheap acoustic guitar easier to play with minimum issues. Here are some options you can consider for a friendly interface with your guitar.

Visting a Professional

Taking your guitar to a professional is a wise option if you opt to stay with this guitar in the long term. But at the same time, many beginners will consider it an expensive option. You can keep it economical by first identifying the issue.

Many issues will not require professional help, such as the issue of cheap strings or high action. You can easily replace them at home or take help from your guitar teacher. You can also discover a luthier who can fix your guitars at affordable rates.

Adjusting the Action

You opt for fixing the guitar on your own. You should pay prime importance to the action of your guitar. In the case of the wrapped neck of the guitar, you can adjust it by making mini alterations to the body.

Twist the truss rod and adjust the angle of your guitar. It should be in such a way that minimizes stress on the neck.

You can also smooth your fretboard by bringing down the grooves. Filing the saddle is another way of bringing your strings in proportion.

Fixing the Frets

If the frets of your guitar are too sharp, they will cause much lag in your tune. Fixing the frets will require a lot of effort. You have to work on each fret separately to bring them down.

But you should be very conscious when filing the guitar because fret filed more than needed can severely damage the tone of your guitar.

Buying a Better Quality Beginner Guitar

Buying a cheap acoustic guitar and then putting so much effort into it does not seems like a desirable option for a beginner. There are many reasonable options available in the market. They come under a decent price tag and work very well.

Mid Range Acoustic Guitars

Mid-range acoustics and cheap acoustic guitars have a slight price difference but blunt performance and quality differences.

These guitars have equal radius and proportion. You will not face problems such as high action with these guitars. Shipment of these guitars is also safe in proper packaging, so the issues of the wrapped neck also get eradicated.

The strings used in these guitars are also of decent quality, and the frets are smooth. So mid-range range acoustic guitars should be a reasonable choice for beginners.

Consider Electric Guitars

Electric guitars are a good option that beginners can consider when buying the guitar. Many newbies think that playing an electric guitar requires more effort than playing an acoustic guitar. But the fact is electric guitars are easier to play.

They are built to provide convenience to the users. Electric guitars have lower action so plucking the strings is easier.

Many processings take place at the transducers and amplifiers, so the issues related to the body are comparatively lower. They come under a decent price tag that any beginner can easily afford.

Are more expensive acoustic guitars easier to play?

The more expensive a guitar is higher the quality is. Manufacturers of high-end guitars pay special attention to the material they are using. There are fewer to no flaws that you have to work on afterward. So all the qualities make them easy to play guitars.

Is a cheap guitar OK to learn on?

Yes, it is alright to use a cheap guitar as a beginner until and unless it does not have major technical flaws. The mid-range acoustic guitar will do a better job in this regard.

What guitar is easiest to play?

Electric guitars are certainly the easiest to play guitars. They have thinner strings with low action.

It makes it easy to pluck down a guitar wire. Moreover, flaws related to the electric guitars are comparatively low as compared to the other acoustic guitars.


Many beginners opt for cheap acoustic guitars because of the low price these guitars offer.

But many flaws make them undesirable options afterward. These issues include high action, wrapped body, cheap strings, and sharp frets. Some of the problems are easy to solve, such as replacing the guitar wires with better-quality wires.

But some issues are hard to deal such as the high action and sharp frets. At the same time, some problems, such as a wrapped body need a straight replacement.

Due to these issues, professionals recommend using mid-range and electric guitars. They come under a decent price range and contain fewer flaws comparatively.

But in the end, the choice remains yours. If you can deal with the issue, go ahead with the preference.

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