While you can adjust the action at will on most guitars, unfortunately not every guitar out there is meant to be set up with low action.
A lot of guitars will suffer from bad fret buzz when the action is set too low, and give you a bad playing experience that will keep you away from your guitar.
That’s why the guitars on this list are built for players who like low action.
So if you’re looking for a guitar that’ll be easy on your fingers and allow you to coast up and down the fretboard, pulling off insane bends and wild arpeggios with no issues, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll lay out our list of the top 10 low action guitars – what makes them so great and why they deserve a buy.
Let’s dive right into our list of the 10 best low action electric guitars.
The Best Electric Guitars With Low Action
- PRS SE Custom 24 – Editor’s Choice
- Jackson Dinky JS22 – Best for Beginners
- Schecter Omen Extreme-6 – Best Intermediate Guitar
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Under $500
- Ibanez RG550 Genesis Collection -Best Under $1,000
- Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Premium Pick
- ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best for Metal
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard 60s – Best Les Paul Style
- Ibanez Nita Strauss Signature JIVA10 – Best for Shredders
- Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String
PRS SE Custom 24 – Best Overall Low Action Electric Guitar
Our top pick for the best overall low-action guitar has to be the PRS SE Custom 24.
Every time I pick up a PRS I have an amazing playing experience, and this guitar is certainly no different.
Here are a couple of the things that make this PRS so great:
- Top-notch components
- Great-sounding pickups modeled after the American line
- PRS excellence under $1,000
If you’re looking for a professional quality guitar with excellent craftsmanship and playability, but don’t want to break the bank, this guitar is perfect for you, as it is modeled after the PRS Custom 24 – the iconic flagship PRS guitar made in the USA.
It’s set up to play wonderfully with low action and won’t give you any fret buzz, making it the perfect guitar for players who want an easier playing guitar.
While the SE Custom 24 is manufactured in Indonesia, you’re not sacrificing too much in the way of quality and still get a magnificent guitar for the money.
As far as the tonewoods used, the SE Custom 24 features a mahogany body and a maple top.
Tonally the SE Custom 24 is magnificent thanks to its PRS designed 85/15 S pickups, a redesigned version of the 85/15 pickups used on the American made models that offer strikingly similar tones at a much lower price point.
Coming in at under the $1,000 mark, this guitar really can’t be beat for the money you spend. For about 1/3rd the price of the American-made equivalent, you get a fantastically versatile guitar that plays like a dream and sounds so eerily close to the American version you’ll wonder why those versions cost so damn much.
- Great sounding, tonally diverse pickups
- Incredible value for the price
- Beautiful flame maple for a stunning finish
- Craftsmanship lacking in some areas
Jackson Dinky JS22 – Best Low Action Electric Guitar for Beginners
Coming in at right around the $200 mark, the Jackson Dinky JS22 is a perfect guitar for beginners who are interested in learning to play metal and shred.
Jackson has a reputation for building insane, high-output guitars and has been the choice of legendary players like Dave Mustaine and Randy Rhoades.
With the Jackson Dinky JS22, you get all of that Jackson bite and dirty grit at an affordable price.
Here are some of the specs that make this guitar so appealing:
- Jackson high-output pickups deliver ultra-hot tone for tearing up the fretboard
- Maximum playing comfort and performance thanks to the compound-radius fretboard
- Killer looks for such an affordable guitar
Looking for thick, heavy humbucker tones for hammering out power chords and lead lines? The Jackson high-output pickups on this Dinky JS22 will give you everything you’re looking for.
Another feature of the Dinky JS22 that makes it perfect for beginners is the fretboard.
Featuring a 12”-16” compound-radius, this fretboard gives ultimate playability for the beginner player.
This just means that it’s rounder near the headstock for easier chording, and then flattens out as you move up the fretboard, making for easier rund and bends at the very top of the fretboard.
And although we shouldn’t care about looks so much …who are we kidding? We want our guitars to look as badass as possible right?
Especially for beginners, you want a guitar that looks as awesome as it plays – it’ll help to keep you coming back and practicing every day.
The Dinky JS22 fits this need perfectly, coming in a choice of three different stunning finishes – check the link to see them for yourself.
- Great sounding humbuckers for high-gain playing
- Killer looks
- Easy playing neck for beginners
- Not the most versatile beginner guitar
- No locking trem + tremolo arm can lead to tuning problems if not careful
Schecter Omen Extreme-6 – Best Intermediate Low Action Electric Guitar
Looking for a stunningly beautiful, affordable, no-nonsense guitar built to shred?
Schecter could be your brand, and the Omen Extreme-6 could be the direction you’ll want to go in.
Here are are a couple of things that make this guitar shine:
- Comfortable body shape
- String-thru bridge for extra sustain
- High-output humbuckers made for high-gain
The Omen Extreme-6 features a comfortable double-cutaway body that gives you full access to all 24 frets without bending your hand out of shape like some other guitars will do – perfect for nailing those high bends.
Combine that with the fact that this guitar comes set up out of the box with low action, you’ll be setting the fretboard on fire in no time.
Aesthetically, the Omen Extreme-6 is simply stunning, with its figured carved quilted maple top and mahogany body, it has the look of a guitar way above this price range.
Sound wise, this guitar is perfect for high-gain shredding and also sounds great for some clean chording, as the included dual Schecter Diamond Plus high-output alnico humbuckers are very responsive and sound great when kicked into overdrive.
You also get push/pull coil-splitting and a 3-way toggle switch for even more tonal options.
And if you like your guitars to sustain for days, the Omen Extreme-6’s string-thru bridge design will do the job.
So whether you’re a new player who wants a great guitar under the $500 mark, or a seasoned pro looking to expand your stable of guitars, the Schecter Omen Extreme-6 will be a great choice for you.
- Stunning quilted maple top
- Coil tap gives you ultimate tonal flexibility
- Fast neck for shredding
- No case or bag included
- Will need to be set up out of the box
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Low Action Electric Guitar Under $500
Steve Vai’s signature guitars have become as famous and iconic as the man himself – with their unique monkey-grip handles and vine inlays it’s just about one of the most bad-ass super strat guitars you can get.
Here are a few things we love about the JEMJR:
- Lightning-fast neck will leave you speechless
- Quantum pickups have magnificent tone
- Double-locking tremolo
The JEMJR features Ibanez’s Wizard III neck, a neck that is designed for speed that is thin and feels great in your palm. The fretboard features jumbo frets, making it easier to find your place on the higher frets and pull off those awe-inspiring bends.
Tonally, the JEMJR is a real beast. The Ibanez-designed Quantum pickups are hot and articulate, giving you all the top-end you need for searing lead lines in the bridge, while also being able to dial in nice thick tones in the neck. You also get the single coil in the middle for added tonal versatility.
And with Ibanez’s standard double-locking tremolo, you’ll be free to wail on this beast with all of the insane divebombs and squeals that you can muster to pull out of it – without ever worrying that it’ll go out of tune.
- Supreme playability with Wizard III neck and jumbo frets
- Unique design that immediately catches the eye
- Versatility with the HSH pickup combination
- Fret inlays and headstock insignia look cheap
- Plays a bit rough out of the box
- Double-locking trems are confusing if you haven’t used one before
Ibanez RG550 Genesis Collection – Best Low Action Electric Guitar Under $1,000
For our best under $1,000 choice we take a look at a modern beast based on a legendary classic – the RG550 Genesis from Ibanez.
Ibanez first released the RG550 in 1987, shortly after the release of Ste Vai’s signature JEM777 model. At the time the RG550 was meant to be a more affordable alternative to the JEM777.
With this RG550 Genesis series, Ibanez has gone back to 1987 and taken inspiration from the original to bring back many of the great features that the 1987 version had.
Here are a few specs that make this axe a killer:
- Super Wizard neck
- Ibanez V7/V8 humbuckers are brilliant
- Deep cutaway neck not seen on other models
The overall craftsmanship is simply exemplary. The Wizard neck is absolutely perfect – your hand glides effortlessly along it – while the vibrato performs marvelously through every divebomb you put it through.
Tonally, this Ibanez RG550 Genesis can cover a lot of ground. Despite its pointy, shred-inspiring appearance, the HSH configuration allows you to dip in and out of different genres comfortably.
The V7 bridge humbucker delivers the screaming, in-your-face tones you want in an Ibanez, while the V8 neck humbucker offers slight compression at higher gain settings that’s perfect for lead lines.
And finally, one feature that makes the RG550 Genesis so magnificent to play is that it features a classic-style tilt neck joint with a stamped metal plate rather than the sculpted All Access neck joint found on most modern RG models. This gives you easy access to the upper frets.
The RG550 Genesis is for the player who wants something primarily to shred on, that delivers excellent high-gain sounds with a tremolo system that will handle any abuse you can throw at it, and also wants to occasionally dip into other styles.
- Razor thin Super Wizard neck
- Contoured neck gives effortless access to the upper register
- Locking, floating tremolo system
- Versatility of the V7/V8 pickups
- Neck can be almost TOO thin
- No case or gig bag is a bit disappointing at this price range
Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Best Premium Low Action Electric Guitar
For the premium player who wants to make an investment into a premium guitar that will last for decades, the Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty is the crem de la crem.
Fans of legendary guitarist John Petrucci will know about his devotion to Ernie Ball Music Man guitars for the last 20 years, over which time his line of guitars has continued to evolve to meet his needs and the needs of players everywhere.
Some of the things that make this guitar such an amazing axe include:
- Premium component choices
- Neck-through design and premium woods for warmth and sustain
- Light-weight contoured body for effortless playing
The Dimarzio Dreamcatcher and Rainmaker humbuckers were designed in collaboration between Petrucci and Dimarzio exactly to the specifications he wanted – leading to a set of humbuckers that will take you from bell-like cleans to face-melting madness at the turn of a volume knob.
The mahogany neck-thru design with maple-capped mahogany body delivers a combination of remarkable sustain and warmth that you won’t find in many other guitars.
As far as playability, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better playing guitar anywhere on the market. Sporting a recessed neck heel that gives effortless access to the higher frets and a light-weight contoured body, this may just be one of the most comfortable guitars we’ve ever had the pleasure of plugging in.
Add to that the features Petrucci’s guitars are known for like the active preamp with gain boost switch, Schaller locking tuners and custom floating tremolo, and you’ll see why this guitar is worth every penny you put into it.
The Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty is truly for serious players who want the cream of the crop and are willing to pay for it. If you fall into that category, pick one up for yourself and don’t look back!
- Premium everything
- Wonderfully comfortable to play
- True quality at its finest
- Price – this is not a guitar the average player can afford
ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best Low Action Electric Guitar for Metal
If you’re looking for a bad-ass metal guitar with an in-your-face sound and look, you can’t go wrong with the EC-1000 from ESP LTD.
ESP guitars are magnificent, high-end guitars produced in Japan. They can also cost upwards of $8,000…
To make their guitars more accessible to the average player, the ESP LTD line of guitars has come to be known for making more affordable versions of ESP guitars.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on the quality.
The entire ESP LTD line of instruments features premium tonewoods, quality pickups, and solid hardware for a lifetime of use
The EC-1000 has a mahogany body and neck, an ebony fingerboard, and 24 extra jumbo frets for easier playing.
You get eternal sustain from the Eclipse’s set-neck design, which keeps it resonating longer than bolt-on designs. So if you like to hold your bends and have them ring out for minutes on end, the EC-1000 could be the perfect guitar for you.
What really sets this guitar apart is the pickups – an EMG 60 in the neck and an EMG 81 in the bridge
You get a powerful, articulate tone thanks to these EMG dual humbuckers. From crystal-clear cleans to searing high-gain tones, EMGs will not leave you disappointed.
For guitarists who love the bite and bark of EMG pickups and looks that will melt your face off – consider the ESP LTD EC-1000 your next axe of choice.
- Dual EMG humbuckers deliver excellent heavy tone
- High-quality materials and craftsmanship
- Body shape makes it comfortable to play
- Not as versatile as other offerings
- EMG pickups require batteries
Epiphone Les Paul Standard 60s – Best Les Paul Style Low Action Electric Guitar
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard captures the same look, feel, and sound like an original Gibson Les Paul at a fraction of the price.
Read our full Epiphone Les Paul Standard Review
The Les Paul – starting in 1952 with the production of the first one, this classic design has become one of the world’s most iconic guitars, and has been the chosen guitar of countless musical icons across a wide range of genres.
With this Les Paul Standard 60’s edition, Epiphone has produced a truly magnificent guitar with everything there is to love about the Les Paul – the looks, the tone, and the playability – all at an affordable price.
There are a few new design features on the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s as compared to older models.
One big feature of these new generation Epiphone guitars is the redesigned headstock.
Gone are the days of the oddly shaped headstock that stuck out and made for a slightly awkward appearance that led many people (and I’ll be honest – myself included) to immediately discount the idea of buying an Epiphone.
Another great feature of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s is that the edges of the neck are hand-rolled just like the Gibson models. This is a HUGE deal as it was one of the real sticking points and issues that really stuck out on earlier Epiphone models.
Putting your hand around the neck of this Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s feels so much more like you’re playing on a Gibson thanks to this small, but hugely important design tweak.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s features Epiphone’s own Probucker pickups. These pickups are modeled to sound like vintage PAF pickups that were used on the 1958-1960 Les Pauls.
Coming in at right around the $600 mark at time or writing (check the link for current prices), this guitar is perfect for a player looking for a solid mid-level guitar with serious tone, sustain, and the classic Les Paul style.
- Epiphone Probucker Humbuckers deliver nice thick tones.
- Hand-rolled edges of the neck and redesigned headstock
- Slim C-profile neck
- Neck pickup can be a bit muddy for chords with higher gain
- Polyurethane finish can feel a bit sticky
Ibanez Nita Strauss Signature JIVA10 – Best Low Action Electric Guitar for Shredders
This JIVA10 signature guitar from Nita Strauss, the guitarist for Alice Cooper, has a slick body that’s built for speed and aggressive playing.
There are a lot of things to love about this guitar, but here were a few of our favorite things about it:
- Unique high-quality tonewoods
- Hand-picked DiMarzio pickups
- Ibanez’s Edge-Zero II tremolo system
- Unique “EKG” fret inlays
Starting with the tonewoods, this guitar leaves nothing to be desired. At the core of this beast is nyatoh topped with quilted maple, the neck is a combination of maple and purpleheart, and the fingerboard is made of ebony.
This combination of woods is not something you find on a lot of guitars, and they combine to make a deep, warm resonant tone.
Tonally, the trio of DiMarzio pickups used on this JIVA10 will get you everything you need. A pair of custom Pandemonium humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions give you thick, tight lows, open mids, and smooth highs.
Add the True Velvet single-coil in the middle position with its clean, punchy highs and mids and this guitar can truly cover any style of music you want to throw at it.
The Edge-Zero II tremolo system that Ibanez uses on the JIVA10 is perfect for slamming this guitar around with all of the divebombs you can give it – it won’t go out of tune. Perfect for the kind of player who loves to really put their axe through the wringer on stage.
And finally, this guitar just looks REALLY f@#%ing cool. The deep space blonde finish is truly unique and stunning, while the custom “EKG” fret inlays that grace the fretboard are a creative addition.
Coming in at the $1,000 – $2,000 range, this guitar is perfect for serious players looking for a unique instrument that they can thrash around without worrying about damaging the guitar or getting out of tune.
- Unique tone due to premium tonewoods
- One-of-a-kind aesthetics
- Killer pickup combination
- Price – still out of reach for many players
- Only gig bag included
Check out our guide on the Best Electric Guitars for Shredders
Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String Low Action Electric Guitar
Rounding out our list is the Sterling by Music Man JP70 – for those players that want the extra oomph and deep end grit that only a 7 string can offer.
Based on John Petrucci’s own Music Man 7-string, the Sterling brings the same design features and specs at a much more affordable price. Features such as the forearm scoop, modern tremolo, rosewood fingerboard, and locking tuners are all as you would find them on the much more expensive models.
A pair of Ernie Ball designed humbuckers can handle all of the high-gain tones you want to use with a 7-string guitar, albeit with much lower output and with a lack of tightness that the DiMarzio humbuckers on the USA version have.
Also, this guitar comes set up out of the box with low action and no fret buzz, making it real easy on your fingers.
- Music Man quality at an affordable price point
- Deep bass sounds
- Comfortable body shape and neck
- The pickups have noticeably weak output
- Not very versatile
How to Choose the Best Low Action Electric Guitar – Buyer’s Guide
When evaluating a guitar for its build quality I like to look at three areas to get a good gauge: The neck joint, the edges of the fretboard, and the fret inlays.
While you know that most guitars around the $1,000 range and up should be good, I’ve found the above method to be useful when evaluating lower-range guitars.
General Setup Quality
The way the guitar comes set up out of the box from the manufacturer will vary a lot by brand, with the more expensive ones usually being set up better before shipping (as they should be).
However, that is not always the case, and particularly with guitars on the lower end of the price range they often will not come set up very well out of the box.
As so, for the best setup results we recommend that you take your new axe to a local luthier who will evaluate your playing style and guitar to set the instrument up best for you.
Fretboard radius – how curved the fretboard is – is one area that will really affect the playability of your guitar.
Some guitars have a radius that stays the same all the way up the fretboard, while others have a radius that starts lower near the headstock and gets larger as you move up towards the neck joint.
This is mainly down to personal preference and what feels best in your hands.
Frets come in all shapes and sizes – medium, medium jumbo, jumbo etc. They can also be made of different materials.
The type of music you want to play can help guide your decision on the size of frets you may want. For shredders, jumbo frets are often preferable to be able to hit arpeggios on the upper register while blues players may want something smaller to dig into the wood more on bends.
Medium-jumbo frets are a good happy-medium that most players can get into.
With low-action guitars specifically, you’re going to want to methodically check all of the frets on all of the strings to make sure there is no fret buzz before purchasing an instrument.
Just sit there and literally play every note on every string to see if you get any buzz. If you do, it could be a sign of a warped neck.
The wood your guitar is made out of impacts the sound more than you may think. A lot of Ibanez guitars are made of basswood for rich complexity while Gibsons are made of mahogany for warmth. Research the type of wood the guitar you’re looking at buying is made of to see if it fits what you’re looking for.
But at the end of the day … sound is all in your own ears.
One thing to keep in mind is that price does not guarantee quality, and definitely doesn’t guarantee that you will like the guitar. While price does usually equate to build quality, even expensive guitars can have defects and quirks that make them unplayable.
Be sure to evaluate everything mentioned above, even with more expensive guitars.
Also keep in mind that a lot of the time, you can find a guitar under $1,000 that will play and sound just as good as the guitars that are over $3,000. Keep your mind and ears open when evaluating guitars.
Read Also: How Much Does an Electric Guitar Cost?
There you have it, our list of the 10 best low action guitars.
Remember that not every guitar is meant to be set up with low action, so make sure to keep in mind the things mentioned in this article when you choose your next axe and you’ll be just fine.