How to Adjust the Action on a Les Paul Guitar

Written by mark rutkowski
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How to Adjust the Action on a Les Paul Guitar
The action determines the height of strings from the guitar. (electric guitar body image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

The action of an electric guitar is the piece at the back end of the strings that suspend the string over the pickups. The height of the action depends on what feels comfortable to the player, but there is always the goal of adjusting the action high enough so that the strings do not buzz against the frets of the guitar. Les Paul guitars feature a Tune-o-matic action, which allows the player to easily adjust the height of the strings by turning wheels located near the tailpiece.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Play the guitar. Take note of the height of the strings from the pickups and fretboard. Pay attention for any buzzing of strings against the frets, or uncomfortable string heights.

  2. 2

    Turn the thumb wheels on the action to raise of lower the strings. The wheels are located next to each end of the tailpiece where the strings are fed through. A higher action will increase sustain, while a lower action will improve playability.

  3. 3

    Continue playing the guitar to find a suitable height for the action. When the desired height is reached, stop making adjustments at the thumb wheels.

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