When you're looking for a guitar, one piece of advice most people will give you is
"Make sure it has a nice action"
So what actually is it?
The Action is the space between the string and the fretboard, coloured in green here on the Tanglewood TSF CE XB.
Why is it important?
The action is important as it can make a bit different to how easy or difficult a guitar is to play, particularly for a beginner. A 'high' action (a large gap between the strings and the fretboard) is bad as it would require more pressure and finger strength to push the strings down onto the frets. This is particularly discouraging for beginners who find that their fingers hurt and soon give up!
However, a low action is just as bad - while the strings are easier to play, insufficient space can lead to string buzz and muting.
So How can I be sure?
The good news is that nowadays, quality issues arising from bad actions on most brands are few and far between. All of the guitars at Normans are checked before leaving the factory and the majority are checked here by our staff before leaving to minimise the chance of a quality issue.