Product Review: Washburn EA-20k Acoustic/Electric Guitar

I was in the market for a good acoustic / electric guitar. There were many options available in nearly every price range. I happened upon the Washburn EA-20k at a local music store. I played it and it felt and sounded great. I plugged it in and it felt great and sounded amazing. I was sold and I’ve used it as my main acoustic guitar since. Below is my review of the Washburn EA-20k guitar.

I was browsing one day in an upstate, NY music store and spotted the Washburn EA-20k guitar. The look of the figured koa wood immediately drew my attention. I picked it up and noticed a very nice balance and weight. I sat down and played the Washburn EA-20k for a few minutes. It sounded great and the neck felt like “buttah.”

Then, I plugged the Washburn EA-20k into an amp. I was blown away at the rich and crystal clear sound of the Washburn EA-20k when amplified. Then, I looked at the price tag. $799 +tax. (ouch!) Too rich for my blood. I sadly placed the Washburn EA-20k back on the rack. Fast forward to a few months later. I stop by the same upstate, NY music store. I spot what appears to be the same guitar. The last I saw this instrument, it was $799 US without a case.

Well this time, It had a tag on it for $599 US WITH a case. Now THAT’S more like it. I commented to the owner, “that’s a hell of a price drop from $799”. He replied that he still had that new $799 Washburn EA-20k in the back and that the one that I was looking at was a USED Washburn EA-20k. Well I picked it up. It didn’t have a ding on it and hardly any fret ware. It sounded just as incredible as the one I played a few months earlier.

I put $100 down on the Washburn EA-20k, put in some overtime at work and had it paid off to bring home in about 3 weeks. I’ve used it regularly since. It’s traveled across the globe and back with me. Let’s break it all down here and go over the fine points of the Washburn EA-20k.

Features:

The Washburn EA-20k’s body is made 100% of Koa Wood (hence the “k” placed within the model number) and a rosewood neck with a rosewood, 21 fret fingerboard. The neck features a cream colored binding and quality Grover tuning machines. On the upper side of the guitar, the Washburn EA-20k features a 3 band EQ, a volume knob, a notch knob and a contour slide control and a two way phase toggle.

The entire panel opens up where it houses a 9 volt battery. On the bottom of the Washburn EA-20k there is an end pin and a separate area where there is a 1/4 output jack to plug the Washburn EA-20k into an amp or PA system but also a low impedance output. The sound pickup is nearly invisible and cradles the bridge from underneath. OK, now let’s get down to what I think about the Washburn EA-20k.

I have used the Washburn EA-20k over the years in just about every performance and recording application imaginable and it has never disappointed me. It feels great in my arms, the neck is smooth and very playable. The Washburn EA-20k stays in tune great and there is no fret buzz anywhere on the neck. I had an acoustic / electric guitar at one time before. I loved the sound of the guitar when I plugged it in but it sounded very weak when I was playing unplugged.

Pros:

Where do I start? Grover tuning machines stay in tune well. Active electronics. A smooth playable neck. The control panel offers the musician to shape the sound of the Washburn EA-20k to fit any preference. Very attractive looks.

Cons:

The Washburn EA-20k isn’t FREE.

Conclusion:

The Washburn EA-20k delivers a consistent great sound plugged into an amp, a PA system, or not plugged in at all. It looks breathtaking and has the feel and playability and sound of a Martin or Taylor guitar costing twice as much. I’ve owned this Washburn EA-20k since the fall of 2000 and suspect that I will get plenty more years of pleasure from my Washburn EA-20k. If you happen upon a Washburn EA-20k or EA-20, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be as pleased with it as I am.

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