Review: Washburn Deep Forest Ebony FE Acoustic Guitar

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Review: Washburn Deep Forest Ebony FE Acoustic Guitar

Words by Rob Gee

Musical Merchandisers | RRP: $489

Over the years, Washburn have been renowned for their big body Dreadnaught guitars that have a particularly Western vibe to the design and feel. But I have always been partial to their smaller bodied guitars, especially their folk models. The WF-10SCE was one that over the years continued to prove itself as every bit the guitar of it’s bigger brothers, with a greater comfort and ease of playing. So, it is with no surprise that I was delighted to get a look in to the new Deep Forest series of guitars from Washburn, and especially so, the Ebony FE model. So, let’s take a closer look.

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As the name suggests, this is the Folk body guitar, with electronics, in Ebony timber. It’s not a difficult system to understand, and it makes determining Washburn models quite easy. The lack of a ‘C’ in the name suggests that a cutaway is not included, so it’s a full folk body on this one. And with that you’re getting a slightly larger surface area on the top and a slightly larger chamber for increased resonance. Sure, there is reduced access to the upper frets, but this isn’t really the sort of guitar you’re wanting to wail out a hard rock solo on. It’s more of a gentle folk instrument that wants to be enjoyed for it’s sound, rather than for its ability to pull a bunch of hair raising stunts. So, with that, Washburn made the call to keep the full body, for a full sound and a classic silhouette.

Now, while we’re talking about the silhouette, the shape is certainly another key feature to the sound of this instrument. The broader base and narrow shoulder of the Folk model see the curves on the instrument push in around the sound hole and as such increase projection compared to larger bodied instruments. A full size dreadnaught will have a bigger sound with more increased low-mid frequencies, but it won’t quite have the projection of a folk model. And the Deep Forest Ebony FE is the perfect example of this. It literally throws it’s sound out of the sound hole for a real punchy projection that makes it stand out from others in an ensemble. 

The ebony top does just what ebony es expected to do. It offers a sound that has plenty of bottom end, and is very detailed in the higher frequencies, with a good amount of presence. This is matched with the okoume backs and sides, which allow for a little warmth in the sound, adding more mid-range, and mellowing out the shrillness that can often accompany too much ebony in an instrument. The overall tone is really well balanced, especially when you consider it is coming from a smaller bodied guitar. The ebony fills the space so well with it’s added bottom end to sonically trick you into hearing a bigger instrument. But, from the players perspective, you get the ease and comfort of the slim body and smaller overall size.

In addition to it’s punchy presence acoustically, the Ebony FE comes with a Barcus Berry pre-amp and tuner system installed as well. So, you can just plug in and play when you want to record at home, in the studio, or perform on the stage. Admittedly, this gives you more of the sound of the pickup and preamp, and not so much of the instrument, as is often the case with under saddle piezo systems. So, if you’re recording and really want to hear the Ebony FE in it’s own right, I would suggest a nice wide diaphragm condenser microphone about a meter away from the guitar’s top, and slightly off axis to account for the projection of the instrument.

Of course, the look of any instrument is key to its performance ability. I know that sounds insane, but every musician wants to look good while they’re playing, as well as sound good too. It’s a thing. And I think we can all agree that the Washburn Deep Forest Ebony FE certainly looks slick. It’s got that cool satin black guitar look that seems to work so well on smaller bodied acoustics, but the top brings a little added class when you get a little closer and realise theirs a beautiful ebony grain pattern complimenting the darker back and sides. What can I say, I’m a fan. But it’s not about what I think in the end. So, stop into your local Washburn dealer and see what you think for yourself.

The vintage-style body on the Deep Forest Ebony FE is small and comfortable. The sonic combination of this slightly undersized body with these woods is really special. The wood blends are naturally full of deep, rich overtones that bring forward its low end. The smaller body and bracing assure that it is also articulate and balanced. Need to switch from acoustic to amplified? No problem — the Deep Forest Ebony FE is equipped with Barcus Berry active electronics, including integrated tuner.


Striped Ebony is prized as a Tonewood for it’s deep and strong bass and lower mids, while still providing clear highs and slightly scooped mid ranges similar to rosewood.


The Okoume back and sides keep the tones more toward the warmer side.


The folk style body on the Ebony FE is articulate and balanced, and the smaller size is comfortable to play all day or night.


You will be perfectly at home on stage or in the studio with the onboard Barcus Berry active electronics, and it even come with a built in tuner.

An additional honourable mention within Washburn’s Deep Forest range is the Ebony D Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, with it’s sleek raven sheen and ability to allow players to flawlessly transition from strumming to finger style and flat picking. The Deep Forest Ebony Ace Auditorium Acoustic Electric Guitar doesn’t leave much to be desired for the acoustically inclined either, with its intensely rich low end and fool-proof tone capabilities. Overall, the expertly considered design of each and every member of the Deep Forest family I have had the pleasure to play is a testament to Washburn’s renowned legacy within the guitar market.

For more information, head to Washburn. For local enquiries, visit Musical Merchandisers.