Have you ever wondered what guitar Ed Sheeran uses in his live performances?
Well you’re in the right place!
In this Ed Sheeran Guitar Guide, we’ll take a closer look at the main guitars in Ed Sheeran’s collection that he uses in his live performance.
In short, Ed Sheeran plays a combination of three different guitars. For acoustic guitars, Ed Sheeran plays his signature Martin Ed Sheeran Divide guitar and the “Little Martin” LX1E. Ed Sheeran’s electric guitar of choice is the one of a kind “Crash X Teddy M” Fender Stratocaster.
Ed Sheeran Guitar: Background Info
You may know Ed Sheeran for his famous singles like Shape of You, Photograph, Thinking Out Loud, Happier and Perfect. He is a singer/songwriter that blew up with his first commercial single called The A-Team in 2011.
What makes Ed Sheeran a musical sensation in the pop music genre is his phenomenal guitar skills and slow, touching music. His specialty is developing music that his fans can relate to. Every song brings a feeling of nostalgia, whether happy or sad.
During his early childhood years, Ed moved to London to pursue his love for music. When Ed was 11 years old, he met his inspiration Damien Rice who advised him to begin writing his own music. Shortly after, Sheeran had started recording CDs and released his first extended play record called The Orange Room.
Later Ed moved onto performing several hundred live shows and quickly drew attention. In fact, Ed had hit number 1 on the iTunes Chart before even signing with his first record label, the Atlantic.
At the time of 2020, Sheeran is one of the world’s best-selling musicians, selling over 150 million records worldwide. Spotify had named Sheeran the second most-streamed music artist of the decade, and the Official Charts Company awarded him the musician of the decade.
Ed Sheeran is quite the unique guitar player because he matches his style of acoustic guitar playing with his singing. Although he might not be on the level of legendary guitarists like Paul Guilbert, Joe Satriani, Stevie Vai, and Jimmy Hendrix, it’s his combination of singing and guitar playing that makes him stand out.
Typically Sheeran uses alternate tuning and looper pedal to give his songs a signature sound along with strumming and finger styling. The introduction to most of his songs includes guitar playing.
What Guitar Brands Did Ed Sheeran Use?
Many up and coming musicians are inspired by Ed Sheeran’s work and want to know what type of guitars he plays. His guitars aren’t over the top, but rather simple and produce an elegant sound. Mostly, Ed plays acoustic guitars, especially from brands such as Martin and Fender.
Martin guitars are a true American classic, handcrafted with a rich history dating back to 1833. Known for their exceptional tone and playability, Martin guitars are played by world renowned musicians around the world.
Three of the most popular guitars that Sheeran uses are the Martin Ed Sheeran Divide, Martin LX1E, and the Fender Stratocaster. With the Martin Ed Sheeran Divide, he’s able to capture a somber and sweet tone to his songs.
In 2013, Ed wanted to collaborate with the Martin brand to create his own line of guitars, which were the Martin x Ed Sheeran Signature Edition Guitars. He worked to build a revised version of the LX1E model.
The Martin LX1E version used a Sapele darker wood, while the original one used a Sitka Spruce Wood. In February of 2015, Sheeran had announced his Martin Ed Sheeran X Signature Edition guitar. This is an electro-acoustic guitar that has small X fret marks on the neck and a green X sign on the headstock.
Occasionally, you’ll find Ed playing the Fender Stratocaster or the Australian mini Maton. Individually, Ed owns two different Eric Clapton editions of Stratocasters. The first one is a Green T Eric Clapton Signature Model Fender Strat with a neon green color decorated with hand-painted white motifs by the artist Teddy M.
Ed. Sheeran had first used this guitar in public this February to July tour, especially when playing his single hit Thinking Out Loud. The other Strat that he owns is this Crash 1 Stratocaster.
One of the underrated guitars that he has fallen in love with is the Lowden guitars. These guitars are best known for their dreamy sound, quality-made tonewoods, excellent intonation, and perfect finish.
List of Ed Sheeran Guitars
The Martin Ed Sheeran Divide Signature Acoustic Guitar
The Martin Ed Sheeran Divide is, as the name suggests, Ed Sheeran's own signature guitar. It is his primary 3/4 size acoustic guitar that Ed Sheeran uses for pretty much all of his performances.
The Martin Ed Sheeran Divide is the perfect signature guitar designed for his beautiful, emotional ballads. This guitar has a solid Sitka spruce top and sleek glossy finish. It includes a divide symbol on the top of the body, fingerboard, and headstock. This symbolizes his mathematical themed album art. It’s constructed with mahogany HPL sides and back.
HPL is becoming in demand because it’s inexpensive to manufacture and has amazing sonic qualities. HPL is durable and frigid since it’s mostly layers of paper that are pressed and laminated together. The softwood for Sitka spruce helps to bring low-mid tones for this steel-string guitar making it versatile for genres, including pop, hip hop, and folk.
This hardwood helps to improve the sustain and resonance of the guitar without negatively affecting the sound. The neck of the guitar is a rust birch instead of the usual mahogany.
In terms of electronics, the X and Plus editions offer the Fishman Isys T preamp systems. This features a phase button to offset any feedback along with a volume knob, and a contour switch for tone shaping.
This guitar has a modern Fishman Sonitone setup where both tone and volume knobes are in the soundhole instead of the guitar’s side.
Although it’s relatively small in size, it is quite dynamic and loud. Also, you get the punchy spruce top sounds and classic bright tones like the other Martin guitars. Its small size helps to sing the higher notes but also compliments it with its rich deep tone.
Even though it’s an acoustic guitar, you’ll find that it’s made to be plugged into to play in front of a large audience. The Martin Ed Sheeran Divide is the perfect guitar made for sweet, bright, and lyrical tones for many of his acoustic vocal ballads.
The “Little Martin” LX1E
The Little Martin LX1E is a mini acoustic-electric guitar that is affordable and perfect for traveling. This guitar has amazing tonal clarity in both the mids and highs but doesn’t have some of the booming lows as the Dreadnought guitar due to its size. It also has a solid Sitka spruce top along with Mahogany wood sides and backs, which helps to make this guitar inexpensive.
Although the construction is human-made, the bridge and fingerboard have a dense ebony color.
It has a dark-hued HPL side and back with a dark binding line resembling a classy feel. The design of the guitar is strikingly similar to the Divide Signature, except that it doesn’t have its cover artwork. Although it is heavily marketed as a student guitar, Ed Sheeran still uses this instrument as one of his favorites.
The Little Martin LX1E includes a Fishman Somitone pickup that packs an enormous punch. When the LX1E is plugged in, it fills out space tonally and has great volume. The scale length comes in at 23 inches, just a few inches shorter than full-body guitars.
This length makes the frets closer, meaning easier access to upper frets. The instrument comes with a compensated white tusq saddle to help with intonation and tonal clarity.
On the side of the guitar, you’ll find four buttons, which are the tuner, volume, phase switch, and contour button. This small guitar still produces a deep tone due to its wood construction and sing out amazing highs. Most guitars this size produce thin sounds.
However, this one still retains the classic Martin sound. The mini LX1E is the perfect guitar to take out onto the beach to start a jam session or even bring along with you to the airport.
Ed Sheeran occasionally plays one of the most famous guitars of all time, except he’s added his twist. He collaborated with Teddy M and renowned graffiti artist John Crash Matos to add colorful artwork to the body of this guitar. However, this isn’t just the standard Fender Strat, but the Eric Clapton model.
The Fender has easily one of the most distinct sounds with substantial bends and a bright tone to it. Although it’s bright and punchy, it has quite the calm and soft side of an electric guitar.
This guitar offers an enchanting rich tone that Eric Clapton is known for and best suited for blues and rock. If you’re a solo player, the TBX and mid-boost is a great feature to have while playing on stage.
One aspect of the Fender Strat that stands out is the pickups. The Fender Strat has three pickups, while many other guitars only have 1 or 2 at most. These pickups are signature single-coil humbucker pickups strategically placed on the bridge, neck, and body.
Ed Sheeran uses these dynamic pickups in his hit songs like Thinking Out Loud and Perfect. With the combination of the volume, tone controls, and pickups, the player has five unique combinations to choose from. This Strat comes with Fender chrome sealed tuners and bone nut alomgng with a vintage tremolo bridge.
Most of the time the Fender Strat is built from either Ash or Alder and has an extra thick maple neck. The design and shape of guitar adds versatility to play both solos and chords.
It’s solid body construction of wood generates incredible sustain especially for ballads and pop songs. This guitar has a vintage feel especially with it’s satin-finished maple and 9.5 inch radius maple fretboard.
What Size Guitars Does Ed Sheeran Use?
With his Martin LX1E series along with many of his other signature models in his line of guitars, Ed typically uses a ¾ size guitar. Thanks to his popularity, many young musicians are following his footsteps by mimicking his setup using loop pedals and ¾ sized guitars.
Ed calls this setup the magic formula for his warm and soothing guitar sound. Normally ¾ sized guitars are known to be travel sized guitars because of their small bodies.
This makes it extremely easy to hold and portable to carry around. Ed intelligently uses this size guitar to match his loud vocal projection. When singing loudly or playing in a band, a ¾ is the perfect size guitar. This size allows it’s players to generate a much more focused sound than a dreadnought or jumbo guitar.
For someone like Ed who travels continuously for live performances, it makes sense to carry a small body guitar. These guitars have nearly the same scale length as large body guitars with just a couple of inches shorter.
The scale length ranges from 19.1 to 22.8 inches with an instrument length of 30.9 to 36 inches. Large acoustic guitars can have feedback problems and be a pain to carry.
Additionally, it’s also an excellent choice for players with small hands to easily access upper frets since they are closer together and improve overall playability.
The advantage of these small body guitars is that they have a fairly bright tone and cut through the mix better.
The only problem is that you’ll have to work much harder to produce a full bass sound like larger bodies. Since Ed plays ballads and soft spoken music, he doesn’t need a huge full bass to fill up a studio.
Ed Sheeran Guitar Affordable Alternatives
Yamaha FG JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
Although the FG JR1 ¾ size acoustic guitar is quite small, it’s the same size as the other guitars that Ed Sheeran plays. This guitar is excellent for younger players, people with smaller hands or travelers who need to play or perform on the go.
Just like the other guitars mentioned, the Yamaha FG JR1 still projects loud, crisp and bright despite not being the size of a full sized Dreadnought. It can feel a little boxy, but it has an excellent mid-range with clean and crisp trebles.
For it’s size, it has a very clear tone and great punch compared to other travel guitars.
It measures about 80 to 90 millimeters and 21.25 inches of scale length making it easy to reach upper frets, and do cool finger combinations.
The reason for it’s incredibly cheap price is the lack of solid wood construction. This is a laminate guitar with a Meranti side and back, nato neck, spruce top, and rose wood bridge and fingerboard.
Overall, it weighs under 5 lbs, so you can play this for hours without much strain and tuck it away in the overhead compartments of airplanes.
To spend as little as possible, it comes with a JR1 Starter kit which has the JR1 guitar, shoulder strap and soft case gig bag. Additionally, they also provide a capo, clip-on tuner and peg winder to help with perfect intonation.
You’ll also find multiple picks in different sizes, instruction guitar lesson DVDS, and extra sets of 80/20 brass light guage strings. Out of the box, this guitar has great action and is very versatile, so you can play right away.
The body has a synthetic bone saddle, nut and rosewood bridge for intonation. Also, it comes with a set of standard chrome tuners.
Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar
The Fender Player Stratocaster aims to attact younger players to the authentic Fender sound. This guitar includes updates from the original Stratocaster like a modern C-shape neck with 22 frets, sleek bodies and Alnico 5-magnet pickups. It has a beautiful sleek finish with many bright color options making it very eye-catching and appealing.
The Fender Player Stratocaster is beautifully constructed with Alder wood which is used for many of the other Fender guitars like the Telecasters, and Stratocasters.
This wood is known for having a bright, yet very balanced and resonant tone. The alder wood is also conducive for long sustains, sharp attacks and pronounced upper mid-range notes. Overall, it’s quite an easy guitar to hold due to it’s hand-rounded contours on the alder body to give it a nimble svelte feel.
With it’s easy to use five-position selector and controls, you can get the sound you want with a flick of a switch. You can expect an excellent top end sound, with some warm end sound and gutsy mid-range.
For it’s pickups, the tone control operates for both neck and middle pickups. It’s secone is directly for the bridge pickup. This makes it a 5-way switch for both pick and joint pick up selection. The Alnico 5 magnetic pickup helps for articulate and crisp notes with a modern edge.
Since it is a budget guitar, it doesn’t have all of the fancy hardware and electronics you might find on the standard fender stratocasters. At the top of the headstock are Fender machine heads with standard sealed units that get the job done.
However, the Player Strat does include a 2-point synchronized tremolo with bent steel saddles designed for enhanced playing feel. Additionally this provides a rock-solid tuning stability due to the reduced friction against the posts.
Read the Full Review: Fender Player Stratocaster Complete Review
Although Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest music artists in the pop genre today, he has a very simple guind setup that any player can replicate. He has a very unique style and tone that is likeable. His emotional ballads pull at your heartstrings making it fun to listen to whether you’re a casual or professional musician.
Many of his guitars are extremely affordable and compact, so you can find the guitar that fits your budget and style. With these guitars, you get the benefits of excellent sound quality and the convenience to take it with you anywhere.
We hope you found this Ed Sheeran guitar guide to be helpful in finding the next guitar for you!