Ed Sheeran guitar – Which Guitar Does He Use?

Ed Sheeran, the 29 year old British singer/songwriter/musician, has deservedly secured a spot as one of the biggest artists in the world, and his contribution to acoustic pop has been instrumental. This ginger has charmed people by his soulful music, and more often than not, his guitar has been his primary offensive.

Ed Sheeran guitar guitar has been quite prolific. As a teen, he traveled around with his trusty guitar by his side, practicing his skills. As an adult, his guitar has been the centerpiece of his music. With a style that is at once distinct and deceivingly complex, for he tends to make his playing look effortless. His shows also involve his ‘Chewie Monsta’ foot pedal, a custom built BOSS RC 300 foot pedal.

For performing, he prefers smaller guitars than average(¾), a habit picked up from carrying his guitar in a rucksack in his teenage years. Currently, he uses a signature guitar (a Martin 00-28vs Custom). Ed has a preference for Martin guitars, using multiple Martin LX1s over the years, touring. In the late 2000s, he used a Martin Backpacker as his primary ax while touring, the most visually distinctive of all his guitars. He is also associated with a signature series of guitars, Sheeran by Lowden, in association with Lowden. In several of his gigs, he has been spotted rocking out with Gibson and Stratocaster electric guitars.

Ed Sheeran Guitar List

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag

If you are looking for a smaller guitar, with a very distinctive form factor, this is the one for you. This guitar is a light, compact one, that can be easily carried around with you. This had been Ed Sheeran’s primary guitar beginning in 2007. While the sound is not as deep as a full sized one, it is still worth the price. This steel stringed guitar is great for traveling with, jam sessions around a campfire, and serenading under the stars.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Pros

  • Spruce top and tonewood back and sides
  • 15 frets
  • An interesting design
  • Light and durable
  • Reasonably priced
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Cons

  • The sound is not as deep as a full sized guitar
  • The shape is not stable in your lap

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

Popularly referred to as little Martins, it is presently the smallest size of a guitar that Martin offers. At a first glance, it looks like a smaller, no frills version of a classic Martin dreadnought, but no effort was spent in building this. Featuring a solid Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany HPL back and sides, and a low oval neck, the look and feel of this piece will blow your mind. While the HPL cuts down costs, it is quite difficult to notice unless you go looking for it. The sound is a pleasant surprise for a 3/4 size, not being as thin and bright as you would expect. However, the smaller size makes me hesitant to recommend this for everyone.

Sheeran has preferred these guitars as back-ups to his regular LXI-Es, the most famous among these being ‘Murray’, a backup to ‘James II’.

Rating- 4.0/5.0

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Pros

  • Solid Sitka spruce top and Mahogany pattern HPL back and sides
  • 20 frets
  • Richlite fingerboard and bridge
  • Light and portable
  • Reasonably priced
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Cons

  • The sound is not as deep as a full sized guitar
  • The finish is not perfect, but that is difficult due to the size

Martin LX1E Little Martin Solid Sitka Spruce/Mahogany HPL Acoustic/Electric

Martin LX1E Little Martin Solid Sitka Spruce/Mahogany HPL Acoustic/Electric w/Gig Bag

Martin LX1Es are small and sound good, and easy to carry around. It had  been the primary guitar for Sheeran, for almost a decade, starting with 2009, and for a good reason. 

Again, as a smaller guitar, one doesn’t expect the sound to be as deep as a full sized one. It leaves you with a lesser impact than a Martin Dreadnought, but it has a great sound for the size, and the tradeoff might be worth it for someone. It also comes with a Fishman Isys T pre amp built into it, and the sound palette that offers is phenomenal.

While it is a great guitar for the size and price, one usually expects a better sounding electric-acoustic guitar. But the smaller size makes it way better to travel with.

Sheeran tends to assign these guitars a personality of their own, and has named several of the ones in his possession ‘Cyril’, ‘Nigel’, ‘Lloyd’. ‘Felix’, ’Trevor’ and  ‘James II’  are the most popularly known ones

Rating: 3.5/5.0

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Pros

  • Solid Sitka spruce top and Mahogany pattern HPL back and sides
  • It comes with an inbuilt Fishman Isys T pre amp
  • Richlite fingerboard and bridge
  • Light and portable
  • Reasonably priced
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Cons

  • The sound is not as deep as a full sized guitar
  • The finish is not perfect, but that is difficult due to the size

Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Electric Guitar

Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Electric Guitar - Pau Ferro - Tobacco Sunburst

The Fender Stratocaster has been quite often called the classic electric guitar, and has earned it’s reputation several times over. A stylish, elegant instrument, it has been Sheeran’s go to electrical guitar over his concerts. This piece has a beautiful finish, across all it’s colors, and the Tone doesn’t disappoint. The polyester coated alder body and the maple neck carries the classic feel, but is also reminiscent of a space age aesthetic. It comes out of the box, playable, and sounds as smooth as butter. The 22 frets are individually machined, and perfectly space.

Rating: A ‘Perfect’ 5.0/5.0

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Pros

  • Maple neck, and an alder body with a gloss polyester finish
  • 22 frets
  • Pau ferro fingerboard
  • Combines the classic strat aesthetic with a deep, rich sound
  • Extremely versatile
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Cons

  • The single coils might bother some players
  • The truss rod adjustment is inconvenient

Ed Sheeran Looping pedals

Boss RC-30 Loop Station Bundle

Boss RC-30 Loop Station Bundle with Instrument Cable, Patch Cable, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth

Boss RC-30 loop station can be considered to be squarely in the middle of Boss’ s RC looper pedal range. It has two pedal switches, the left one for recording, playback and overdubbing modes, also allowing undo and fx features. The right pedal allows you to switch tunes, and change the tempo. Additionally, the two loops allow you to use two playbacks simultaneously, or switch back and forth, with individual volume adjustments for both of them. Also a three hours of recording might be useful too.

One major con of this system is that it doesn’t have an SD card support. So backing up your loops with an USB might be a useful idea. Further, using this pedal is a bit non intuitive, so there might be a learning curve for most people. 

Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Pros

  • Two stereo outputs
  • Allows you to layer loops
  • Great built in effects
  • Three hours of playback storage
  • Extremely versatile
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Cons

  • A lag is introduced if phases are shifted
  • The learning curve is steep

BOSS Loop Station Guitar Pedal

BOSS Loop Station Guitar Pedal, (RC-300)

A Boss-300 loop station takes all the positives of an RC-30, and then dials it up to a hundred. This large unit, with eight different pedals, is a monster, and a fearsome one at that. With three input channels, you can introduce delays, change tempo, and pretty much compose a masterpiece live. The delay function can be exploited with fairly interesting conlusions, and it also comes with several built in effects. Further, effects can be applied to specific parts of the track, and not single ones, if you so intend.

Of course, the same issues as the RC-30 plague this unit too. However, USB to PC connection gives you practically unlimited memory, although the learning curve is still pretty steep

Ed Sheeran uses a custom built version of this loop station, called the ‘Chewie Monsta’.

Rating: If you don’t mind spending hours to learn to use this, or considering any future developments to make more intuitive controls, it will be an easy 5 out of 5. However, considering how it is at the moment, I will rate it a 3.5/5.0

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Pros

  • Three stereo outputs
  • Allows you to layer loops
  • 8 distinct pedals, including an expression pedal
  • Three hours of playback storage
  • Extremely versatile
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Cons

  • Extra foot pedals are required for full hands free operation
  • The learning curve is steep

Ed Sheeran’s Amplifiers List

VOX, 2 electric-guitar-amplifier-combos

VOX, 2 electric-guitar-amplifier-combos, Vintage (AC15C1)

The VOX AV15C1, since it only 15 watts in power, is not as powerful, or as loud as most of the competition, but makes up for it in terms of features like reverb or tremolo. Further, it takes pedals remarkably well, and the sound is crisp and clean.

The only major drawback is that the switches have to be manually changed, interrupting your pace, but it can be done easier with a foot pedal

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Pros

  • Clean sound on even the top boosted channels
  • Affordable
  • User friendly
  • Two channels
  • Extremely versatile
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Cons

  • Heavy for a 15W amp
  • Needs foot pedals to operate truly handsfree.

Kemper Profiler Rack Rackmount Guitar Amplifier

 Kemper Profiler Rack Rackmount Guitar Amplifier

This 19 inch rack mountable profiler has a 600W inbuilt power amplifier, along with 200 profiles ready/ preset, and allowing you to make your own profiles, with automatic spillover to let your delays and reverbs fade away naturally. In the end, you are spoilt for choice.

The only noticeable con is that switching between profiles is not as simple

Rating: 3.5/5.0

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Pros

  • 600 W poweramp
  • 200 pre programmed amp profiles
  • upto 30 stombox
  • 2 input channels, 5 output channels
  • Extremely versatile
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Cons

  • It is extremely large
  • The sound is not the cleanest 

Affordable alternatives

Donner DAG-1C Beginner Acoustic Guitar

Donner DAG-1C Beginner Acoustic Guitar Full Size, 41" Cutaway Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag Tuner Capo Picks Strap String

The Donner is an eye catching instrument, and the sound quality is decent, but what seals the deal is definitely the construction of this beaut. The frets, the knobs, and the strap buttons are immaculately made and sealed.  With exceptional build integrity, and better than average sound (for the price range), this gets an easy recommendation.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Pros

  • Spruce top wood and Mahogany body
  • 20 frets
  • Excellent build quality
  • A great guitar at this price
  • Good sound
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Cons

  • Laminated wood tends to look cheap
  • The sound can be improved upon 

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top

This guitar has the Taylor name and quality attached for only a fraction of the price. The Mahogany finish is definitely pretty, though the laminated back and sides do detract aesthetically. Further, the chords are distinct and deep, though the resonance tends to get muddled. This is a decent enough guitar for learning to play, or for traveling with, but can not be recommended for professional use.

Rating: 3.0/5.0.

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Pros

  • Mahogany top and solid maple bottom
  • 19 frets
  • Taylor brand name and quality
  • Distinct chords
  • Compact and portable
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Cons

  • Laminated wood tends to look cheap
  • The resonance is muddled a while after striking a chord.

VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier

VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier,Black

This amp uses an analog/ digital hybrid circuit for amplification, which leads to relatively cleaner sounding riffs. With 13 different effects, and a fully flexible range of parameter adjustments, this 20 watt amp has the most customizable interface at this price. The shape of the body also leads to a deeper, and richer sound

Rating: 4.5/5.0

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Pros

  • Clean sound
  • Versatile
  • Exceptional effects modelling
  • Tube improves the tone significantly, for a deeper, richer sound
  • The tubes also contribute to a more natural sound
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Cons

  • Sometimes a hissing sound can be heard due to a loose tube

VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head

VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head

This 10 watt gives you complete control over Bass, Treble, Volume, and Gain, in an affordable and easy to use combination. While it is only a 10 watt amp, being tube based, the output is far louder that you would expect, performing better that higher wattage amps. This no frills tube amp is surprisingly good, and considering it‘s build quality, gets a wholesome stamp of approval.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Pros

  • Volume control is convenient
  • Lightweight
  • Good headroom
  • Great performance at this price point
  • Lots of gain
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Cons

  • Bass heavy
  • Not suitable for playing in a home

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size of guitars does Ed Sheeran play?

Ed Sheeran prefers smaller guitars, generally 3/4ths(S) while performing. While recording, he tends to use slightly larger guitars, but still not full sized ones. As he says when asked in interviews, ‘I used smaller guitars for I always kept moving. It was necessary to keep a small guitar, for you need to be able to chuck it in your backpack … maybe I never stopped moving’

What are the best songs by Ed Sheeran?

Best is a matter of subjective opinion, for Ed Sheeran does have a pretty impressive discography. ‘Thinking out loud’, ‘Perfect’, ‘Shape of you’, ‘Photograph’ are songs that stand out though.

Does Ed Sheeran prefer cheaper guitars?

Ed Sheeran prefers to use acoustic guitars over electric ones, which a is relatively cheaper option due to not touring. However for a casual guitar enthusiast, his choice of acoustic guitars falls anywhere from the middle of the range to high end.

How many guitars does Ed Sheeran own?

Due to preferring to stay out of the public eye, the exact number is not known. However keen eyed fans estimate the number to be at least fifteen, including the various guitars he has performed with over the years

Final Words

“Music is a powerful tool in galvanizing people around an issue. There’s no better way to get your point across than to put it in a beautiful song.” –Ed Sheeran

As we see, Ed Sheeran has a very unique preference in terms of guitars, and he proves that you do not really need top of the line equipment to make music.