What Guitar Does Ed Sheeran Use?

Hailing from England, the legendary singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has enamored countless with his emotive melodies. Starting from modest gigs as a budding artist, Sheeran’s commitment and skill have driven him to global fame. Renowned for fusing pop, folk, and acoustic vibes, he has forged a sound uniquely his own. So, what guitar does Ed Sheeran use to weave his musical magic?

what guitar does ed sheeran use

Brief Overview of Ed Sheeran’s Musical Career

Born in 1991 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Ed Sheeran developed a passion for music at an early age. Inspired by artists like Damien Rice and Bob Dylan, he honed his skills as a songwriter and performer throughout his teenage years. In 2011, Sheeran caught the attention of music industry heavyweight Elton John after independently releasing several EPs.

This encounter led to a record deal and the release of his debut album “+” (pronounced “plus”), which became an instant success. Since then, Ed Sheeran’s career has been nothing short of meteoric.

His subsequent albums “x” (pronounced “multiply”) released in 2014 and “÷” (pronounced “divide”) released in 2017 have further catapulted him to global fame. With chart-topping hits like “Thinking Out Loud,” “Shape of You,” and “Perfect,” he has solidified himself as one of the most influential artists of our time.

The Importance of the Guitar in Shaping Ed Sheeran’s Unique Style

The guitar serves as an intrinsic part of Ed Sheeran’s musical persona. It is through this instrument that he channels his emotions and connects intimately with his audience. Sheeran’s guitar-driven compositions and intricate fingerpicking techniques have become synonymous with his distinctive style.

From the early days of his career, Sheeran recognized the power of the acoustic guitar to convey raw emotions and create an intimate atmosphere. His songs often feature sparse arrangements that allow his soulful vocals and skillful guitar work to take center stage.

The simplicity of the guitar allows him to showcase his songwriting prowess, telling stories that resonate with listeners on a profound level. Furthermore, Ed Sheeran’s unique approach to the guitar has contributed significantly to his success.

He seamlessly blends elements of various genres, infusing pop sensibilities with folk-inspired melodies and rhythmically complex patterns. His ability to create dynamic arrangements using only a single instrument has garnered admiration from fellow musicians and audiences alike.

Ed Sheeran’s Preferred Guitar Brand

When it comes to the guitar brand of choice for Ed Sheeran, one name stands out: Martin & Co. With a rich history dating back to 1833, Martin has established itself as one of the most revered and prestigious guitar manufacturers in the world. Known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, Martin guitars have become synonymous with quality and superior sound.

Introduction to the brand Martin & Co.

Martin & Co., commonly referred to as Martin, is an American company that has been at the forefront of guitar manufacturing for over 180 years. Founded by Christian Frederick Martin Sr., the brand has earned a stellar reputation among musicians and enthusiasts alike.

What sets Martin apart from other brands is their commitment to using high-quality tonewoods such as spruce, mahogany, and rosewood in their construction. This dedication to sourcing premium materials contributes significantly to the exceptional tone and resonance that Martins are known for.

Historical Significance and Reputation of Martin Guitars

The historical significance of Martin guitars cannot be overstated. Countless legendary musicians have chosen Martins as their instrument of choice throughout history.

From Johnny Cash’s iconic black D-35 dreadnought to Eric Clapton’s affection for various vintage models, these guitars have played an integral role in shaping music over generations. Martin guitars have earned a reputation for their superb craftsmanship, attention to detail, and consistent quality control.

Each instrument undergoes meticulous construction processes that include hand-scalloped bracing techniques developed by C.F. Martin himself. This level of precision contributes not only to aesthetics but also enhances tonal integrity.

Ed Sheeran’s Collaboration with Martin for his Signature Models

In recognizing Ed Sheeran’s immense talent and unique musical style, Martin collaborated with the singer-songwriter to create his own signature models. This is a testament to Sheeran’s impact on contemporary music and his influence on aspiring musicians. The first Ed Sheeran signature model was the LX1E Little Martin, which quickly gained popularity due to its compact size and travel-friendly features.

Despite its small stature, this guitar delivers a remarkably balanced sound with surprising projection. It became a favorite among musicians who appreciate its easy playability and exceptional tone, making it an ideal choice for both beginners and professionals.

Building upon the success of the LX1E, Martin introduced the X Signature Edition as Ed Sheeran’s second signature model. This guitar offers a larger body size for enhanced resonance and features premium tonewoods such as solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides.

Equipped with Fishman electronics, the X Signature Edition allows for seamless amplification both in live performances and studio recordings. Ed Sheeran’s collaboration with Martin not only showcases his personal affinity for their guitars but also reflects his commitment to providing aspiring musicians with high-quality instruments that embody his unique style.

Ed Sheeran Signature Guitars

Overview of the first Ed Sheeran signature model: the LX1E Little Martin

When it comes to Ed Sheeran’s choice of guitars, one cannot overlook the LX1E Little Martin, which is his first signature model. This guitar, manufactured by Martin & Co., has gained immense popularity among musicians and fans alike. One notable feature of this instrument is its compact size, making it convenient for travel and on-the-go performances.

It is crafted with a solid Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides, providing durability without compromising tonal quality. Despite its small body, the LX1E delivers a surprisingly powerful projection with rich resonance, proving that size does not necessarily dictate sound.

Description of its compact size and travel-friendly features

The LX1E’s compact size makes it an ideal companion for traveling musicians or those who frequently perform in intimate settings. With overall dimensions of just 23 inches in length and a width of 14 inches at its widest point, this guitar easily fits into overhead compartments on airplanes or snugly in the backseat of a car.

Its lightweight construction further adds to its portability without sacrificing playability. Moreover, the LX1E boasts a padded gig bag for added protection during transportation—a thoughtful inclusion appreciated by professionals and amateurs alike.

Unique tonal qualities and projection for a small-bodied guitar

Despite being categorized as a small-bodied guitar, the LX1E surprises players with its remarkable tonal qualities. The solid Sitka spruce top provides an excellent balance between warmth and brightness while allowing for clear articulation of individual notes.

The HPL back and sides contribute to its unique tonal character by adding resonance as well as durability to withstand changes in humidity or temperature during travels. The LX1E’s projection capabilities are exceptional for its size, making it suitable for live performances in small venues without the need for additional amplification.

Introduction to the second Ed Sheeran signature model: the X Signature Edition

Following the success of the LX1E, Ed Sheeran collaborated once again with Martin & Co. to create his second signature model: the X Signature Edition. This guitar showcases his evolution as an artist and caters to his diverse musical styles, including both studio recordings and live performances. The X Signature Edition retains some similarities to its predecessor while incorporating a range of enhancements and design modifications.

Detailed specifications, including body shape, tonewoods, and electronics

The X Signature Edition features a unique modified “X” bracing pattern that enhances resonance and overall tonal response. Its body shape is based on Martin’s popular Auditorium size—comfortable yet versatile—with a cutaway design allowing easy access to higher frets.

The top is crafted from solid Engelmann spruce, known for its rich overtones and dynamic range. The back and sides are made from layered Hawaiian koa wood, which contributes to an eye-catching aesthetic while adding warmth and depth to the tone.

In terms of electronics, the X Signature Edition comes equipped with Fishman Sonitone electronics—an undersaddle pickup paired with a preamp system integrated discreetly into the soundhole—that ensures natural amplified sound during performances or studio recordings. This feature enables Ed Sheeran to effortlessly transition between acoustic sets and amplified environments without compromising his distinctive sound.

Emphasis on its versatility for both studio recordings and live performances

The X Signature Edition’s versatility shines through its ability to adapt seamlessly to different musical contexts. Whether in a recording studio or performing on stage in front of thousands of fans, this guitar offers exceptional tonal clarity with balanced highs, rich lows, and a punchy midrange. The modified “X” bracing pattern enhances the instrument’s projection, making it suitable for larger venues where its sound can cut through the mix without losing its natural acoustic qualities.

With the inclusion of Fishman Sonitone electronics, musicians can effortlessly reproduce the X Signature Edition’s distinctive tone in various performance settings. Ed Sheeran’s signature guitars, specifically the LX1E Little Martin and the X Signature Edition by Martin & Co., are exceptional instruments that embody his unique musical style and preferences.

From their compact size and travel-friendly features to their tonal qualities and versatility for studio recordings or live performances, these guitars demonstrate a meticulous attention to detail in both design and craftsmanship. Whether you are an Ed Sheeran fan or an aspiring musician seeking a high-quality guitar with remarkable sound characteristics, exploring these signature models is undoubtedly worthwhile.

Customizations Made by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran, known for his meticulous attention to detail in his music and performances, has taken the same approach when it comes to customizing his guitars. These modifications are aimed at enhancing his playing style and optimizing the sound quality during live performances.

Addition of a Soundhole Pickup for Better Amplification on Stage

One of the notable customizations made by Ed Sheeran is the addition of a soundhole pickup to his guitars. This modification allows for better amplification, ensuring that every nuance of his playing is captured and projected clearly in a live setting.

The soundhole pickup serves as an alternative or complement to traditional under-saddle pickups commonly found in acoustic-electric guitars. This particular type of pickup is discreetly placed inside the guitar’s soundhole, picking up vibrations from both the strings and the top wood.

This results in a more balanced and accurate representation of the instrument’s natural acoustic tone when amplified through PA systems or guitar amplifiers. With this customization, Ed Sheeran can achieve a consistent and high-quality sound regardless of venue size or environmental acoustics.

Installation of a Strap Button at the Neck Heel for Improved Comfort

In order to enhance comfort during long performances, Ed Sheeran has opted to install a strap button at the neck heel of his guitars. This modification provides him with greater support while playing standing up, reducing strain on his fretting hand and allowing him to maintain optimum playing technique throughout extended sets. The placement of this strap button near the neck heel ensures that weight distribution is more evenly spread across both shoulders when wearing a guitar strap.

By securing the strap at this position instead of just using one strap button at the lower bout, Ed Sheeran can achieve a better balance and stability, reducing the risk of fatigue or discomfort during his energetic performances. This modification not only enhances his playing experience but also contributes to his ability to deliver consistent, high-energy shows night after night.

Lesser-Known Guitars Used by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s musical journey has been marked by his versatility and willingness to experiment with different guitars to achieve the perfect sound for each song. While he is most commonly associated with his signature Martin guitars, there are a few lesser-known models that have made appearances in certain songs or performances.

These guitars offer unique qualities and add interesting dimensions to his already diverse repertoire. In this section, we will explore two such guitars: the Gibson J-45 acoustic used in “Thinking Out Loud” and the Lowden O-32C often seen during live performances.

The Gibson J-45 Acoustic Guitar Used in “Thinking Out Loud”

One of Ed Sheeran’s most iconic songs, “Thinking Out Loud,” features the warm and rich tones of a Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar. Known for its classic design and outstanding sound quality, the J-45 perfectly complements the romantic ballad’s nostalgic feel.

This model is cherished for its excellent projection and resonance, which allows every note played on it to ring out with clarity and depth. With its spruce top and mahogany back and sides, the J-45 delivers a balanced tonal response that enhances Ed Sheeran’s heartfelt lyrics beautifully.

The Lowden O-32C Used During Live Performances

During Ed Sheeran’s captivating live performances, he often relies on the Lowden O-32C guitar to captivate audiences with its exceptional sound quality. The O-32C is part of Lowden’s Original Series line, renowned for their meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

With a cedar top paired with rosewood back and sides, this guitar produces a warm yet articulate tone that perfectly complements Ed Sheeran’s intricate fingerstyle playing. The O-32C’s responsiveness and ability to handle dynamic playing make it an ideal choice for Ed Sheeran’s live shows, ensuring that every note he plays resonates with clarity and emotion.

Ed Sheeran’s Unique Playing Techniques

Explanation of some unique playing techniques

Ed Sheeran’s mesmerizing performances are not only attributed to his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics but also to his exceptional guitar playing techniques. One of the most distinctive techniques that Ed employs is percussive strumming or “beatboxing” on the guitar. By using his hands, fingers, and even parts of the guitar body as percussive elements, he creates a rhythmic backdrop that adds an energetic and dynamic quality to his music.

This technique allows him to mimic drum patterns while still maintaining the melodic aspect of his songs. Another notable technique in Ed’s repertoire is fingerstyle picking, where he simultaneously plucks individual strings with different fingers while fretting chords with others.

This polyphonic approach enables him to create rich harmonies and intricate melodies on a single instrument. In addition to these techniques, Ed Sheeran is known for incorporating looping into his live performances.

Looping involves recording short musical phrases or chord progressions in real-time and then layering them on top of each other as a repeating loop. This enables Ed to build complex arrangements by himself during live shows, giving the impression that multiple instruments are playing at once.

Through this technique, he can create lush soundscapes and reproduce studio-produced sounds with just his voice and guitar. Overall, it is Ed Sheeran’s mastery of these unique playing techniques that sets him apart as a truly exceptional musician.


As we’ve explored throughout this article, Ed Sheeran’s choice of guitar plays a significant role in shaping his signature sound and distinctive style. From collaborating with renowned brand Martin & Co., resulting in two remarkable signature models specifically tailored to meet Ed’s requirements, to customizing guitars for enhanced comfort and performance, every aspect demonstrates how crucial the guitar is to his musical journey. Moreover, Ed’s exceptional playing techniques, such as percussive strumming, fingerstyle picking, and looping, showcase his virtuosity and innovative approach to music.

These techniques not only add depth and complexity to his songs but also captivate audiences worldwide. Ed Sheeran’s infectious passion for music, combined with his unique talents and dedication to pushing creative boundaries, have solidified him as one of the most successful and influential musicians of our time.

Whether he is performing on grand stages or intimate venues, Ed’s love for his craft shines through in every note he plays. So let us be inspired by Ed Sheeran’s guitar journey and continue exploring the vast possibilities that this timeless instrument holds for all musicians.

Related: What Guitar Does Alex Turner Use?

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