With Ed Sheeran being one of the best selling music artists worldwide (sales of 150 million records don’t lie), it’s no surprise that the question of ‘what guitar does Ed Sheeran use?‘ is often on the tip of a guitarist’s tongue. An answer that once revealed, goes onto prompt a ream of other questions like: ‘why does Ed Sheeran use a small guitar?‘ & ‘Are Sheeran guitars any good?‘
Call us crazy, but it’s almost as if guitarists are out to unearth a secret formula. Like they’re playing some sort of career Cluedo, in which Ed’s Sheeran’s guitar is the prime suspect. Then again, you can understand why. Being up there with the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to music and sales, Ed Sheeran must have some tricks up his sleeve, right? It can’t be all luck!
So naturally, with his guitar being his main companion on stage, it’s almost always the first port of call for anyone trying to suss Ed’s secret formula. Call it fanatical curiosity if you will. So with that in mind, let’s get straight into it – what guitar does Ed Sheeran use? Read on to find out….
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What guitar does Ed Sheeran Use?
When it comes what guitar Ed Sheeran plays, there’s actually quite a few.
While Ed may have his favourites, it’s clear that he’s not got his heart set on one make or model. In fact, the only similarity between the guitars that Ed Sheeran plays, is their size; Ed usually can usually be found playing a ¾ guitar. Many say that this is just one of the secrets behind his distinctive sound.
However saying that, out of all the guitars Ed uses, there are some that make significantly more appearances than others. The main guitars that Ed’s known for (or at least see with in the spotlight), include the Fender Stratocaster and the Martin LX1 Series – most notably the LX1E.
In fact, Ed’s such a big fan of the Fender that he’s owned two! And these weren’t just any Strats either – both were Eric Clapton editions, with their own unique touches. The first being a green edition, which featured white hand-painted artwork done by the artist, Teddy M, which featured on Ed’s ‘X’ world tour. And the second was actually a replica and used as part of Sheeran’s tribute to Eric Clapton when he performed at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
This tribute guitar was known as the ‘Crash’ edition and came about after Eric Clapton commissioned John Matos (a graffiti-based street artist), to put his own spin on the design of his Fender. This iconic guitar was also dubbed as the ‘over the rainbow’ Stratocaster.
As for the Martin LX1E, this is arguably ‘the’ guitar that Ed Sheeran is known for, and was actually the basis of his collaboration with Lowden guitars in 2015. Through which Ed designed a his very own Limited-Edition Ed Sheeran ‘X’ Signature Guitar, which as you’d expect was a huge hit with fans!
Then come 2017 and Ed finally got to work with Martin themselves on a guitar – a version of the LX1E known as the Divide Edition. As you can probably tell by the name, this was Ed’s secondLimited-Edition signature guitar that was this time modelled around his 2017 album, Divide. An project that we may add, wasn’t just the bestselling album across the UK, but also the biggest selling album of 2017 worldwide!
Although that’s no where Ed’s guitar journey ends – in fact, it’s just the start…
What are Sheeran Guitars by Lowden?
Sheeran By Lowden is Ed’s own brand of guitars, which are manufactured in partnership with family-run guitar manufacturer, Lowden.
The whole brand came about when Ed asked Gary Lightbody (the front man in Snow Patrol) to borrow his Lowden guitar. Of course, Gary agreed and it wasn’t long before Ed was using the guitar to write songs for his then up and coming album ‘X’. 5 of the songs on the album were wrote using the guitar!
Then as a cheeky surprise, Gary asked George Lowden (founder) if he would make a guitar specifically for Ed, as a present for his album’s success – so he did. However, as you probably guessed, this wasn’t no ordinary guitar. Being a ¾ guitar, it was slightly different to the usual guitars Lowden made, yet before long it had wormed its way into the newest model – ‘The Wee Lowden’.
From here Ed went onto work with George Lowden to create his very own line of guitars. A Lowden guitar designed to be affordable and encourage young talent into the music industry. Very inspiring! The venture has been such a success that Lowden have actually built a separate factory just to produce the Sheeran by Lowden range!!
3 premium Ed Sheeran guitars
Okay, so while you could go full-on budget in your hunt for Ed Sheeran guitars (more on that later), you could also spend that little bit more to bag yourself better build quality and a more accurate sound. Something that if you’re just starting out could be the difference between you throwing in the towel or realising your ability and going on to become a professional guitarist! So let’s just say that if you’re looking to jump on Ed’s vibe, then these 3 guitars are a fantastic place to invest your shoebox money…
1: Sheeran by Lowden W-01 Acoustic Guitar
As you’ve probably guessed by the name, this Sheeran by Lowden guitar (the W-01) is arguably the easiest way to sound like Ed Sheeran. And that’s because it’s designed in collaboration with the man himself and based on a Lowden guitar that was build specially for him. In essence then, this is basically Ed’s fantasy guitar brought to life. So as you’d expect, it’s no slouch.
The top of a Sheeran by Lowden W-01 can be either Cedar or Spruce – a Cedar top being the universal sign of a Lowden. As for the sides, these come in either Rosewood or Walnut and even the bridge can be specced with different woods too, although we’re fans of the Ebony. What’s more, this guitar features a really sturdy set of chrome tuners, which are smooth to operate and offer accurate tuning. In fact, the whole guitar feels solid & well built – the figuring on this guitar is great!
And if that’s not enough, this guitar also comes with Lowden’s A-frame bracing in the upper bout that gives it that signature Lowden sound. As well as a gig bag too, so you can take this little gem on the road. Safe to say if you want to sound like Ed Sheeran, this is one of the best ways to go about it.
What’s good about this Sheeran guitar?
2: Sheeran by Lowden S-01 Acoustic Guitar
Want to sound like Ed Sheeran, but not too keen on really small guitars? No problem. As this S-01 is actually based on the Lowden S Series guitars, which means that it’s another 5cm longer and ever so slightly wider than the W Series (above). And while this does mean there’s a slight difference in the sound – this guitar’s slightly more bright and treble heavy – it carries much the same warm tone. Safe to say it’s still characterful of Ed Sheeran, especially when finger plucked.
What’s more, this S Series guitar also comes with a cutaway – another reason why the sound slightly differs. However, we feel that for beginners this is actually advantageous, as it greatly improves your acces to the lower frets. Also, just like with the W Series, these Sheeran guitars come in a range of Rosewood, Cedar, Ebony and Walnut designs. All of which ooze quality and really do allow you to latch onto the Sheeran sound for a fraction of the Lowden price.
What’s good about this Sheeran Guitar?
3: Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 70’s Electric Guitar
Ask us for a viable and slightly cheaper alternative to Ed’s one-of-a-kind Fender Stratocaster, and we’d say this Squier would be a solid choice. Like Ed’s guitar, it’s an electric Strat made by Fender, which pretty much offers the same vintage aesthetic. The only real difference being the build, with the Squire being made in Indonesia, opposed to the US.
But then again, because the build one one of these isn’t bad at all. And that changes to ruddy marvellous when you take into account the price – let’s just say you won’t be paying 5 figures for one of these bad boys! What’s more, being a classic re-issued guitar, this Strat features vintage tuners that add real character, as well as a mustang-style bridge, which is a vast improvement on those of previous Squier Strats.
Then consider that the entire neck is made of solid maple and suddenly the Squier name doesn’t seem all too bad. Plus, at just 5kg it’s actually quite a lightweight Strat too, which makes it ideal for gigging and life on the road. Therefore, if you want to sound like Ed Sheeran, this is certainly not a bad place to start!
What’s good about this Sheeran-style Strat?
6 of the best budget guitars to sound like Ed Sheeran
Want to sound like Ed Sheeran, but don’t have the £3k for a top of the range Lowden? You can! Because as crazy as it might seem, there are actually a fair few guitars out there that enable you to somewhat recreate Ed’s lively but mellow sound. The only question is, which is the closest match to Ed Sheeran’s gear? Here’s 4 budget alternatives we’d urge you to consider…
1: Yamaha CS40II Classical Guitar
The Yamaha CS40 is a compact ¾ sized guitar that’s ideal for newbie guitarists, especially those who want to sound like Ed Sheeran. And that’s because, aside from being smaller than your average guitar, it’s also ideal for practicing finger plucking. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by how well this Yamaha coped with our obsessive finger plucking, as well as the actual sound it was able to create.
And on the subject of sound, that’s really why you buy this guitar. It really does sound like a lot more than it costs – warm, balanced and mellow. Perhaps the reason why it was previously voted the best stringed instrument by Classic FM listeners! Something that we think’s down to the Rosewood casing, which has a really nice sheen to it. Then again, it is a Yamaha, so a quality build comes as standard.
The tuning gear in particular feels really solid and accurate too. Tweak it right and you really get a good response through both the highs and lows. All-in-all, if you want to build your skills on the guitar and develop a bit of Sheeran’s twang at the same time, this¾ is a great first step!
Why would Ed Sheeran approve of this Yamaha?
2: Carlo Robelli C941N¾ guitar
We’re always fans of guitars that feel solid, hence our love for this ¾ guitar from Carlo Robelli. With its Linden top and Agathis back & sides, you can’t escape the fact that this guitar feels high quality from virtually every direction. Then consider it’s tone and you’ll soon see what we mean.
It’s rich, warm, organic and not too bright, which makes it ideal if you’re looking to jump on Sheeran’s sound. Tribute artists listen up! Something we blame on its maple fingerboard and bridge; the bridge on this guitar has a great relationship with the soundboard! All of which really makes the intonation something to shout about – for a guitar of this price point, it’s impressive.
However, if you were to ask us, this guitar’s real party piece is how well it deals with vigorous strumming and finger plucking. The strings have some real good tension to them, which for virtually any type of player, makes this classic guitar extremely playable and versatile too. Safe to say if you want to sound like Sheeran on a budget, then this Carlo Robelli has you covered.
Why would Ed Sheeran approve of this¾ guitar?
3: Fender ESC80 Educational ¾
As we know, Ed is a fan of Fender guitars, so even if you buy into the brand on a budget, chances are you’re on the right track. And speaking of which, what better place to start than with a Fender that’s made of both Mahogany, Okoume and Spruce! Basically a budget guitar that doesn’t actually feel that ‘budget’.
So as you can imagine, this Fender (unlike a lot of guitars in this price range) sounds like a guitar should. It doesn’t sound false or overly bright. Safe to say, we think Ed would approve! What’s more, tuning this guitar is a walk in the park, thanks to it’s tuning setup that is super easy to operate. If you can’t tune one of these then guitar may not even be for you.
A stand out feature for us was the small neck, which makes this plucky little guitar ideal for strumming and finger plucking. With the strings being nice and close together, you don’t feel likely you’re stretching in order to do so. Then factor in that this Fender also comes with a nifty travel bag and really you can’t go wrong. In fact, we think they should rename this guitar – scrap the ESC80 & call it the Ed Sheeran Starter Kit.
Why would Ed Sheeran approve of this Fender?
4: Stretton Payne ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar Pack
For those looking for a¾ sized guitar to hone their skills, or perhaps try out before they invest in a more pricy Yamaha or Fender model, then this guitar pack from Stretton Payne is ideal. Not only is the guitar made of solid linden & spruce, but one that’s Made In Britain too. Couple that with the gig bag, strap & affordable price & for any beginner this looks appealing.
As for the guitar itself, the neck feels really solid, as does all the tuning gear. This is a proper easy guitar to operate, so as you can imagine, sculpting its sound to one that’s somewhat reminiscent of Ed Sheeran wasn’t actually that tricky. What’s more, it’s ambidextrous too, which means that for virtually anyone it’s ‘pick-up-and-play’.
Arguably the best thing though are the dynamics, which are surprising, especially for a¾ guitar – you get so much range! So not only can you play this guitar super soft, but you can also really add some volume with some slightly more vigorous strumming. All-in-all if you’re after a highly playable guitar that can have you on your way to sounding like Ed, then this guitar pack would be a great place to start.
Why would Ed Sheeran approve of this guitar pack?
Other ¾ guitars to consider…
5: Yamaha APXT2 3/4 Acoustic-Electric
6: Yamaha JR1 FG 3/4 Acoustic Guitar
Which is the best guitar to sound like Ed Sheeran? Our editor’s choice…
Well, to be honest we think you knew this was coming, because to write an entire blog around Ed to then conclude that the best way to sound like him is to grab a £50 guitar is kind of an insult.
So while obviously cheaper alternatives do offer a good solution to sounding like Ed if you’re on a budget, when it comes down to the best guitar to sound like Ed Sheeran, you can’t really beat his own guitar – the Sheeran by Lowden. And while of course, compared to the other guitars on this list, it is substantially more pricy, it’s not like a £50 guitar can compare.
For under £1k, you get a hand-crafted guitar that’s been designed by one of the world’s largest pop stars, as well as manufactured by one of the world’s most renowned guitar specialists. On top of that, a good handful of the parts, as well as elements of the design, are taken from Lowdens that retail for twice, maybe even three times the price! The gig bag’s also a nice touch too.
So while Sheeran guitars aren’t one of the cheapest ways to sound like Ed, especially if you go by price – if you go by value, they’re nothing short of a bargain! Reason? Buy one and you’ve essentially got the guitar that was custom made for Sheeran (the W Series), all for a fraction of the cost.
Therefore, if you ask us, for anyone wanting to sound like Ed Sheeran, there’s really isn’t a guitar that can compare.
Sheeran By Lowden W-01 (Best Guitar To Sound Like Ed Sheeran)
Enjoyed what you’ve read? And want to know more about famous guitarists and their gear? Be sure to check out the rest of our articles on string instruments & the music industry. Plus, we also wrote recently wrote an article about Ed’s Chewie 2 Loop Pedal, which may also be worth a read!
Or, if you’ve still got a burning question about Ed Sheeran’s gear, keep reading to discover more about his guitars and how he performs…