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If you’re an Ed Sheeran fan, you’ve likely seen him using different guitars. Have you ever been curious as to what guitars he’s actually using? Have you ever wanted one of his guitars for your own collection?
You’ve come to the right place. This article will take a look at the guitars he has been using throughout his career. We’ll also take a look at what makes each guitar so special.
Believe it or not, Ed Sheeran has frequently used a Martin LX1 and LX1E throughout his career. This is actually a budget Martin acoustic guitar that is relatively affordable for most guitarists. It’s pretty refreshing to see a famous musician use such an instrument in this regard.
The LX1 is appropriately titled the “Little Martin,” as it is the smallest guitar that Martin produces. As such, it is highly appropriate for travel as well as a young student. Or, in this case, a multi-million dollar songwriter.
If you’re curious about the difference between the LX1 and the LX1E, it's really quite simple. The LX1E is essentially an electrified model of the original LX1 with a pickup and a preamp system.
Throughout his career, Ed Sheeran has owned and used at least 4 different models of the LX1 on stage. He’s also had at least 3 different LX1E models, with his own signature Martin guitars modeled after the LX1E.
His signature models have featured unique looks, all of which have different names. These guitars also feature premium build materials compared to their base model. At their core, they are essentially still LX1E models.
This number of guitars from the same model should give you an idea of just how much Ed loves these. But what makes these guitars so special? Why would he opt for such an inexpensive guitar?
Martin LX1/LX1E Specs
The Martin LX1/LX1E is essentially a short-scale guitar, with a neck scale length of 23”. This makes it perfect for those with smaller hands. It’s also ideal for guitarists who primarily play simple chords during songs.
Construction-wise, the body features a Sitka Spruce top joined with the back and sides made of Mahogany HPL. HPL is also known as high-pressure laminate and is extremely durable.
The Spruce top provides the perfect blend of natural acoustic resonance. It also produces a sweet and bright, balanced tone without producing too much bass.
Adding to the resonant quality of the guitar is the X-bracing used to put the guitar’s body together. This allows the sound to bellow out from the guitar in a resounding manner.
Despite the guitar’s short scale, it still has 20 frets. The fretboard is made of FSC certified Richlite, which is known for its durability. Rust Birch laminate is used to construct the neck of this guitar, giving the neck a unique wood grain look.
The neck and body of this guitar are connected with a mortise and tenon joint at the 14th fret.
White Corian is used for the nut while compensated white Tusq is used for the guitar’s saddle. These are both synthetic materials that emulate the resonant qualities of bone.
Sheeran’s LX1E models are equipped with a Fishman Q pickup and preamp system. These were used on older models of the LX1E, as newer models feature a Fishman Sonitone pickup and preamp.
Why Does Ed Sheeran Favor This Guitar?
Before his fame, Ed Sheeran was primarily playing small clubs and likely performing as a busking musician on the street. As such, this type of career can be quite tasking on a guitar’s overall condition.
Using a cheap, but well-made acoustic was likely a choice made for longevity’s sake. The LX1/LX1E is made of extremely durable material that could likely withstand most minor accidents. Any changes in the weather climate would also play a very small role in the guitar’s overall condition.
You might be wondering why, if he has the income, he chooses to still use these guitars. The answer is likely that these are the guitars he is most familiar with.
They have played an instrumental role in creating his ideal acoustic guitar sound. Once you find your sound, it’s not something you’d easily want to give up. This is true no matter how cheap a guitar might be.
Martin 00-28 Vintage Series Custom
In 2014, Ed Sheeran upgraded his guitar to the beautifully ornate Martin 00-28VS Custom. This Vintage Series model was designed to replicate older construction models. Aged wood is used to provide a more mature and worn-in sound.
As such, the 00-28VS Custom is still a somewhat smaller-bodied guitar. The shoulders, in particular, are quite narrow compared to that of a dreadnought. The result is a balanced and crisp tone.
Because Ed’s model is a custom design, his guitar differs from what is available at a guitar store. He had Martin use figured Koa in the body’s construction. Ornate decorative inlays were also added to his model.
Martin 00-28’s are still available in guitar shops. However, if you want one like Ed’s, you’ll need to custom order it directly through Martin. Let’s take a closer look at the details of the Martin 00-28 and why it’s special to Ed.
Martin 00-28 Specs
As previously mentioned, the 00-28 has a smaller body size with a narrow shoulder span. Despite this, it produces a very balanced and warm tone that Martin guitars are known for.
The body of this guitar features East Indian Rosewood side and back, with the top made of Solid Sitka Spruce. Scalloped X-bracing architecture is used in the body’s construction for top-of-the-line resonance.
This guitar also has a shorter neck scale length, which measures out to 24.9”. An exquisite 20-fretted Ebony fretboard is used with this guitar, with a radius of 16”.
Aside from the beautiful tones that this guitar produces, it is also quite stunning to look at. Antique white binding decoratively completes the overall look of the guitar’s aesthetics. The back also has attractive purfling that compliments the Rosewood color.
Why Would Ed Use This Guitar?
As Ed’s career blew up, it only made sense for him to graduate to a guitar with a high degree of craftsmanship. That isn’t meant to knock the LX1/LX1E, but this guitar is likely far easier to play.
The 00-28 is also relatively small and closely resembles the size of the LX1/LX1E. This would make the transition to a different guitar much easier, especially considering his preference for smaller guitars.
Tonally, this guitar likely produces an experience that is similar to what he loves about the LX1/LX1E. However, this guitar likely produces a far richer tone due to its aged wood.
Around 2018, fans began to notice that Ed Sheeran started using a different guitar than his mainstay Martins. This was the Lowden WL-35, which was a model that was created specifically to suit Ed’s tastes.
The story has it that Snow Patrol guitarist Gary Lightbody gave Ed a Lowden guitar in 2012. After finding out about how much he loved it, Lightbody convinced Lowden to create a guitar for Ed.
What spawned from this was an entire line of guitars that featured smaller bodies. These are known as the WL series, also known as “Wee Lowden” as a nod to their small size.
The WL-35 is definitely a guitar for a player that has deep pockets. Its construction and eye to detail are worth its price. You’ll see why Ed favors this guitar so much by reading its specs.
Lowden WL-35 Specs
This guitar’s body is made using Alpine Spruce for a top, and Guatemalan Rosewood for the back and sides. These two colors perfectly complement each other and produce a very balanced tone.
The neck is made from 5 pieces of Mahogany and has a scale length of 24”. This falls in between both the LX1 and the 00-28 that Ed was previously using.
For the most part, this guitar is simple yet very ornate. It features an Abalone rosette, a clear pickguard, and wood binding. Thin decorative purfling is added to the back for extra aesthetic richness.
This guitar also has a pin-less bridge design, which is unique to Lowden guitars. The saddle is also in 2 separate pieces, which are made of compensated Tusq.
A more inexpensive version of this model is available and is called the Sheeran S01. It has a Cedar top with a Walnut back and sides. A 24.8” scale Mahogany neck with an Ebony fretboard is used with this model.
PRS McCarty 594 Hollowbody II
It’s often a nice change of pace to switch from an acoustic to an electric guitar. Ed Sheeran does this every once in a while. One of his mainstay electrics is the PRS McCarty 594 Hollowbody II.
Ed’s PRS is stock for the most part. However, his model has an addition that helps him achieve semi-acoustic tones when needed. Reading the brief specs on this guitar will help you understand why he uses it.
PRS McCarty 594 Hollowbody II Specs
The McCarty 594 Hollowbody II is a beautiful guitar. It also has a neck scale length that is similar in size to Ed’s acoustics.
These guitars come with a body made from Mahogany and a figured Maple top. This top is shown off in a variety of different colors. If you want one like Ed’s, you’ll need the faded whale blue color.
The neck is also made of Mahogany at a scale length of 24.594”. A 10” radius Rosewood fretboard with 22 frets is featured on this guitar. Those iconic PRS bird inlays adorn this fretboard as well.
For pickups, this guitar is stocked with PRS 58/15 LT humbuckers. Ed’s model has an additional L.R. Baggs piezo pickup for more acoustic-type tones.
A push/pull coil tap is also installed on this guitar. This allows the humbuckers to be split into single-coil pickups for increased tonal range.
In 2015, live videos of Ed Sheeran found the artist performing on a unique Fender Stratocaster. Yes, this Strat was truly unique, as it was actually a model of Eric Clapton’s Crash Stratocaster.
This particular Stratocaster featured a paint job by John Matos, who has the nickname of Crash. When Ed Sheeran found one for sale, he jumped at the opportunity. Clapton was a big influence on his career, and he bought and played the guitar in homage to Eric.
Unfortunately, Ed’s beloved Strat was an illegal copy of the iconic Clapton Stratocaster. However, Ed didn’t let this hold him back. He contacted Matos directly and had him personally apply artwork to his Stratocaster.
You likely won’t be able to get your own Crash Stratocaster. However, Stratocasters are pretty universal for the most part and feature much of the same components. Let’s take a closer look at one in case you want a Strat for your own collection.
Fender Player Stratocaster Specs
The Fender Player Stratocaster is an excellent guitar for the working musician. This model has all of the traditional bells and whistles with a few modern upgrades.
With this guitar, you’ll have a body made of Alder and a gloss polyester finish. This particular model comes in a wide range of color and fretboard combinations. These include:
- Tidepool blue with Maple fretboard
- Polar white with Maple or Pau Ferro fretboard
- 3-tone sunburst with Maple or Pau Ferro fretboard
- Black with Maple or Pau Ferro fretboard
- Buttercream with Maple fretboard
- Capri orange with Maple fretboard
- Silver with Pau Ferro fretboard
This guitar’s neck is made from Maple with a Modern C-shaped contour and a scale length of 25.5”. The fretboard has a radius of 9.5” and 22 frets. Traditional Strats generally had 21 frets, so this is a nice modern upgrade.
For pickups, this guitar has 3 x Player Series Alnico V Strat single-coil pickups. These will deliver those iconic jangly quack tones that the Stratocaster is known for.
As is standard with Stratocasters, you'll get a synchronized tremolo bridge. The typical 5-way switch, volume knob, and two tone knobs are also found on this guitar.
What Guitar Does Ed Sheeran Use? Final Thoughts
Ed Sheeran certainly has had quite the list of different guitars throughout his career. It’s awesome to see how his humble beginnings have allowed him access to superior guitars.
As his career progresses, it will be interesting to see if he adds any more guitars to his favorites list. For now, the guitars he currently uses seem to be doing just fine.
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