Ed Sheeran is probably one of the easiest guitarists to emulate on a budget due to the simplicity of his equipment. With nothing but an acoustic guitar, amp, and looper pedal he has produced some of the most exquisite pop music in the last decade. In this article I will go over what guitar gear Ed Sheeran uses and how to sound like Ed Sheeran for under $1,500.
How to Sound Like Ed Sheeran’s Guitar
Ed Sheeran almost exclusively plays on Martin brand guitars, primarily the Martin LX1E. What most people are surprised to find out about the Martin LX1E is that it is a travel-sized guitar. Yes, you heard that correctly, Ed Sheeran, one of the most popular musicians in the history of the world, plays on a small-scale guitar.
But, don’t let that furrow your brows, the Martin LX1E punches above its weight and sounds just as full and rich as its big brothers. It does not sound like a ukulele at all.
Fortunately for us, Ed Sheeran’s choice of guitar fits in perfectly with those seeking to reproduce his sound on a budget because while he does play a Martin guitar, the Martin LX1E is not one of the super expensive Martins that most people think of when they hear the brand name.
The Martin LX1E has a solid sitka spruce top, mahogany pattern high pressure laminate (HPL) textured finish back and sides, rust stratabond neck, richlite fingerboard, and a Fishman Isys T onboard pickup. The use of sustainable material and the fact that the guitar is made in Mexico drastically cut down on the production cost of the LX1E, passing those savings onto you; however, that doesn’t subtract from the quality of the guitar in any way.
There is a signature edition of the Martin LX1E for each of Ed Sheeran’s album releases. They are a bit more expensive and come with a few upgrades such as a better pickup and better body bracing. But, I chose the original LX1E because unless you are a collector, I don’t imagine many people liking the symbols on the upper bout, fingerboard, and headstock.
See More on the Martin LX1E
How to Sound Like Ed Sheeran’s Amp
Ed Sheeran does not have a preferred amp. Instead, he routes his guitar through a PA system because he is playing for an unbelievably large audience. That isn’t practical for most of us; therefore, any acoustic amp that you really like will fit here. My preference is the Fishman Loudbox Artist 120-watt.
The Fishman Loudbox has two mic/instrument channels fitted with 3-band EQs and a dual digital effects section with independent channel and effects levels. This means that you can plug-in a guitar and a mic and mix them onboard. The digital effects include reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, echo, and slap echo, and there is a footswitch for input channel muting, chorus, flanger, and slap on/off.
How to Sound Like Ed Sheeran’s Pedals
Ed Sheeran has only ever used one type of pedal, the looper, and Ed’s looper pedal of choice was the BOSS RC-30. He used the RC-30 in most of his live performances, and he’s probably the most recognized looper in the industry.
Nowadays he uses the “Chewie II Monsta Looper” which is a custom pedalboard that allows for better sound quality and more control over his loops while playing in a large venue.
What makes the BOSS RC-30 so great is the fact that you have two independently controllable stereo loops to take control of. You can switch each stereo loop on or off, or add to either one. You can also connect it to your computer to transfer your loops back and forth and it stores up to 3 hours of stereo recording time.
If this is your first time using a looper pedal, then the RC-30 may take a bit of getting used to. It definitely is not an entry-level looper. However, for those looking to follow in Ed Sheeran’s footsteps, mastering the RC-30 is a must.
See Ed Sheeran in Action With His Looper Pedal
How to Sound Like Ed Sheeran’s Guitar Strings
According to Ed Sheeran’s guitar tech, Sheeran only uses Elixir Acoustic Nanoweb light 12-53 strings.
That wraps up my tutorial on how to sound like Ed Sheeran without breaking the bank. Depending on who you purchased from, your total will come in around $100-$200 under the budget of $1,500. What do you think? Have you tried to sound like Ed Sheeran with this gear? Let me know in the comments section.