23 Easy Ed Sheeran Songs to Play on Guitar

I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to make of Ed Sheeran for a while…

These days, breaking into the mass music market is so incredibly difficult that for a long time, I assumed that he just got lucky and some record company puppet masters decided to promote him. 

But there’s more to it than that. 

Because Ed has been playing music for a really long time. In fact, he put out nine extended plays independently before he “got lucky” and that deserves some respect.

And though the electric guitar isn’t as popular as it used to be, I’m pretty sure that Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift are two of the biggest reasons that acoustic guitar is seeing a resurgence among today’s youth

He even has his own brand of acoustic guitars made by Ireland’s Lowden company: I don’t mean just one signature model, but an entire freaking series!

So whether you just play as a hobby at home or like to gather with friends to jam, knowing some Ed Sheeran songs is a no-brainer.

And here are some songs that span his whole career, which you can master on guitar even if you’re new to the instrument.  

1. The A Team (Simplified Chords)

We have to start somewhere so why not start at the beginning, right?

The A Team was Sheeran’s first single after signing to a major record label (Atlantic Records) and I find this song very enjoyable.

One thing to note about this song is that for beginner guitarists, most people recommend avoiding “color” or alternative chords and just using “standard” chords, which is what will be covered here.

On this early track, instead of using a drummer, Ed creates his rhythm by palm muting the chords, instead of letting them ring out. 

And as the video tutorial below points out, although the strumming pattern is simple down-up, you can make it sound even better by playing the second and fourth (out of 4) downstrokes more vigorously. 

Here is how the song breaks down using beginner chords (and capo on second fret).

Verse: G D Em C G (listen to the song to memorize the timing of the changes!)

Pre Chorus: Am C G D

Chorus: Em C G (three times)

Em C G D 

Then go back to Em C G for choruses that repeat the “angels to fly” section.

And on the chorus before the bridge, end the chorus on Am so (Em C G D Am)

Bridge: Am C Em G Am C

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

2. Thinking Out Loud

Here’s a love song that has recently caused quite a bit of headache for Mr. Sheeran due to its similarities to Marvin Gaye’s classic tune Let’s Get It On. 

Well, there’s no such thing as bad publicity though right?

And in the end, he didn’t have to pay royalties for copying the chord progression in the verse and I have to agree with Ed on this one: there are only a limited number of chords and notes that songwriters can use. 

But hey, if you learn this song you should also be able to play Let’s Get It On as an added bonus!

And this is a great song if you want to practice adding a percussive slap to your acoustic playing.

Here is how to play the song (with no capo).

Verse: D D/F# G A (about 8 times)

Pre Chorus: Em A7 D 

Em A7 

Em A7 Bm

Em A D D/F#

Chorus: G A D D/F# (three times)


Bm A G D/F# 

Em A D

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

3. Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran and Beoga

This song sounds a little different than a lot of Sheeran’s (earlier) work, combining an upbeat Pop song style mixed with Irish Folk music.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be played at home and it sounds just fine stripped down to only a guitar and vocals.

Here is how to play the song (put a capo on the second fret to match the recording). 

Intro: Em G D Cadd9 G D

Verse: Em G D C

Em G D G


Am7 G D

Chorus: C G D C G D

Cadd9 G D Em (play these four chords twice on the first chorus and four times on later choruses)

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

4. Salt Water

At the time of putting this list together, Ed Sheeran has just released a new album titled “-” (Subtract), and this is one of the new songs from it.

And the new music sounds pretty good! 

The guitar isn’t as prominent in this song as it was in Ed’s earlier work but you can definitely hear it in the mix. 

And it’s super easy to play this one as it only has five chords to remember and a very simple strumming pattern. In fact, for doing this one solo, I would probably make the strumming a bit more lively. 

There are subtle differences in the length of the song’s parts and the chords that they end on, which you need to remember though. 

Here is how the song goes (put a capo on the fourth fret). 

Verse 1: Am F C G (four times) F

Chorus 1: C F C G (two times) Am

Verse 2:  Am F C G (two times)

Chorus 2: C F C G (two times) Dm

Bridge: G Am Dm G C F

Verse 3: Am F C G (two times) F

Chorus 3: C F C G (three times)

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

5. Life Goes On

Link to tab

6. Borderline

Link to tab

7. Barcelona

Link to tab

8. Small Bump

Link to tab

9. Afterglow

Link to tab

10. I’m a Mess

Link to tab

11. Shape of You

Link to tab

12. Supermarket Flowers (Transcribed for Guitar)

Link to tab

13. Drunk

Link to tab

14. Castle on the Hill

Link to tab

15. Perfect

Link to tab

16. Give Me Love

Link to tab

17. River – Eminem feat. Ed Sheeran

Link to tab

18. End of Youth

Link to tab

19. Happier

Link to tab

20. Overpass Graffiti

Link to tab

21. Photograph

Link to tab

22. Boat

Link to tab

23. You Need Me I Don’t Need You

Link to tab