I first noticed Ed Sheeran when his second album, “Multiply,” released back in 2014. He quickly became one of my favorite singer-songwriters. He went on to sell over 150 million albums, making him one of the most successful musicians of our time. He continues to burn up the UK and US charts anytime he releases a new single.
As a long-time guitar player, I naturally wanted to learn some of his songs to entertain my friends and family. Fortunately, there are a number of easy Ed Sheeran guitar songs to learn, even if you’re a beginner or intermediate player.
These songs sound fantastic and are fun to play while remaining relatively easy to pick up. Here are 20 songs by Ed Sheeran to help get you started. They’re arranged from the easiest to the most difficult according to my own experiences while learning to play them.
“Sing,” was the main single on Ed Sheeran’s second studio album and debuted in April of 2014. It was the first of his songs that I learned to play, and in my opinion, is the easiest Ed Sheeran song on guitar.
It has one of the most simple chord progressions on this list, consisting of only two chords and two rhythm sections. The chords you’ll need to play are G#m and C#m.
2. Castle on the Hill
This is one of my favorite easy Ed Sheeran songs to play. It’s in standard tuning and consists of the D, D/F#, G, Bm7, A7sus4 and Bm7 chords. Chord changes don’t come too quickly, making this one great for beginners.
This song is about Ed Sheeran’s life growing up in the town of Framlingham in the UK. If you’re wondering, the town does indeed feature a medieval castle in its midst.
3. Galway Girl
This folk pop song by Sheeran has an Irish flair to it. To play this song like the recorded version, you’ll need to put a capo on the 2nd fret. The chords are Em, G, D, Cadd9, Am7 and C.
The entire song is just basic, open chord shapes at a moderate tempo. “Galway Girl” is one of my favorite Ed Sheeran easy guitar songs to play at the local pub.
“Afterglow,” is played with a capo on the 4th fret and makes use of the G, Csus2, Dsus4 and Em7 chords. Those guitar chords are some of the most often used in Ed Sheeran songs, so learn them well!
This tune has an easy strumming pattern that consists almost entirely of down strokes. To play it more accurately, you’ll need to make use of percussive muting, but you can skip this for now if you need to.
5. Shape of You
This is another one of the easy Ed Sheeran songs to try if you’re still just a beginner. It has one of the more simple chord progressions and is played with a capo on the 4th fret.
You’ll be using the Am, Dm, F and G chords, or you can play it with C#m, F#m, A and B chords without a capo. This song debuted as a lead single from Sheeran’s third studio album in 2017.
6. Lego House
“Lego House,” uses a lot of finger picking which may be difficult if you’re a new player that’s only used a pick thus far.
There are two guitar parts in this song. One uses a capo on the 4th fret and makes use of the G, Em7, D and Cadd9 chord shapes. The other part uses no capo at all and is in standard turning.
This song is about the importance of relationships and connecting with other people.
7. Thinking Out Loud
This song is played almost exclusively with finger picking. It’s a good tune to work on if you want to learn this technique. The song also makes use of some percussive techniques on the acoustic guitar.
You’ll be using the D, D/F#, G, Em, Bm and A chords for “Thinking Out Loud.” This is another tune from Sheeran’s second studio album from 2014. It was co-written by Sheeran and Amy Wadge.
There are two ways to play “Photograph.” The more difficult and album-accurate way is to use a capo on the 4th fret. You’ll be playing the C, G, Am and F chord shapes with this method.
Ed Sheeran often plays this live without a capo at all. This allows him to avoid switching guitars or pausing to put the capo on. In this method, you’ll use an E chord and a series of easy power chords.
9. Bad Habits
“Bad Habits,” is yet another song that can be played with or without a capo. With the capo on the 2nd fret, you’ll use Am, Cmaj7, F#11, F, G, Dm, A and Bm chord shapes.
With no capo, you’ll need to add the Dmaj7, Gadd9, Em7 and Em open chord shapes to your repertoire.
This is one of his newer songs, having released in June of 2021. It’s the main single from Sheeran’s fourth studio album.
“Perfect,” is played in standard tuning with a capo on the 1st fret. You’ll be playing the G, Em7, Cadd9, D, C, Em and D/F# chord shapes in this position. While primarily an acoustic number, the song can also sound beautiful when played on an electric guitar.
This song has a solo that will be a good exercise for beginners if they’ve only been strumming chords up to this point. Just take it slow at first and then work up to the correct tempo. It won’t prove to be too difficult for intermediate and advanced players.
11. Give Me Love
“Give Me Love,” was written by Ed Sheeran, Jake Gosling and Chris Leonard. This song was the final single on Sheeran’s first studio album. It was later covered by Demi Lovato and features on her fourth album, “Demi.”
It’s played with the Am, F, C, Cma9/B, Dm and G/B chords. You’ll need to place a capo on the 1st fret to be in the right key for this one.
12. Kiss Me
There’s an easy way to play this song with open D, A7sus4, Bm11 and G chords. Ed Sheeran sometimes plays this live with power chords and barre chords.
The live version isn’t particularly difficult either, but barre chords can sometimes be tricky for beginners.
“Kiss Me,” was written by Ed Sheeran along with Julie Frost and Justin Franks. It was the 11th track on Sheeran’s debut album back in 2011.
Most of this song can be played with a simple Am7, F, C, C chord progression and an easy strumming pattern. You can also finger pick parts to make it sound more complex, even if this does make it more difficult to play.
“Happier,” was the final single released from Ed Sheeran’s third studio album in 2017. The song deals with coming to terms when you realize that your ex is happier with someone else.
14. The A Team
“The A Team,” is played with a capo on the 2nd fret. It uses only a few simple chord shapes like G, D and Em, but you’ll be modifying these slightly throughout the song with various techniques.
There’s a lot of finger picking in this song, and it’s more complex than the previous tunes on our list. Work on one of the previous songs before challenging yourself with this one.
15. I Don’t Care
“I Don’t Care,” was a collaboration between Ed Sheeran and Canadian pop star, Justin Bieber.
Sheeran shared part of the song on his Instagram account in 2019. Bieber shared another part of the song before both artists announced their collaboration and the release date.
It was released on an Ed Sheeran compilation album on May 10, 2019. It’s played with a capo on the 6th fret and a simple C, Am, F, C chord progression.
This song is played with a capo on the 1st fret. The first part of the song can be played with a C, Am, Gsus4 and Fmaj7 chord progression. The second and third parts of the song add an Am7 chord shape to the mix.
“Barcelona,” can be found on the deluxe edition of Ed Sheeran’s third studio album. The finger-picking style and rhythm of this song can be difficult at first.
17. Beautiful People
The main chord progression can be played with a capo on the third fret and the Am, C, F and Em chord shapes. The song can also be played without a capo like many of the songs on our list.
There’s a simple lead line that can be played over parts of the rhythm for this song. It has a slightly more complex structure, but the individual parts aren’t too hard to play on their own.
18. Nancy Mulligan
“Nancy Mulligan,” Can be played with the very common chord progression of C, D and G, but to make it sound more like the official recording, the song can be played with complex finger picking and single-note runs.
This is another song from the deluxe edition of Ed Sheeran’s third studio album. This one is a tribute to Sheeran’s grandparents, a Protestant man from Belfast and a Catholic woman from the Republic of Ireland who met during WWII.
19. I See Fire
“I See Fire,” is played with a capo on the 6th fret. You’ll be playing the Em, C, D, C, G/B, Am7, Em7, Cadd9 and Dsus4 chords.
The strumming pattern isn’t too difficult to get down, but to be as accurate as possible, you’ll need to master Ed Sheeran’s percussive techniques with your acoustic guitar.
This tune became famous for its inclusion in the film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” in 2013.
“Dive,” might be the hardest song on this list, at least for me personally, but if you’ve mastered a number of other tunes on our list, you can handle it.
It is played with the C, Am7, F, G, Am, Em and G/B chords.
This one also has a more complex solo than what we’ve seen so far from our previous 19 songs. This solo was credited to an anonymous guitarist using the pseudonym, Angelo Mysterioso.
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About the Author
Gustavo is a music teacher and classical guitar player from Brazil, currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. He holds a graduate degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Federal University of Pelotas. In 2020, Gustavo successfully completed a Master's degree in Sound Engineering from the Academy of Sound in Ireland.