So I'm doing a bit of an artist study at the moment... focusing on ed sheeran, not a huge fan but I like his guitar style

I am posting because i would LOVE some help in clarifying ed sheerans strumming hand technique when he's appears to be using both his thumb and first finger to play independently but at the same time (if that makes sense). from what i can see and hear, i think he is playing bass notes with his thumb on down strums or accents, but sometimes simultaneously doing a down strum with his first finger on the thinner strings, or even playing individual notes, sometimes on down strums, sometimes on up strums.

I can't quite work it out though because its so quick, and I think he just makes it up as he goes along...its very loose feeling


heres 1 example


I can't quite work out what is going on...I can play most of his stuff with a pick, but it doesn't sound authentic...I wanna ditch the pick for the next couple of months and work on folk/style finger and thumb strumming

So could anyone direct me to some videos or just give me some information to help with this folky ed sheerany style

Hi there! Big Ed Sheeran fan I'm not going to pretend that I'm a person who's had a lot of experience analyzing guitar technique and style, as I'm sure there are many on this forum. I'd still call myself a beginner guitarist but anyhow I've watched a lot of Ed videos and I just wanted to point out some things I've noticed.

Ed's a very percussive guitar player. For a lot of his hip hop tracks, he just forms layers and layers of different sounds from hitting different parts of his guitar and then he uses his loop pedal to play it back to him. If you notice, the only time Ed ever plays with a band is on live television, but in shows and recordings, it's just him and his acoustic guitar, so he definitely messes around with all the sounds he can make. I think this is one of the reasons he doesn't use a pick, because without a pick, the hand is free to do so much more. It's a whole lot of experimentation. I think he just plays what sounds good to him. He doesn't follow a specific technique.

Again with creating different sounds, strumming the strings with the side of the thumb creates a more mellow sound than using the nail of an index finger, which creates a sharper sound. Then plucking some notes with his fingertips or nails, gives some accents, among the strummed chords, and he frequently imitates a snare or a kick drum with his guitar either by hitting he body of the guitar or slapping the strings. You're right in saying it's a very "loose" feeling. Ed just plays whatever feels and sounds right to him.

I think if you wanted to try imitating his style, you'd want to just to ditch the pick, as you've mentioned, and mess around with the different sounds you can make on your guitar alternating between strumming with the side of your thumb, to strumming with your index finger and thumb together, to strumming with just your index finger, to plucking base notes with your thumb, and plucking higher notes with the pads of your fingers. Just experiment. Although, if you're dead set on playing the way Ed Sheeran plays it EXACTLY, lucky for you, most of his videos on youtube are acoustic and live so you can just watch and imitate. Then again, I'm pretty sure he doesn't play it the exact same way every time. You may want to search up some videos on percussive guitar technique so you can get an idea of how different parts of the guitar sound when struck. Good luck! EXPERIMENT!