How to Play Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

richardsguitarstudio on May 11, 2015

No tabs for this song! Watch this video tutorial on how to play Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. This easy guitar song consists of various chords, as well as finger picking technique. I’ve gotten a lot of requests for lessons on this song, and the guitar work is interesting in his use of finger picking, as well as inverted chords (a.k.a. inversions a.k.a. slash-chords).

For those of you that are songwriters, you may know that the I-IV-V chords of any key are the “primary chords” and are most commonly used. In addition, the ii and the vi chords are called “secondary chords” and act as a set up to lead to a primary chord. In this case, Ed Sheeran uses I, I6, IV, V. The second chord in the progression, the I6, acts a a prolongation of the I chord, getting more mileage out of that chord rather than simply repeating it in it’s root position. The verse and chorus are primary chords, and in the pre-chorus he moves to secondary chords (ii – Em7).

A few tips:

  1. Use the correct finger picking technique. Follow the fingers I suggest in the video – they will set up your hand position in the most efficient way.
  2. Elevate the wrist. When using a pick, your wrist is close to the guitar for muting purposes, better pick attack, etc. When finger picking, your wrist should be elevated away from the guitar to allow space for your fingers to pluck from the upper joint and follow through. If your wrist is too close to the guitar, you will end up using the middle joint to finger pick, and the tone will suffer (popping sound and strings hitting the fretboard when plucking).
  3. Try playing with dynamics. You’ll notice that some chords are played quietly, others more loudly. Feel the phrasing, dynamics, and articulation, and try to color the chords with more or less intensity throughout.

Nate from Richards Guitar Studio shows you how to play Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran on guitar. Learn the chords, finger picking, strumming, and chord progressions in this tutorial.

Richards Guitar Studio provides professional guitar, drum, and bass lessons and rock band school in Aston, PA. Serving Delaware County – Media, Swarthmore, Springfield, Ridley, Garnet Valley, and Wallingford.

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