This paper studies the feasibility of using ultrasonic guided waves to rapidly inspect tubes and pipes for possible eccentricity. While guided waves are well established in the long range inspection of structures such as pipes and plates, studies for more complex cross sections are limited and analytical solutions are often difficult to obtain. Recent developments have made the Semi Analytical Finite Element (SAFE) method widely accessible for researchers to study guided wave properties in complex structures. Here the SAFE method is used to study the effect of eccentricity on the modal structures and velocities of lower order guided wave modes in thin pipes of diameters typically of interest to the industry. Results are validated using experiments. The paper demonstrates that even a small eccentricity in the pipe can strongly affect guided wave mode structures and velocities and hence shows potential for pipe eccentricity inspection. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.