I’m gonna be honest with you: When I wrote the headline “Why Do So Many Posers Play ‘Offset’ Guitars?” for last month’s Tuning Up, I fully intended it to be provocative. After all, I’ve gotta compete with Baby Yoda, Minecraft, TikTok, and congressional hearings for eyeball time. Newsflash: You people are fickle, and you only give five seconds of your time to something if it either gets your hackles or your, er, passions up.
So sure, I was purposely belligerent—and, yes, I’ve long known that the online hordes are more hair-triggered than an incel with insomnia—but even so, I was slightly surprised how many readers didn’t catch the irony of a guy showing a picture of his own offset guitars—and wearing them in his bio pics—as he asks such a d-bag-y question. So let me spell it out more plainly: Over the past 10 years as Premier Guitar’s editorial director, I’ve been called that exact name in a good number of online comments and emails by players who say I don’t know jack about this stuff and specifically cite pics of me with Jazzmaster and Eastwood Sidejack guitars as evidence that I’m a P-word—both the one mentioned here, and the one I’ll leave to your imagination.
But as the very first paragraph—arguably the very first sentence—of the oh-so-offensive column made clear, I LOVE offsets. I mean, hello! If someone slams something and then immediately relates an anecdote in which they embraced the object of derision, is it not obvious they were being tongue-in-cheek? The headline was intended as both a ribbing to haters who’ve bashed me for having the audacity to express opinions in this, my op-ed column, and also as a self-deprecating slap at yours truly. Don’t believe me? Check for yourself: 99.9 percent of the gear reviews I write for PG list some sort of offset guitar as test gear. Also, the final line of the piece reads: “The takeaway? Who cares what sort of player you’ve seen wearing a famous guitar type—don’t knock it till you find out what it can do for your music?”
The truth is, there are posers everywhere, playing every sort of gear imaginable. We’re probably all posers to some degree. But we all have our own definitions of what constitutes being one, too. For meatheads with a flair for bullying, it’s simple: If someone doesn’t play “balls-out,” raging guitar that’s the 6-string equivalent of Dark Helmet vs. Lone Starr, then they’re clearly a pansy who just wears guitars as fashion accoutrements. For others, it’s the exact opposite. But I think the reality of poser-hood is a lot more complex. Maybe only we can judge for sure whether we, ourselves, are posers. In fact, perhaps that is the single most important question we should ask ourselves as we strive to be better at our craft: Do we play what we play—not just the gear, but the genres, songs, chords, and notes—because whichever social mores and musical constructs dominate our brain have convinced us that’s the only way we’ll be perceived as legit? If so, screw that. Find your own path, stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, do your thing, and tell the naysayers to save it for the forums.
Also, learn to poke a little fun at yourself occasionally, you #^@*%!& poser.