Holstering is the practice of a lead singer wearing a guitar but rarely playing it, rather flipping it back on his or her hip for all but a chorus or solo, if that. Bono and Mick Jagger are two of the move’s best-known practitioners. As is typical of practitioners of holstering, Bono and Jagger appeared onstage without a guitar for years before attempting to impress audiences with their newly acquired ability to strum a major chord. Roger Daltry would also debut a holstered guitar well into the career of The Who.
It should be pointed out that holstering is not the domain of formerly axe-free lead singers alone. There are veteran guitar-playing singers who decide to holster their guitar on songs with rhythms beyond their capability, or they holster their guitar to better emote through a key verse or chorus. Joe Strummer often resorted to holstering for both of these reasons. Bruce Springsteen has also been known to holster his guitar to better focus on showing the audience how committed he is to the particular verse he’s singing. The Boss has also been known to holster for more practical reasons, such as those final choruses on his epic songs, in which multiple bandana-clad guitarists and backing singers gather around a single mic in an Iwo Jima-like show of heroic band unity.