For many years, inline G was perceived as “professional” while offset G was associated with “student” flutes. While these stereotypes no longer exist, there is still some debate over which design is superior.
Although inline G and offset G are the same acoustically, inline G may be the best choice for players with longer fingers or larger hands with adequate strength and control. However, due to increasing awareness of tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, an ever-increasing number of players are now choosing professional flutes with offset G because of the more natural hand position it provides. In addition to the therapeutic advantages, there are technical benefits to consider with offset G keys.
Offset G keys eliminate potential problems that can be encountered with inline G flutes. The inline G design has many left hand keys on one steel. This can make simple procedures awkward such as leveling pads, straightening key cups or refitting keys. Also, stress placed on this single left hand rod by the player or during repair can lead to a bowed or bent rod rendering it more susceptible to binding than the offset G.
With offset G flutes, the G keys are positioned on a separate steel or rod. The added strength of two or more supporting posts provides stability and protection to the left hand keys, leaving them less vulnerable to damage. In addition, a professional technician can isolate any problem without affecting the other left hand keys.
In recent years there has been a widespread trend toward offset G. With such advantages to the player and technician, this is an inevitable outcome.