has pictures of the cat sleeping in the inside of the
banjo case. I have the only cat that I know of who picks
the banjo. Fred, who is now eleven years old, began picking
the banjo when he was not much more than a kitten. He
would come into the living room when I was practicing,
and after listening patiently for a half hour or so, would
jump up on my lap, push my right hand away with his nose,
and try to pick. At first he tried to pick the strings
with his paw, but he learned quickly that that he would
get his claws entangled in the strings. After a few attempts,
however, he figured out that he could get sounds by biting
on the strings. He has been doing it about once a day,
ever since. Some weeks, he practices more than I do!
you look close at the picture above, you can see that
he is pulling the first string with his teeth. He hasn't
released it yet. Lately, he has been working on playing
two strings at a time. Over the eight or nine years since
he began picking, I have noticed a few things about Fred's
style. First, he is picking bluegrass, not clawhammer,
obviously. He definitely prefers archtop tone rings over
flatheads, and light guage over medium guage strings.
Traditional bluegrass over fusion, for sure.
is not available for gigs.