When I got the invite to test drive Pick Smith’s Jam Kat I agreed, not knowing what exactly a Jam Kat did or who Pick Smith was. Twenty minutes of poking around their website got me only marginally closer to answering those questions, but I did eventually determine that the Jam Kat is a rather clever device for quickly switching between playing fingerstyle and using a pick.
I managed to size up my forefinger using their equally unclear sizing guide (an illustration would be most welcome), and a few days later it arrived in the mail.
Worn on the first finger, the Jam Kat has a spring-loaded arm that swings your pick out of the way when you’re ready to go fingerstyle. It comes with a standard teardrop pick, but it’s easy to adjust to your preferred brand.
I’ve tried a few different thumbpicks before, and I wasn’t expecting much. My friend David does amazing things with the Fred Kelly Bumblebee, but I’ve never quite gotten comfortable with it. Standard banjo-style thumbpicks are even worse.
So, with some misgivings, I tried on the Jam Kat. And I liked it. It’s much more comfortable than any thumbpick I’ve tried–I’m wearing it right now as I type this. And since it isn’t a thumbpick at all, it allows direct thumb-to-string contact.
As an added bonus, this is the best solution yet for teaching lessons–I no longer need to set my pick down when I reach for a pencil.
With some reconsidered marketing and a redesigned website, I’m sure Pick Smith has a winner on their hands.
Josh Skaja plays uke, guitar and a few other things in the band Owen Too. He blogs about teaching & learning the guitar at JoshSkaja.com