On the M3 you cannot avoid going across the strings more often than on the six-string in conventional tuning. If you are trained in fingerstyle playing you have a great opportunity to put it to good use on the M3. The rest of us has to deal with the problem as we best can. I have recently started to use the so-called Benson grip, named after the outstanding George Benson, and I want to advertise it here so you know there is an alternative to the conventional grip. With the Benson grip, you keep your thumb arched as far back as it goes. The result is that the pick rotated upwards so that your picking movement attacks the string with the edge instead of sliding gradually off the flat part. When you pick a note it should feel a bit like cutting the string in two. I have included a couple of pictures to demonstrate the principle. If you use both the 1st and 2nd finger to squeeze the pick up against your thumb the grip is extremely stable. For a proper discussion of the advantages and disadvantes of the different right hand approaches, read the thorough description by Tuck Andress (now there is somebody who has sorted out his technique).
|Conventional grip||The Benson grip|
If you want to play chords and accompaniment without letting go of the pick you can use a hybrid technique where the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers are used to pluck the strings. Unfortunately, the Benson grip does not support plucking the strings in this way so on the occasions where you want to play more than one note at the time you have to switch back to the conventional grip. It is not too difficult to do but you have to be concious of the adjustment required.
Whether you want to use your nails, fingerpicks, or the skin of your fingers is a matter of personal preference. I don't like having long nails but since I am struggling to produce enough volume with the skin of my fingers I have reluctantly switched to fingerpicks. The only types that are acceptable to me are the Propik Fingertone and the aLaska Pik since they both let you feel the string against the fingertip before you pluck it. I feel utterly lost with the traditional type that wraps itself around the fingertip.
The Propik Fingertone comes in metal only whereas the aLaska Pik is available in plastic and brass. I use the aLaska Pik in plastic because I find it more comfortable than metal and brass. A further disadvantage of the Propik is that there are only two sizes, Large and Medium, and the Medium is too large for my little finger. The metal and brass picks have a sharper and brighter sound than the plastic picks but I don't think it makes any difference when you are playing through an amplifier. You just have to use the tone control to make the sound as dark as you want.