The M3 guitar - Steering wheel

Steering wheel

Power steering is great. It is a shame that it didn't make it into the Fiat Tipo, though. Without it, navigating around the city can be hard work.

Neck- and fretboard markings

If you are going to have a go at playing the M3, it is a good idea to change the neck- and fretboard markings so that they support the logic of its tuning. If you don't, I can personally testify that you stand a very good chance of going insane. If you relate to your instrument in a visual way, as I think most guitarists do, you will be thoroughly distracted by the familiar look of the markings in 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th fret.

If you start to modify the factory-made markings, you will find, surprisingly perhaps, that you orientate yourself by using the small marks on the side of the neck. It doesn't make any difference what you put on the fretboard itself. The custom-built Carvins I play I order without inlays. In case you have a 7-string guitar with inlays, you can cover them with tape. I have done that to my Schecter C-7. My own markings are added on the side of the neck, also with tape. I can see them but nobody else can.

Since patterns on the neck repeat every four frets I suggest you use markings that symbolise the numbers 0, 1, 2, and 3. Thus, you would use the same markings in frets 1, 5, 9...; the same markings in frets 2, 6, 10...; and the same markings in frets 3, 7, 11... You can leave the frets 4, 8, 12... blank. My choices are a small dot for 1, a square cut in two for 2, and a long dot for 3. You might want to try something different, it is great fun to experiment with.

The reason I like the numbering from 0 to 3 is that it is consistent with the clock-notation (see the Roadworks for an explanation of this). The note A, for example, which is at 1pm on the clock, will always fall on a fret marked with the symbol for 1. The note G, on the other hand, is at 11pm on the clock, and so it will always fall on a fret marked by the symbol for 3. The notes of the open string tunings E, Ab, and C, will always fall on frets that are blank. Once you are familiar with the 'index' of each note you will be able to home in on the right fret very quickly (of course, you still need to figure out which string you should be on).