Well this guitar is V - "vintage" - in designation only. Its birthdate, by the Martin serial numbers posted several places on the I-net, was only 2003.
It's called vintage because Martin shifted the X-bracing forward, put snowflakes instead of dots on the neck, went back to the old V shaped neck, used open back "butterbean" tuners, and did the finish in a yellowed, antique look - all for that elusive pre-war(WWII) look and sound. I'd tryed a couple of these at various shops before I found this one that actually had the sound that spoke to me - real clean and full - bass to treble - and maintained good volume all the way up the neck!
Guest - No offense taken. I have been analyzing my picking style and that may still change, but at the moment I seem to get the best tone, speed, and volume with my third and little finger lightly braced on the pickguard, and the pick operating just about 1/2" behind the sound hole. Some pickers advocate a free hand, but I lose all sorts of accuracy and probably would still dig in as deeply.
Likewise, I'm going to re-examine the pick thickness and size again, but I've been using the same pick to my likeing for about 15 years.
On some of my other guitars, on which I fingerpick, I get the sweetest sound directly over the sound hole. It's one of those continuing personal problems that drive you crazy, like halitosis, BO, or dandruff.
Poppagator - I was somewhat aware that the older Martins had no finish under the pickguard, but have no idea of when that changed. In fact that apparently used to be the source of face cracks - when the wood tried to shrink under one of the glued-on plastic guards and the guard wouldn't give - the wood then broke. O
On this guitar I'll leave the fake tortoise shell pick guard where it is and add a panel above it. I don't believe even Martin's over sized pick guard will get to where I'm digging in - under the G and B strings mostly with lighter evidence under the rest.