When I do that I tend to want to follow the melody line of that song and it gets me perplexed as I am not good enough to follow the melody of that song on the fly. I have realized that I need a “blank sheet” (progression) that has no set-in-stone melody in it so I can make my own up on the fly.
Also with a “blank sheet” one can practice scales over it if they want.
It’s probably a short coming with my playing, but a melody line already in a song gets me perplexed. I like to hear known melody lines in my head then try and fit them in. To elaborate on this a bit and use for example with a “blank sheet” I can say fill in parts of 'Dueling banjos", This Little Light of Mine, or other tunes or “bits” from those songs, toss in some popular licks for fills and have fun with it. When there is a song that has a melody line already intact I get lost…I am just not that good yet! I do however strive to follow the melody line and go from there and that is part of my relentless practice. I feel that one should be able to hear for example “Red Haired Boy” like Mike posted for the first time and identify the melody and be able to play it on the fly and focus on the melody line and play around it, not just to simply fill it full of licks and fills. So with a “blank sheet” or progression that I have never heard I get to make my own melody line in my head and then fill in around it wit what I want verses simply jamming out over a progression I consciously pick a melody line that I can hear/conceive in my head and focus on it. Call it “singing with my guitar” if you will, or at least humming with my guitar!
I strive for being able to play a melody line and improvise over it, I despise the guys that simply jam out over a progression when they take a break and all they while they have missed or gotten completely off a melody line…I think these guys are good players and all, but I believe in attempting to stay true to the melody.
Sure I have taken the hard road in attempting to do this, but I figure I have a few good years left in me to hang out and play guitar and I’d personally not have it any other way.
Not taking any pot shots at you brother, just what i have in my head. Maybe it’s not possible? I have a firm grasp on music theory, scales, etc and now want to turn it into being able to stay on a melody line…how I get there I do not know, any advice of if ya think I am on the wrong path then by all means share some love!