— Begin quote from “ldpayton”
My problem is that I don’t always sound bluegrassy when I improvise. On one hand I have this trusty mental map to move me around the fretboard, and on the other hand I have all these cool Banjo Ben licks. Now, I just need to figure out how to integrate them into one smooth style.
— End quote
Ben has a great video that explains his thought process when creating a nice bluegrassy lead over a melody. http://www.banjobenclark.com/videos/free-guitar/guitar-red-haired-boy-259/
He basically explains a simple method for developing a bluegrassy lead line.
In the process of trying to dissect what makes a bluegrass lead sound bluegrassy, I have noticed some concepts that might help you.
[ul]Memorize the melody (the more places on the fingerboard the better)
Start your riff on the same note that is in the melody at that moment (if not that exact note, at least a chord tone of the chord being played)
End your riff on the same note that is in the melody at that moment(if not that exact note, at least a chord tone of the chord being played)
Add blue notes to create a bluesy sound (the blue notes are b3, b5, b7)
Strong bluesy movement of those notes are b3 to 3, 3 to b3, b5 to 5, 1 to b7, b3 to 2
Using 4 note patterns in sequence (e.g. 1-6-5-3, 6-5-3-b3, 5-3-b3-1, 3-b3-1-b7, 1) are often used in bluegrass guitar leads
More than any other rule, stick with the melody![/ul]