Hey everyone, I apologize in advance for this long and unnecessary question considering there's possibly a very simple word or two that could solve it, I just can't figure it out.

Last night, I went to a local band of mine's show. There were only 6 audience members and 4 band members were playing. During little intermissions, the lead guitarist would just noodle around and play these beautiful riffs. I questioned them, and he said he just thought them up off the top of his head. (His in-concert playing is amazing)

Anyhow, after the show we went back to their van and had something to eat. The second guitarist/lead vocalist had the acoustic this time and was playing random riffs and scales making it sound perfect. He threw in some self-esteem diminishing lyrics to the rest of the band for S&G, but it still sounded great! He said that he was simply winging it aswell.

Are there any tips or techniques I should learn to just be able to pick up an acoustic and create works on the spot? One thing I'm doing at the moment is slowly adding on more and more chords to my book of them.

Thank you!,
- Mike
It's a passion,
Quote by HCTK11
Are there any tips or techniques I should learn to just be able to pick up an acoustic and create works on the spot?

Their trick is that they waren't totally winging it. Few guitarists do. Most likely, it was just some informal playing that was never really put together in a song. As for making up words on the spot, it can certainly be done, but is generally thought up beforehand. You can tell when that happens, because it will sound too good.

But if you want to make up some informal jingles for yourself, my advice would be to start by trying to make weird chords and note patterns. They will sound terrible, but if you mess around long enough, you'll stumble onto something interesting for sure. It's my favorite way of coming up with riffs.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Jun 17, 2010,
You can do a lot with just a little knowledge of chords and scales. Here's a song I posted the other day with exactly three chords (E, A, B7) and some wildly improvised fills. Maybe a little bit over the top, but of course that's the point...
actually i sit here and noodle like that all the time. when i do it around people, they always ask me what songs i'm playing, but usually when i noodle, it's just various chords and fingerstyle patterns put together randomly. i don't even think you could call it "thinking" about them, because i do this when i'm reading boards or talking to someone at a guitar store. sometimes i don't even know what i'm playing till it comes out.

the catch with this is you can't really repeat what you're playing even if it suddenly catches your attention but it's a great habit to get into if you ever play leads at jams.

how you do it is to practice practice practice. write your own stuff. try and play songs you know so that your picking or finger picking in different patterns - mix stuff up. get to know at least the first few frets of your fingerboard so you can play without looking at all. i used to have a writing partner who would call 2 to 4 chords and i'd come out with something to fit his lyrics. learn how various chord and note progressions go together till you can always put some together automatically. or do what blues players do - learn enough riffs to string them together in any key at any time.