#1
Just a few questions on this. I've heard it mentioned a lot, do I have to consciously make an effort to listen to notes/music in my head because most of the time it seems empty and silent lol,
I was improving yesterday, soloing to a backing track, usually I just let my hands and knowledge of the fretboard play something which isn't just a complete scale pattern, but I concentrated on what I thought was in my head, found the notes and it did sound better than my usual methods, more melodic.
And what about chords, can you hear these in your head to, I seem to need at least a drum beat to get me started
#2
Well, I'm not a master of playing what's in my head but I can do it, sometimes better, sometimes worse. But yeah, sometimes I just have kind of feeling where the solo/song should go. So I hear it in my head.

usually I just let my hands and knowledge of the fretboard play something which isn't just a complete scale pattern, but I concentrated on what I thought was in my head, found the notes and it did sound better than my usual methods, more melodic

Same. If I concentrate more on what I hear in my head, it sounds better. Many times if I don't concentrate that much on my playing, the things I play are basic rock licks. And my playing sounds pretty repetitive.

I sometimes hear chords but that's more about songwriting. Though some chord progressions have that kind of pull. I just feel that "the next chord has to be this, it needs to go there". Sometimes I just start with a chord and start hearing things. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I can't hear anything.

But usually when I start playing a solo, I decide to start from some note and then ideas start coming to my head.
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#3
just work at it. it's always improving, just like everything else in music.

there's a really good wooten exercise where you imagine a drum playing a beat and just play to that and ignore what you're doing. this forces you to think rhythmically, as well as examine what other instruments are doing. at that point, you can start to visualize full ensembles

although you might not want to go too far or you'll be like me and throw horns into everything knowing full well you're never going to afford a brass quartet to tour with your neotribal black metal band
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#4

Yeah I will probably be the same, get carried away adding shit loads of instruments,
But that's enlightening, imagining a drum beat in my head, I will use that
thanks both of you for your knowledge/advice
#5
Yea, another thing I recently tried to start doing again, I believe I originally heard it from Paul Gilbert.

The way I do it: Pick a chord (or chords if you're better than me), I just "stab" an A5 chord. Vamp it then stop. Now try to imagine a short lick in your head. It usually takes me a try or two to get it but usually thet're mor interesting because they're not limited by my go-to movement. Then repeat...
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#6
The more you develop your ear the better you will get at this stuff, and the less you'll have to think about it.

eg, because I only played pentatonics when soloing for far too long, this process is completely automatic for me in the pentatonic scales. I'd close to automatic in the major scale. But in minor, because my ear isn't quite as strong with minors as it is with major, I something have to "think" more first to avoid just slipping into pentatonic patterns. Those extra notes aren't embedded in my head and ear in the same way.
#7
Definitely the most musical way of playing is by trying to picture music in your head then playing it.
A couple of tips:

1. Try closing your eyes whilst you improvise, let you ears guide you!
2. Over a backing track, try singing a melody, then playing it in the next bar, alternating back and forth.

Hope that helps