when i do improv in a jam setting i usually im hitting the note and 5th (nicer way to say powerchord) of what the bass player is playing. Then I dont know where to go after that. Sometimes i bump it up to the maj7 or min7 of that chord depending on the feel of the song. Will anyone help me out with getting more civilzed/impressive chords from just watching a bass riff?
Do you what note the bass player is hitting? If you have to stick to chords, then just play on chord that has the root of the bass player's note. Or, figure out what the progression is and play whatever chord you're on.
If you can hear the note he hits and know what it is that'll help too but I don't know if you can do that yet.
you should know whether the bassist is playing in a minor key, a major key, augmented, any of that. if you know hes playing in E melodic minor, you then know what chords you have to choose from