#1
So Iv been playing for a while,and though I can nail down some complex songs/solo's etc,Im at a loss at completely impromptou jam sessions .If somebody starts playing a 4 chord pattern,I dunno what to play over over it.The only things Im comfortable with are the songs I know which Iv learnt from tabs.Also as a subpart to this question,what do most of you start out with when you are handed over a guitar at a gathering.When people realise there is a guitar player in their midst,they just hand you over a guitar ( mostly acoustic ofcourse ) and expect you to entertain.Now Im a metal guy,but how can you really do justice to a Megadeth song on a beaten old acoustic ? Ever been in such a situation ? What do I start out with ? < PS :I dont sing,so the guitar playing is in the focus >
#2
Learn theory! Learn to find out what key they're playing in(or ask) and well, learn to play in key. After a while your improvisation will get better and better.

I personally do some singing, classical guitaring, chord-melody jazz playing, and other entertaining stuff(playing Mexican standoff sounding stuff during tense arguments and stuff).
#3
That used to happen to me all the time, because I learned enough theory to just bull**** my way through at a party I would have nothing to play. But eventually I took the time to learn a few Beatles songs (chicks love em) and other such things.
#4
But how do you guys actually remember the scales.I mean is more of a formula based approach,or based on sight/sound ( around the fretboard ) or skill based purely on practise.I mean a chord pattern could meander into any a combo of any chords.How exactlt do you always play something appropriate ?
#6
One of the most important things when you are improvising is how your playing interacts with what you're playing over, harmonically and rhythmically. The rhythm will come more or less naturally but the harmony requires a bit of thought. The 4 chord pattern you mentioned is probably in a key. Playing in a key will sound okay. Playing the notes in the chord over each chord might sound a bit better. Knowing how each note in a key sounds over each chord in a key will open up possibilities and let you express yourself fully.
#7
Quote by sidjustis
So Iv been playing for a while,and though I can nail down some complex songs/solo's etc,Im at a loss at completely impromptou jam sessions .If somebody starts playing a 4 chord pattern,I dunno what to play over over it.The only things Im comfortable with are the songs I know which Iv learnt from tabs.Also as a subpart to this question,what do most of you start out with when you are handed over a guitar at a gathering.When people realise there is a guitar player in their midst,they just hand you over a guitar ( mostly acoustic ofcourse ) and expect you to entertain.Now Im a metal guy,but how can you really do justice to a Megadeth song on a beaten old acoustic ? Ever been in such a situation ? What do I start out with ? < PS :I dont sing,so the guitar playing is in the focus >
I improvise. Look at it from my point of view. Guitar players only really play melody or chords. Sure we can play chord-melody or classical guitar style, but not alot of people like it for some reason. Chords sounds pretty plain on their own (IMO), so that leaves with melody (keep in mind I cant sing either), which is improvised in my case because I've never gotten around to learning more than a few licks of a solo.

Also, lose this mentallity that your a "metal guy" as if the ONLY music you play is metal. It makes you an extremely un-versatil emusician. Sure, maiden and priest are damn fun to listen to, but theres more to music than just metal.
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#8
^Yea I play mostly metal but i also make sure to spend time on my acoustic fingerpicking or playing chords and stuff to keep diversified. It helps you to play metal if you play classical or any other style for that matter. Look at randy rhoads for example. Play acoustic songs and learn something different.

To improv learn theory so you can identify progressions, chords and keys of what someone is playing on the fly. And then you will nkow what notes would be "safe" to play around with. Then once you can do this you just have to practice and expirament. Its not just knowing the scales but being creative in how you make your licks and being able to loose yourself into the jam. The more quickly you can recognize this stuff the less you will have to think and the more you will be able to play with emotion so keep learning and refreshing. Drill it into your head so its second nature. Im not there yet but thats one of my goals and it takes a lot of time and patience for me but im seeing results from my studying.
Practice over cds and backing tracks and play with friends as much as possible.