I thought that it would be great to have a thread that you can really improve yourself by reading. Im usually trying to expand my lead-vocabulary so I thought that I'd probably be able to learn a lot from you guys!
So to start with something: Lately Iv'e been trying to improve my time a lot. I saw a video by Al Dimeola where he was speaking about tapping with your foot while playing. I've always thought that that is a good way to make your soloing sound more determined but it's first now that I realize that it is essential! Everything started to sound a lot better as soon as I started doing that.
I also try to sing along to what I'm playing when improvising cause that will make it a lot more melodical, and you'll have to take breaks in your playing naturally as you have to breathe. It's a great way to improve both time and thematic playing.
I tend to think in quasi-counterpoint when coming up with leads. You can divide a riff up into separate chords, or you can think of it as a melody in of itself. Kind of hard to put into text and I'm kinda sleepy, but I'll do my best to explain. If you have a riff in E minor that has a descending theme, you can think of every chord as a new root (change in modes) or you can think of E as a root, D as a bastardized escape tone, and C as a second root (Lydian I think). The notes for an E minor chord are E,G,B and the notes for C major first inversion are E,G,C. The lead melody can dance around those notes easily over 3 octaves. Throw in the D in the right places and you can get a cool 9th/suspended/variousotherchordsdependingonwhatnotesintherhythma resimultaneous voicing. Not to say that anyone should limit themselves to whatever notes fit in with a given chord, but it's fun to toy with as far as improv/need ideas/oops I forgot what I was supposed to play and I hope no one notices I completely botched this lead and need to figure out something quick.