This is something i've been meaning to ask for a year or two now, but i've just never had the chance to. So here it goes:
[u]A little context:[/u]
I've been playing the guitar (both electric and acoustic) for around 13 years now. I started playing easy pop songs you would hear on the radio back in the day, then moved on to metal, and then after stumbling upon the blues i've never looked back since!
Now, when i started playing the blues it was just a simple 12 bar chord progression, and then i started learning lots of licks and details to add to my playing. It got quite repetitive, so i started learning blues songs by many of the great blues guitar players (some included solos, some didn't). Now, i'm currently learning travis picking on my acoustic. It's been a challenge but it's been an amazing experience and i've been getting much much better at the guitar and blues in general. Playing songs by doc watson. chet atkins and tommy emmanuel has been a lot of fun and i can't wait to learn more. I've really been jamming to some country blues - specifically country blues solos. I find the technique used and the sound that comes out of a telecaster to be beautiful. It's something i wish to learn in the future alongside blues rhythm and soloing.
What i'm trying to ask is this: All my life i've been learning/playing covers note for note. I've learned many licks, learned different variations of the blues, but for some reason i don't know how to connect all of it. For instance, when a guitarist plays a solo, he/she does it effortlessly. They know what they want to play, and where to put their fingers on the fretboard to emit the sound they are looking for. Or when a guitarist wants to play rhythm, they would add all these different licks to spice it up a bit.
I'm wondering if anyone knows a way i could move from learning covers note for note to taking all those licks and rhythm guitar progressions i've learned throughout the years and making them into something of my own.
I don't know if i'm a little late to start learning this since i'm an intermediate to advance guitar player, but any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated!!