I usually have some "basic" licks or riffs that I associate with each song. I will usually play those first and then bust out into some exploration building tension and then releasing it into some variation or part of the main riff. At least going out on a tangent and then hitting a few notes from the main riff.
I think about soloing when I am not even at the guitar often times. In fact, my best solos are in my head when I am going to sleep or being stoned.
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