I certainly stand in awe of those so comfortable with their instrument that they can play beautiful music and make it look so damn easy. That your friend could play something with non-standard tuning after just a strum is impressive.Julio:
Painting and drawing came to mind when I originally started this topic. I realize I never touched on it, but my topic mentions it. You answered a question I had about an artist's painting process. In your case, you pre-plan for art, but not for music. Very curious indeed.
In my limited experience in writing (words), I've found it best to pre-plan plotlines before setting forth. However, a number of times a writing session resulted in the storyline taking a different turn as I was writing it, similar to when I make music. I suppose spur-of-the-moment changes aren't that surprising though.
As you mentioned, creating patches from scratch can be demanding. That's a whole other world for me. Designing sounds obviously plays a huge role in music, and I know some artists are all about sound design. If it wasn't for them, we'd not have patches to work with. For me, it pulls away from the creation of music, and I end up spending my time fiddling with knobs and envelopes instead.
To keep the momentum, I prefer to take existing patches and alter them to my needs. I've only dipped my toe in the world of building patches from scratch, and I can appreciate the work and time involved.