I am trying to learn to play things in closed position. I want to develop a cache of movable licks so I can play in any key comfortably. Right now I have decided to only play in the key of C# so I can't play open strings. The problem is that without open strings, I can't recreate the natural sound of a banjo played in an open key like G. The sustain of open strings creates a timbre that sounds banjoey. Everything sounds weak even though I can rip through the C# major scale. I can learn to play fiddle tunes note for note in these remote keys (C#, F#, etc.), but I can't just sit back and roll and sound great like you can in the key of G.
My goal is to be able to improvise over ANY set of changes. I would like to be able to read a lead sheet like a jazz musician does. I would like to invent my own licks instead of learning other peoples'. Do you have any suggestions on how to make my closed position playing as natural sounding and possibly as physically easy to execute? Perhaps I answered my own question. I think I should strive (at least at first) for licks that are easy to execute. If they are physically easy to do they will probably sound more natural.