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View Full Version : Difference between a Riff and a Lick??????


craigsdaddy
03-24-2007, 06:16 PM
Could someone please tell me the difference between the two.

Thanks in advance. :)

z0s0_jp
03-24-2007, 09:19 PM
a riff is the main bit to a song....think the opening bit to "Heartbreaker" by Zep or a riff can be the main bit in "Iron Man"...you know the part right after Ozzy says "I am Iron Man" or the very start of "Gimme Three Steps" by Skynyrd. Iron Maiden takes licks and makes riffs out of them. :rolleyes: Think of "The Trooper" but it is still a riff.
a lick is little , generally short lead parts....think of when zep comes out of the wild gong and congo middle part of Whole Lotta Love and it goes "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" then the main riff. (i lost track of how many dunts and licks but I think you get the picture)

strat-man
03-25-2007, 08:22 AM
A riff is a repeating phrase which forms a 'hook' for the listener. It can appear in intros and outros, though sometimes riffs are played between parts of a song or even throughout verses and choruses.

A lick is a learned melodic line which is generally used in a solo or lead break. It generally only appears once or twice in a piece of music, and doesn't form the central 'hook'

Really the only difference is that riffs are played over and over, and licks aren't, so it's fair to say that all riffs are licks, but not all licks are riffs.

quickfingers
03-25-2007, 04:22 PM
think of when zep comes out of the wild gong and congo middle part of Whole Lotta Love and it goes "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" "dunt! dunt!-- Lick" then the main riff. (i lost track of how many dunts and licks but I think you get the picture)

let me give you the official air-guitar tabs for that one.

aaaaaaoooooooh.......SHOVE!

>>BAM! BAM!
>>>widd-i-ly wo-bam-a waah waaah
>>BAM! BAM!
>>>skidd-ly didd-ly dood-ly be-bop...bop
>>BAM! BAM!
>>>widd-ly widd-ly widd-ly widd-i-ly uh uhhhhhh
>>BAM! BAM!
>>>a-duh-du-duuuh de-da wi-waaaah

and im just not good enough to tab out the rest of it. but there's the classic breakdown from "whole lotta love" in what i like to call "air guitar solfeggio symbols"

Grambo
03-31-2007, 05:07 PM
A riff is a repeating phrase which forms a 'hook' for the listener. It can appear in intros and outros, though sometimes riffs are played between parts of a song or even throughout verses and choruses.

A lick is a learned melodic line which is generally used in a solo or lead break. It generally only appears once or twice in a piece of music, and doesn't form the central 'hook'

Really the only difference is that riffs are played over and over, and licks aren't, so it's fair to say that all riffs are licks, but not all licks are riffs.

Very true - licks can also be used as fills, often played in gaps in the song

Randy Johnson
04-03-2007, 07:25 PM
I think Strat-Man hit the nail right on the head.