FlavorCrystal7
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2008
173 IQ
#1
I know this seems like a dumb question.

What's the difference? To me, a lick is a small part of a solo, almost a technique.

A Riff is maybe a longer portion of a guitar part, repeated during a song?

Help. Trying to explain stuff to FlavorCrystal7 Jr
Zoomyrs1
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
11 IQ
#3
Quote by Wild_One
if i'm not mistaken, lick is a small part of lead guitar work that a guitarist create, while riff is a repeated phrase, and mostly become the base of the song...


You got it.

A riff is rhythm work usually, think Pantera, I'm Broken, that song is mostly riffage.

A lick is a a "section" of a lead I guess you would call it, you can chain them together and move them around but the pattern doesn't really change.
Bad Kharmel
Registered User
Join date: May 2009
167 IQ
#4
nope, they're the same, just you normally say riff in metal, and lick in blues or jazz (i.e. did you hear that metal lick, or I can play that jazz riff...... both sound a little strange)
Zaphod_Beeblebr
Shallow and pedantic.
Join date: Apr 2006
1,670 IQ
#5
It's not really a question that has an answer, it's a very small semantic difference and you can really use the two terms interchangeably and no one will say anything because everyone will know what you mean.

That said, I usually go with the idea of a lick being a small lead part that is easily recognizable and a riff is a part that forms the basis of a song or section.

Quote by Bad Kharmel
nope, they're the same, just you normally say riff in metal, and lick in blues or jazz (i.e. did you hear that metal lick, or I can play that jazz riff...... both sound a little strange)


I'm not sure about this at all, I mean listen to something like Four On Six by Wes Montgomery; the opening part of that is clearly a riff
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Nov 16, 2012,
Kenjisan231
The Kevin Baconater's
Join date: Nov 2010
546 IQ
#6
Quote by Bad Kharmel
nope, they're the same, just you normally say riff in metal, and lick in blues or jazz (i.e. did you hear that metal lick, or I can play that jazz riff...... both sound a little strange)


A lick is "a stock pattern or phrase" consisting of a short series of notes that is used in solos and melodic lines and accompaniment

A riff is a short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or used as a background to a solo improvisation

Internet's definition, for all that copyright jazz. Importantly though, not the same.
Last edited by Kenjisan231 at Nov 16, 2012,