RE: the lick challenge - what is the difference between a lick and a riff?

:slightly_smiling_face: @MAT1953

I take riff to be a repeating phrase which forms the basis of a songs structure - like what a crowd would chant.

  • Smoke on the Water
  • 7 Nation Army
  • That one from the darts - chase the sun

And a lick to be more a phrase a ‘call’ or ‘repeat’ in a song maybe a part of a solo.

Just get it posted, if you get shot down you can start your own rival thread “Michael’s Riffs”.



Thanks Dave @liaty
Will get it recorded and put on my flap jacket.

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a lick is “a stock pattern or phrase” consisting of a short series of notes used in solos

a riff is a repeated chord progression or refrain in music; it is a pattern, or melody, often played by the rhythm section instruments or solo instrument,

Really doesn’t matter If you post a lick or a riff Michael, you won’t be the first one here to get it wrong :wink: and we’ll listen to it anyway. :smiley:


:joy: As long as you don’t plan to become sheriff, you have nothing to fear :sunglasses:

First I wanted to to write what Rick put down at the beginning, but I was afraid that that would hold people back, and sometimes it is quite difficult and a lick becomes almost a riff or a riff a lick or at least in the ear for many (at least me ,but what do I know in this short time :upside_down_face:)…

As long as you don’t lick a riff and record it, everything is fine :grin:

PS @Lisa_S …Hi Lisa :smiley:

That is one of my first and still most played riffs , which I do on the neck there and over the entire neck :smiley:, if you are not already doing it, play it also in a not-open position… really great fun to play every where and it will yield a lot…
(but I think I don’t or rarely use it with a backing track ?? no idea actually)

Finally another video from you, I’m sitting behind my computer with a big smile
What a nice start to my morning :smiley:


Go for it Michael, nothing to lose !


Sorry, couldn’t help editing it.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Guitar Challenge - Play your favorite lick here!

And what about the Intro? Can that be considered a Riff or a Lick? :woman_shrugging:

All in all I’m enjoying this thread. Thanks Roger, for the idea. I plan on jumping in soon.


Hi Pamela,
Off the top of my head I say… intros can be a lick or multiple licks played together, which is a solo but called an intro because it is at the beginning …I think :smile: … a riff is a pile of notes that are repeated and by which you recognize the song I think :grin:… oh well, it doesn’t matter as said before…
And if someone goes over the minute we will ask them to post next time in AVOYP (or not ) because then it became a song …probably …I think :smile:
As you can see ,I don`t know :grin: and all is good :sunglasses:


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:crazy_face:Oh! I get it! I think :blush:

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Flak jacket.

Mark @markr31
Don’t you just hate predictive text.

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Justin explains it here:

and here:


How could I not have thought of that lesson to post…

While a riff is designed to set the vibe, a lick is used to showcase the skills of a guitarist by standing out . Unlike riffs, licks allow a guitarist to perform solos or improvise on an established melodic line of the song. While riffs go down as memorable, licks might not necessarily have the same staying power.

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In which case my post is 10000000% a riff…. :man_facepalming:
Still pleased I did it tho :wink::grin:


I always thought of licks as the words which when put together make phrases and that riffs are just short rhymic phrases played repeatedly as a back up part and are recognisable.


Good description @Socio. To me a riff is a rhythmic part and a lick is a phrase in a lead part.

@Richard_close2u Justin does describe riffs and licks over a few different lessons although it’s not a clear defining point. But the beginner grades are definitely focused on chords and strumming/fingerpicking, not riffs or licks.