Zakk Wylde Breaks Down the Difference Between a Riff and a Lick
Have you wondered what in the hell the difference between a riff and a lick is? We're here for you.
When Zakk Wylde swung by our studio to discuss Black Label Society's new album, Grimmest Hits, we knew he was the perfect guy to ask. He's a disciple of rock's greatest guitarists like Lord Tony Iommi, Father Ritchie Blackmore and Pontiff Jimmy Page, so surely he would be able to discern between the two, right? Right!
Citing two songs, Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and AC/DC's "Back in Black," Wylde broke down the iconic guitar playing on the songs, showing how the two are intertwined to a certain degree. The driving rhythm of the Led Zep classic is the riff, while the more frenetic aspect of Page's playing is the lick. As for the title track to AC/DC's debut with Brian Johnson, there's a tradeoff, once again with the rhythmic aspect serving as the riff and the busier portion as the lick. "Now you know," Wylde boasts at the end of the clip.
Grimmest Hits is out Jan. 19 through eOne and, yes, it's packed with riffs and licks. Grab your copy of the album at the label's webstore and for a digital version, head here. The band is already on the road supporting the record, wrapping it up on Feb. 27; check out the remaining dates here.
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