I’m Tore Down – Intro

This is our final post on Freddie King (for a while), the intro lick to I’m Tore Down. This uses the dorian scale we talked about last week. As a bonus, we will also show you how to give the lick an even stronger dorian flavor.

Here is the tune in case you need to refresh your memory.

A few things to notice before you get started: the third note, E, is the 9 of the Dorian scale, but you are bending it up to the same pitch that you would play in them minor blues scale (F). The thing that makes this lick sound distinctly Dorian is when you play B halfway through the third measure, because it is the 6th scale degree, or modal note, of dorian.


Listen carefully to the phrasing and the rhythm in the tune. This is a distinctly Freddie King lick, and a great one to add to your vocabulary. Pay attention to the phrasing he uses in measures 3 and 4.

Here is the lick played slowly.

Here is the lick played at tempo.

You should also listen to how Clapton phrases this, or one of the many other versions of this tune.

Below, Joe changed the beginning of the lick, having it start on B. He is immediately establishing this is using dorian, giving it a stronger modal sound. In Freddie’s version, it is not clear that it is dorian until he hits the B halfway through the lick, giving it some ambiguity as to whether it’s dorian or the minor blues scale (the 9th is bent quickly enough that it could be considered an embellishment). Which version is better? That depends on your taste

Here is the tab for the more dorian version.


When you watch the video, notice how he does something different the second time he strikes the 13th fret (F) of the high E string (no bend). When he plays it faster, he gives that note vibrato. That is the beauty of blues, you can change things. Sometimes you use vibrato, sometimes you add an extra bend here or there, trust your ears and go with what sounds good!

Enjoy, next week we begin discussing B.B. King.


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