How to Play Up on the Roof Chords by The Drifters on Guitar

Up on the Roof is a classic pop song by American vocal group The Drifters, released in 1962 as the second single from their fourth studio album Save the Last Dance for Me. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and produced by Leiber and Stoller. Up on the Roof is a romantic and optimistic song that celebrates the joy of escaping from the troubles of the city to the rooftop, where the view is beautiful and peaceful. The song was a hit for The Drifters, reaching the top 10 in several countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The song has also been covered by many artists, such as James Taylor, Neil Diamond, and Carole King herself.


The chords for Up on the Roof by The Drifters are relatively simple and common. You will need to know how to play the following chords: G, Em, C, D, D7, G7, A7, Bm6. If you are not familiar with these chords, you can find diagrams and tutorials online. Here are the chord shapes for reference:

G: 320003
Em: 022000
C: x32010
D: xx0232
D7: xx0212
G7: 320001
A7: x02020
Bm6: x20102

You can also use a capo to transpose the song to a different key that suits your voice or preference. For example, if you put a capo on the first fret, you can play the song using F#, D#m, B, C#, C#7, F#7, G#7, A#m6 instead of G, Em, C, D, D7, G7, A7, Bm6.


The strumming pattern for Up on the Roof by The Drifters is not very complicated either. You can use a simple down-up-down-up pattern for most of the song, with some variations depending on the rhythm and dynamics of the song. For example, you can accentuate the first beat of each measure by strumming harder or louder. You can also mute some of the strings with your palm or fingers to create a percussive effect. Here is an example of how to strum the chorus:

D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U
C On the roof it's peaceful as can be
G Em C D And there the world below don't bother me

You can also experiment with different strumming patterns and find what works best for you.


As mentioned earlier, you can use a capo to change the key of the song. A capo is a device that clamps across the fretboard of your guitar and shortens the strings, raising their pitch. By using a capo, you can play the same chord shapes in different keys without having to learn new fingerings or use barre chords. For example, if you put a capo on the first fret and play a G chord shape, you are actually playing a G# chord.

Read more about How to Play Fake Plastic Trees Chords by Radiohead on Guitar

Using a capo can have several benefits for playing Up on the Roof by The Drifters on guitar. First of all, it can make the song easier to sing along with if you have a higher or lower voice than The Drifters. You can adjust the capo position until you find a comfortable range for your vocal cords. Second of all, it can make the song sound more interesting and varied by changing its tonality and mood. You can experiment with different capo positions and see how they affect the feel and emotion of the song.

Here are some suggestions for capo positions for Up on the Roof by The Drifters:

  • Capo on 1st fret: This is a higher key that can make the song sound more bright and upbeat. You can sing in a higher octave or use falsetto if you have a lower voice.
  • Capo on 3rd fret: This is the original key of the song as recorded by The Drifters. You can play along with their track or sing in their pitch if you have a similar vocal range.
  • Capo on 5th fret: This is a lower key that can make the song sound more dark and melancholic. You can sing in a lower octave or use chest voice if you have a higher voice.


Up on the Roof by The Drifters is a popular and catchy song that you can learn to play on guitar with some basic chords, strumming patterns, and capo positions. You can also use your creativity and personal style to make the song your own and express your emotions through music. We hope this blog post has helped you to play Up on the Roof by The Drifters on guitar and have fun with it.

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