How To Play Patience By Guns N’ Roses on Guitar

by Rodrigo Sanchez, May 7, 2021 . 4 min read

How To Play Patience By Guns N’ Roses on Guitar

Today we’re going to learn how to play Patience by Guns N’ Roses on guitar. This beautiful ballad is a popular choice for many acoustic guitar players around the world.

It was the lead single from the album GNR Lies and was recorded acoustically in just one session. It marked a departure from the band’s hard rock sound and showed a gentler side. Patience became a hit and is considered a classic by one of the biggest rock bands in history.

It is a fairly easy song to play songs if you have just a little experience. However, it’s important to mention that Patience, like all Guns N’ Roses songs, features a half step lower tuning. You can still learn it in regular tuning and then adjust if you want to play along with the recording. So tune up, and let’s learn how to play Patience by Guns N’ Roses on guitar. 


Patience features some basic chords that are within the reach of most beginners. The chords are C, G, A, Dsus, D, D9, Em. Guns N’ Roses couldn’t have picked an easier set of chords for this beautiful song. And don’t be fooled by the various D chords. These are just variations of a D major, where you add the pinky right next to the middle finger (Dsus) and remove the middle finger completely (D9). Later on in the song, there is an F chord that appears just once towards the end. 

This makes Patience a perfect song for beginners that have been playing a few weeks. You can work on the easier chords and have that challenge of the F chord at the same time. This way you have just one minor hurdle to overcome, with a perfect balance of fun and challenge. 


Being able to stay on the form is typically a challenge for many. What this means is that you know exactly where you are at in the song and what comes next. In other words, you don’t get lost. Naturally, this is going to take a bit of practice. 

The form of Patience is intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, guitar solo, long outro. In other words, this is a common form until we get to the long outro. This outro features Axl Rose’s incredible rock vocals, but it retains simple chords, until we get to the F. The verse chords are C, G, A, D (this last one with the Dsus, D9 variations). For the chorus we’ve got C, G, C, Em, C, G, D and its variations. The guitar solo features the same chords as the verse. This is followed by the long outro that starts by repeating D and G. The F chord appears almost at the end, in the second “I need you” to be followed by D and G. 

Strumming pattern

You can play Patience with a variety of strumming patterns. However, if you are just starting out, you can stick with the simplest of patterns: strum downward at each beat. You do add a variation by adding an upstroke between the downstrokes. If you are a bit more advanced, try the pattern down, down, up, up, down. 

Learning how to play Patience by Guns N’ Roses on guitar will give you another classic song for your repertoire. Moreover, this song can be a gentle stepping stone for dealing with the dreaded F chord. If you are just starting out, you’ll quickly find out why the F is so feared. It is the first bar chord that guitarists learn and usually takes a bit to master. But the key is to jump in and start playing it. Patience gives us a context to place the F chord, which can be very helpful. Remember, each song you learn makes you a better guitarist. Take the time to get a few songs in your repertoire. Patience is a great one to start with. 

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