Guitar lesson for


by Guns N' Roses  •  Lesson #288

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a tutorial on how to play the 1989 acoustic classic “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses. I’ll teach you the chords, lyrics, strumming, progressions, runs n’ fills, and show you everything else you need to know to pick up this song and play. Note you’ll need to tune down 1/2 step to play this along with Guns n Roses – though my lesson will be in standard tuning.

Video lesson timestamps:

Play-along cover

Here’s me playing the song, from beginning to end, with chords and lyrics:

Lyrics with chords

Remember, tune down 1/2 step to play along with Guns N’ Roses – which would be (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb) or (D# G# C# F# A# D#), depending on how your tuner prefers to do things.

    C   \   G   \   A   \   D   \  x2     (start whistling on the first G)

    C   G   C   Em  C   G   D   D  x1

    C                                       G
    ...Shed a tear, 'cause I'm missing you... I'm still alright to smile
    A                                 D          Dsus4 D Dsus2 D
    ...Girl, I think about you every day now...
    C                                                G
    ...There was a time when I wasn't sure, but you... set my mind at ease
    A                                  D             Dsus4 D Dsus2 D
    ...There is no doubt you're in my heart now...

        C             G                     C               Em
        ...Sad woman, take it slow... it'll work itself out fine
        C              G             D         Dsus2 D    Dsus4 D Dsus2 D
        All we need is just a little patience
        C              G                        C              Em
        ...Sad sugar, make it slow... and we'll come together fine
        C              G             D         Dsus2 D    Dsus4 D Dsus2 D
        All we need is just a little patience
        D                D          D
        ....(Patience).....ooooooh, yeah....

    [C] So I sit here on the stairs, 'cause I'd [G] rather be alone
    If [A] I can't have you right now, then I'll [D] wait, dear

    [C] Sometimes, I get so tense... but I [G] can't speed up the time
    But [A] you know love, there's one more thing to [D] consider

        [C] Sad woman, [G] take it slow, and [C] things will be just [Em] fine
        [C] You and I'll just [G] use a little [D] patience

        [C] Sad sugar [G] take the time, 'cause the [C] lights are shining [Em] bright
        [C] You and I've got [G] what it takes to [D] make it
        We won't [D] fake it... oh, we'll never [D] break it... 'cause I can't [D] take it

SOLO        C ... G ... C ... Em ...
            C ... G ... D ... D  ...
            C ... G ... C ... Em ...
            C ... G ... D ... D  ...    (...stay on D and slow down)

ENDING      D ... D ... G ... G ...  (repeat, build up)

            [D] ...... A little [G] patience... mmmmm [D] yeah... ooooh [G] yeah
            We need a little [D] patience... yeah-----[G]....
            Just a little [D] patience... yeah-----[G].... (some more patience)

            [D] I've been walking the streets at night
            [G] Just trying to get it right
            [D] It's hard to see with so many around
            You [G] know I don't like being stuck in the crowd

            And the [D] streets don't change, but baby the name
            [G] I ain't got time for the games
            'Cause I [D] need you, yeah I [G] need you
            Oooh, I [F] need you... ohh, I [G] need you
            All the [D] time------- 'ime----[G]----  (walk down) [D] (let ring)

Guitar Chords Used

Here is how to play the guitar chords used in this song. If the F gives you trouble, you can use one of the “mini” F versions I show on the right. Note, some folks will show you how to play this song with a D/F# (200232) during the outro - which you surely can do if you want! But I’m showing a regular D here to keep things simple.

e-|----0----3----2----0----0----1---- --(2)-- ------1-------
B-|----1----0----3----2----0----1---- ---3--- --1---1-------
G-|----0----0----2----2----0----2---- ---2--- --2---2---2---
D-|----2----0----0----2----2----3---- ---0--- --3---3---3---
A-|----3----2---------0----2----3---- ---0--- --3-------3---
E-|---------3--------------0----1---- ---2--- ----------1---
       C    G    D    A    Em   F       D/F#    F   F   F

Strumming patterns

Strumming is tricky for this song, only because of the heavy nuance heard in the GnR acoustic guitars (i.e., there’s no one obvious strumming pattern). That said, here’s a few relatively simple patterns I like to utilize.

Intro & verse strum

My goal for the intro & verse sections is to be a bit lighter with my strum – i.e., keeping my foot off the gas, so to speak. I’ll generally use the pattern below, but I’ll additionally be “light” with my volume and minimal with the number of strings I play in any given strum. e.g., I’ll often strum the bass note on the “1” count, and then 1-3 strings at a time with any other strum. See my video lesson for reference.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D U   U D U       "Down, down-up, up-down-up"

Chorus & outro strum

My goal in these sections is to be a bit more louder & impactful. I’ll lean into accents a bit more (either on the 1 & 3, or the 2 & 4), and not hesitate to strum all the strings in any given chord. The main idea here is steady down strums on all the quarter notes (1-2-3-4), while adding occasional “up” strums in between – especially in the latter half of any given measure.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D U D U       "Down, DOWN, down-up-DOWN-up"

Chord progressions


| C . . . | C . . . | G . . . | G  . . . |
| A . . . | A . . . | D . . . | D  . . . | whole thing TWICE

| C . . . | G . . . | C . . . | Em . . . |
| C . . . | G . . . | D . . . | D  . . . | whole thing ONCE


"Shed a tear, 'cause I'm missing you..."
| C . . . | C . . . | G . . . | G . . . |
| A . . . | A . . . | D . . . | D . . . | whole thing TWICE


"Sad woman, take it slow..."
| C . . . | G . . . | C . . . | Em . . . |
| C . . . | G . . . | D . . . | D  . . . | whole thing TWICE


"I've been walking the streets at night..."
| D . . . | D . . . | G . . . | G . . . |   ... REPEAT

On the final "I need you" note the switch to F...
| F . . . | F . . . | G . . . | G . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | G . . . | G . . . | D (end)

Runs and fills

Adding a riff to the D chord

Throughout this song, this simple riff is thrown in with the D chord occasionally. You’re simply removing your finger (or adding a finger) to the high E string – listen along to the song for reference.

      D    Dsus2 D    Dsus4 D Dsus2 D

C-riff in the intro

Here’s the tab for a nice little C-riff you can do in the opening chord of the entire song. Use your left pinky on the 3rd fret of the B string, then release your pinky - before releasing your left index for a few strums too.s For context, you begin whistling on the “G” chord here.

      C                           G

Walking down the final G-D transition

In the outro, and the very end, here’s the walkdown that connects the final G to the final D (let that ring to end the song).

  "all the time-----------"
           D          G

Videos of this song

Guns N’ Roses album version. Remember, tune down 1/2 step!

A recommended lesson, if you don’t like mine.

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