music The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists  

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For instrumental rock bands, the key to success lies in the music. While this may seem obvious, unlike other rock bands, instrumental rock bands have few, if any lyrics to express themselves. Thus, the music they create speaks volumes more than any lyrics can. While the instrumental rock was at its peak during the 1950s and 1960s, there hasn't been a shortage of good instrumental bands that have emerged since then. To some, instrumental rock can also be called post-rock. Instrumental rock artists, at least presently, are widely regarded as virtuosos especially those who play guitars.

So, who are the instrumental rock bands and instrumental artists on this list? You'll see familiar names like Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani, Buckethead and Booker T and the MGs. All of these instrumental rock bands played an important role in shaping and pushing rock music beyond the traditional song structure. At the same time, some of these artists' music was so strong that it had to be played on mainstream pop and rock radio.

That said, take a look at this list and you'll see the best instrumental rock bands and top instrumental rock artists. This should serve as a great point of reference if you're a fan of instrumental rock bands. This list answers the questions "who are the best instrumental rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest instrumental rock musician ever?"

1
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Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Joe Satriani Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

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2
+ - 35 21
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Buckethead Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

3
+ - 29 22
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Vai Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

4
+ - 20 14
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Ventures Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

5
+ - 20 17
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

6
+ - 20 17
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
John Petrucci Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

7
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Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Paul Gilbert Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

8
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Focus is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Focus Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock

9
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Steve Howe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Howe Pop music, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

10
+ - 12 10
Steve Morse is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Morse Fusion, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Explosions in the Sky Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

12
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Apocalyptica is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Apocalyptica Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Cello rock

13
+ - 9 7
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music - Glaeken Awakens

14
+ - 9 7
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Russian Circles Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

15
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Ozric Tentacles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Ozric Tentacles Space rock, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

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16
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Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

17
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Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Animals as Leaders Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

18
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Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Eric Johnson New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

19
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The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Mahavishnu Orchestra Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

20
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Dweezil Zappa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dweezil Zappa Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

21
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Caspian is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Caspian Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Experimental music

22
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Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Scale the Summit Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

23
+ - 10 11
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

24
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Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Al Di Meola Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

25
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And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
And So I Watch You From Afar Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock

26
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Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Robert Fripp New Wave, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

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+ - 7 8
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
God is an Astronaut Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

28
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Steve Stevens is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Stevens Glam metal, New Wave, Rock music

29
+ - 4 5
If These Trees Could Talk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
If These Trees Could Talk Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

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30
+ - 18 21
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Yngwie Malmsteen Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

31
+ - 10 12
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dick Dale Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

32
+ - 8 10
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Link Wray Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

33
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Andy West is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Andy West Fusion, Rock music, Instrumental rock

34
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Greg Howe is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Greg Howe Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Hard rock

35
+ - 5 7
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word - Metal Machine Music Remix

36
+ - 5 7
Shawn Lane is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shawn Lane Rock music, Instrumental rock, World music

37
+ - 4 6
This Will Destroy You is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
This Will Destroy You Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Drone music

38
+ - 4 6
Planet X is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Planet X Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

39
+ - 4 6
Karma to Burn is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Karma to Burn Desert rock, Instrumental rock, Stoner rock

40
+ - 4 6
7for4 is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
7for4 Progressive metal, Fusion, Instrumental rock

41
+ - 4 6
Don Caballero is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Don Caballero Instrumental rock, Jazz, Progressive rock

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+ - 4 6
Beware of Safety is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Beware of Safety Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

43
+ - 3 5
The Mercury Program is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Mercury Program Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Post-rock

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+ - 3 5
Red Sparowes is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Red Sparowes Post-metal, Noise rock, Instrumental rock

45
+ - 9 12
John 5 is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
John 5 Industrial metal, Instrumental rock, Flamenco

46
+ - 4 7
Andy Timmons is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Andy Timmons Glam metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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+ - 4 7
Maybeshewill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Maybeshewill Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Electronic dance music

48
+ - 9 13
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Shadows Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

49
+ - 3 6
Saxon Shore is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Saxon Shore Shoegazing, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

50
+ - 3 6
Do Make Say Think is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Do Make Say Think Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion