rock The Best Instrumental Rock Bands  

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4.8k votes 678 voters 103k views 84 items

List Rules Must lean more in the rock direction than jazz or electronica, and music must be at least 90% instrumental

When you're thinking of instrumental rock bands, you should know that there are few if little vocals involved. Instrumental rock showcases the talents of the musicians creating it, and often times, these instrumental artists are widely regarded as virtuosos. The best instrumental rock music, also known as post-rock, was popular at the onset of the surf rock movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Over time, as in the 1980s, the best instrumental rock artists began to include many guitarists. You'll see the likes of Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani, Animals as Leaders, Eric Johnson and John 5 on this list. These instrumental rock bands emerged in the past 30 years and continue to be widely popular with fans of instrumental rock.

Best instrumental rock music artists and bands list, voted on by music lovers worldwide, with photos, hometowns, and other data. This list of Instrumental music bands includes the best musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Instrumental music groups and artists are listed alphabetically. Whether you consider this list to be proper rock music or just a list of the best instrumental bands is hard to perfectly define.

Titans of instrumental rock like Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Dick Dale, and Booker T and the MGs are included on this list, which overlaps a bit with instrumental soul, post-rock and sometimes is close to jazz. Click the artist name on this instrumental artists list to see full discography and other data. You can make your own list of your favorite instrumental artists on Ranker too. 

That said, it's up to you to determine who are the best instrumental bands. If you think someone is missing, feel free to add them to the list of instrumental rock bands.
list ordered by

1
58 5
The Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Kassie Lanzarotta added The Surfaris Rock music, Surf music

2
105 20
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added The Mahavishnu Orchestra Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

3
50 11
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
The Tornados Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

4
57 16
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Link Wray Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

5
96 44
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

6
82 36
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Dick Dale Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

7
109 56
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
The Ventures Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

8
39 12
Return to Forever is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Return to Forever Jazz fusion, Latin jazz, Jazz

9
44 16
The Meters is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added The Meters New Orleans rhythm and blues, Rhythm and blues, Funk

10
49 25
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Larry Coryell Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

11
88 60
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
The Shadows Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

12
45 24
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
The Outlaws Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

13
101 85
Jeff Beck is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Jeff Beck Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

14
67 61
Gentle Giant is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Gentle Giant Experimental rock, Folk rock, Jazz fusion

Rock Stars Who Have Aged Surprisingly Well

15
8 3
Eloy Fritsch is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Lauren Veronese added Eloy Fritsch New Age music, Electronic music, Progressive rock

16
85 87
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Joe Satriani Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

17
41 40
Dixie Dregs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
PaulWojciechowski added Dixie Dregs Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

18
80 88
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Explosions in the Sky Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

19
51 55
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Steve Vai Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

20
47 51
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Animals as Leaders Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

21
48 54
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Mogwai Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock

The Best Drummers of All Time

22
47 55
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
God is an Astronaut Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

23
41 48
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

24
27 32
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

25
32 38
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Buckethead Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

26
32 38
Pelican is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pelican Post-metal, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

27
37 44
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Russian Circles Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

28
25 31
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Mike Oldfield Synthpop, Rock music, World music

Rock Stars Who Died at Age 30

29
1 2
The Bambi Molesters is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Blake Hutchings added The Bambi Molesters Instrumental rock, Surf music

30
19 26
STS9 is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
STS9 Rock music, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

31
22 30
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Eric Johnson New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

32
8 13
Don Caballero is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Don Caballero Instrumental rock, Jazz, Progressive rock

33
13 20
Tortoise is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Tortoise Rock music, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

34
16 24
Mono is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Mono Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

35
12 19
65daysofstatic is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
65daysofstatic Electronic music, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

The Worst Albums by Great Bands

36
15 23
Maybeshewill is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
muzziac added Maybeshewill Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Electronic dance music

37
4 9
Ranker Video
kingbee63 added Karma to Burn Desert rock, Instrumental rock, Stoner rock

38
7 13
Los Straitjackets is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Los Straitjackets Rock music, Garage rock, Instrumental rock

39
10 17
Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Scale the Summit Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

40
10 17
This Will Destroy You is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
This Will Destroy You Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Drone music

41
9 16
Blotted Science is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Blotted Science Progressive metal, Technical death metal, Instrumental rock

42
9 16
And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
And So I Watch You From Afar Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock

Rock Stars Who Died at Age 29

43
15 24
El Ten Eleven is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
El Ten Eleven Indie, Experimental music, Post-rock

44
5 11
Lightning Bolt is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
muzziac added Lightning Bolt Noise rock, New Prog, Experimental rock

45
14 23
Ratatat is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Ratatat Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Dance-punk

46
7 14
Gary Hoey is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Gary Hoey Rock music

47
3 9
If These Trees Could Talk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Whoiscode added If These Trees Could Talk Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

48
9 17
Medeski Martin & Wood is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Medeski Martin & Wood Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

49
2 8
Moon Ate the Dark is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
André Segadas added Moon Ate the Dark

50
4 11
The Word is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added The Word Blues-rock, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion