Rock The Best Instrumental Rock Bands  

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5.1k votes 757 voters 105.9k views 82 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.
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list ordered by

1
114 33
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

2
65 13
The Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Kassie Lanzarotta added Rock music, Surf music

3
126 58
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

4
66 20
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

5
102 46
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

6
86 37
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

7
53 14
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

8
47 17
The Meters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added New Orleans rhythm and blues, Rhythm and blues, Funk

9
43 15
Return to Forever is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Jazz fusion, Latin jazz, Jazz

10
96 62
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

11
50 27
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

12
47 26
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

13
107 86
Jeff Beck is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

14
69 64
Gentle Giant is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Experimental rock, Folk rock, Jazz fusion

15
91 88
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

16
10 4
Eloy Fritsch is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Lauren Veronese added New Age music, Electronic music, Progressive rock

17
56 57
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

18
43 43
Dixie Dregs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
PaulWojciechowski added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

19
83 89
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

20
31 32
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Synthpop, Rock music, World music

21
37 39
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

22
49 53
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

23
40 45
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

24
49 56
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock

25
49 57
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock