Music

The Best Instrumental Rock Bands  

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5.2k votes 785 voters 107.3k 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
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz
2
The Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Kassie Lanzarotta added Rock music, Surf music
3
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock
4
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues
5
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock
6
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock
7
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock
8
Return to Forever is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Jazz fusion, Latin jazz, Jazz
9
The Meters is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added New Orleans rhythm and blues, Rhythm and blues, Funk
10
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock
11
Larry Coryell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz
12
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock
13
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
Gentle Giant is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Experimental rock, Folk rock, Jazz fusion
15
Eloy Fritsch is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Lauren Veronese added New Age music, Electronic music, Progressive rock
16
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal
17
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock
18
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock
19
Dixie Dregs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
PaulWojciechowski added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz
20
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock
21
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Synthpop, Rock music, World music
22
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal
23
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock
24
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock
25
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock