Rock The Best Instrumental Rock Bands  

Reference
5k votes 737 voters 104.8k 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.
list ordered by

1
112 27
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
slaft added Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

2
61 11
The Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Kassie Lanzarotta added Rock music, Surf music

3
119 57
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

4
62 19
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

5
100 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
85 37
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

7
52 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
42 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
92 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
104 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
68 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
90 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
42 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
49 53
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

21
36 39
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

22
29 32
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Synthpop, Rock music, World music

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

26
42 49
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

27
29 34
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

28
2 2
The Bambi Molesters is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Blake Hutchings added Instrumental rock, Surf music

29
21 26
STS9 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

30
32 40
Pelican is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Post-metal, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

31
15 20
Tortoise is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

32
18 24
Mono is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

33
23 31
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

34
6 10
Ranker Video
kingbee63 added Desert rock, Instrumental rock, Stoner rock

35
13 19
65daysofstatic is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Electronic music, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

36
9 14
Don Caballero is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Jazz, Progressive rock

37
9 14
Red Sparowes is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Post-metal, Noise rock, Instrumental rock

38
16 23
Maybeshewill is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
muzziac added Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Electronic dance music

39
11 17
This Will Destroy You is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Drone music

40
11 17
Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

41
10 16
And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock

42
6 11
The Word is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Clark Benson added Blues-rock, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

43
8 14
Los Straitjackets is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Garage rock, Instrumental rock

44
4 9
If These Trees Could Talk is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Whoiscode added Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

45
7 13
Dirty Three is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Instrumental rock, Instrumental, Post-rock

46
3 8
Moon Ate the Dark is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
André Segadas added

47
3 8
Tia Carrera is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Lizzz added

48
9 16
Blotted Science is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Progressive metal, Technical death metal, Instrumental rock

49
5 11
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Plane... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

50
8 15
Gary Hoey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands
Rock music