Bands/Musicians 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?"
list ordered by

1
74 33
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

2
89 52
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

3
33 15
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

4
59 38
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

5
28 13
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

6
28 14
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

7
32 18
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

8
50 39
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

9
20 11
Dweezil Zappa is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

10
24 15
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

11
27 18
Focus is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock

12
22 14
Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
New Wave, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

13
22 14
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

14
23 15
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

15
11 4
Eloy Fritsch is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Lauren Veronese added New Age music, Electronic music, Progressive rock

16
37 30
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

17
28 24
Steve Howe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

18
12 8
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

19
23 20
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

20
14 11
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

21
19 17
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

22
18 17
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

23
30 30
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

24
15 14
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock

25
8 7
Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, J-pop, Heavy metal

26
6 5
Jason Becker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

27
14 14
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

28
2 1
Plini is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Zooropa_Station added Progressive Rock, Instrumental

29
6 6
Allan Holdsworth is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

30
15 16
Ozric Tentacles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Space rock, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

31
1 1
Stomu Yamashta is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mark Lanzarotta added

32
26 29
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

33
17 19
Apocalyptica is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Cello rock

34
14 16
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

35
14 16
Steve Morse is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Fusion, Rock music, Instrumental rock

36
10 12
Greg Howe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Hard rock

37
9 11
Steve Stevens is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, New Wave, Rock music

38
0 1
Intervals is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Zooropa_Station added Progressive

39
7 9
Jeff Loomis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

40
7 9
This Will Destroy You is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Drone music

41
12 15
John 5 is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Industrial metal, Instrumental rock, Flamenco

42
5 7
Tony MacAlpine is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Fusion, Instrumental rock

43
11 14
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

44
9 12
Mono is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

45
6 9
Caspian is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Experimental music

46
11 15
And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock

47
11 15
Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

48
4 7
Chris Letchford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

49
3 6
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

50
3 6
Greg Ginn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Punk jazz