Music

The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists 

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Updated June 13, 2019 3.9k votes 662 voters 73.9k views 234 items

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
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
2
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
3
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
4
Booker T. & the M.G.... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
5
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
6
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
7
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
8
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
9
The Mahavishnu Orchestra... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
10
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
11
Steve Howe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
12
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
13
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
14
Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
15
Focus is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
16
Dweezil Zappa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
17
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
18
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
19
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
20
Liquid Tension Experimen... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
21
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
22
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
23
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
24
Steve Morse is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
25
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists