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
79 37
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

2
93 55
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

3
65 41
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

4
36 17
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

5
30 14
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

6
29 15
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

7
30 16
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

8
33 20
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

9
29 19
Focus is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock

10
21 12
Dweezil Zappa is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

11
25 16
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

12
51 42
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

13
23 15
Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
New Wave, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

14
17 11
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

15
22 16
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

16
38 32
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

17
23 18
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

18
11 6
Eloy Fritsch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Lauren Veronese added New Age music, Electronic music, Progressive rock

19
29 25
Steve Howe is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

20
25 21
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

21
12 9
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

22
8 6
Jason Becker is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

23
31 31
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

24
16 15
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock

25
16 15
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

26
19 19
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

27
3 2
Plini is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Zooropa_Station added Progressive Rock, Instrumental

28
9 9
Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, J-pop, Heavy metal

29
28 30
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

30
8 8
Allan Holdsworth is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

31
17 18
Ozric Tentacles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Space rock, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

32
2 2
Stomu Yamashta is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mark Lanzarotta added

33
18 20
Apocalyptica is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Cello rock

34
16 18
Steve Morse is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Fusion, Rock music, Instrumental rock

35
13 15
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

36
8 10
Jeff Loomis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

37
11 14
Greg Howe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Hard rock

38
9 12
Steve Stevens is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, New Wave, Rock music

39
8 11
This Will Destroy You is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Experimental rock, Instrumental rock, Drone music

40
14 18
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

41
0 2
Intervals is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Zooropa_Station added Progressive

42
6 9
Tony MacAlpine is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Fusion, Instrumental rock

43
4 7
Trey Anastasio Band is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists

44
9 13
Mono is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

45
3 6
Southpacific is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Space rock, Instrumental rock

46
7 11
Andy Timmons is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Glam metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

47
12 17
John 5 is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Industrial metal, Instrumental rock, Flamenco

48
6 10
Caspian is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Experimental music

49
11 16
Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

50
11 16
And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock