music 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?"

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63 38
Joe Satriani is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Joe Satriani Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

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32 15
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Ventures Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

3
44 28
Buckethead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Buckethead Noise rock, Dark ambient, Space rock

4
24 12
Steve Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Howe Pop music, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

5
23 12
Paul Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Paul Gilbert Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

6
37 26
Steve Vai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Vai Progressive metal, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

7
18 11
Focus is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Focus Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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28 21
John Petrucci is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
John Petrucci Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

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16 10
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mark Lanzarotta added Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music - Glaeken Awakens

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16 10
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Booker T. & the M.G.'s Southern soul, Instrumental rock, Electric blues

11
25 21
Liquid Tension Experiment is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Liquid Tension Experiment Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion

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14 10
Link Wray is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Link Wray Rock music, Rockabilly, Instrumental rock

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13 9
Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Robert Fripp New Wave, Experimental rock, Instrumental rock

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12 8
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Mahavishnu Orchestra Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

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13 10
Al Di Meola is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Al Di Meola Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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10 7
Dweezil Zappa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dweezil Zappa Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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15 13
Explosions in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Explosions in the Sky Shoegazing, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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15 13
Apocalyptica is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Apocalyptica Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Cello rock

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15 13
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Dick Dale Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

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15 14
Animals as Leaders is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Animals as Leaders Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

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13 12
Eric Johnson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Eric Johnson New Age, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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9 8
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mark Lanzarotta added Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word - Metal Machine Music Remix

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5 4
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Outlaws Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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13 13
Steve Morse is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Morse Fusion, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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11 12
Russian Circles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Russian Circles Post-metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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10 11
Duane Eddy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mark Lanzarotta added Duane Eddy Instrumental rock, Rock and roll - Rebel Rouser

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13 15
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

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13 15
Ozric Tentacles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Ozric Tentacles Space rock, Electronic music, Instrumental rock

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5 6
Marty Friedman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Marty Friedman Glam metal, J-pop, Heavy metal

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12 14
The Shadows is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Shadows Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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8 10
Steve Stevens is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Steve Stevens Glam metal, New Wave, Rock music

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21 25
Yngwie Malmsteen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Yngwie Malmsteen Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

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6 8
Jeff Loomis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Jeff Loomis Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

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9 12
God is an Astronaut is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
God is an Astronaut Space rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

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6 9
Andy Timmons is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Andy Timmons Glam metal, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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5 8
Grails is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Grails Rock music, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

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10 14
And So I Watch You From Afar is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
And So I Watch You From Afar Instrumental rock, Post-rock, Punk rock

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9 13
Mogwai is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mogwai Shoegazing, Rock music, Experimental rock

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3 6
Allan Holdsworth is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Allan Holdsworth Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

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3 6
Michael Angelo Batio is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Michael Angelo Batio Glam metal, Progressive metal, Instrumental rock

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3 6
Greg Ginn is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Greg Ginn Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Punk jazz

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3 6
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Jordan Rudess Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

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8 12
Mono is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Mono Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Post-rock

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2 5
The Flee-rekkers is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists

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2 5
Jason Becker is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Jason Becker Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

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6 10
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
The Tornados Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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5 9
7for4 is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
7for4 Progressive metal, Fusion, Instrumental rock

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5 9
Caspian is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Caspian Post-metal, Instrumental rock, Experimental music

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10 15
Scale the Summit is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
Scale the Summit Progressive metal, Instrumental rock, Progressive rock

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10 15
John 5 is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Instrumental Rock Bands/Artists
John 5 Industrial metal, Instrumental rock, Flamenco