Best Instrumental Guitarists


The Top Ten

1 Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Joseph Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie more.

Unexcelled master of musical electricity.

One of the greatest musical geniuses of all time, maybe the one on the very top. He doesn't even play the guitar, the guitar plays him.

Absolutely he is the best well-known instrumental guitarist.

All the guitarists in this list are great, but (in my opinion) the best are Joe Satriani, MAB, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Buckethead, Jason Becker, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert - rock2metal

His breadth and abilities with the guitar are unmatched.

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2 Steve Vai Steve Vai Steven Siro "Steve" Vai is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer, born and raised on Long Island, New York.

Vai puts SO much of himself into what he does with the guitar...some would say too much if you've ever seen him live. That is whats so great though...he'd be selling himself and us short if he didn't. I'm a product of the 80's and my introduction to Vai happened at 2 times in same day...I saw the Yankee Rose and Going Crazy videos back to back and then that same night my dad took me to see Crossroads with Ralph Machio and I got to see him play Jack Butler...I've been hooked ever since. Vai is my Hendrix.

Steve vai is a master of guitar he is so expressive and powerful in many of his songs

The guitarist with the most soul. His guitar weeps with pain, screams with joy, and produces sonic eargasms that can only be rivaled by few.


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3 Buckethead Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

Buckethead is bucket and shoulders above all others. I've been a instrumental guitar fanatic for most of my 56 yrs and have never experienced a more diverse talent than the bucket-master. Bucket takes all guitar styles to another dimension like no other. Recently saw him in Detroit, king crab sized hands feverishly dancing on the fret board. Truly amazing artist.

Played the most difficult thing, and plays slow to show his writing and melodic skills. He has the most raw talent, so he wins. - maggot-104

Yeah I have heard steve vai, paul gilbert and joe satriani and many. But Buckethead is really different from all of them.

Great guitarist. He has done almost 300 album! He has an incredible talent, creativity, skill and feel.

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4 Eric Johnson Eric Johnson Eric Johnson (born August 17, 1954) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist from Austin, Texas. Best known for his electric guitar skills, Johnson is also a highly proficient acoustic, lap steel, resonator, and bass guitarist as well as an accomplished pianist and vocalist.

Cliffs of Dover is a whole lot harder to play than Surfing with the Alien, because even though it's based around the same area of notes, the fluidity of Johnson's playing style is pretty damn near impossible to pull of with ease.

Eric Johnson took the melodic flow of Hendrix and turned the tempo up. Like way way up!

The Best of The Best


5 John Petrucci John Petrucci John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater.

What can I say. number 1 is like Jesus. Greatest of All time. Respect Sir

I love Petrucci but he's not an Instrumental Guitarist.

Great guitarist, but he isn't that much instrumental. - zxm

6 Paul Gilbert Paul Gilbert

Got to meet Paul in Centerville, Ohio at a guitar clinic and he was AWESOME! Humble and down to earth...NO EGO!

My list is:
1. Paul Gilbert
2. Buckethead
3. Yngwie Malmsteen

7 Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

He is no less than satriani or others, he's just not that popular

I think he is the most skilled guitarist alive

Not the most skilled but one of the most known

8 Micheal Angelo Batio

Great shredder, he must be number 2 after joe satriani. He can play with 4 guitar in the same time

Best guitarist in the world in my opinion love his playing and style

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9 Jason Becker Jason Becker Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American neoclassical metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up more.

Jason is a legendary composer. He hit all of the little nuances, from simple vibrato, to a variety of different tonal ranges. I can listen to Vai, Satriani, Malmsteen, and mostly understand what they are doing the first few listens, but with Jason it takes much more focus to get all of the subtle nuance. It is Becker number 1 for me and Guthrie Govan probably 2.

Listen altitudes, images, air, mables fatal fable, opus pocus... and then decide to whom you should vote!

10 Alex Lifeson Alex Lifeson Aleksandar Živojinović, OC, better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush.

La Villa, YYZ, Leave That Thing Alone,...
Also, his solos are amazing, and all different.

His style for both rhythm and lead has inspired so many other masters. What he was doing in the mid 70s until the mid 80s was way ahead of its time.

The Contenders

11 Jeff Beck Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Jeff Beck is the god of Instrumental Classic Rock... He is No.5 on The Rolling Stones 100 Guitarists. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards are all not instrumental. So Jeff Beck should be Number 1.

I love Jeff becks music!

12 Tommy Emmanuel Tommy Emmanuel

The absolute best.


13 Hizaki

Hizaki put blues and gothic scales and other variated sounds into Symphonic Power Metal, real sense of music and techniques. Is a true master of guitar and put in oversight their unique style. Their guitar make me feel like I really like feel, is food to my soul... I Don't need anymore...

His technique is just awesome and his solos are epic, when you go to one of his lives you will be definitely impressed by his performance...

14 Neil Zaza

Neil Zaza too deserves a spot on this list

You need to hear him

Highly under rated instrumentalist! Classy and inspirational melodic tunes. Also amazing Christmas music.

Melody wise, he is the best! with less technical stuffs which makes his songs ''MELODIC''.

15 Hank Marvin

An absolutely clinical exponent of the guitar using minimum of effects.

The greatest and most iconic lead guitarist to influence generations of budding guitarists.

He made the guitar gods.


16 Wes Montgomery Wes Montgomery
17 Guthrie Govan Guthrie Govan

Can't believe there is no Guthrie Govan! Like seriously I expected him to be in the top 10. He is a true maestro of guitar. haven't heard of him? Check him out

This guy is literally light years away from just your standard shredder!

Easily superior to all of these other guys.

18 Andy Timmons

Phenomenal, Danger Danger was his fallback when Neal Schon (one of the greatest guitarists of all time) decided to support Bad English on tour after recording their first album hence Andy was the odd man out considering Bad English was 1/2 Journey. Although his DD material was fantastic he was lumped into the glam band genre and never got the credit he deserved. Pick up any Pawn Kings, ATB record and give a listen, pure genius. Moreover he is a great guy that is humble and more than willing to share his knowledge. Watch he and Satch have a duel on You Tube and you will know the truth about AT!

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19 Julian Bream
20 Uli John Roth
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List Stats

500 votes
45 listings
6 years, 307 days old

Top Remixes

1. Buckethead
2. Eric Johnson
3. Jason Becker
1. Steve Vai
2. Joe Satriani
3. John Petrucci



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