Best Instrumental Guitarists

The Top Ten Best Instrumental Guitarists

1 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.

I’ve only heard about a dozen of the guys on this list. Of those 12...Satriani is the best

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

2 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.

"Malmsteen, Satriani, Vai, Van Halen, Vinnie Moore, Steve Stevens, John Norum, MAB, Greg Howe, Andy Timmons, Marty Friedman." The reason I posted here is to correct the guy who said 'Steve Vai was Joe's teacher'. Joe Satriani taught Vai and Jeff Tyson - the only 2 who actually passed. Andy Timmons was a great student too.

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

Can touch whatever you consider to be your soul. Epitome of music that moves you.

Listen to Shadows between the sky and then listen to Pike 65 say no more

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.

4 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.

This guy's much better than buckethead
I mean everyone says Eruption is impossible but try cliffs of dover

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 Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Compared to his level of skill, John Petrucci is relatively unknown in the modern music industry.

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

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

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

6 Paul Gilbert Paul Brandon Gilbert is an American hard rock/heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums.

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 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

Not the most skilled but one of the most known

I think he is the most skilled guitarist alive

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

Also why is he not at least in the top 8

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.

9 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

Best hair


10 Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

I don't think anyone has inspired more guitarists than Eddie...

The Contenders

11 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!

12 Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while more.
13 Tommy Emmanuel William Thomas "Tommy" Emmanuel is an Australian guitarist, songwriter, and singer, best known for his complex fingerstyle technique, energetic performances, and the use of percussive effects on the guitar.

The absolute best.


14 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? come on

15 Guthrie Govan Guthrie Govan is an English virtuoso guitarist and guitar teacher, known for his work with the bands The Aristocrats, Asia, GPS, The Young Punx and The Fellowship, as well as his solo project Erotic Cakes.

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.

16th place? How?

16 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...

17 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.

I'm Alright is My Favorite Song...

18 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.

Hank Marvin's interpretation of the melody makes him unique in the guitar world

Inspiration to many of the great guitar players of all time

19 Kirk Hammett Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.

Why is Kirk on this list?

Not an Instrumental Guitarist

His work on The Call of Ktulu, Orion, To Live is to Die, Suicide and Redemption... Amazing...

20 David Gilmour David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.

Surprised that he is so down below. He has more instrumental pieces that I can count. Angus Young is anything but instrumental what is he doing ahead of David Gilmour?

The &$&##&$,^$^#&÷&#;; $ is he doing at number 32
I mean
Any colour you like
Terminal frost
One of these days
The narrow way parts 1&2

21 Andy Timmons

Underrated for sure. Got over looked because Danger Danger was not a great band. Fortunately, Andy was able to move on to a great solo career.

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!

The best of the bests

He makes guys like Vai and Satriani sound boring.

22 Wes Montgomery John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others.

Non-contemporary artists generally do not do well because younger audiences may have a fleeting awareness of the performer. Across time, West Montgomery has wowed and awed his audience, even beyond the jazz genre. A complete fan of his ability to communicate and reach common sensations that his music provides.

23 Plini

Not much technical bit intelligently musical! Best new guitarist

So creative, so inspiring, he makes his guitar sing beautifully. Many guitar player on this list are actually from bands, not instrumental guitarists...

Discovered Plini this year. Incredibly creative and unique. One of my favorite new artists.

24 Tosin Abasi Oluwatosin Ayoyinka Olumide "Tosin" Abasi (born January 7, 1983), is a Nigerian American musician, best known as the founder and lead guitarist of the instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders. Before founding Animals as Leaders, he was the guitarist for the technical metalcore band Reflux. more.
25 Marty Friedman Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s, as well as Cacophony alongside Jason Becker until 1989. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted more.

Just listen his I love you,thunder march,tibbet

26 Julian Bream
27 Shawn Lane Shawn Lane was an American musician who released two studio albums and collaborated with a variety of musicians including Ringo Starr, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Reggie Young, Joe Walsh, Jonas Hellborg and many others.

Just listen to 'Get You Back' or 'The Way it Has to Be' and you'll understand why he is the best. The amount of emotion the man put in his work was unreal. You'll be missed.R.I.P.

The best guitarist who has ever lived! Buckethead's hero. Seriously, listen to Get You Back or Gray Pianos Flying.

28 Uli John Roth


29 Greg Howe

Awesome inspiration great guitarist.

Seriously good!

30 Gary Moore Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.

The best instrumental guitarist ever, listen to The Loner, the emotion that he portrays with his guitar is surreal, incredible guitarist

31 Gary Hoey

Gary Hoey is a guitar god. He can play any tune and rock it!

32 Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt is a famous guitarist in the genre of jazz. He lost 2 of his fingers in a fire but carried on with his playing. He later inspired Tony Iommi, the original guitarist of Black Sabbath, to continue playing after he lost his fingertips in a factory accident. His guitar is an acoustic gypsy. more.

Django Reinhardt is awesome.

33 Ewan Dobson

Ewan are one of the best contemporánean guitar player. Are far of the commercial traders, tends to independence and have one of the best in YouTube whit millions plays. The albums are a evolution and different styles, from pure fingerstyle to dark metal, also 12 strings guitar and classical... by EA1EF

34 Andres Segovia Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña, known as Andrés Segovia, was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Spain.

The Grand Daddy of them all!

35 Al Di Meola Al Di Meola is an American jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist, composer, and record producer of Italian origin.

My personal favorite guitar virtuoso. He has impeccable sense of melody, improvisation and fast-paced guitar technique. It's hard to imagine most guitarists being able to pull off the guitar-string-happy likes of Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway. But his most soulful, timeless work, in my opinion, is in his acoustic flamenco tracks. Mediterranean Sundance is definitely an obvious choice, but Passion, Grace and Fire is otherwordly as well. DEFINITELY give this guy a listen if you love instrumental guitar work (Also listen to the Land of the Midnight Sun, my personal favorite among his electric guitar tracks)!

There have probably not been 5 guitar players ever with more talent

36 Dick Dale Richard Anthony Monsour, better known by his stage name Dick Dale, is an American rock guitarist, known as The King of the Surf Guitar.
37 Nokie Edwards
38 Steve Morse Steven J. "Steve" Morse is an American guitarist and composer, best known as the founder of the Dixie Dregs; and since 1994, the guitar player of Deep Purple.

Greatest guitarist 5 years in a row

How can Steve Morse not be high on this list? The Dregs, SMB, Deep Purple...incredible writer and player!


39 Jeff Loomis Jeff Loomis is an American musician, best known for his role as lead guitarist in the progressive metal band Nevermore and death metal band Arch Enemy.
40 Sergei Tabachnikov

A really amazing guitarist from Russia. His instrumental project called "nobody. One" shows you an awesome technics, great sound quality and interesting unusual arrangements. He deserves place in this list.

41 Dave Murray David Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

One of a kind

42 Jack Thammarat

This guy ROCKS. Really FANTASTIC; check him out, for sure! He'll make his way to the States for sure.

43 George Lynch George Lynch is an American hard rock guitarist and songwriter. Lynch is best known for his work with heavy metal band Dokken and his band Lynch Mob.
44 Chet Atkins Chester Burton "Chet" Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001), known as "Mr. Guitar" and "The Country Gentleman", was an American musician, occasional vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, who along with Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, among others, created the country music style that came to more.
45 Frank Zappa Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.

Frank Sappa is the best

46 Jerry Donahue

A great guitarist with a very indvidual style and sound especially, when is comes down to the sting bending! Check him out when you get a chance.

47 Galen Weston
48 Kenny Wayne Shepherd
49 Steve Ricardo
50 Carlos Santana Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American musician who first became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American jazz.

Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American guitarist who rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and roll and Latin American jazz.

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