Best Instrumental Guitarists

The Top Ten
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... read more

I have listened to Satriani and Vai for a couple of decades and in my opinion Joe Satriani is the best that has ever lived. He is so versatile and his skill and knowledge are unmatched. He inspired me to want to learn. 20 years later, I am still playing. Thanks Joe. I am sure my neighbours wouldn't thank him though. LOL.

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.

If you are a player, you will love them all.
They can all do melodic, but, Joe is mesmerizing, especially live!

To say who is best is just plain silly. It's all very personal.

Bruce Sloan (Scotland)

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.

"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.

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.

Buckethead for me is the most complete guitarrist. Amazing technique but most importantly amazing composition skills and sensibility. His work is so diverse that I've been hearing his songs for years and still don't know them all. Many of his songs are technically simple but his choice of notes and scales is godlike. Overall I consider him the best guitarrist alive.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.
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

8 Peter Lennodo Peter Lennodo is a British musician. He is also a composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the vocalist, lead guitarist and main songwriter of the rock band The Arcana.

Listen to Flying High, We In The Moonlight, Time is on the River, Coming in the Motion...

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

10 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... read 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!

The Contenders
11 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.

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.

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

12 Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" was an English rock guitarist. He was 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.

Jeff Beck is the Musician's Musician. And he only gets better with age.

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.
14 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.

15 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...

16 Neil Zaza

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

Got Zaza? If you want to be taken to another world listen to "Am Alright" thank me later at jackdealer123@gmail

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

17 Hank Marvin

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

The maestro. His joy in the music is as infectious as his nimble-fingered artistry.

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

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!

19 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... read more

One of the most melodic guitarist on the list. Exotic scale, every lead guitar solo came from him never bored really like " a song inside song", something we've never heard from most western guitarist.

He knew when he should play fast & no, he could play circle around Yngwie & Jason Becker but he decide musical aspect instead playing technique fast all the time.Top melodic choice & sense even when he play super fast still beauty to listen.

Also has a badass rhythm guitar too, just watch his Megadeth audition or Megadeth live during Rust in Peace tours. He even push the rhythm part harder than Dave Mustaine.

20 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.

21 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

22 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?

23 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... read more
24 Plini

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.

Not much technical bit intelligently musical! Best new guitarist

25 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.

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