Guitar World presents the 10 coolest guitar instrumentals ever. In terms of the videos we selected, we tried to stick with the studio versions -- unless we found a particularly compelling live version that got the point across nicely.
10. “The Attitude Song” by Steve Vai (Flex-Able)
This signature track from shred’s mystical master strikes the perfect balance of astounding technique and compositional integrity.
9. “Eruption” by Van Halen (Van Halen)
It’s the track that got a million mooks tapping out arpeggios till their fingers fell off. Not one of them ever caught up with Eddie.
8. “Black Napkins” by Frank Zappa (Zoot Allures)
One of Zappa’s most technically daunting guitar instrumentals also contains moments of sheer six-string poetry.
7. “Led Boots” by Jeff Beck (Wired)
The Seventies were in a slump until Jeff Beck put the rock back into jazz-rock fusion with this leadoff track from what may well be his greatest album.
6. “3rd Stone From the Sun” by Jimi Hendrix Experience (Are You Experienced)
Soul music gets psychedelicized in this spacey and highly influential early Hendrix instrumental classic.
5. “Steppin' Out” by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers(Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton)
An essential 12-bar Clapton workout from the legendary “Beano” album from 1966.
4. “The Stumble” by Freddie King
This scorching six-string shuffle has been assayed by greats like Peter Green and countless bar bands, but nothing beats Freddie King’s original.
3. “Miserlou” by Dick Dale
The King of Surf Guitar brought his Middle Eastern family background to the sunny beaches of Southern California to create this reverb-drenched maelstrom of monstrous tone and minor-scale mystery.
2. “Rumble” by Link Wray
One of the original badass guitar instrumentals, “Rumble” has it all: throbbing tremolo, dynamics, drama and the anguished cry of slashed speaker cones.
1. “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy
You can’t have a bar fight in a redneck saloon without this archetypal twang masterpiece rocking along on the jukebox.