You don’t need vocals to connect with a crowd, and these 10 acts represent the apex of instrumental expression.

Plenty of new bands have found success with instrumental music, becoming legitimate underground phenomenons with picks and sticks. Animals as Leaders are one of the most important heavy acts of the decade, with Tosin Abasi hailed as one of modern metal’s greatest guitarists. Polyphia have also risen to impressive prominence in the last few years, racking up millions of views online.

When you’re talking about instrumental acts, you’ve got to include the guitar greats. Vai or Satriani? Teacher or master? The debate has gone on for decades, but fans agree that both guitarists are bonafide shred icons. You’ll see both musicians on this list, along with a certain masked speed freak with the smoothest legato on earth.

Few guitarists have earned more respect from legendary players (and fans alike) than Jeff Beck. The guitarist has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, both as a member of the Yardbirds and as a solo artist. With 55 years of playing under his belt, Beck is constantly included in the Big Four of classic guitar players, alongside Clapton, Hendrix and Page.

Check out our picks for the Top 10 Instrumental Acts in Rock + Metal in the Loud List above.

Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time