deadhippie wrote:joe satriani and kirk hammet of metallica both took lessons from Steve Vai... together even.
I read that and thought it was the other way around....looked up Vai on wiki and saw
Vai began playing guitar in 1973, at the age of 13. In 1974, he took guitar lessons from guitarist Joe Satriani and played in numerous local bands, one of which was called "The Steve Vais".
as for this below----that's exactly ( I think) how lessons helped me the most when I began playing as I am a lazy SOB.
"If I was paying $50 for a lesson coming up on Monday, I would feel pressure to practice and be ready for it in order to get a reasonable amount out of it, so that I wouldn't feel like I had wasted my money."
FWIW, I believe lots of bad-ass players had lessons and/or went to a Music school of some sort at some point.
As for Zappa, while he didn't take formal guitar lessons he was in his high school band and did acknowledge 2 of his teachers on Freak Out! He also had other major influences like Don Van Vliet aka Capt Beefheart, etc.
again, from wiki
Zappa joined his first band at Mission Bay High School in San Diego. He was the band's drummer.
Zappa's interest in composing and arranging proliferated in his last high-school years. By his final year, he was writing, arranging and conducting avant-garde performance pieces for the school orchestra. He graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1958, and later acknowledged two of his music teachers on the sleeve of the 1966 album Freak Out!
 Due to his family's frequent moves, Zappa attended at least six different high schools, and as a student he was often bored and given to distracting the rest of the class with juvenile antics. He left community college after one semester, and maintained thereafter a disdain for formal education, taking his children out of school at age 15 and refusing to pay for their college.
Personally, I took lessons as a kid from an old lady, then as a teen with a bad-ass classical guy (mostly serious classical, some ELP, Kansas, etc) before going to one year of jazz conservatory at Duquesne and studying with Dave Budway (check him out if you want to hear the best musician I've ever known) for a semester.....one thing (for me anyhow) was that when I took classical lessons and even in college (given the heavy emphasis on theory), the emphasis playing-wise was about "reading music" and interpreting it, technique, etc.
When I first joined rock and GD-based bands and started playing out, I realized my ear sucked and that I was using my eyes more than my ears---I've worked for 20 years to reverse that and am still working on it. I used to be ale to sight-read classical sonatas and the like...I'm not so sure it wouldn't be easier to figure em out by ear now.
All in all---can't lose taking a few lessons, especially from someone who plays/thinks differently than you already do.