I’ve heard a lot of people over the years brag on how they were self-taught in this or that discipline. Guitarists are notorious for this. However, I do believe that they actually are. Sure, maybe that musician did not need to take a class or pay for lessons, but anyone who has looked up a tab, listened to a song, or taken advice from a friend has been musically informed in some way.
Of course, I would love to hear someone who was truly self-taught. Imagine the crazy licks said musician would come up with, completely outside of traditional chord structures and tuning. It would be like the early days of steel drum or blues guitar, where note placement was left up to the arbitrary discernment of the player. Would that music sound a bit bizarre to our ears? Sure, but, man, what a sonic ride!
And what’s so bad about taking instruction anyway? Back in the day, it was considered an honor to be trained by a master. We’re inter-dependent, not independent. That’s how we’re designed: to feed off each other and grow accordingly. Whether you are classically trained or picked up some licks on the fly, be proud of how you learned. You have invaluable insights to offer one another.