Floyd Scholz. Master carver. American author. Friend of Paul Reed Smith. Scholz, the guitar visionary, caught creative fire in the recent, ultra-organic hand-carved PRS Private Stock collaboration with Wild West Guitars. The result: Straight Outta The Mojave Desert Sidewinder Snake Mojo abounds! The PRS Private Stock Sidewinder Snake Limited Strikes! Six venomous hand-carved PRS Private Stock axes for the world by Scholz, east-coast carver extraordinaire! Scholz, a former NCAA champion decathlete and prolific master-carving artisan, embarked on the exclusive Wild West Guitars project with his legendary artistic zeal and prolific nature, only to be struck down midway through The Snake Prototype guitar in (literally) heart-stopping fashion. Turns out Floyd was in dire need of open-heart surgery to replace the failing valve in his ticker. The Wild West caught up with Floyd as he amped up and ramped up on a collision course with completion of the exclusive 6-piece Snake Limited Run.
Wild West Guitars: Please describe the setbacks during the carvings of the Wild West PRS exclusive limited run snake project and how you believe your emerging on “the other side of the tunnel” has helped and inspired you?
Floyd Scholz: “No one was more surprised than me last March when I had to undergo open-heart surgery. One’s life priorities get immediate attention when facing such a serious procedure. Post-surgery saw a 2-month period of recuperation, pain and rehabilitation. Although I struggled at times with the side effects of the medication I was taking, I have returned to my art studio with a renewed sense of passion and drive for my carvings. Innovation and excellence in producing some of the finest woodcarvings in the world have taken on a whole new meaning for me as I strive to once again regain my productive work ethic which has been the foundation of my reputation as an artist. ‘The sun always shines brighter after a storm!’”
Wild West Guitars: You are a brilliant artist known for creating striking, lifelike bird sculptures. What inspired you to create The Sidewinder Snake concept?
Floyd Scholz: “All of my prized bird carvings are created from a soft, yet dense, wood called Tupelo. The challenge of carving and detailing intricate creatures such as Sidewinder Rattlesnakes onto a heavily figured hardwood maple guitar top forced me to modify my approach to carving utilizing different tools and techniques for sanding, texturing, and painting. Having now mastered this new approach, the sky is the limit in terms of design and subject matter presented on a PRS Guitar. I welcomed this as I do love a challenge!
Wild West Guitars: Why did you choose The Sidewinder Snake for this series?
Floyd Scholz: “From a human’s standpoint, snakes are feared and misunderstood creatures. I find them very seductive and beautiful in a menacing kind of way. I thought that the striking visual combination of powerful curves, scale texture, coloration and patterning combined with a hint of danger made them the perfect subject for an electric guitar top! When you are holding the guitar in a playing position, I wanted to create the effect of it emerging from the player`s right arm ready to strike!”
Wild West Guitars: Please describe the nature of The Sidewinder Snake concept in relation to PRS Guitars and The Spirit of Rock n’ Roll.
Floyd Scholz: “Sidewinder Rattlesnakes are Pit Vipers that live in the desert. The beautiful grain patterning of a PRS Private Stock top, when finished naturally or slightly-stained in amber, reminded me of the hot, shifting sands of the desert southwest. Also, I just like the name Sidewinder and thought it had a great crossover connection with guitars: Hot electric guitar players like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Carlos Santana are often thought of and compared to the gunslingers of western lore. Fast draw and deadly accurate!”
Wild West Guitars: Do you consider The Sidewinder series a departure for or an extension of your work?
Floyd Scholz: “Creating the Sidewinder/ Western Diamond back Rattlesnake is not a departure from my usual work as I have often carved them as prey for my raptors. Many years ago I carved a life-size coiled, ready-to-strike rattlesnake as a gift for my friend by the name of Paul Reed Smith! It sits in his office.”
Wild West Guitars: Please describe your relationship with Paul Smith and PRS Guitars over the years.
Floyd Scholz: “I’ve been a guitar aficionado and player most of my life. In the mid-1980`s while visiting a music store in Burlington, Vermont, I saw and played my first PRS guitar and instantly became a fan. I was struck by not just the tone and playability of the instrument, but the beauty, care and workmanship that went into it. I was saving up to buy it but it sold before I had enough money. As luck would have it, in 1991 I met Paul Smith and our friendship and mutual admiration for each other`s work formed a strong bond of friendship which has evolved and grown over the years. He is a wonderful human being who shares my obsession for art, music and above all, a very personal drive for perfection! PRS Guitars is founded upon that same philosophy and principle of never settling.”
Wild West Guitars: Please describe how the predator/prey laws of nature inspire your work.
Floyd Scholz: “I’m thrilled by the dynamic balance between the hunter and the hunted. It`s an evolutionary arms race. The power and majesty of the Apex predators in the ocean, land and air have always instilled awe and admiration and have inspired me on every level.”