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Boyd Poulsen


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Boyd Poulsen has passed. He helped many aspiring Luthiers on their professional journey. His life was eventful and inspiring and he was an incredibly good man. A violin maker, a bow maker, and a teacher, he was also a lot of fun to be around. His Jazz past includes a stint playing bass in Elvis's back up band in one of his movies. I loved kidding him about that. He was a docent in the Sequoia National Park and an expert in botany.  It breaks my heart to think he isn't around.


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Thanks for the information Eric.  I met Boyd at Bill salchow's bow classes 45 years ago and he was one of the nicest and most helpful people I know. He was the secretary of the Federation who set me on the path of professional training and had a huge influence on my life. I was thinking the other day that I haven't seen him in a few years and am very sorry to hear of his passing.

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I had started learning bow making from Boyd a few years ago, and completed my first bow under his tutelage, although he was already in his 80s when I met him. Sadly, the pandemic slowed us down, and I saw much less of him the past few years, then he moved to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to his family. Boyd was a kind, incredibly knowledgeable teacher, with an amazing eye for details. The viola he made for a client, pictured below, was amazing to play on - he would often have me play on his just finished instruments so he could hear them, and he wanted my comments on the playability and sound for possible adjustments. I watched him complete a couple of violins, this viola, a bass, and some bows while I was there working on my projects in his workshop. I will miss him dearly - and hope that I can follow his example for aging well! RIP, Boyd, and thank you for everything.

Boyd Paulsen viola scroll.jpg



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Sorry to hear about this - he was influential in so many ways.  He got the copyright of the John Bolander book on bow making and published a reprint at his own expense I believe.  At the International Bass Symposium a few years ago I watched him leading a group who wanted to make a bass in a week - which they did!  

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I found this site by googling Boyd's name.  I deliver Meals on Wheels in Sisters Oregon where Boyd was living for a while before his death.  It was only the last time I delivered to him, on Dec 29th, that I was met with a less than cheerful Boyd.  I realize he was suffering through his medical problems from the time I started delivering to him, but I was always greeted with a friendly how are you and a short discussion about the weather or some other thing.  When I first delivered a meal to him he had a very large bass shaped shipping container by his door and we discussed his bass playing--I asked "Jazz or classical" and he responded "jazz".  I related that my father-in-law played bass in a jazz band in the Reno area back in the 70s and 80s and Boyd said he was playing in the area, maybe somewhat later than that.  It is good to see these testimonies to the "goodness" of Boyd as that fact about him was evident from the time I met him.  I'm sorry for the loss felt by his many friends, including those commenting on this site.  Jim Hammond

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