Our Beginning

Telford & Sons' Violins grew out of the need for quality violin repair and adjustment in Boise, Idaho in the 1960's. In 1967, shortly after moving to Boise from Anchorage, Alaska, Leah Telford, a fine violinist and teacher, recognized this need and with her husband Jim started Telford's Violin Shop as a part-time venture in the basement of their north-end Boise home.

Jim, whose father had been a master craftsman, soon learned that the woodworking skills he had learned from childhood were inadequate to fully meet the needs of his growing clientele, in 1972, he decided to take an early retirement from his BLM job as Chief of Air Operations, for the Boise Interagency Fire Center (BIFC, now known as the National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC). Jim and Leah sold their Boise home, put most of their possessions in storage and moved to Chicago, where Jim, at age 52, was accepted as an apprentice in the very prestigious violin shop of Kenneth Warren & Son. In the four years he worked at the Warrens, Jim had the very good fortune to work under the direct supervision of Zenon Petesh, a violin maker and restorer with an international reputation for his extraordinary violin restoration work.

For Jim and Leah, the four years in Chicago was an exciting time. There were daily opportunities to see and work on violins, violas, cellos, and bows from famous makers. At night he attended business classes at DePaul University earning his MBA in 1976. Leah, in the meantime, studied Sevcik Bowing from Scott Willets at the American Conservatory of Music. Scott Willits was Ottokar Sevcik's American Protege, and had a keen interest in helping Leah master Mr. Sevcik's technique.

In August of 1976, Jim and Leah returned to Boise and with the help of their youngest son, Steve, opened Telford & Son's Violins at 4914 Gage St. Our "new store", at 4910 Gage St. (next door) was opened in August of 1993, and we have since acquired the additional properties at 4920 Gage and 4924 Gage (corner of Orchard and Gage Streets).

Leah passed away in November of 1995, but her legacy lives on through the teaching efforts of her former students. Jim died in April of 2012 at the age of 92. Today the business is being run by their son, Steve, granddaughter Amy, grandson Andrew, and long-time employee Ryan Tippets.