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Home : Pickguards : Pickguard materials : Tortoloid Pickguard Material

Tortoloid Pickguard Material

Read 26 Reviews   |   Write a Review

The look of vintage pickguards!
Make your own pickguards with the look of vintage tortoise shell.

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Tortoloid Pickguard Material

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  Item# Description In stock Price Quantity
2093 Dark brown tortoise Yes
3 or more $24.90  

2096 Dark brown swirl Yes
3 or more $24.90  

2097 Amber/brown tigerstripe Yes
3 or more $24.90  

2098 Red/brown tigerstripe Yes
3 or more $24.90  

Quantity prices apply to multiples of the same item number Selected currency  


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Tortoloid is a handsome pickguard material developed and handmade by luthier Mario Proulx. Poured resins and dyes reproduce authentic tortoise shell patterns: tigerstripe, tortoise, and swirl. Tortoloid is becoming a popular choice for making vintage-style guitars look even more vintage. Unhappy with modern "printed" pickguards? Tortoloid is a great alternative.

Each Tortoloid sheet is individually made. No two have exactly the same pattern, just like natural shell. The highly durable material is .025" thin, flexible, and resists shrinkage.

Supplied in a 4-3/4" x 7-1/2" x .025" (120.65mm x 190.50mm x .64mm) sheet. This includes sufficient usable material for cutting most traditional pickguard shapes.

Available in these vintage styles:

Dark brown tortoise
When the pickguard is installed on a typical spruce guitar top, the color and 3-dimensional depth closely match actual antique Hawskbill tortoise shell (antique guitar picks were used for sampling the colors). Semi-transparent amber areas intensify the color of the soundboard to complement your guitar's appearance. Dark brown tortoise is also available in vintage Dreadnought shape.

Dark brown swirl
Similar to the '30s pattern but darker overall, with red-browns replacing the amber. The look of early-1940s Martin celluloid pickguards.

Especially for Gibson acoustic guitars. Amber/brown for soundboards with a light sunburst or natural finish, and red/brown to complement typical darker sunbursts.

Tortoloid cuts easily with scissors, but to avoid chipping the edges, warm the material in hot water or with a hair dryer first. The cut edges can be sanded and polished, or beveled with a razor blade (work at room temperature for a sharp bevel, or warm the material for a rounded edge). Bending is easily corrected by placing the material on a flat surface and warming it.

Note: You may notice small abrasions on the underside of the material. These are from the manufacturing process and will become invisible after installation with our Pickguard Adhesive Sheet.

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 Ratings and reviews
Tortoloid Pickguard Material
Tortoloid Pickguard Material
4 out of 5 stars
Based on 26 ratings Write a Review
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Displaying 1 – 10 1  2  3 >
5 1-19-2014
Tortoloid pickguard material

This stuff is great! Make sure the surface you apply it to is smooth or it can telegraph through the material. It shapes and forms with heat, trims with scissors when warm, and has first class appearance when sanded through the grits and polished. I love it.

Michael A Lewis  Grass Valley, CA Read my reviews (2)
1 12-20-2013

There was no way I was going to put that on a guitar. I sent it back.

Freddy Gabrsek  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada Read my reviews (4)
4 12-12-2013
Looks good scratches easily

I used the dark brown material to replace a couple of awful printed tortoise pickguards that came on vintage reissue Martins. The material cuts easily with scissors and looks great on the aged tops of the Martins. My complaints are that the material scratches fairly easily. It really could use a protective plastic layer like nearly every replacement pickguard you can buy. Also, it would be nice if it were self-adhesive, BUT I suppose that gives you the choice of which side you want to use for the top in case the pattern looks better one way or the other.

Dan-o  Houston, TX Read my reviews (3)
Customer supplied image for review
5 8-25-2013
Tortoloid Pickguard


4 4-09-2013
Great product, but use with care

This material makes excellent pick guards. It is easy to work with and nice to look at. The material comes in a sealed plastic pouch. As I was tearing the pouch, the material flexed just enough, snapped, and broke in two. So, I had to order another piece. At $29.90 (plus eight bucks shipping), this is going to be an expensive pick guard.

Steve West  Colwich, Kansas Read my reviews (7)
3 2-11-2013

Well, it took me two tries, but I'm reasonably happy. On my first try, I did not heat enough, and the material snapped during cutting. I found it best to heat the pickguard repeatedly with a hairdryer during cutting. I heated it enough for it to become slightly pliable and bendy. I practiced on my first ruined piece, and with decent heating (so the material is rather pliable), I found I could cut almost any shape. Once I had made all the cuts, I reheated the piece and pressed it flat between two books to get out any wavers and bends. I was slightly annoyed by the unsightly backside. Like many have said, there are scratches around the edges. It does seem rather expensive (especially since I was forced to re-order), but over-all I am pleased.

Simon P  Kansas City
5 1-09-2013
Dark Brown Tortoise Pick Guard

The material is very nice looking and easy to work with. I traced an outline of the stencil I made on to the tortoloid sheet. Instead of using a hair dryer, I used very warm water to heat the material. I just put the sheet under the faucet until it became pliable and cut with sharp scissors reheating a few times. I finished the edges first with a razor blade and the buffed with very fin grit sandpaper. I used the 3M adhesive sheet also sold by StewMac to apply it and viola.

Norml  Sonoma, CA
Customer supplied image for review
3 9-25-2012
WAY TOO EXPENSIVE for such a small piece

Ruined my 1st attempt to cut a solidbody pick guard for a custom electric I just built. Now the question becomes: is it worth another $30 to try again? The material is gorgeous, but not too great to work with for a fairly intricate pattern. I guess it was intended for simple acoustic pick guards.

CWaggs  Illinois Read my reviews (44)
3 8-23-2012
Tortoloid Pickguard Material Amber/Brown Tigerstripe

The pickguard material is fairly easy to cut after warming with a hair dryer. I didn't notice many scratches on the back of the material as some reviewers have mentioned. I was able to shape the pickguard, bevel and polish the edges easily. The biggest problem is the application of the adhesive. The pickguard material seems to bubble after heating to cut it, so the adhesive doesn't stick evenly. When I applied the finished pickguard, there were air bubbles underneath that were clearly visible. I had to remove the pickguard and the adhesive (major PIA) and start over. Luckily I was able to heat the material and press it flat with a slab of Corian. Reapplication was more successful but I still see a small bubble or two. The tigerstripe pickguard is beautiful on a Gibson WM-45 but I'm not sure it is worth the effort (well really does look good). If I use Tortoloid again, it will probably be the finished pickguard with adhesive pre-attached.

Steve Forehand  Alexander City, AL
5 6-11-2012
Easy to Create a Nice Pickguard

I just finished making and installing a replacement guard out of Tortoloid. I chose a sheet of 30's Martin swirl. I have prior experience with Greven and Deep River Vintage guards but I thought I would try this new material since it is thinner and Deep River Vintage is no longer made. I used my old ugly black guard as a template and used a hairdryer to warm the material as I cut. After I cut about three inches or so, the material would cool and harden again so I warmed it again, cut some more. It cut easily and cleanly with no chipping. I cleaned off the old adhesive from the guitar with a soft cloth and naphtha. I used very fine wet/dry sandpaper to neated the edge on the new tortoloid guard and then used a razor blade at about a 33 degree angle (on the edge of a wooden board) to make my bevel. I started conservatively and gradually went 1/8" further into the guard working gradually around and going back to where I needed to take more off to make it uniform. When I was satisfied I used a rotor tool buffer with some cleaner. That was all I could find for a polish around the house. It worked very well at relatively low speeds, with a lot of motion and with only slight pressure. Higher speeds caused the material to get too hot. I also buffed the edge carefully. After a careful cleaning, I applied the 3M adhesive sheet from StewMac to the polished guard. After making two cross-points with masking tape on my guitar's top, I carefully laid the guard down in place and rubbed it with a wadded up piece of cloth out from the center to the edges to avoid any air bubbles. This material had seemed a bit light until I laid it on my guitar top (which is very amber from age) and then it really looked very close to the 30's guards I have seen. The 50's swirl would have looked just as good, I think, but I am very satisfied with this guard and would buy this material again.

CherylW  Saint Augustine, Florida
Customer supplied image for review
Displaying 1 – 10 1  2  3 > /\ Top of Reviews

Shown on page 37 of our latest catalog.
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