Stewart-MacDonaldEverything for building and repairing stringed instruments!
Your order cart Your order | Account | Saved list
Sign in
800-848-2273, 9AM-6PM EST, M-F
Home Free catalog Quick order International Customer service

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.

See details below

Email a friend
Tortoloid Pickguard Material

Play video

  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  


Related items

Pickguard Adhesive Sheet

Dreadnought Guitar Kit

Tortoloid Acoustic Dreadnought Pickguard

Acoustic Pickguard Blanks

Clear Pickguard Materials

Pickguard Adhesive Sheet
Dreadnought Guitar Kit
Tortoloid Acoustic Dreadnought Pickguard
Acoustic Pickguard Blanks
Clear Pickguard Materials

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.

/\ Top of product page
 Ratings and reviews
Tortoloid Pickguard Material
Tortoloid Pickguard Material
4 out of 5 stars
Based on 26 ratings Write a Review
Sort reviews by
Displaying 11 – 20 < 1  2  3 >
3 5-07-2012
Not special

Three stars for price. $30 is alot for just a peice of plastic (or whatever it is). As others mentioned there are scratches on the back which will have to be taken care of. But if you don't care about price it's great stuff.

Watson Guitars  Lakeville, MN Read my reviews (6)
4 4-13-2012
Dark brown tortoise Tortolid

I was hoping for an easy material to work with. Not to thick, and not to thin. I got a nice looking piece with sharp color contrasts, and it was easy to work with. I was able to heat it in hot water, and cut it to shape quickly. The edges were easy to bevel and the end result was a nice medium sized pickguard. I attached it to my Gad Guild F-212 12 string and I am mostly happy with the results. Kinda expensive though.

Stratfanatic  Summerville, S.C. Read my reviews (4)
5 3-19-2012
Great Product

bought some of stewmac's snakewood bridge pins and a pickgaurd to put on a washburn I got for 50 bucks. That guitar sure doesn't sound like 50 bucks though, and it deffinatley deserved better than the unsightly black pickgaurd and plier-marred white bridge pins...

Nick Gedra  Stillwater, OK Read my reviews (5)
Customer supplied image for review
5 12-28-2011
looks more vintage

It took 2 tries to get it right. I found it better not to heat the tortoloid but mark and keep scoring the material with an exto knife until it cuts thru, final scrape and dress and it looks factory. Thanks Stew Mac

Bill's repair  Madisonville,TN. Read my reviews (8)
5 11-25-2011
perfect for my vintage D-18 restoration

I used a hair drier and heated the sheet several times while cutting. I also practiced a lot around the edges of the sheet and found it still cut OK with no heat... but heat it anyway and use sharp scissors. The fun part was scraping and polishing the bevel to perfectly match the vintage martin look. I haven't used a better product! Thanks Mario. BTW, the Stew-Mac 3M adhesive also worked well. Cheers, T

TonyKost  Winnipeg, MB Canada Read my reviews (4)
2 8-18-2011
cheesy looking tortoise

The swirl looked like someone had dragged a broken comb over the plastic in this material before the dye had set. Didn't look like any vintage tortoise I've ever seen.

RestoGuitar  Cincinnati, Ohio USA Read my reviews (8)
5 8-07-2011
Great Product

A great product and a huge improvement on the other materials available today. I found it easy to cut (slightly warm as per the instructions) and more importantly, it sands/polishes up beautifully. There were some small abrasions on the underside but after applying to the top with the adhesive sheet, you certainly don’t notice any markings. Perhaps if you were using a pattern which was more translucent on a new top you might want to polish the underside, but the material abrades/polishes so easily and quickly, it is certainly not an issue (and I would test the material on the top before going to the trouble). More important, the material is thin and light and I found no acoustic impact on the tone/output of the instrument. Having worked on many Martins of all vintages, I found each of the available styles to look “correct” in terms of colour and pattern. It’s very subjective, allowing for the fact that each piece of Tortoloid is unique (just like the original materials) and that the original materials are half a century plus old with the requisite amount of aging from light/smoke etc., but if you’re looking to simulate an old pickguard, the Tortoloid is as close as you can get. Highly recommended.

Scott Shepherd  Canada Read my reviews (2)
4 7-24-2011
A good choice when the cost is justified.

Buffs out very nicely. Looks good.

ap  Mississippi Read my reviews (6)
4 3-28-2011
Nice but difficult to work

I bought one piece of the dark brown tortoise intending to make 3 small pick guards for flat-top mandolins. There was enough material for my project but I only ended up with 2 guards due to damaging the material while cutting it. When they tell you it will "chip out" they aren't kidding- we're talking big hunks, not chips! I followed the directions about heating it in hot water before cutting, but it cooled off quickly and the damage happened. I found I had to dunk it in the hot water multiple times, cutting with scissors only a little at a time. I feel like this product needs better and more detailed instructions. They just tell you to "warm before cutting" and you can use a hairdryer or hot water. But how hot? Soak for how long? Is hot tap water ok? or should it be hotter than that? How do you know it's hot enough before you start cutting? How about it, Stew Mac? Better instructions, please!

Also, I found those scratches on the back have to be sanded out. They don't just disappear like they say. I know because I practiced on scrap. Using micro-mesh in steps 1500 through 4000 grit worked well for me. Ultimately, though, I did manage to get 2 really nice looking pick guards out of it- much nicer looking than the printed plastic I think. This is a great product, it just really takes getting used to and needs better instructions. With the price of the material, trail and error is expensive!

Don O.  Pennsylvania
1 1-02-2011
Tortoloid is a misleading name

I Totally agree with Judd H. Knoxville, TN In fact, If Judd returned his Tortoloid I could probably have received the same pieces that he was so unhappy with. In no way do the two sheets that i received give the impression of tortoiseshell - rather it looks like ugly brown blobs on yellow plastic with abrasive scratches on the reverse of the material. In my view this makes it unusable without spending many hours polishing out - even if I was inclined to polish the scratches out I wouldn't use it - it really is very cheap looking and would defer from the quality of my guitars.

This material is expensive, especially with the added shipping costs and import costs to England - I wouldn't even value a sheet at one English pound - I think Judd is being very generous with his valuation.

Earl  England
Displaying 11 – 20 < 1  2  3 > /\ Top of Reviews

Shown on page 37 of our latest catalog.
Select your items, then click ADD to order

To add items to your order, select the check box next to the item you want. You can edit the quantity you wish to purchase here, or in Your Order.

Select your items, then click Save for later

To add items to your saved list, select the check boxes next to the items you want. You can edit the quantity you wish to save here, or in your Saved List.

Toll-free order line:   800-848-2273   9am-6pm Eastern Time, M-F

Your order | Your account | Trade Secrets E-mail Newsletter
Home | Free catalog | Catalog Quick Order | International | Customer service
Our guarantee | Shipping | Security & Privacy | Contact us
Site map | About Us | Employment
© Copyright 2014 Stewart-MacDonald
Your shopping is secure with VeriSign! Trusted Commerce