Tortoloid Pickguard Material

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

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Tortoloid Pickguard Material Antique tortoise

Antique tortoise

Item # 2093
In stock, ready to ship!


3 or more $25.41
Tortoloid Pickguard Material Red swirl

Red swirl

Item # 2096
In stock, ready to ship!


3 or more $25.41
Tortoloid Pickguard Material Amber tigerstripe

Amber tigerstripe

Item # 2097
In stock, ready to ship!


3 or more $25.41
Tortoloid Pickguard Material Red tigerstripe

Red tigerstripe

Item # 2098
In stock, ready to ship!


3 or more $25.41
Quantity Discount Prices apply when you buy multiples of the same item number.
Total: $0.00
Quantity: 20


Tortoloid pickguard material

Dan Erlewine demos Tortoloid. Like natural tortoiseshell, every piece of Tortoloid is unique.

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

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 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. Just like natural shell, no two have exactly the same pattern. The highly durable material is 0.025" thin, flexible, and resists shrinkage.

Supplied in a 4-3/4" x 7-1/2" x 0.025" (120.65mm x 190.50mm x 0.64mm) sheet. This includes sufficient usable material for cutting most traditional pickguard shapes.

Available in these vintage styles:

Antique tortoise
When the pickguard is installed on a typical spruce guitar top, the color and 3-dimensional depth closely match actual antique Hawksbill tortoise shell used by Martin in the '30s. (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. Antique tortoise is also available in vintage Dreadnought shape.

Red swirl
The look of early-1940s Martin celluloid pickguards, with red-browns replacing the amber.

Especially for Gibson acoustic guitars. Amber for soundboards with a light sunburst or natural finish, and red 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.

Trade Secrets! Newsletter

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Ratings & Reviews

Tortoloid Pickguard Material

  • Based on 26 Reviews
Displaying 2 of 3 1 2 3
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Not special

By Watson Guitars from Lakeville, MN
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, May 07, 2012

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.

Dark brown tortoise Tortolid

By Stratfanatic from Summerville, S.C.
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, April 13, 2012

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.

Great Product

By Nick Gedra from Stillwater, OK
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, March 19, 2012

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...

looks more vintage

By Bill's repair from Madisonville,TN.
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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

perfect for my vintage D-18 restoration

By TonyKost from Winnipeg, MB Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, November 25, 2011

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

cheesy looking tortoise

By RestoGuitar from Cincinnati, Ohio USA
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, August 18, 2011

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.

Great Product

By Scott Shepherd from Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, August 07, 2011

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 donÆt 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 ôcorrectö in terms of colour and pattern. ItÆs 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 youÆre looking to simulate an old pickguard, the Tortoloid is as close as you can get. Highly recommended.

A good choice when the cost is justified.

By ap from Mississippi
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, July 24, 2011

Buffs out very nicely. Looks good.

Nice but difficult to work

By Don O. from Pennsylvania
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, March 28, 2011

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!

Tortoloid is a misleading name

By Earl from England
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, January 02, 2011

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.

Displaying 2 of 3
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