Tortoguard from Josh Pickett

We reported in May that guitar player Josh Pickett, formerly of Amber Collins & No Speed Limit, had made the move to Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time. Now we are pleased to announce his latest venture, Tortoguard Pickguards of Cana, Virginia.

Pickett decided to attempt making his own custom pickguard after collaborating to build a custom mahogany dreadnought with famed guitar luthier Wayne Henderson a few years ago. Having already fabricated every other item on the guitar except for the Waverly tuning machines, he thought “Why do I want to buy a pick guard to put on when I can make one myself?”

Through experimentation and careful research, Pickett modeled his first piece after traditional tortoise shell. Then, at the urging of others, he began to craft them for close friends, having created about ten in total before deciding to launch a business with partner Eddie Day a few months ago. Josh was well familiar familiar with the traditional look of tortoise shell pickguards, and concerned about both their cost and the tricky legalities involved in buying or selling them. The international trade of tortoise shell became illegal in the 1970’s, and Pickett has developed what would appear to be a carbon copy.

Each of Tortoguard’s standard handmade pieces comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and possesses its own set of unique qualities due to the liquid and dying processes that Pickett and Day use during fabrication. Customized pieces are available upon request, as is duplication of existing pickguards of every size and type. One customer, a lady who takes private guitar lessons from Pickett, even had her name subtly included on a piece she ordered recently.

Currently the company offers five authentic-looking tortoise shell styles. They include 30’s and 40’s likenesses as well as newer-looking creations. Tortoguard is also the first company to offer a regular production guard like the one appearing on one of the most prominent guitars in bluegrass music history: the 1935 Clarence White/Tony Rice Martin D-28.

These pickguards which are peel and stick ready, are moderately priced at $25.00 – $35.00 each, not including shipping and handling.

More details can be found at

Share this:

About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.