And You Won’t Get Warts or Go Blind…


…how’s your piffwanger?  Do you have the latest model? The one that just came on the market?  The ‘new and improved’ model that replaces the one you have now? The one that costs a hundred bucks more and makes your piffwanger obsolete? I mean damn, who wants an old piffwanger? Does the new product’s promotional ad or YouTube vid get your juices flowing? Are you thinking about maybe dipping into the rent money or maxing out the ole credit card so you can get that Piffwanger Pro everybody’s talking ’bout? Well welcome to marketing 101.

Look, no matter the category, the product or the business, it’s important that manufacturers come out with new piffwangers as quickly as possible because they, their distributors and their dealers don’t want you to be satisfied with your current piffwanger. Yup, they want your money again and in order to get it they created buzz words like new and improved, enhanced, leading edge, state of the art and of course the ole suffixes like Max, Pro, Master and Roman numerals like II, III, IV for the brain dead.

Years ago you could work your way through the numbers until you became a professional…..

And what constitutes new and improved? Is it something that really sets it apart from the piffwanger you have now or is it just a different color, different shape or does it now come with a rubber grip, new label or longer warranty? Will the new piffwanger perform some new function or is it advertised to just perform better (as in go deeper)?

And of course the ultimate marketing ploy….get someone famous to use it. I mean if Mike Trout hits home runs with that piffwanger it must be pretty damn good, or if Seth Curry can shoot all those three’s wearing those red and white piffwangers they must be why. Of course we all know, down deep, that mike Trout could hit all those home runs with a broomstick and Seth Curry could hit three’s all night wearing sandals.

Prospector Gary Earl is trying to keep with all the latest piffwanger accessories though I will give him this….no camo or snake boots. Thanks Gary….


If you’ve followed this blog you know I recently put up a few Q & A posts with well-known detectorists. The final question I asked each was “If you could pass along one or two words of advice to other detectorists, what would they be?” Here are their answers….

Allyson Cohen (Detecting Diva) “Stick to one machine. It’s kind of hard to learn a machine if you’re always switching them up. Do you see successful detectorists showing up at every hunt with a new machine? “

Todd Hiltz “Best advice I can give is for people to stick to one machine. Learn that machine like the back of your hand. Sleep with it, shower with it, do whatever you want with it but listen to everything it tells you and you will be very successful with it. You don’t need 5 different machines!”

Bob Sickler“Looking backward, I would have been better off staying with one detector and upgrading only when it became an advantage. Today I am the wiser and happier…”

Bob Buttafuso “Number one is to learn your unit. As I have always stated, the machine is only as good as the user using it…. “

Dominique Da Silva Ivy “Location is very important. Good finds are tied to where you are and what you are looking for. Research your area and touch base with seasoned people who detect in your state. And, most importantly, learn your machine! I don’t care if your machine cost you 200 dollars or two grand – learn it and learn it well. Once you speak its language, it will tell you where the finds are….”

My point with all this, and yes I’ve talked about it numerous times, is that you should be spending your time and money finding a great place to hunt and not getting caught up in the hype. So get out there, have fun and play with your pifffwanger. You’ll find neat stuff and trust me you won’t get warts or go blind….




…we honor and remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives so we could live free in the greatest country in the world. Thanks to them you will be enjoying that cookout, family get-together, parade, fireworks, whatever.  Let’s not get caught up in all the festivities that we forget the real meaning of Memorial Day.

And a special shout out and thank you to Viet Nam vets and those who lost their lives in that conflict…




Filed under Metal Detecting

12 responses to “And You Won’t Get Warts or Go Blind…

  1. Paul Southerland

    Excellent post Dick. I get asked every week “What detector did you find that with?” I tell folks (especially those new to metal detecting) it’s not important which one, it’s doing the research and getting your coil over something good and having the knowledge of your machine to know to dig it. It’s a toss up on which question comes first, the one above or “How deep was it?”

    • Thanks Paul. I rant about this quite a lot and honestly, like Bob Sickler, it took me some time before I finally realized I was just falling for the hype.

  2. BigTony

    I tell folks to start with a good used machine (and tell them the top four brands) for two reasons, first to see if you really like this crazy hobby and second the cost because most detectors end up sitting in a closet or at least a good many of them do.

    I started off with a non metered detector that I had to ground balance and I always wondered if it was ground balanced correctly or when to do it again. So I switched to analog meter and no ground balancing. That worked for awhile but that machine didn’t last very long so I moved unto one with a digital meter. By switching from machine to machine causes some confusion and certainly there is a learning curve all over again. I also tell new folks to just coin shoot and that way you will learn about what the machine is telling you.

    Nowadays I have to stay away from all of the new videos – that I am not tempted to buy a new very expensive piffwanger.

  3. Bigtony

    Still the best TIP – no matter what machine that a person uses is – GO SLOW. Many folks rush around and swing moderate to fast but in this crazy hobby – SLOW like the turtle brings home the goodies.

    I wish the best to all those who serve us today in the Military and other services, thank you for doing that type of work. I also thank all those who sacrificed so much for us in the past for this great country, thank you all!

    • Low and slow indeed…. if we only knew what we were missing. And to your comment about the military…we tend to get caught up in the celebrating this weekend and need to remember that many gave their lives so we could do so. Nothing is free, including our freedom.

  4. Joe

    EXCELLENT post, Dick…but you forgot to mention “Space Age Technology!”. LOL. You are dead on, sir 😉 From the manufacturers perspective, this is a BUSINESS, nothing more. All those expensive coils, probes and other doohickies they’re constantly throwing at us help the manufacturing Presidents pay for their ritzy country clubs, kids tuitions at the finest schools and plenty of other luxuries. And if they’re smart enough to separate us from our hard earned money by offering nothing but the sizzle (and no steak), they deserve every last penny of it.

    Location, location, location, nothing more is needed. I’d rather have a cheap/middle-of-the-road detector and a few KILLER hunting spots, versus a top-of-the-line machine with nothing but dead, beat to shreds hunting locations, that have been pounded by everyone and their uncle for the last 40 years. Nuff said.

    • Thanks Joe. I think the location thing will become more evident as more and more people enter the hobby. I will always remember the feeling of recovering old coins from places I found by reading and knocking on a few doors. There are still virgin sites out there but they now require even more effort.

      • Joe

        I sometimes imagine all of the manufacturing honchos laughing amongst themselves; “These idiots are spending thousands of dollars on gear to find pennies, nickels and dimes!” Talk about a GREAT business model. And I heard the casinos had it good! 😉

      • Joe I wouldn’t go that far but I also don’t think either of us are in line to be a spokesperson for them.

  5. BigTony

    I don’t blame the manufacturers – they had government contracts to develop mine sweepers and this crazy hobby is an offshoot of those tax payer dollars. Now when will they get better engineers to develop the latest advances in technology, like our government does with our military advances is open for discussion. Just my opinion, nothing more

    • Tony nobody is “blaming” the manufacturer. I just prefer to think twice now, especially when I am having trouble paying the necessary bills. And your opinion is just as valid as everyone else’s. Send ’em along anytime.

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