More on Tesoro from Joe Patrick…

Joe Patrick

This morning I received an email from Joe Patrick, a long time friend and detectorist… I’m sharing it word for word. Thanks Joe…..

Hi Dick,

I read your Tesoro article and am quite saddened to hear that it may be the end of the line for Tesoro. I guess it was inevitable as they have not had any revolutionary products for some time now. And I personally think that their marketing, after Jack’s passing, was/is horrible. As you know, good marketing can sell snow cones to an Eskimo. Tesoro lacked marketing excitement and they should have promoted die-hard users such as Garrett has so successfully done with their current cast of dedicated users and YouTube video “characters”. Say what you will, but it works.

About 6 years ago, I wrote the attached article and sent it to Tesoro. They never responded to it! Nor have I since seen it in print. Perhaps now would be a good time to let others read it, although probably much too late. Do with it as you please.

Joe Patrick


Why Tesoro? I’ll tell you …

By Joe Patrick

If you detect long enough and own and use enough different metal detectors you begin to realize just what works and what doesn’t; What features are truly needed and advantageous and which ones are not. You begin to separate “puffy” advertising and misguided Internet forum hype, and their sometime misleading and erroneous information, from the actual truth and reality of field-proven success.

In over thirty years of metal detecting, I have owned, tested and/or used ‘most every metal detector made for land hunting. Each had it pros and cons. Some I liked and some I didn’t. A few were exceptional!

Some were very deep-detecting, but heavy and/or loved iron. Others were lightweight, but cheaply made. A few were complicated and required long learning curves and much field time to master. Most were expensive to have repaired when broken.

There is no perfect metal detector or perfect metal detector company, but there is one company who for the past 30+ years has consistently designed and built “rock-solid”, value-added metal detectors for the “down and dirty” “in-the-trenches detectorist” – those of us who value outstanding performance and appreciate operating simplicity, reasonable cost, high quality and steadfast service after the sale. That company is Tesoro Electronics.

The Beginning

As a young teenager, my first metal detector was a home-built B.F.O. made from construction plans in a 1960’s Popular Electronics magazine article. Years later, about 1980, I built a Heathkit GD-1190 Ground Tracker metal detector which was my “real” introduction into metal detecting – after having found my brother’s lost high-school ring in our parents home’s front yard.

Within a few short years of that, I was so captivated and immersed in metal detecting that I became a dealer selling detectors manufactured by the then “new” company … Tesoro.

From the beginning, Tesoro’s detectors just fascinated me and seemed like the “perfect fit” for my budget, type and style of detecting – which was serious, “lean and mean”, no-nonsense, “full tilt” detecting. It was nothing for me to be out detecting five to seven days a week searching every place I could think of and Tesoro metal detectors were right there with me and a large part of my early metal detecting/treasure hunting success.

My first Tesoro was a basic “big box” original-model Amigo that I had won at a local treasure hunt. About 1985 or so, I moved up to a notch-enabled Golden Sabre and then eventually to a do-it-all Toltec 100. Both were really great detectors and I loved that analog-metered Toltec! Still do!

In later years, I was fortunate to field test, own and use many Tesoro metal detectors of the 1980’s and 1990’s including most of the older metal-boxed, plastic-boxed and earliest uMAX models. None were a disappointment! In fact, I loved them all! “Typical Tesoro” I wrote in many of my magazine field test reports. Meaning high performance, simplistic operation and quality-built craftsmanship.

They were “typical” Tesoros all right! Built well, with superior in-the-ground performance and excellent discrimination. They precisely pinpointed targets “on the money” and had great modulated audio. All in all, they were a pleasure to use and put many coin, relic and jewelry finds into my coin apron and collection. They loved gold too!

In recent years, I have moved on to using other brands and models of detectors, but Tesoro’s have always been on my mind and in my heart. It’s hard to forget all of the great finds from days afield with detecting friends and the various Tesoro models that I had used. After all, it is the great memories of detecting various sites with close friends and the finds made that are the real treasures of metal detecting.

The most recent Tesoro model that I’ve had a chance to use is the Cortes and it is currently one of my all-time favorite Tesoros. There’s a lot of detector and performance in that small 3-pound package! I strongly feel the Cortes has not received anywhere near the attention and recognition that it truly deserves. I would encourage all detectorists to take a good unbiased look at its versatility and compact, comfortable operating potential – especially so if they have low to moderately mineralized ground to detect.

For almost ten years during the 1990’s, I operated a full-time, storefront business selling metal detectors. I sold a “ton” of Tesoros! It was easy, as they were a company and a product that I truly believed in. I never had any reservation about recommending them to my friends and customers. I had total confidence in their products.

I regret to say that during the past 10 or so years, I have moved away from Tesoro detectors using another currently popular brand, which I have done very well with and like very much. But as I grow older each year, I have begun to think more about what do I really need and want in a metal detector. It seems that I may be coming “full circle” and back to the very things that have kept me attracted to Tesoro metal detectors for so long.

First, is comfort. I need something very lightweight and non-tiring to use. Some of the newest high-performance detectors are quite heavy and quickly take a toll on just how many hours I can comfortably swing them. There is a huge difference between swinging a four to five plus pound detector versus the ultra-lightweight two to three-pound Tesoro uMAX designs.

Second, is performance. Although I placed this next after comfort, I feel it is equally important. What’s the point of swinging a detector all day if it can’t find me something worthwhile? I can assure you that all Tesoro metal detectors have excellent performance! From their most basic beginners models to their top end units. Tesoro metal detectors do not disappoint! Just ask anyone who has used one for a while.

Sure, there are other detectors that may be a bit deeper or have more features, but it doesn’t make one bit of difference to the many thousands of loyal Tesoro users worldwide with their piles of finds they’ve made over the decades – proof that Tesoros work well! Tesoro detectors have found countless numbers of coins, relics, jewelry, rings, caches, military artifacts, gold nuggets and more.

Third, is value. You will be hard pressed to find a metal detector that offers more value than a Tesoro. Their broad range of detectors and accessories are reasonably priced, quality built and backed by the best warranty in the business … lifetime, to the original owner. No more expensive repair bills! Ever!

Fourth and last is the “Fun Factor”. I can’t explain it, but Tesoro metal detectors are just plain fun to use! There is just something about their simplicity and “real” knobs and switches that makes metal detecting fun and exciting. You feel connected and in control! As if by magic, the search and thrill of discovery seems enhanced somehow. That’s not just my opinion, ask any devoted Tesoro owner and they will tell you likewise. Using a Tesoro detector puts a smile on your face!

This whole article concept began recently with the introduction of Tesoro’s new Outlaw metal detector. For years now I, and others, have been waiting and wondering what will be Tesoro’s next great metal detector. We all have our wants and wishes. Mine was for a Cortes-like detector with a bigger display, fully adjustable ground balance in both discrimination and all metal modes, great multi-tone ID and a trigger switch like on the Tejon – and with switch-selectable normal or V.C.O. pinpointing, as I much prefer normal non-motion modulated pinpointing audio.

When I first saw the Outlaw introduced, I was very disappointed. In reading some of the various detecting forum posts, so were many other “diehard” Tesoro fans. We felt let down and overlooked. Another “repackaged Tesoro”, we thought. Nothing new here.

It wasn’t until months later, when I took a hard, second look and really began an unbiased evaluation that I realized the Outlaw was just what I was looking for in a non-metered metal detector.

It is so similar to the Bandido, which is another all-time favorite and well-loved Tesoro. It has manual ground balancing capability in BOTH all metal and discrimination modes and it does not have V.C.O. pinpointing, of which I am not a big fan. Couple that with its small, lightweight uMAX design and it is perfect for my style of detecting.

The real clincher though is the included three search coils with lower stems – a 5.75”, 8” and 12”x10”. These make the Outlaw extremely versatile and provide the ability to quickly adapt and easily fine-tune the detector to nearly any site or detecting situation that I might encounter.

The large, red, centered, dual-function pinpoint/retune switch is also nicely placed for quick, effortless pinpointing or retuning when needed.

I also like and prefer Tesoro’s smooth, modulated non-motion pinpointing audio sound. It’s always been a favorite of mine and the Outlaw has it!

After several years of not using a Tesoro, it looks like the Outlaw is going to be my next Tesoro.

So after more than thirty years of “hanging out” with the Tesoro Company and their metal detectors, I am still a huge fan and supporter!

Here’s to the next thirty years Tesoro and if I am still around then … I am certain that I will still be a “diehard” Tesoro enthusiast and user!


Be sure to check out Joe’s other contributions to Stout Standards..

 “A Q&A with Joe Patrick”

“A Guest Post by Joe Patrick”



Filed under Metal Detecting

12 responses to “More on Tesoro from Joe Patrick…

  1. Randy Bradford

    What a fantastic evaluation…

  2. Yep, Joe’s got it right about marketing. For instance, they had a great product in the Golden Sabre an 80s era machine, but it’s ‘message’ never really got out there. It sliced through iron-infested habitation sites such as Roman like a hot knife through butter, plucking small bronze and silver coins with ease. It worked well on beaches too and I made many good finds on many European beaches.

    The problem, looking back, was that perhaps it should have been ‘pushed’ harder. Let’s hope Tesoro gets back on track.

  3. I have never owed a Tesoro, strangely enough, and truth be told I almost bought one earlier in the year, but for some reason, I missed the opportunity. I have many friends using Tesoro machines, and to a person they have nothing but high regard for this American Made machine and the company manufacturing it. Oddly enough…or perhaps not oddly at all…many American companies, and not just metal detector companies, that were started with vision and passion by it’s founder, fail miserably when the offspring take over. Vision and passion are like fuel and oil in an engine…take them away and the motor will become silent and unworkable in a very short time. Almost 30% of American companies fail at the hand of the founder’s children. We have a metal detector-related business here in Central Florida (which I will not mention outright) that is showing similar signs of heading for the rocks since it’s founder passed away and the siblings are in the wheelhouse. I hope Tesoro will be purchased by one of the more successful metal detector companies, and the skilled workforce making these jewels be re-hired and put back to work again. I hate unhappy endings…

    • Jim, from all I’m hearing that’s not the case here though I could be wrong. James and Vince took over Tesoro 2004.

      • Well, in that case, then it probably does not fall into that category…they have run the company for almost 15-years in this poor economy, they must have been doing something right…at least for as long as they could. I do hope this sad situation has some sort of remedy in any case. Joe Patrick certainly knows whereof he speaks! Good post, Dick!

      • You can thank Joe Patrick Jim…it’s always good when he shares his experiences.

  4. Thank you, Joe Patrick, for a great post!

    • Joe Patrick

      Thank you! Though I currently have and have had many favorite metal detectors over the years Tesoros have always been one of my favorites for the reasons stated in my post. I still plan to buy another Tesoro soon but haven’t quite made up my mind which one it will be. I am leaning toward either the Cortes, Bandido II uMax or Outlaw. I also really like the Tejon a lot but for coin hunting in the parks and such places I found its high 17kHz frequency to be just too sensitive to things like “can slaw”. For relics, it’s a killer! I would encourage all detectorists to consider owning a Tesoro especially if you have never previously owned one. You just might be quite surprised with their performance and how well you will like it. The uMax units are a joy to swing. Let’s all hope that we have not seen the last of Tesoro and their great products!

      • Joe Patrick

        Well folks, I just purchased a very nice used Tesoro Bandido II uMax and couldn’t be happier! I also purchased a new Precision 7″ search coil to go with it. I will be looking to buy some additional Tesoro’s in the coming months.

      • You know Joe you might be starting a rush to buy these machines….

  5. Joe Patrick

    Dick, I hope so! Tesoros are great working metal detectors. I have owned and used most of their models over the years and have liked them all. Right now, I have the “bug” to start looking for and start buying the early model Tesoros. The ones in the metal control boxes. But I also like the uMax and HOT Delta designs. I truly hope that Tesoro does not go away. They hold a very unique place in the hobby and market place and have many loyal followers some of which have been tempted away by “new-tech” products. However, I think it very safe to say that those who truly know and have used Tesoro metal detectors well know their proven track record. I am one of those persons!

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