Two is Company, Three is a Crowd…

Perusing social media sites and forums I’ve noticed an increased interest in the hobby and questions like –

“I’ve been wanting to do this for some time. Where do I start

“I want to get involved but only have $300 to spend. What should I buy”

“What’s the best detector to start out with” 

“Just started can u tell me good places to detect?”

Not sure if it’s the popularity of the pastime or people with too much covid-19 time on their hands but it appears our ranks are about to grow. The question I have, is this good for the pastime? Certainly it’s great for the manufacturer but what about you and I? Are we up for the competition, the battle for what already is a very limited number of places where we can swing our coil?

In the beginning stages of the FMDAC (early 80’s) I lamented the fact that our numbers were small.  Miniscule actually. We were fighting for our rights and needed all the help we could get. Today we still need that kind of help but thanks to cyberspace it’s no longer all for one, one for all. In fact it’s more like screw you, look at my videos and my finds, aren’t I wonderful?

Yup, that and a lot of questionable finds on social media are what the newbie sees and wants to emulate. As a result they rush out to find what they assume is routine, with very little understanding of how to use their detector and worse yet where to use it. The end result?  A disillusioned, frustrated detectorist and a pockmarked landscape.

Increased competition is not a new problem, just one that has new legs thanks to covid-19 and we need to deal with it. We need to find a way to welcome, teach and guide the newcomer because if we don’t we might be blowing the cobwebs off the fishing gear, making videos about the big one that got away and hoping the Outdoor Channel is looking for a rock star…

An aside…

Yesterday on a metal detecting FB page a gal asked “What are some “accessories” or things you always take with you on your hunt?”

One tekkie answered – Metal detector, shovel, hand shovel, water bottle to spray silver coins, smaller coil for metal detector, cleaning brushes, knee pads, wire brush, extra batteries for metal detector and pin pointer, small flashlight, magnifying glass…

I got thinking back to the 70’s and started laughing….


A few tips for the UK tekkie from John Howland….


It’s also “Throwback Thursday” – this from April 2017

Is it the Detector or is it YOU?

I’m always amused at those YouTube videos with a tekkie opening the box of their brand new detector. Not putting it together or using it mind you…just a grand opening of the carton. Sort of a “voila…. lookie what I got”. Don’t get wrong I am thrilled too when I get a new detector but I want to keep that emotional, poignant and deeply moving unboxing moment to myself.  Now a TV, refrigerator or freezer, hell yeah bring it on!!

Okay, all the above aside isn’t it true that every new detector you ever purchased was “always better” than the last? It found more, had great depth  and killed it at that site you assumed was hunted out.  Okay, okay, so that’s what you told your wife.  Well here’s my take as if you give a rat’s ass…..


Like most other electronic/computerized products you buy today there’s usually a learning curve involved in order to use it and enjoy it. There are new features, controls, programs, and techniques required to get comfortable with it and a metal detector is no different. You have to make friends with it and learn its nuances and its quirks. It will only offer the end result you seek if you set it up to work at peak efficiency and this takes time and patience.

Next I’m willing to bet that after you did the Cecile B. Demille thing with opening the box you took your new detector to that hammered site to see if it would turn up any new goodies. Well unbeknownst to you, while there you became so engrossed in learning your new machine that you were oblivious to just how slow you were going.  You weren’t interested in speed and as a result you were inadvertently giving that old site new life. Giving it time to show you what it’s been hiding.

I also have a hunch that while you were at that hunted out site you dug every signal simply because you wanted to see if that readout on the screen was accurate and as a result you came home with a few decent finds.

So what am I saying? Well we all know “you have to walk over it to find it” and because you were enthralled with your new detector you were not interested in covering a lot of ground. As a result you were rewarded with a keeper or two…. New machine or not, speed is a bad recipe for the detectorist, especially at a site that’s been hunted numerous times.

Last but not least is the power of positive thinking. I mean come on, you spent a ton of money on that detector and you know it just has to be better than your old one and that automatically adds to your success (IMO).  Of course on the flip side taking that new detector out for a test run right after you and your wife had a battle royal over how much it cost will guarantee that it sucks. Always remember

“If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”….

I’ve field tested, reviewed and used a lot of detectors over the years, and the best finds usually came during the learning period….

Finally if the new finds keep on coming after the first week or so you’ve got a real gem of a detector. If by chance they slow down think about those first few attempts at learning it, how you went about it and what you found. Just maybe a lot of that success was your thought process and technique and not so much the detector.

 Well that’s sure to piss off a few manufacturers…..

So next time you venture out just pretend your detector is a brand spanking new, knock your socks off, killer of a machine. Look at the controls and various settings as though you’ve never seen them before, experiment with them and go ever so slow. Cover a very small area of that hammered site and report back to me. Willing to bet you come home with a keeper or two. If by chance you don’t, screw it….get rid of that detector, buy another and tell somebody else….

Here’s an old tip for your old detector from an old fart:

Go back to that favorite site of yours and shorten your stem one notch, or until the coil is literally at your feet. It will absolutely force you to slow down.  Ground balance, use all metal, set your depth/sensitivity as high as possible without erratic chatter.

Next make sure you have a slight threshold hum (without that you will never hear those deeper targets).  Go slow, listen for the whispers and if those whispers don’t offer a steady “readout” take your threshold “just barely” into the quiet zone, turn your sensitivity/depth up (even if there’s chatter) and see if you can coax a decent numerical readout. If that doesn’t work dig that whisper….there’s a good chance it’s a keeper.



Filed under Metal Detecting

22 responses to “Two is Company, Three is a Crowd…

  1. You’re not kidding, I too have had these same questions pointed at me. I’ve also an influx of people wanting to start detecting but they never last! No passion or interest = failure.

    I’ll help anybody but I see through people and it’s all a past time not a passion and no care for history.

    Not all I might add but 90 % 😳

    • Gaz don’t have a problem with it being a pastime, just that those starting out want to run before they learn how to walk. It’s a never ending tale.

      • Wrong choice of words, it’s a past time for us all, a hobby. I get frustrated with people getting into the hobby thinking it’s easy. It’s a bloody slog getting permissions. people go out buy the latest gear and then give up because they can’t get land. That said I’m willing to help anybody who asks me as I was once like that 🤣

      • Yeah permissions are getting tough here too Gaz. We’ll be like the UK before too long….

  2. Thanks Dick… I will try your tips as soon as I can even if its only in my back yard!

  3. Bob Sickler

    Seems ironic, but now that we are involuntarily forced into social separation, our hobby from the beginning was the original social distance activity. 🙂 Wow, Garrett picked an opportune time to release a new detector now that we are all home glued to our computers and phones! At least we detectorists can still enjoy the outdoors and our hobby in remote areas.

    • Bob Garrett does indeed have a captive audience (a few of them with left over stimulus money).

      Hope you and Barbara are doing well….

    • john taylor

      bob, also the parks and school grounds too!..i never encounter grief because i utilize my “bull whip!” to keep everybody from infringing on my space! one “crack” of that mother,and they go ‘scurrying” for cover!. nasty! even been known to scare that vicious little germ too! ..i’m just sayin’..stay safe! the little bastard’s on the prowl!

  4. Ed B.

    The “tekkie” listed all the items he takes along on a hunt but didn’t mention a “finds pouch” ? Oh! Wait ! he probably uses one of those new “plastic finds boxes” from Garrett.
    Getting a new detector is sort of like trading in the old jalopy and getting a new car and I’ve gotten myself a few of each over the years but I’m still not going to make an “unboxing” video. And….. because at my age I won’t be having any more children so I won’t have to do one of those silly (to me) gender reveals.

    • Ed I’m afraid the days of a screwdriver and carpenter’s apron are over. It’s now the “if I can tote it I’m takin’ it” era….

    • john taylor

      ed! i don’t really know you, but my sense is that if you was to make video, it would be extremely entertaining! .just get that feeling is all!..i’m just sayin’


  5. john taylor

    i’m waiting for the video that extolls the virtues of a 31 ” t-handle “sampson” at work in a manicured park! ehe! he! he! i’m just sayin’


  6. Hey! That hole you’re looking down into…I hope you used a drop-cloth?

  7. john taylor

    awful “laborious” for a twenty spot! perhaps the “crown jewels” or a case of mad dog! …one would be better served! .i’m just sayin’


  8. Ed B.

    Which will happen first?
    A) We’ll find out once and for all who killed JFK.
    B) We’ll find out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.
    C) The Oak Island “Treasure” will be unearthed.
    D) The $20 debt will be paid………………………….

  9. john taylor

    hope springs eternal!
    i’m just sayin’


  10. Odd I was thinking about this same subject a few weeks ago. Our FB groups have experienced a huge hit of newbies, and “What is the BEST detector for someone STARTING OUT?” and “Where’s a good place to hunt?” top the charts. It’s like the after-Christmas crowd, only probably gonna hit what’s left of the hobby much harder. With a recession at the least, and a depression at the worst looming on the horizon, there is probably gonna be a rush of devil-may care about the hobby, and a lot of treasure is everywhere along with the unfilled holes, broken gates, and tin-snipped fences. Good post Dick!

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