By Steve Herschbach
I as just alerted by a forum member that Cabelas is advertising the Fisher Gold Bug 2 for $574, a new low price. I do not know if this is a clearance sale, or a permanent price reduction, or if it is offered at other dealers. I'm sure we will sort that out real fast!
They also have the basic Gold Bug on sale for $375. Do not confuse this with the Gold Bug Pro. The Pro has both ground grab and manual ground balance, the basic Bug has ground grab only. Otherwise however they are the same detector.
This may be temporary but it also in my opinion is overdue as a permanent move on the basic Gold Bug at least. That model really should just be discontinued in favor of the nearly identical Gold Bug Pro, but if not it sure needed to come down in price. It adds to the confusion out there and some people buy it thinking they are getting the Pro. Just clear it out and discontinue it.
Gold Bug 2 is a tougher story. It is in a class of it's own as an old analog model that with 6" concentric still may best the best tiny gold getter on the market. Newer machines at lower prices may very well equal it though, or close enough for most people. The main problem with the Bug 2 is it is expensive to manufacture so I am not sure a permanent price reduction would be sustainable. Fisher has discontinued several models in the last couple years and may be consolidating or revamping their lineup around the introduction of a new website.
Lond story short this may be just a temporary sale or a sign of bigger things... we will see.
Note from moderator: The following posts were all moved from this thread to this location. It is worth a separate thread. See our List of Legitimate Metal Detector Dealers
Seeing you're new to detecting you probably don't know about the pitfalls yet, there are fakes, fakes of many of the best detectors, here is an example
Whatever you do don't buy one, it won't work well for you. Also if you're buying second hand Minelab are extremely helpful in verifying the detector you're buying is genuine, contact them about it! get the serial number off the seller, they can name the seller and where they purchased it from for you if it was a real one.
I hope you purchased your Gold Bug Pro from a reputable dealer as it's also a highly faked detector.
Here is a fake Gold Bug Pro for sale
It looks like they're clearly made to be sold to the African market, note the Depar sticker on the shaft
Since its origins in 1976, DEPAR has been, and still is, Middle East, Africa and Turkey leader in distributing quality metal detecting technologies for consumer with its experienced personnel and succesfull dealer network and serves as an authorized technical service.
By Steve Herschbach
There are three versions of the First Texas 19 kHz circuit for sale at many retailers. One is based on the original Gold Bug Pro model, sold with various coil options, and includes the now discontinued Teknetics G2. There is also a basic Gold Bug version with no manual ground balance, the bottom dollar variant.
The third version is a later design that added features to the Gold Bug Pro, the result being the Fisher F19. This is now also being sold with various coil options. The F19 is also available under the Teknetics label as the G2+, and now just released under the Bounty Hunter label as the Time Ranger Pro.
To reiterate, the Gold Bug Pro and G2 versions are the same circuit board, the only difference between the models are coil and rod options plus cosmetic differences.
The same goes for the F19, F19 Ltd, G2+, and new Time Ranger Pro. The same circuit board with different coil and rod options.
It is interesting then that the Gold Bug DP, the Gold Bug Pro with 7" x 11" coil sells for $100 more than the more capable Time Ranger Pro. "How can this be," you wonder? The power of name brand and a name, plain and simple. Fisher has a name equated with more expensive detectors, and the Gold Bug name carries it's own cachet. The Bounty Hunter name is usually for lower price models. Welcome to Marketing 101. Based on comparative capability I’d say the Gold Bug Pro is more like a $399 detector these days, so it’s fetching quite a premium.
Guide To Gold Bug Versions
Gold Bug Pro / G2 versus F19 / G2+
click or double click for larger versions....
Fisher Gold Bug DP and Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro
Gold Bug Pro and Time Ranger Pro features comparison
Gold Bug Pro and Time Ranger Pro controls
By Steve Herschbach
Fisher Research originally released the 19 kHz Gold Bug model about 1987. It was a real breakthrough design at the time with a compact control box, S-rod, and elliptical coils. The detector is a good unit but is strictly all metal (no discrimination). It has no LCD readout and looks much like the current Gold Bug 2 but has a white lower rod and a black control panel face. Some people are confusing this old model with the new so be aware of this when looking at used detectors. The 19 kHz coils for the old Gold Bug will not work on newer versions of the Gold Bug below.
Around 2010 a number of new Gold Bug models were released by Fisher. First came the Gold Bug in 2009. Then came the Gold Bug SE (Special Edition) which added manual ground balance at a bargain introductory price. The SE with minor tweaks later became the Gold Bug Pro at a higher price. So now we have two basic versions, the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro. They differ from the old 1987 model by having an LCD readout. The standard version of either detector comes with a 5" round coil. There is a Gold Bug DP (Deep Penetrating) which is nothing more than a Gold Bug Pro with an 11" x 7" DD elliptical coil instead of a 5" round DD coil.
The only difference listed by Fisher between the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro is that the Gold Bug Pro has a manual adjustment option for the ground balance and also offers "higher sensitivity".
Both models use a "Ground Grab" button as a simple ground balance method that is quite effective. The Gold Bug Pro allows you to also manually adjust the ground balance setting up or down. The manual adjustment can be used in conjunction with or separately from the Ground Grab button.
The big question is the "higher sensitivity" claim. There are two possibilities here. First, that the Gold Bug Pro actually allows for higher gain or sensitivity levels. However, I was in marketing too long and have a more jaded thought. Manual ground balance allows for a higher degree of control that if used properly can get you more sensitivity. There is a very distinct possibility the higher sensitivity claim follows directly from the ability to manually ground balance the Gold Bug Pro. This could be tested with both units set side by side with identical ground balance settings and max gain. If the Gold Bug Pro is inherently more sensitive an air test should show it. I have not had the chance to do this my self but if somebody wants to there you go.
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My opinion? I believe the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro if outfitted with the same coil are basically the same detector. The only real difference is the manual ground balance option on the Gold Bug Pro. Do you need it? Not really, and especially when you consider that for $499 vs $649 that is probably all you are getting. The Ground Grab function is remarkably effective and would suit most people just fine.
I personally do like manual ground balance and so for me spending the extra money to get it is a non-issue. I do as a rule tell people that if cost is not an issue get the Gold Bug Pro. It is far more popular and would be easier to resell. But in all honesty I think the Basic Gold Bug is the real bang-for-the-buck unit. There is nothing else close to it at the $499 price point that offers full LCD readout target discrimination while in full power all metal prospect mode.
I should note that First Texas owns both Fisher and Teknetics. The Fisher Gold Bug DP (Gold Bug Pro with 11" coil) is marketed by Teknetics as the G2. The Fisher Gold Bug DP goes for $699 and the Teknetics G2 is $749. The $50 extra gets you a pistol grip rod instead of the Gold Bug S-rod and an arm strap. Nice gray paint scheme also. Really boils down to pistol grip vs S-rod, purely a personal preference thing.
I use the 5" x 10" elliptical myself and consider it to be the best all around coil for the Gold Bug. However, right now you have to get it as an accessory or as part of a two coil package. Fisher would be doing us a service to release the Gold Bug with this coil as standard on the unit.
My Gold Bug 2 is slightly better on the tiniest of gold but the Gold Bug Pro easily outperforms the Gold Bug 2 on larger nuggets at depth. For all around nugget detecting the Gold Bug or Gold Bug Pro (and G2) have a better balance of both small gold and large gold capability than the Gold Bug 2.
Fisher Gold Bug Pro & Teknetics G2 Detailed Comparison
To recap first came the original 1987 era Gold Bug with knobs and switches:
1987 era analog Fisher Gold Bug
Then in 2009 we got the new Gold Bug:
Fisher digital Gold Bug
Followed quickly and briefly by the Gold Bug SE. Note how the plus and minus buttons now have dual functions, both Disc and Ground Balance, compared to the basic Gold Bug above:
Fisher Gold Bug SE
The Gold Bug SE was basically the prototype for the Gold Bug Pro, which got a new faceplate decal and a higher price:
Fisher Gold Bug Pro
And finally, the Gold Bug Pro was also marketed under the Teknetics line as the G2 with a different rod/handle assembly:
Gold Bug Pro DP compared to Teknetics G2:
Click on images below for larger versions.....
Here where a majority of our old coins are deep it makes absolute sense to hunt in all metal on the Bug, the depth is better in All metal, and the detector is still smart enough to give you an ID in all metal so it's a shame you can't take advantage of that to it's fullest by having the ID's in the location they should be. The ground phase being dominant is a puzzle to me. They must still have someone there who is alive and kicking and knows how to change the software. I would not think that would be a significant change either, it's just the source of data to the display output being modified. It would have been harder for them to display the serial number on startup which they do on the newer ones.
The thing I've noticed with large UK old half crown sterling silver coins on the Bug is they can wrap around in disc mode depending on the depth from the coil, they can go beyond the 99 of the ID and be a weird scattered rejected target that shows up bouncing in the high 90's to iron. In all metal they work and show up right high in the 90s. I would say it's not a good large silver detecting unit. The smaller silvers are no problems but this weird large silver oddity is a bit of a worry. It might be fixed in later models who knows but mine both do it.