Elka Panther 300 (#2)

hot red Elka Panther 300
Elka Panther 300

Elka Panther 300 – FOR SALE – $500 (sold)

This was one of the first few organs Darian and I bought and fixed up, and because of space issues in our studio/workshop/dining room, we have decided to sell it. In the past few weeks we have finally finished up a few tasks that we’d wanted to do for ages to make it as good as it can be.

When we got this organ it was a wreck. It literally looked like it had been set on fire. The red top looked scorched and melted and had a lot of gashes, pockmarks and cracks. Everything inside was filthy and rusty. I wish we had taken photos of it but that was before we had smartphones! I think the restoration of the “electronics” went smoothly after a full re-cap, but the worst thing was that it had a large number of broken, missing, and displaced key contacts.

The Panther 300 is “special” in that you can’t access the key contacts at all without removing a long strip of wood behind them that supports the keyboard and is glued and nailed in to the wooden bottom of the organ. So we did that. We hit it with a hammer to splinter it (which I now know is an insane way to do this) and yanked it out with a crowbar. Then we removed the whole keybed and every key from the keyboard and washed all of it in the bathtub. The proccess of actually repairing the key contacts was tedious and maddening but… Darian did all of it. Then we cut and installed a new wooden support for the keyboard.

Elka Panther 300 red hot
HOT

Several years after all that (within the last several weeks) I finally refinished the top of the organ. We sanded it all down, filled in the cracks, gashes and holes with epoxy, sanded it all down again and repainted it.

We used this organ a lot when recording the second Hallowed Bells EP Violet Hands, with somewhat regrettable zeal for its aggressive vibrato. The Panther is unique for its ability to be both very aggressive and very mellow. Its oscillators start out with a lot of high harmonics and its vibrato is very deep and intense, but when filtered by the different tone switches, it can sound very sweet. Here’s a video of another Panther we restored and sold, which is the same model as this one. We sold this for $800 on Reverb– we are selling this one for a lot less because it has no lid and because the local market is smaller.

 

This organ is not technically, money wise, “worth” this amount of work but we did it because it was just our hobby then. When we had other ways of making money, we could afford to spend like 50 hours fixing up a <$800 organ.

If you might be interested in buying it, check the Reverb listing for all the details on the condition and work done. We could also sell it outside of Reverb locally. Email us at belltonesynthworks@gmail.com if you might be interested.

On Reverb, it is listed as “local pickup only” because it does not have a suitcase lid to protect it in shipping, but it is possible that we could ship it a short distance (like no farther than Virginia or New York), though we would have to charge for packing as well as the shipping price itself.

3 thoughts on “Elka Panther 300 (#2)”

  1. That’s fantastic that you revived that Panther, I’ve owned one since 1969, my parents bought it for me used back then, I had it hidden away for 30 years and finally restored it in 2009, I then started collecting combo organs, I have 5 panther 300s now 4 Farfisa Compacts and 2 Vox Continental s, I replaced a broken key contact on a panther 300 I purchased in 2010 by accessing from the top, removed the resistors on both sides of the contacts and managed somehow to get it soldered, I have all 3 colors, red white and black, my original one is white, that grey one you sold last year I believe was a Capri marketed for European market and Elka did have those available in red and grey I believe possibly in competition with Farfisa.

  2. I love your honesty and transparency! We need more business owners like you. I am not in the market for one I just wanted to say that. I have been watching your video on the melotron and I have read about your business and I listened to your tracks and I love them.

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