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Hi friends, this is a Vox Cougar Bass.

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v654/Fanaticibanez/Vox%20Cougar/I...

The action is like 9/32 because a top sinking problem

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v654/Fanaticibanez/Vox%20Cougar/I...

I'm not sure if is the original glue, because it feels like  construction adhesive.

Can you tell how it was separated? http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v654/Fanaticibanez/Vox%20Cougar/I...

Does anybody knows how to bend or fix the top? any information will be appreciated.

Thank You

Fanatic

Tags: Archtop, Bass, Cougar, Vox

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What happened with the top after is was removed? Did it even out at all?

Is exactly the same Andrew, i can't even try to bend it.

Well, I think the glue is probably original even if it is a mess. If it's like the old glue Gibson used, it could be suspect by now so check that it's holding well before you close up the guitar. Off hand, I can't remember ever seeing a more complex head block and I'm not at all sure I understand what's going on there.   

I'm not much of an Electric guy ( understatement of the week) but I'd guess that the place to start in looking for the sinking top problem is the delamination you pictured.  I also noticed something that looks like a water stain on the back near the tail block. If this is and indication of this guitar being stored in a flooded area, the moisture probably contributed to the warping/ delamination and you will need to determine just how extensive it is. In fact you might want to consider removing the binding so you can see the rest of the edges of the top.  

Honestly, I'm not sure how to go about repairs on this. If this were mine, I'd probably leave it laying around and look at it from time to time as I mulled over approaches to this. Don't worry better, more experienced, repair persons may have better ideas.

Obviously repairing the delamination is a  must but you will need to determine just how extensive this is to insure that you have it completely reglued.  If I were doing it and the delamination is extensive, I would think about making a new top instead.  I don't see how you can repair/reshape this top without a mold of some sort for support as well as a clamping caul to cover the area, both contoured for the side of the top it is going to support. It may be possible to make a mold from plaster covered in plastic of the existing area then reshape it for the correct contour. Once you have that you should be able to make a mold on the mold for the caul. Both will need to be supported on plywood or something of that sort.

I would also think about shaping a brace for that area to fit across between the existing braces once everything is back into shape.

The separation you pictured between the cut away and the neck block needs to be repaired but I can't tell if that's a matter of the neck block moving of the side moving. If it the block, that requires a close inspection of the integrity of the glue holding the block and will mean that the block must be shifted back into place and reglued so that it doesn't move again. If it the side you'll need to determine how easily it will move back into place. It probably needs to have a caul made to fit the curve of the cutout and some careful clamping.

Just a suggestion for you. You really only needed one link to your Photobucket. I was able to see everything on one of your links. It would be nice if you attached pictures instead of linking to Photobucket because it's often the case the the link to off-site photo's are broken over time and the thread looses a lot of it's helpfulness for anyone looking for information about something like this in the future. If you attach the pictures, they will be here down the road too.    

Thanks Ned Knepp, you are right is the original glue, what a crap. 

It looks like all the braces and all the joints are ready to came apart.

This is the same trash as the spate of bolt on 12 strings of the late 70's and eighties came with.    The neck block with the bolt on section bends the back of the guitar outwards in accordance with leverage theory and pulls the top and the surrounds in until the front of the neck block separates from the sides. 

My preferred  solution to these things is to recommend the owner waits until winter and then uses it it creatively to fuel his fireplace.   Other than that you will need to rebuild a neck block to fit with the current deformity and geometry and then, once the top is glued back in place,stuff all the spaces and crevices with graphite fibre and then  lay up a graphite fiber mat system internally to connect the top to the block to the back and then repeat the process until the area looks like Gotham City.   This works, I've done it and so have other forum members (from memory) with the god-awful bolt on 12's.  

It's just bad design.

Rusty.

Here is another Cougar with the same problem

But i can see that it doesn't affect the action of the strings, that means that the bridge is not from there.

Rusty, do you have any picture about that repair? 

Thanks for your help.

Fanatic, You're saying it doesn't effect the action but the pictures don't look like the action is all that good to me. Something is moving of the top wouldn't be depressed.  Beside, isn't there a limit to how far the pickup poles can be from the strings before you loose the use of the pickup? 

Rusty,

 Remembering just how ignorant I am of all things electric, would it be easier to remove the neck and tail blocks and replace them with a, for lack of a better word, plank of mahogany to make it sort of through body guitar?

Hi Ned,

I suggest if we look at a few more of these tired old "cats" we will find it all the same.  

The solution to this problem is "whatever it takes".   That's not to be cavalier about it but the problem speaks to itself - it's bad design and anything you can do to make it stable and give these poor instruments a chance at a new stable life is good.   

A neck heel into a through block incorporating  the top the back and the tail block would do the trick, but, I have no idea about whether these instruments are worth the cost of such a drastic repair.    The other thing is that the front pickup hole further weakens everything and provides less fix bearing area than the 12's, which is leading me to suggest this may just be a bridge too far on this instrument.

And, Fanatic, I'm sorry but I don't have any pictures of the graphite fix - but, I'm thinking that it's going to be even less effective and maybe just hang it on the wall.  Anybody?  

Rusty.

Thanks Rusty. I thought about it after I posted last night and realized that I was talking about a pretty extensive and expensive "repair". It probably wouldn't be any more work to just make a new guitar. what I'm suggesting is the sort of quagmire that never gets finished. 

It's hard for me to have a guitar in hand and then make the decision to not fix it.  I've had to do this a couple of times and I don't like it but it's really a let down to put my effort into something that turns out to be a piece of junk anyway. It easy to get excited about the idea of playing "that old guitar" and loose sight of the realities of the situation. I've found that most of the time, I will finish a repair and realize that I don't really like the instrument as much as I thought I would. It's a hard lesson but it has made me better at deciding where to put my time and energy. One truth I finally learned is that there is always another old instrument waiting to be fixed so sometimes it better to move on.

If it's a customer's guitar, the FAIR repair price will far exceed the value of the instrument, especially if it's an Italian made Vox (EKO). If it's made in England, maybe not. In both instances, most players consider vintage Vox instruments to be novelties.

It would have to hold a LOT of sentimental value to justify the repair costs, especially given the amount of touch-ups required in light the removal of the top & back. The repair bill could much better be used by it's owner to buy a nice Lakland Bass...or a used Alembic...or just a good stock P-Bass..

If it's your guitar, cost isn't a factor. Before proceeding further, make sure the truss rod is operating properly and the neck hasn't twisted or become permanently distorted over the years (2 more Vox 'known problems'). And... IMO, 9/32 at the 12th fret for a bass isn't what I consider to be excessively high action. Most pros prefer higher actions than that.

I can't support Rusty enough in his observation that it is simply a VERY poor design with even poorer construction. These were 'cheap' (not to be confused with 'inexpensive') instruments when they were new. Demand (for about 6 months) far exceeded supply and they were literally thrown together just to get them into retail stores.

I remember these vividly when I was playing in the '60's. Once their owners' "I have a Vox" shine wore off (and it did.. quickly), they sold them faster than lightning. Why? The pickups are lousy (by contemporary standards of expectation) and they couldn't get to stage volume without feeding back and howling like a dingo. BTW: that applies to all Vox hollowbody instruments from that era.. Remember, this is the same company that thought it was prudent to put vibrato arms on ALL of their 12 strings. Doh!!

However, it would make a VERY attractive display item (wall hanger) with minimal reassembly. Or firewood.

However you proceed, may you have the best of luck and we'd love to see photos of the finished project, if that's what you choose to do :)

I seem to recall seeing a photo essay where a mold was made of the underside of the top, additional material added to the sunken area after the mold was separated from the top, and then the mold was carved so that the sunken side matched the opposite side. Finally, the top was positioned over the mold and heat and sandbags applied.

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