Just curious, why can't they reissue it properly? Isn't the Petrucci supposed to be based on it? Anyways, I read the threads and most people say it (JP model) doesn't quite get there. What's the hold-up?
I'm in the "neck pickup on a 22 fret guitar is boomy" camp. I have a Trussart with 24 frets and absolutely love the neck pickup tone. I generally play with medium-high gain, but I think it sounds great clean as well.
I just picked up the Epiphone Pathfinder 28rvt which is the same circuit; cost me all of $300. All original except for a 3-prong, cap job, and a new pair of 6v6s. It is a clean machine even with my highest output humbuckers. It's very bright/chimey, but in a really nice way. It appears the going...
The Fargen Olde 800 is nice and can be found cheap used. I haven't played the Metroplex or Superplex, but they look awesome on paper and like they could get into those tones.
Edit: didn't catch the bit about cleans on the first go around.