somewhere in the $100-$400 price range
I know Jay Turser makes HS tele's but I never really see many HH tele's anywhere, you might be able to find a Fender MIM one for that price range at guitar center or craigslist.
Fender blacktop Tele???
I was looking for a semi-hollow tele
look at Guitarfetish.com they have xavierre thinline models for realy cheap, they get great reviews for what they are.
also they use pretty good p/u's
Chisel and hammer? Don't laugh, I have 2 strat copies that I enlarged the cavity to accept a hum at the bridge. One I paid 120.00 new because the body and neck were very well done. About 200.00 later it became my favorite axe.
Grabbing one of the Squier Thinlines and changing the pickups for single-size humbuckers is going to be your best bet for overall quality within that prie bracket.