#1
I play classic rock, blues, and jazz. I like to play a lot of Beatles, Wes Montgomery, and the Black Keys, so I alternate between soft, clean tones and rough bluesy sort of stuff. I don't play any metal.

I play mostly with the neck pickup, not really looking for a lot of trebley twang. I play through a VOX AC15 and I'm upgrading from a rather cheap Ibanez Artcore AS73. The most important thing for me is the tone (specifically mellow sorts of tones) and playability. I don't really care all that much if the tuners are cheap or the guitar is heavy or rather ugly.

Guitars I've been looking at include a Gretsch Electromagnetic and the two Epiphone Casinos on Musicians Friend that are around $1000. I'm not willing to spend more than $1000 and would prefer to spend more around $750-800.

Anyone have any recommendations for where I should start looking? Are the upper-level Ibanez models competitive with Gretsch and Epiphone? Should I look into a thinline tele?
Ibanez Artcore AS73
Vox Valvetronix 15w
#2
Well I totally love my Gretsch, for the price I really don't think that they can be beat, I'm not too sure about how it'd be with jazz but I'm pretty sure it could pull it off. The neck pup is awesome for cleans, and the bridge pup can handle quite a bit of overdrive/distortion. They're good for the black keys and blues, I know. And they come setup perfectly from the factory.
Guitars:
LTD F-50
Yamaha EG-112
'77 Harmony
Roadworn Starcaster
Gretsch G5120

Amps:
Vypyr 15
Epiphone Valve Junior combo
#4
I don't think a thin line tele would do what you want. I'm a big fan of the Epi hollow bodies. Dots, Casino, Sheraton. Try a bunch.
(()____(Main Rig)____())>

Carvin CS4 Goldtop
PRS Santana SE
Carvin SC90
Washburn Taurus 5-string Bass
Peavey 6505
Carvin v3m
Carvin 2x12
Spider Valve Cab
Plenty of Pedals.
#5
Is there a significant difference in tone or playability between the Gretsch 5120s and 5122?
Ibanez Artcore AS73
Vox Valvetronix 15w
#8
in regards to the casinos. the john lennon model is really good the regular casino is not as quite that good. for some reason the regular pups in the casino are just screaming loud. way hotter then they should be, the john lennons are much more mellow. i have a g5120 and love that but it does need a pickup upgrade to some filtertrons or tv jones.

i think almost any hollowbody will do the trick but be observant with the hotness of pickups, my friend has the casino, lowered all the pole pieces and it is still about 2times hotter than my gretsch which is dual coil (humbucker)
Gibson 58 VOS, Gibson Rich Robinson ES-335, Fender Strat, Fender RoadWorn 50's Tele, Gibson LP Jr Special

Marshall JTM45, Fender BJR NOS
#9
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/-Ltd-Ed-50th-Ann.-1961-Casino-Electric-Guitar?sku=H71731

Yes, this is the one I was talking about. It looks like a great deal, but I haven't actually played one in person, which makes me a little wary. Is it really that great? Reviews for it seem scarce. Free shipping with a hardshell case thrown in is a helluva deal though.
Ibanez Artcore AS73
Vox Valvetronix 15w
#10
I'm not specialist when it comes to 'Hollow Body Guitars', but I recently played my friends Gretsch G5122DC and found it really good value for the £500-600 price range it came in at, and in $US I believe that would come at around $800 - $900 ish? You could probably get the guitar a lot cheap than that though, especially if you looked on eBay, but if possible, try out the guitars before you buy them, at least then you know you're comfortable with them, good luck and happy guitar hunting