i live miles away from any good guitar shops
so i cant try out stuff easily
Than you're better off sticking to what you know. I don't know about the Gretsch, but the Ibanez is fantastic.

EDIT: But if you ever happen to come across one of those yamahas....give it a try. They're worth their money. Don't let the eccentric look scare you off.
The best semi hollow body guitar I have played, and the best by far under 1k is
the washburn HB30. The only thing it needs is a nice setup, and some "not even slinky strings"

The design or woodwork is much higher quality than the ibanez, and is up there with a gibson.