My 2 cents,, You sound like your ready to dump some cash,, I understand beginner guitars being quickly outgrown,, however if you dont HAVE to get caught up in the Big 3, or 4 top names. I have bought this very nice guitar for my son,, and I love it! I would suggest you take a look at guitarfettish dot com. here is the link to the one I bought and the step up. these are very wel made guitars. As with any guitar you buy,, you will need to have it set up and possible (due to the lower price) need the frets filed as they are sometimes sharpish. but over all,, everyone who has picked up this guitar can not believe how good it is.
This is the one we have at home http://www.guitarfetish.com/Sunburst-Cu … _8013.html
this is the one I want also http://www.guitarfetish.com/XV220SCE-Me … _8104.html
and the top one they have is still a great deal an d look at its features! http://www.guitarfetish.com/SUNBURST-So … _4740.html
also DEAN makes some beautiful A/E guitars http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acoustic-guitars/dean
Hope this helps. Just remember that no matter what guitar you buy even the big 3, they all need to be set up for your playing style.
“It’s like a Jab, you got the squeeze and you got the attack, you got the guitar and the emotion behind the song.
You can plug into a Marshall, but if you are not attacking it, it's just going to sound so-so. If the song doesn't grove, you are just bashing through chords” .
-- Mike Ness, Social Distortion