Hey there, just a progress update concerning the strings. I bought a set of Yngwie Malmsteen 8-48 strings and loved the feel. However the tone was very flat in comparison to Exlixir strings I had used before and they were worn out, dead and black in a matter of an hour or so (thanks to the uber corrosive oils on my skin!). One last note on the Dean Markley strings, when I first put them on I already noticed spots on the strings where they had already begun to oxidise........ (the strings are discontinued and are either NOS or the strings were manufactured improperly?)
I took the kind people's advice here and bought a set of "coated" slinkys (8-3
added an elixir .49 to the bottom and used the .38 as the A string. So far so good with the response, feel and tone. The sound is already head and shoulders above the Dean Markley strings i.e. bigger, brighter and punchier. However there are differences in the technique used to coat the Slinkys and Elixirs and they have different tonal characteristics.
Because tone is subjective I will try to compare the sound with numerical estimations (which doesn't really help because it is still subjective to my opinion...... any ways!)
As far as I could tell the Dean Markleys were an average string in an unusual gauge, my experiences with plain D'Addarios are much better (however the rest of Dean Markley's line could be amazing, they have a large variety of electric guitar string "technologies" on their website)
In regards to the Ernie Ball coated slinkys vs. Elixirs in durability, that is still to be found out. The sound of the Elixir strings could last me months, what would have me change them was the period of time causing intonation going out. Both coated strings are very punchy however the Ernie Balls under the finger tips feel like a normal string because of the different way in which they are "coated". The only deciding factor so far is their top end, I think the Elixirs have more and therefore have a better chance of cutting through the mix in a band. On the other side, the top end of the Ernie Balls is smoother and having them on a guitar with a 15mm maple top and a Bill Lawrence L500XL in the bridge is more pleasing to my ear.
Unless the Ernie Ball's wear out pretty quickly then I think I have created the ultimate set!