Andrew (you were correct),
No, I live right by Berklee. I know some kids in Lowell though. There was one band that wanted me to play for them and they had an insane drummer who studies with Mangini but I just couldn't go out to Lowell to practice. I'm so swamped as it is. This is me procrastinating.
I don't think I know Sean. I don't know many people's last names though.
In case you were unaware, ensemble ratings at Berklee are bull****. The way it works is if you play jazz, you get good ratings. If you don't, they depend on who you get for your jury.
At my ratings audition I played the double time solo from Lie by Dream Theater off of Awake. The guys I had hadn't heard of Dream Theater. I go, "they went here."
As far as strings go, I will only play pure nickel strings which are the farthest thing from what you're looking for. The reasoning is that they sound the same the day you put them on as the day you take them off. Also, I used to play 10 hours a day (I rarely play anymore) and since I have irreplaceable guitars, I would prefer to not chew up the frets. Fender pure nickels are also the cheapest strings I've ever seen. It's really a win-win-win for me.