My D'addario Light top heavy bottom strings are okay but they rust really easily and have lost their tone. So I'm deciding to buy either Ernie ball coated slinky strings or elixir strings. I've heard they're both really good, but what are some differences between them? Does one have a fatter tone, or one you can slide easier on? I play hard rock and metal, so which one would be better for that?
Elixirs are covered in a nanoweb coating that prevents corrosion. I have rather sweaty fingers, and i find that ernie balls and d'addario strings rust within weeks, even days sometimes. Now i use elixirs all the time, as ive had them on for 6 months, and the feel and sound as if they were still brand new

Be sure to get em off eBay though, as my local guitar shop wanted £13.50 for a set, but on eBay i got em for £8.50, free postage.
I love elixirs, awesome tone and they would last forever if my guitar didn't tear up the strings at the bridge.

All ernie balls and d'addarios I've tried rusted pretty quickly and didn't sound nearly as good over time.
I don't know if this goes for all Ernie Ball strings but they tend to go dead very quickly. The strings I've had from them sound great.... once, and for 20 quid for a set of strings that's pretty unacceptable. It's fine if you're a famous guy with a tech to change them every gig, not so fine if you're Johnny Smith who plays in his bedroom.

I recommend the Elixirs primarily because Ernie's go dead quickly in my experience.
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Last edited by druggietoad2k5 at Jan 3, 2010,
If you don't have the aforementioned sweaty hand shit, ernie balls are great. I've had the same set on my SG for months and they're still completely functional.
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If you don't have the aforementioned sweaty hand shit, ernie balls are great. I've had the same set on my SG for months and they're still completely functional.

Yep, i use Ernie Ball "Classic Pure Nickel Super Slinky Rock N Roll".
My fingers don't sweat, and they last me for months.
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I tried the coated Ernie Balls once and for the first few days they sounded really full and fat and felt really smooth and nice.

Then after a week the sound went dead and strings just started to break.

Suffice to say back to the D'Addario's. I might try the Elixirs on my PRS or ESP next time i get the need for strings.
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The coating material between the two probably isn't going to make much of a difference, so you want to consider the string underneath it. Ernie Ball has been in the string-making business for a long time, while Elixir is something of a newcomer. In the end, try them both and see which one you like better.
How did almost everyone manage to miss that he's talking about the coated Ernies?

Either way, I've found Ernie Balls to be consistently poor in terms of lifespan. They sound nice when you put them on, which is probably the reason for their enormous list of endorsees. But in the real world (ie where you aren't changing your strings for every single show) they seem to last half as long as most other brands, coating or not. I can get three gigs out of a set if I'm very lucky, whereas I've had D'Addarios that'll last two weeks of gigging without a hitch.
Their coating seems to 'flake off' around the picking area much quicker than Elixirs as well.

If you're interested in long lasting strings, instead of coatings, try the 24-carat gold plated Optima strings. They're excellent, though I always recommend going up a gauge as they're very very easy to bend.