Johnny Winter bought his Lazer guitar from luthier Mark Erlewine in the early 1980s, but didn’t start playing it until 1984, when he broke a string on his Firebird. Erlewine, who made the Automatic guitar for Johnny’s friend Billy Gibbons (Don Felder of the Eagles and Mark Knopfler), brought a Chiquita, a guitar about a foot shorter than a Stratocaster, to Johnny’s gig at the Austin Opry House. Johnny liked the Chiquita. The following year, Erlewine showed him a Lazer, a lightweight full-scale guitar, and Johnny bought a black model. “I remember trying it and liking it,” says Johnny. “It feels real good and it s pretty lightweight. The Lazer is a little bit easier to play than the Firebird. The action is as high, but the strings pull easier. It sounds close to a Fender. It’s a better sounding guitar than the Firebird; it’s more biting and has more of a treble sound. But I still use the Firebird on slide songs; the slide still sounds better on the Firebird.” Sullivan, Mary Lou. Raisin’ Cain: The Wild and Raucous Story of Johnny Winter Photo by Ebet Roberts.