Peter “Max” Baranet—the Man Behind
Rist argues that the Hunterburst, although not
played on Appetite for Destruction
a significant place in rock ’n’ roll history.
“The Hunterburst carried a lot of weight
because it was owned by a rock star who, in
my opinion, had contributed greatly to the
music scene,” Rist says. “Steve Hunter is the
real deal. So here’s the guitar that went from
the old guard to the new guard. That’s the
one that got him [Slash] hooked. The seed
for his Les Paul addiction, becoming the Les
Paul icon that he is, is the Hunterburst.”
But, as was mentioned previously, the
Hunterburst wasn’t a Gibson. It was a replica.
Steve Hunter says it was built by luthier
Peter “Max” Baranet, who friends and clients
typically refer to simply as Max. Howie
Hubberman says the instrument was built
by Baranet. So does Roman Rist.
Baranet himself? He’s not so sure.
In written statements and telephone interviews,
Baranet won’t confirm or deny that
the Hunterburst is one of his instruments.
“Yeah, I don’t remember it,” he says.
“There’s people that remember it being in
my shop and stuff. But there was a lot of
stuff going on in those days, you know. A
lot of guitar building and a lot of people
The volume of Baranet’s work was indeed
staggering. “One year that I was at Image
Guitars, I had assembled or custom made
over 150 guitars,” he recalls. “Singlehandedly.
So, you know what I’m saying—
[it’s] one single guitar. I’m not going to
Serial numbers and markings for replica
instruments of the day were not standardized
and provide little help in solving the mystery.
Baranet says he sometimes used customers’
birthdays, sometimes even Social Security
numbers and other combinations of digits.
Despite Baranet’s reluctance to claim the
Hunterburst, his former colleague Rist is
convinced Baranet built it.
“I worked with Max so long I know how he
does things,” Rist states. “There are certain
little trademark things I can use to spot
a Max from a mile away. There are other
trademarks with the way he does his routing.
If I open it up, I can go, ‘Yep, this is a Max.’”
This Les Paul replica commonly referred as “Hunterburst” (because it had been previously owned by Alice Cooper guitarist Steve Hunter) was reportedly Slash’s first brush with a quality copy
of Gibson’s iconic guitar in and around the Appetite for Destruction period. Photo by Mark Olson