Peter Baranet Obituary

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August 18, 2023 at 7:58 pm Quote #66913

Peter Baranet Obituary

Phoenix – Peter “Max” Baranet, world-famous luthier and guitar expert, passed away on Thursday, March 9th, 2023 at the age of 70 in Phoenix, Arizona. Born in Rome, Italy in 1952 as the first of four children, Max lived in Europe for three years before his parents moved the family to West Virginia and later just outside New York City where Max’s father, Robert Baranet, was a well-known painter with Portraits, Inc. Max was a devoted fan of rock and roll starting in the early 1960s and his passion led him to building guitars because he couldn’t afford one. He taught himself to build and made his first guitar in 1967, at the age of 15.

His friends started asking him to build for them and soon thereafter he began selling his guitars through Manny’s Music in Manhattan.

Max moved to Los Angeles in 1978 and opened a shop on Sunset Boulevard called Image Guitars, which became the hub of the LA guitar scene, attracting everyone from Eddie Van Halen to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. His down-to-earth attitude and superior attention to detail endeared him to the top guitar players in the world, who trusted him with the tools of their trade.

Max’s list of clients read like a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee class: Van Halen, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Kiss, ZZ Top, Yes, Ozzy Osborne, Buckcherry, Tom Petty and The Eagles, just to name a few. He was Eddie Van Halen’s personal guitar builder, helping to build Eddie’s famous “Frankenstrat” and several of Eddie’s recording guitars. He also built the guitar used by Slash to record the first Guns N Roses album, “Appetite For Destruction”, as well as several other albums, and which was played in the video for “Welcome To The Jungle.”

Max moved to Phoenix in the early 1990s since the poor air quality in LA aggravated his lungs, which had been taxed by years of inhaling sawdust and fumes from guitar building. He continued to build there for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2018. His 50-year career produced a collection of work that is unrivaled anywhere in guitar building.

He is survived by his three siblings and five nieces and nephews. To learn more about Max’s life and legacy please visit

August 19, 2023 at 9:17 am Quote #66920


RIP Peter

EDDIE’S fingers aren’t fingers they are muscle-powered pistons that hammer guitar strings to the fretboard with the force of a rivet gun”.


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