Gary Mackender

Accordion, Piano, Organ

17 Reviews (16 Verified)
Gary Mackender on SoundBetter

An accordion can color your songs in ways you might not have imagined. The acoustic properties of the instrument cannot be replicated by midi so give it a try! I also play organ and piano. (I only have digital piano in my studio)

I lean toward Zydeco and Tex-Mex, along with Eastern-European flavors. I also can complement a ballad with counter melodies or create melodies for intros, the release, and outros. I play a Planet Squeezebox accordion and my go-to mic these days is the Audio-Technica AT4060. Piano is a Nord and organ is a Korg CX3 with a Motion Sound Leslie.

I tend to record 3 passes, and If you have a chart for a specific melody or chord inversions, I’ll record from that and also send along 2 other possible variations. All will be sent as WAV files. Most clients want right hand work but can provide both if requested. 100% guarantee.

I led my own band, the Carnivaleros, in Tucson, Arizona, USA, for twenty years from 2001-2021. We released 7 CDs over that period, mostly my material. I play the accordion on all cuts and in most cases, the drums, piano, and organ. In the last 15 years I have added my sound to over 30 recording projects, including Ryanhood, Kelley Hunt, Stefan George, and Teddy Morgan (Kevin Costner’s guitarist).

“WOW WOW WOW. oh and WOW! I can’t decide which track I like best. Every one of them is excellent. This is just how I love it… quick, easy and right on the money.” – Jacqueléne Palmer-Ambrose, August, 2019

Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.


AllMusic verified credits for The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros
  • The Carnivaleros

17 Reviews - 1 Repeat Client

Endorse Gary Mackender
  1. Review by Avrom G.

    Gary delivered two tracks of accordion for a country track that added some beautiful color! Highly Recommended!

  2. Review by Cris Lobo

    Gary is an extremely talented musician and put shine and life into my song. The result was wonderful!

  3. Review by kennyoconnell

    Gary nailed the accordion part arrangement for my song, with zero fuss.

  4. Review by Ron F.
    by Ron F.

    Gary is a great accordionist and xlnt communicator on the job.
    Very happy with his accordion tracks.

  5. Review by Maarten R.

    Gary provided me some tracks with accordion and organ.
    Everything completely according to my wishes. Fine collaboration!

  6. Review by Stephen G.

    Gary is a champ. Great tone and musicality. Stuck to the brief, efficient, and went above and beyond to achieve the desired result.

  7. Review by Mark T.

    Wonderful playing, quick turnaround as well. The accordion parts Gary recorded filled out the song in a very melodic yet understated way. Very pleased with the outcome

  8. Review by Johnny Syn

    It was a pleasure to work with Gary. He provided several tasteful takes in a timely manner. I know I'll be working with him again soon.

  9. Review by Tom D.
    by Tom D.

    Gary is very talented and great to work with!!!

  10. Review by Joe E.
    by Joe E.

    Gary delivered exactly the zydeco accordion tracks that I had in mind. He sent multiple takes, and as a nice gesture, a couple bonus organ tracks for the hell of it. All tracks felt natural and were different enough to be totally usable. Recording quality was great, too. Couldn't recommend any more.

  11. Review by Garrett L.

    Gary is great to work with. Both accordion and organ parts he has tracked for me are amazing. Really adds feeling to the music. Highly recommended!

  12. Review by Garrett L.

    Gary did an amazing job. He is an excellent musician! Gets great sounds! Great communication, timely, and a real pro. Thanks!

  13. Review by Scott M.

    Gary did a great job! Easy to work with, quick responses and very attentive to refining the piece.

  14. Review by Brice D.

    Amazing musician, very professional, precise and with lot of emotion!!!!


  15. Review by Kameron M.

    Gary is very quick and professional. He's a great player, and delivered an excellent accordion part for my tango-inspired tune. Fully recommended.

  16. Review by Rory P.

    Our song sounds SO MUCH BETTER with Gary's accordion playing on it. He's the magic that helped glue it all together. Fast, professional, exceptional.

  17. Review by Jamie Woolford

    Gary was quick and very accommodating! He did a great job and I highly reccomend anyone hiring him!

Interview with Gary Mackender

  1. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  2. A: Mostly playing gigs in and around Tucson, Arizona.

  3. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  4. A: Have your materials ready to mp3, chord chart, and instructions of what you're looking for.

  5. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  6. A: Accordion, Banjo, Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Melodica

  7. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  8. A: I played my first bar gig on the drums in 8th grade in 1968. I toured extensively with a group called the Mollys (drums) in the 90s all across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Highlight of those years might be playing Lincoln Center Out of Doors series in NYC twice.

  9. Q: How would you describe your style?

  10. A: Zydeco-esque with a pinch of Tex-Mex played on the streets of Bucharest.

  11. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  12. A: I would love to play accordion with Richard Thompson or John Hiatt, two of my favorite songwriters.

  13. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  14. A: Singer-songwriter, Folk, Americana

  15. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  16. A: Listening.

  17. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  18. A: Hopefully a voice that adds to the song's intentions and does not intrude in any way.

  19. Q: What's your typical work process?

  20. A: I'll listen to a new song given to me several times to try to latch onto what the composer's intentions are. I'll mess around with several ideas before I think about pressing record.

  21. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  22. A: A very basic open space, 20' x 30', dedicated to the making of music and visual art. I usually sit at my console recording accordion tracks. My drums are set up right by the console so easy to slip over and make noise on the kit.

  23. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  24. A: T-Bone Burnett can do no wrong...I also dig what Stephen Ulrich is doing with his band, Big Lazy. Pretty crazy about David Lynch's soundtracks, too.

  25. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  26. A: I tend to get called in to add the color an accordion can give to a song that's missing that certain something. I love to create counter melodies to what I'm hearing in the composer's song.

  27. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  28. A: Listen.

Terms Of Service

Accordion: Three versions sent to you, use one or all. Turnaround time varies from same day to six days.

GenresSounds Like
  • Los Lobos
  • Brave Combo
  • Sir Doug & The Texas Tornados
Gear Highlights
  • Planet Squeezebox Accordion
  • AT4060
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More Samples