Gareth Sanders-Swales

Sax & clarinettist & arranger

Gareth Sanders-Swales on SoundBetter

Do you need live saxes or clarinets to enhance your recordings? Or horn section arrangements (from small 3 piece up to full big bands!). Whatever the style (pop, rock, blues, jazz) I’ve got the experience both playing, writing, and conducting having appeared on local smaller stages and larger international festivals!

With many years experience of playing saxes and clarinets including bass clarinet), and running and writing for my own bands. I have now decided to offer out my services. I am experienced in most genres through classical, pop, blues, jazz, rock with the versatility to adapt. I have toured as a player in both Europe and the USA and as a musical director in Europe. As well as a performer & director I have also worked as an arranger for many of these groups (and others), writing for small 4 piece groups with 1 sax to full big bands.

I have recently set up my own home studio where recordings will take place.

Packages on offer include:
Saxophone and clarinet tracks: $70 for raw (unmixed) tracks (including 3 submissions/revisions). If more than 1 track is required, then price can be negotiated and same if mixing is required.
Backing tracks would obv be required and dots for specific parts needed.

Horn section arrangements (sheet music arrangements, NOT recordings: $100 per arrangement (again with 3 submissions/revisions included). Track information required as well as particular requests in writing (e.g. styles/specific instruments etc.) if you would require recordings of these as well then again price can be negotiated.


Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Interview with Gareth Sanders-Swales

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: There are a few different things that I am proud of ... Performing my big band arrangements in San Sebastian Jazz Festival to 1000s of bouncing listeners ... writing and performing my own charity song to raise money for a local boy (I didn't sing though!) ... performing the Rossini Introduction Theme and Variations with an orchestra ... and my own little recordings (they might only be played by and for me, but when they are finished and I'm happy, then I'm also proud of them).

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

  4. A: It's lockdown so just some of my own bits and pieces while listening to new music .... check out PB Underground!!! (while home schooling kids!!!)

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: Check out Jack Amblin on drums! Great drummer, but more importantly ... nice guy!

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: hmmmm .... both are good ... digital has made things much easier to record and edit, but if I'm honest ... I still love the sound of the old records and lp's ... something gets lost in the sound with digital (even as far back as cd's). I would prefer the sound of a guitarist through an older valve amp than through a digital processor ... but that's just me

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: I will listen to you and what you want, and will do everything I can to achieve it.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: Listening to new music, and being part of the creative process.

  13. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  14. A: "Can you do this?" Generally yes I will give it a good go, and more often than not it works.

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: Is there a solo that you would like this to sound like (be specific with artist or track). Do you prefer slower melodic solos, or more "manic" ones What instruments do you like in horn sections What band has inspired the track. Do you just want one solo section or "overlapping/answering with vocals" etc.

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

  18. A: I've said it previously, but PLEASE GIVE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN FOR WHAT YOU WANT. The more you provide, the better the chance you will get what you want.

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

  20. A: My Soprano Sax ... don't get to play it as often as I like to. My phone .... don't care about no signal ... but it's got a load of cool music to listen to A solar powered battery charger (for my phone) A fridge of beer (to chill out) And a baritone sax case .... to paddle away in when I've had enough

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

  22. A: I have been playing clarinet and Sax for over 35 years. After graduating with a degree and teacher training, I have been an instrumental teacher for 22 years. This allowed me to gig and perform at weekends. Also being a conductor of Jazz Bands (including one of the best youth Jazz Bands in South Wales) I had the opportunity to write music for them and direct them in venues such as the San Sebastian Jazz Festival (being followed on stage by the Rolling Stone himself Bill Wyman).

  23. Q: How would you describe your style?

  24. A: Eclectic! It varies with my mood, and also what I am listening to or playing.

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

  26. A: So many to mention (some impossible to do, but would love to anyway)!!! Tower of Power/Blues Brothers Band/Quincy Jones/Jools Holland/Average White Band Any big stadium act John Williams David Sanborn, Gerald Albright

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

  28. A: I go back to my strongest skill .... Listen, Listen, Listen!

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

  30. A: Bit of everything really .... I'm a classically trained Clarinettist and toured the UK and Europe playing in an orchestra, but also am experienced in playing in Pop/Rock/Blues/Jazz bands, many of which I have arranged music for.

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. A: Listening ... either to what is required, or to what is being played.

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

  34. A: I like to think I bring a good ear to the song. I don't like to be overpowering ... THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME ... it is about complimenting what someone else has written. you need to be subtle and appreciate the genre you are playing

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

  36. A: No matter what is required, the first thing I want from a client is as much information as possible - Sheet music if there is something that the actually want, A style or sound they prefer (at this point it is good to have references to other tracks by other people top refer to), a detailed write up of what they actually want, AND WHERE IT IS REQUIRED in the track, and obviously a good quality track to work from. Then I will take all the information and work with it (like a check list) to ensure that what I do is exactly what the Client has asked for. After the first "take" when I am happy, I will send a demo it off to the client to review. If they are happy then great, if not then they can return it with a list of ammendments, which again I follow like a checklist to amend (they can do this twice so that there will be a total of 3 submissions). By this time hopefully everything is good and when happy, I will send the completed raw tracks. If the client requires mixing etc on top then further discussions will take place at this stage.

  37. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  38. A: I use an apple mac computer in the home studio with a variety of mics (Shure SM57, SM58, AKG C1000S, Rhode NT4 etc). I record audio on Cubase and score arrangements on Sibelius.

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

  40. A: I take inspiration from many different musicians and professionals. I think it's important to listen to what they have to say and play and adapt it to what I am doing at that time. It is also important to look up new people to inspire you when you are working on a certain type of project.

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

  42. A: It varies from time to time, between playing and arranging, depending on the time of year.

  43. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  44. A: I'm not a genius or mind reader ... if you don't tell me, I don't know.

LILY WAS HERE by Gareth Sanders-Swales

I was the Performer, Arranger, Mixer, EVERYTHING in this production

Terms Of Service

For 1 track, 1st submission within 1 week of agreement (depending on requirements) then 2 further revisions.
Arrangements, more tracks, and mixing take longer and would be discussed (with pricing)

Gear Highlights
  • Yamaha Saxes (all available)
  • Buffet Clarinets
  • Shure SM58
  • Shure SM57
  • Rhode NT4
  • AKG C1000s
More Photos