Pete Harvey

String arranger & producer

13 Reviews (8 Verified)
Pete Harvey on SoundBetter

String arranger/composer with studio and in-house session orchestra - production for bands, singer-songwriters, TV & film scores. Arranger for artists including King Creosote (Domino Records), Modern Studies (Fire Records), Lomond Campbell (Heavenly Recordings), Emma Pollock (the Delgados) and Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue).

Pete is a classically trained cellist & pianist, and academically trained composer & arranger specialising in string writing. He has also spent a good amount of his time on the road performing and recording with a variety of bands, giving him a unique voice in his writing.

He works out of Pumpkinfield, his studio near Perth in Scotland, where he writes arrangements for solo instruments up to large ensembles, performed and recorded by members of in-house session orchestra, the Pumpkinseeds.

Instrumental sessions are engineered and produced to a high quality, and can be delivered as wavs for third party mixing into a parent project.

Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.

13 Reviews - 2 Repeat Clients

Endorse Pete Harvey
  1. Review by Bruce F.

    From beginning to end, working with Pete was a great experience. First and foremost, he understood exactly what I was looking for in a string part and was able to deliver a fantastic arrangement on time and within my budget. The SoundBetter platform facilitated our communication flawlessly, and Pete was never more than a few hours in responding to my inquires. This was my first time working remotely with another musician, and I have no reservations about doing it again. A total success.

  2. Review by Clinton

    Pete took my pretty open D chords and made them into something beautiful - I didn't know my music could sound like this! Highly recommended!

  3. Review by Alex M.

    Pete has done a great job arranging the strings fro my new album, really sensitive and moving string arrangements! Additionally has been easy to communicate with and provided highly professional scores and instrumental parts for the players.

  4. Review by David

    Pete is a superbly talented musician! You know you are guaranteed to come out with something excellent! Combined with that a really nice guy and great to work with! Who could ask for anything more!

  5. Review by Alex M.

    Great working with Pete, he is very accommodating and has come up with a lovely string demo for my track, looking forward to working with him further on the finished live strings!

  6. Review by Michael L.

    I had the privilege of working with Pete on a canto pop project. What a talented musician, producer and composer he is! His work ethic and professionalism are impeccable if no extraordinary. My team is definitely looking forward to working with him again soon!!

  7. Review by Daniel D.

    Pete was an amazing orchestral partner for our project. He brought his own unique gifts to the project while listening to our thoughts for additional inspiration. As musicians ourselves, we knew that we had found the right person from the moment those first few string charts came in. Thank you Pete, you're amazing!

  8. Review by David

    Pete was stellar in working on my "adult album alternative" (not sure what genre it is lol) new song! He played awesome and was great to work with! Highly recommend him! Def. look forward to getting cello's done again by him.

  9. Review by John Lemke

    Recommended highly by a colleague, I sought Pete's help for some cello parts for a new film commission. I was blown away by the precision and quality of his performance, the quality of the recordings, the incredibly quick turnaround and last, but not least Pete's easy-going nature, which makes the whole process simple and stress free. Looking forward to many more projects to come involving Pete's most excellent work!

  10. Review by Nicholas Whitehawk

    Whether in a live or studio environment, Pete is a consummate professional. Having collaborated with him numerous times, his versatility and intuition as performer is second only to the creative depth present in his string arrangements.

  11. Review by Bernie Pickett

    While making a record down under here in Australia, my daughter was travelling through Scotland and I needed her to do a vocal track for me. Enter Pete Harvey who not only helped coach and record her, but laid down a mighty cello track that took the song to another level. An efficient, no fuss goal kicker for global music!

  12. Review by Mattie Foulds

    I've had the pleasure to receive string parts from Pete for many projects in the past. The parts are always "just the thing" and his recordings are class! Book him, you won't be disappointed! And he's a peach of a guy!

  13. Review by Charley Buchan

    I own Fitlike Records and have worked with Pete Harvey in various live and studio settings over a number of years, most notably with the band Best Girl Athlete. Whilst Pete has a unique and distinct style to his playing and scoring, his ability to read and understand other’s music in a way that not only compliments and accentuates aspects of a song is a particularly sought after skill which I will no doubt continue to be drawn to for future label projects. Professional, approachable and always hits the mark, could not recommend any higher.

Interview with Pete Harvey

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

  2. A: I'm in a band called Modern Studies - we put out a record in May called The Weight of the Sun, which was recorded and mixed here. We were due to tour it, but had to postpone due to Covid. It's a great record - I'm very glad to be a part of it, and sad not to have been able to play the gigs.

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

  4. A: Several string arrangement projects, building some shelves, getting round to mending a fence.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: I love analogue setups, and I've a few outboard bits and pieces here - but I'm predominantly digital, as this gives me the capacity to work fast, edit easily, and keep the quality high.

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

  8. A: I approach every commission as if everything I've done before has led to it.

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

  10. A: Can you do that for less money...? Everyone wants to get the best results for the least money, but there's such a range of possibility with strings that there is an approach to suit most budgets without compromise.

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

  12. A: I guess it's that strings are only good for pads or beds, when they can actually come right up front and carry a song.

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

  14. A: A string arrangement can be for anything from a solo instrument up to a huge orchestral section, and the range of cost can be huge. It's possible to build up string sections in all sorts of ways, but by far the best results come from what can be recorded in a single pass by a live ensemble, so be on top of your budget.

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

  16. A: Mattie Foulds is an exceptional drummer and studio wizard.

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

  18. A: I love the variety of music I get to work on, and the extraordinary talent of the musicians who employ me. At the heart of it, I love writing arrangements and bringing them to fruition - the day when you bring humans in to play what has previously only been mechanical is always special.

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

  20. A: I'd ask if they have any references in terms of style or content, and what they envisage a string arrangement bringing to their song.

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

  22. A: Assuming we have mains electricity...? I'd take my cello, an amp, and three pedals - a Hudson Broadcast, Boss DD200, and Pigtronix Infinity.

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

  24. A: Started playing cello at the age of 8; went to university to study music; joined a band and fell out of university; went back to university to complete my degree; spent a decade recording around Edinburgh with a mobile setup and doing cello sessions, writing for strings, managing a string ensemble; moved to Perthshire ten years ago and set up a permanent studio.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: I'm adaptive, so I can step into a number of skins - though if I was to be pushed on this I'd say gritty, melodic, and detailed.

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

  28. A: I've been lucky enough recently to work with someone I've wanted to work with my entire career. I'll rest on that one for a bit before rethinking my ambitions.

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

  30. A: Bit of a cliche, but less can be more. If you're struggling to make something fit, try getting rid.

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

  32. A: Whatever comes along!

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: I have a good ear for a countermelody. And I've extensive insight into how string instruments work - if one can write parts that the players can get into then they will bring even more sincerity to their performance, and therefore the song.

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

  36. A: Depth. I try to enhance or strengthen what's there, play off it to give it more significance, or poignancy, or humour - or whatever might be required.

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

  38. A: I'll take a rough mix or demo of a song and write string parts - usually beginning from some improvisation on the cello, then developing anything that sticks. I'll generally score it all up in Sibelius, then import as MIDI to a DAW so that I can hear it played through a number of Spitfire string libraries on Kontakt Player. It's an iterative process - at every stage there's scope for alterations. I often like to be able to rest on something for a few days and then come back to it - that usually brings fresh perspective before committing to a final version.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I've a studio at my home in rural Scotland, nestled in the Perthshire countryside. The live room can accommodate a string quartet, and there's a couple of beautiful local venues I use for larger ensemble work as required. The studio is based around a UAD interface, with Grace Design and Neve pre-amps, and microphones by AKG, Schoeps and Coles to offer a range of transparency and character to recordings.

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

  42. A: I love arrangers who have character and are bold with their writing - Robert Kirby, Wally Stott, David Campbell, Van Dyke Parks...

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

  44. A: I write string arrangements, which I'll either submit for recording by another ensemble or record here. I'm a cellist, so solo cello work is a common request too.

Hurl Them Further (Lomond Campbell); The House (Modern Studies); Different Face (Best Girl Athlete); Phosphene Dream (Modern Studies); I Was Right (Ricky Ross)

I was the arranger, fixer and cellist (and for Modern Studies and Lomond Campbell production/mixing engineer) in this production

Terms Of Service

After initial draft, one revision per project may be permitted (further changes charged pro-rata). Turnaround typically one to three months, depending on requirements.

GenresSounds Like
  • Robert Kirby
  • David Campbell
  • Jean-Claude Vannier
Gear Highlights
  • Grace / Neve / UAD preamps & ADCs; Schoeps
  • Coles
  • AKG mics
More Photos