Pete Harvey

String arranger & producer

42 Reviews (35 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.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

42 Reviews - 5 Repeat Clients

Endorse Pete Harvey
  1. Review by Collin D.

    Pete was easy to work with and did an amazing real string quartet for me on a song. Next project, I'm going with Pete. Excellent work and finished product.

  2. Review by Michael R.

    Again a great job, extremely fast and a wonderful result!

  3. Review by Michael R.

    Great to work with pete again! As always a perfect result!

  4. Review by Michael R.

    Pete did a great Job again, recording Cello for my film scores.
    Very fast, professional, uncomplicated and friendly.
    Thanks a lot!

  5. Review by Michael R.

    Pete is an absolutely professional fantastic string player. He recorded a whole 12 Part String section within a few days and the result is great. Rhythmical very precise and perfect intonation. Thanks a lot!

  6. Review by Alexander Gilblom

    What a player! Pete dreamed up a great string part for my song, had great communication, and top notch recording quality.

  7. Review by Michael B.

    Pete is a brilliant musician. Pete doesn't just arrange and add strings for my tracks; he elevates them and brings a new dimension to what I'm working on. It's a pleasure to collaborate with him, and I can't recommend him highly enough.

  8. Review by Diego Z.

    It was an amazing experience working with Pete!

    Cant wait to work with him again!

  9. Review by Michael B.

    Pete is a truly superb musician and a delight to work with. He’s a sensitive and sympathetic arranger and wonderful musician. His string parts have elevated two of my songs, and I couldn’t be happier. He worked with me on two revisions and is extremely patient despite my not knowing how to read music and therefore easily express what I’m going for. He gets it and then some.

  10. Review by Kathy F.

    Pete was extremely accommodating in providing a recording that matched my request to a tee. He was willing to go above and beyond to assist me through the process. I was very pleased to work with Pete!

  11. Review by Chris McKenzie

    Lovely experience working with Pete. He was super friendly, fast, and very professional. The recording he made ended up sounding great in the final mix!

  12. Review by Karoline H.

    It was a pleasure working with Pete Harvey. He did an excellent job recording strings (violin, viola and cello) for my song, making sense of my MIDI arrangements and adding little magic touches. Correspondence was very clear and quick.
    I am thrilled with the result and hope to work with Pete again. He has my best recommendations!

  13. Review by Michael B.

    Pete is FANTASTIC. A brilliant and sympathetic arranger, extremely patient, and a superb musician. He was a delight to work with and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

  14. Review by Aaron D.

    pete is incredibly thoughtful, easy to work with, creative, and collaborative. he's a pleasure to work with and represents everything i look for in a creative partnership

  15. Review by Louise D.

    Just finished another session with Pete and I'm very impressed again. Recording quality and performances are great. Pete is a friendly guy, good communicator and it was an all round enjoyable and easy process. Thanks again Pete!

  16. Review by Louise D.

    It was my first time working with Pete and it has been a brilliant experience. I'm so pleased with the results. Pete was very easy to communicate with and turned it round very quickly. Highly recommend!

  17. Review by tv-baby

    Pete is an excellent player, very precise and polite. Overall a great pleasure to work with. I highly recommend.

  18. Review by David
    by David

    An amazingly stellar and superb job as always! Can always count on it! Wow! He is also awesome and super friendly to work with! I look forward to the next song that beckons his call!

  19. Review by Sam F.
    by Sam F.

    Pete was absolutely incredible - I was stunned when I first heard what he was able to do with my song. I came to him with the bare bones of a strings part and he took the time to carefully compose something that elevated the song into a new realm that I didn't know was possible - it's cinematic, epic, and helped tell the story of my music. He was worth every penny and a pleasure to work with. I look forward to working with him again for any future strings needs. Thanks Pete!

  20. Review by Nik Karlin

    Pete was able to deliver amazing strings on a very personal project - ranging from solo to quartet to chamber for different songs.

    Attention to detail and passion was there entirely, great recording quality and really fantastic performances.

    Thank you Pete!

Interview with Pete Harvey

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

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

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

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.

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

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

  9. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

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

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

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.

  21. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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.

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

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

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

  28. 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.

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

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

  31. Q: How would you describe your style?

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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.

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

  36. A: Whatever comes along!

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

  38. 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.

  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