The modern bassoon Allen plays is a Puchner Superior model bassoon, and was made in 2011. Like most modern bassoons, it uses the Heckel "German" system, and provides a rich, dark tone. Its versatility allows him to play a number of different roles in orchestra and in chamber ensembles, and boasts a supreme expressive range. In addition, it features the recently developed hardware by Arthur Weisberg: a system which allows an unprecedented facility in maneuvering between different registers of the instrument.
Allen is fortunate to have on loan to him an original Heckel series 3000 bassoon. A 16-key instrument, it was crafted in 1885 and is one of the earliest bassoons that can be recognized as a direct precursor to the modern instrument. It sits comfortably in the a'=440-442 range and is contemporaneous with Brahms, Mahler, and Tchaikovsky.
The classical bassoon that Allen plays is a copy of an instrument by Heinrich Grenser, made by the modern German maker, Guntram Wolf. The instrument has 9 keys, which allow for a more even chromatic scale and a more extended pitch range. The tuning is set to a'=430, making it appropriate for Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and even Rossini.
The baroque bassoon that Allen plays is also a Guntram Wolf copy. The original instrument survives from the 1700's, and bears the stamp with the initials HKCIW, though current research is unable to determine who or what the initials represent. The instrument has 5 keys, giving chromatic notes a special color distinguished from the diatonic scale. The pitch is at a'=415, and is ideal for a wide array of baroque period ensembles. It has a sweet, dulcet sound, while offering stability throughout the instrument.
The recorder that Allen plays is a copy of a surviving instrument by Jacob Denner. The instrument was made by Mollenhauer out of pear box wood. It offers an even range throughout the entire instrument, making it ideal for solo and chamber repertoire. The pitch is at a'=415, making it a top choice for baroque period ensembles.