Breaking In A New Reed

We suggest that you break the reeds in by first soaking them for about 2-4 minutes in lukewarm to warm water, and making sure that the whole vamp, and not just the tip alone, gets wet (a reed that is too dry or only wet at the very tip might tend to squeak). Some players, especially in dry weather, prefer a little more soaking time and a some others like immersing the whole reed in the water. Then again, if you soak it for too long, it may end up becoming waterlogged, so try a balanced approach. And make sure you wet the reed each succeeding time you play thereafter, though you may find that as it gets broken in, less soaking time will be necessary.

After the soaking is operation is done, place the reed you want to prepare on glass or a similar flat surface and massage it (starting from the back of the vamp slope) with your finger or fingers several strokes forward towards the tip, in order to help close off the fiber ends and stabilize the cane.

Then comes the break-in secret, which is certainly no original idea of mine, but a time tested practice for reed longevity:

Break in the reeds you prepare by only playing them at no louder than mp-m and for the first day only a few minutes and maybe 5-10 minutes the second day.

By breaking them in at mezzo  or softer and for not too long in the first couple of days, the reeds should last longer and be more stable for full bore playing later.  Playing them all out in fortissimo from the first 2 days might overstress the tips.

The exception to the break in is:  If the new reed you try feels a good bit too hard, you can skip the break in period and just play in normally from the first day.

A tendency of these reeds is to harden a little after a few days of playing, so you may find a slightly softer reed that will end up being perfect in a few days after break in. If you find a reed that is too hard even if you skip the break in.