Hello TB. I started playing bass three months ago. I went with a fretless for various reasons. I put in an average of about 20 hours of bass per week, so I haven't exactly made the most of those three months. With that in mind, here's the challenge I'm facing: When playing a song, as I start, the bass doesn't exactly sound "sweet". But as I continue to play it gets "sweeter". I have a few possible explanations for this: 1. When I start playing, I'm dependent on fingerboard (scale, chord,etc) shapes entirely. But as I play over a progression, notes, scales, area of fingerboard etc, I adjust my fretting finger positions appropriately to result in a more just intonation. 2. When I start playing, I'm out of tune with the other instruments (mostly guitars in backing tracks) and as I play I adjust and play in tune with these instruments (equal tempered). It usually takes me a few bars (two to six) to get to the "sweet" sound. It used to take much more but this is gradually improving. I have two questions: 1. How do I play in tune with a fretted guitar? Because guitars are equal tempered, doesn't it mean that the more in tune I am with the guitar, the less in tune the bass is internally? (i.e intervals sound off) If I play right on the dots which is also just about right according to the tuner, I would imagine that that the intervals on the bass wouldn't sound as "sweet". It would basically be playing equal tempered on a fretless. I assume that there must be some kind of balance? A way of playing "sweet" intervals on the bass while also being in tune with the guitars and other instruments. How do you guys do it? Is it that this balance of being in tune with the guitars while also being in tune "internally" is what my ear interprets as "sweet"? ***I should mention that this is most relevant when playing music in which the bass dominates, such as reggae. In other genres I play, in which the bass isn't so central to the music, this sweetness, TO MY EAR, mostly comes from being in tune with the guitar, rather than attempting to have just intonation. 2. How do I play intervals in tune right from the first beat? Slow intros help make this issue less noticeable, because I can use vibrato as a cover up. But this isn't always an option. 3. How do I use the information from your responses to the above to improve my playing by reducing the number of bars before the sweetness kicks in? 4. Is all this just compromise? Would fretless basses sound way better with fretless guitars and other fretless instruments (the oud comes to mind)? PLEASE don't tell me to just play by ear because that's exactly what I've been doing, or at least trying to do. Don't get me wrong, it helps. But, I was hoping for something more helpful. Like what to focus on when playing by ear. Or is it just too simple or too complex to explain further than, "Play by ear, what works, works" PS: Most people (who don't play music and fellow amateurs) who listen can't tell that sound is off at the start of the song. But when the sweetness kicks in, they definitely feel it. I'm guessing that if I had a music teacher or knew someone with a good ear, he/she would clear this up in no time. But, alas, I do not know any musicians and I can't really afford to take classes right now. So the TB community is all I've got to go on, they haven't let me down so far.