Watch the Introduction to Konnakol online guitar lesson by Kai Eckhardt from Atomic Bass: Time Continuum
There is an extremely helpful tool we can borrow from India called "Konnakol". It is the South Indian rhythm language developed for the Mridangam, a traditional South Indian hand drum. Because of its percussive nature, Konnakol is superior to anything developed in the west. Here is a thorough explanation of the system and its basic characters.