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Watch the Rhythmic Independence Etude online guitar lesson by Pierre Bensusan from DADGAD Explorer: Guitar Intuite

This etude (study) is an excerpt of the composition "AGADIRAMADAN," which I recorded for the Intuite album (DADGAD music). This excerpt shows how to work our way using each finger independently on the right hand. In salsa music, every musician of the band has a precise rhythmic role. That idea has been applied here to a single guitar part, in which the fingers work together to play a melodic arpeggio (going from A chord to E, D, G, and back to A), a cyclical melody from within the arpeggio (in which only the G note changes to an F#, then back to G), and a bass line whose placement falls on the fourth and third bit of the measure.

In this study, everything is played at the same time. Make sure to be precise in the fingering. The ring finger of the right hand plays on the first beat, mimicking what the cow bell would do in salsa music. Make sure to keep track of the one beat to maintain the groove. Start this piece as slowly as you need to synchronize the different elements. It's not about speed but what feels right. Also, try to hear what's happening in the harmony, listen to which chords are being played and try to identify them.

Once you've gotten down where you fingers should be and when they should be there, place an accent on the first beat, keeping it going throughout the measure. Then try moving it to the second beat, third beat, the fourth beat, and back to the first. The idea is to stay free so that we can change the bass line, place some chords, and improvise but always remain faithful to the "compass" of the bass notes. Challenging, but highly entertaining...what a great way to kill a Sunday! :-) At the end of the day, you should feel so comfortable and smooth that you don't want to stop it. Entranced! :-)