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Fig.1. The Pickup Selector of a Les Paul style guitar.

-The Pickup Selector allows you to switch between pickups.

-The pickup nearest the bridge has more Treble and works well for Lead Guitar while the pickup nearest the neck works well for rhythm guitar.

-Some switches allow you to select more than one pickup.   My old Fender with 3 pickups allows me to select adjacent pickups by carefully placing the Selector Switch between settings.  In effect it has 5 positions. Front, middle or back and front & middle or middle & back).

-Knobs are interchangeable so you can customize your guitar with a different colour.

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