What does the 3 way switch do on the Stingray 5 and the Sterling?

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With the switch in the 'closest to neck' position, the pickup's flow of voltage follows a snake like pattern around the poles, this is called the Series position, creating an out of phase slightly brighter humbucker tone. The second position is the Single Coil position, only the coil closest to the bridge is used creating a thin, bright sound for soloing, a phantom coil is added to reduce single coil noise. The last position is the Parallel position, use this for the traditional thick bottom end bass sound made famous by the Stingray 4.