In this paper we develop two wave-based approaches for predicting the nonlinear periodic response of jointed elastic bars. First, we present a nonlinear wave-based vibration approach (WBVA) for studying jointed systems informed by re-usable, perturbation-derived scattering functions. This analytical approach can be used to predict the steady-state, forced response of jointed elastic bar structures incorporating any number and variety of nonlinear joints. As a second method, we present a nonlinear Plane-Wave Expansion (PWE) approach for analyzing periodic response in the same jointed bar structures. Both wave-based approaches have advantages and disadvantages when compared side-by-side. The WBVA results in a minimal set of equations and is re-usable following determination of the reflection and transmission functions, while the PWE formulation can be easily applied to new joint models and maintains solution accuracy to higher levels of nonlinearity. For example cases of two and three bars connected by linearly-damped joints with linear and cubic stiffness, the two wave-based approaches accurately predict the expected Duffing-like behavior in which multiple periodic responses occur in the near-resonant regime, in close agreement with reference finite element simulations. Lastly, we discuss extensions of the work to jointed structures composed of beam-like members, and propose follow-on studies addressing opportunities identified in the application of the methods presented.