© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Dynamics of strongly nonlinear systems can in many cases be modelled by bilinear oscillators, which are the oscillators whose springs have different stiffnesses in compression and tension. This underpins the analysis of a wide range of phenomena, from oscillations of fragmented structures, connections and mooring lines to deformation of geological media. Single bilinear oscillators were studied previously and the presence of multiple resonances both super- and sub-harmonic was found. Less attention was paid to systems of multiple bilinear oscillators that describe many natural and engineering processes such as for example the behaviour of fragmented solids. Here we fill this gap concentrating on the simplest case - 1D symmetrical chains of bilinear oscillators. We show that the presence and structure of resonances in a symmetric chain of bilinear oscillators with fixed ends depends upon the number of oscillating masses. Two elementary chains act as the basic ones: a single mass bilinear chain (a mass connected to the fixed points by two bilinear springs) that behaves as a linear oscillator with a single resonance and a two mass chain that is a coupled bilinear oscillator (two masses connected by three bilinear springs). The latter has multiple resonances. We demonstrate that longer chains either do not have resonances or get decomposed, in the resonance, into either the single mass or two mass elementary chains with stationary masses in between. The resonance frequencies are inherited from the basic chains of decomposition. We show that if the number of masses is odd the chain can be decomposed into the single mass bilinear chains separated by stationary masses. It then inherits the resonances of the single mass bilinear chain. The chains with the number of masses minus 2 divisible by 3 can be decomposed into the two mass bilinear chains separated by stationary masses and inherit the resonances of the two mass chains. The chains whose lengths satisfy both criteria (such as chains with 5, 11, 17 ⋯ masses) allow both types of resonances.