The paper concerns determining frequency band-gaps for longitudinal wave motion in a periodic waveguide. The waveguide may be considered either as an elastic layer with variable thickness or as a rod with variable cross section. As a result, widths and locations of all frequency band-gaps are determined by means of the method of varying amplitudes. For the general symmetric corrugation shape, the width of each odd band-gap is controlled only by one harmonic in the corrugation series with its number being equal to the number of the band-gap. Widths of even band-gaps, however, are influenced by all the harmonics involved in the corrugation series, so that the lower frequency band-gaps can emerge. These are band-gaps located below the frequency corresponding to the lowest harmonic in the corrugation series. For the general non-symmetric corrugation shape, the mth band-gap is controlled only by one, the mth, harmonic in the corrugation series. The revealed insights into the mechanism of band-gap formation can be used to predict locations and widths of all frequency band-gaps featured by any corrugation shape. These insights are general and can be valid also for other types of wave motion in periodic structures, e.g., transverse or torsional vibration.