An emerging application of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry is the analysis of low molecular weight (LMW) compounds, often via coupled liquid chromatography — MALDI-MS methods. However, in many cases, the low molecular weight region of MALDI mass spectra is obscured by the presence of signals originating from the matrix, suggesting that the development of tethered MALDI matrixes may be required to optimize MS performance for such compounds. To gain insight into potential sites for covalent attachment of MALDI matrixes, we have systematically investigated the role played by a variety of functional group motifs in determining matrix efficiency for three common MALDI matrixes, as judged both by total signal intensity and background noise from matrix decomposition for a set of LMW compounds. A series of allyl derivatives of standard matrixes was prepared, and the efficiency of these materials in the MALDI experiment was measured. All modifications of established matrixes, e.g., 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB), α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA), and caffeic acid (CA), or close analogues led to decreased absolute signal intensity and signal-to-background levels. Improved performance was generally observed with (i) the presence of a phenolic group (carboxylic acids were less effective) (ii) crystalline derivatives, and (iii) compounds that had high extinction coefficients at wavelengths near to that of the exciting laser (337 nm). The most interesting derivatives were the O-allyl ether (15) and N-allyl amide (16) of caffeic acid. These compounds did not facilitate signals from all four analytes tested. However, the observed spectra contained fewer signals from the matrix than from the parent compound CA. These compounds demonstrate that functionalization of MALDI matrixes, ultimately leading to tethered matrixes, is possible without jeopardizing signal intensity.Key words: MALDI, protected matrix, phenol, caffeic acid, allyl ether.