i have a fender hot rod deluxe and love the sound of it - however it is enormously loud and i can rarely take it above volume 2-3/12 before drowning out the drummer :S

i'm probably not getting the best of the overdrive out of it at this vol though. anyway (relatively simple) way i can get the volume down? would putting a volume pedal in the effects loop make a difference?

N.B. i know this is gbc but i'm not willing to void my warranty
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The volume pedal will give you more preamp distortion but not power amp. If you want an AC/DC-ish sound at low volumes get something like a Weber MASS.
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